Friday, July 26, 2013

Yet Another Linear Trend Failure (Musical Tribute)

Click to enlarge.

Source Data:
St. Louis Fed: Custom Chart


Stagflationary Mark said...

On the one hand, this trend is disturbing because one generally can't shop at this country's many strip malls if one isn't driving much. If one isn't driving to this country's many strip malls, then this country's many strip malls won't hire more workers.

On the other hand, I drove a lot when I was in high school. Hey, I loved to drive. What can I say? All things being equal, I would drive less in high school these days though. Video games are even more addicting than they were then. I'd never leave the house, lol.

And on that third hand, I'm not leaving the house much these days either.

September 21, 2011
Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten

World's most cost-efficient performance! Limitless random dungeons! Play however many times and hours you want! The strategy RPG that's easy on your wallet!

I did my part to support our Internet economy ( today. Free super saver shipping. No gasoline expended at my end. Sorry strip malls!

It's been roughly 2 years. Many, many hours were spent playing that game. I'm not even done with it yet.

And don't even get me started on Rocksmith. I've barely scratched the surface yet. All those extra hours of practice are neither being taxed by our government nor are they adding to GDP. Go figure.

Troy said...

I wonder if the OUYA's got legs.

On the plus side, it's $99, and it's very hacker-friendly, meaning one can "side load" all kinds of neat Android-compiled third-party apps onto it.

On the minus side, this year's iteration is kinda weak rendering hardware, at least with the stack I'm using (MonoGame). I can only get 1.5X screen overdraw ratio on my terrain tiling before I lose 60fps (boo!)

Certainly going with Android as the basis made a lot of sense. Pretty crazy how much power they can pack in a tiny package now -- this thing can emulate Amiga, N64, and PS1 fine.

Stagflationary Mark said...


You need to make a Dai Senryaku style game before the next major game company doesn't, lol. Sigh.

Seriously, I'm dyin' here. Need another good PS3 (or PS4?) turn based strategy game!

Troy said...

dunno man, it took me 4 hours today to write one line of code:

LINQ kicks ass, but it kicks your ass until you master it.

The cool thing is that that line of code parses an entire datafile. (And yes, I'm writing Pacman this week for the Ouya, figure I should focus on something simple).

Stagflationary Mark said...


Your LINQ code would definitely kick my ass until I mastered it.

On the one hand, it looks a lot like C++.

On the other hand, my professional coding skills have 15 years of accumulated rust. ;)

Troy said...

today was great, I set the hard goal of getting the pacman board laid out from the configuration files before I could go off for dinner.

for the one line of code that took another 3 hours . . .

I was able to eat at Chick FilA at 6:20, LOL.

I'm 100% convinced C# is the best future of pro game coding.

Apple has their ObjC garden, but they've been chasing C# features for 10 years now and still haven't caught up.

ObjC's advantage is that it's actually a lot closer to the C metal, but premature optimization is the root of all evil, and ObjC's syntax still drives me nuts after 10+ years of pro use.

Google has chose Java, but that's crazy.

Sony has gone full-in with Mono, which is the open-source C#/.net environment the Xamarin people were originally working on (Mono was later a Novell product before Novell terminated the project a couple of years ago, after Attachmate bought them and pruned the business -- Xamarin was jettisoned into space but they've been able to collect $30M+ in VC to pursue their vision of C# as the common code for mobile).

Xamarin are also serious about backporting their iOS work to the Mac desktop, so that also comes along, something that's important for me since I've been wanting to ship a Mac game since the Mac II came out. . .

So . . . that leaves Microsoft's platforms. Oddly, the status of C# on the next xbox is unknown to me, and Microsoft killed XNA dead late last year (developers are encouraged to return to their C++ roots).

But with MonoGame, C# remains a viable platform on Windows at least.

So MonoGame covers Android (and Ouya, which is 99.9% Android), Mac, iOS, PlayStation Mobile (which is a certain small subset of Android devices plus the Sony Vita at the moment), Windows Phone (who cares), Windows desktop (still a big market I guess, compared to Mac desktop).

But the best thing about C# is that it's an immensely productive coding environment.

MonoGame -- XNA -- is not the greatest game library imaginable, but it's certainly a decent crack at it, and a good enough HAL should I decide to code my own engine underneath it.

Coding to the Ouya from my 2008 Macbook Pro has been very interesting this week. Back in 1999 I was working at a company that had the original PS 2 dev boxes (we shipped one of the main middleware options for the PS2, a codebase that had its proto-genesis from Nintendos' Skyfox of all things).

But the Ouya being layered over Android and supported by MonoGame puts it on a totally different support basis in terms of what shoulders I'm standing on.

The weakest link in the chain is probably the Xamarin Android IDE, but thus far I have no complaints with the cross-compiling and deploying to the Ouya.

The Ouya's rendering stack is kinda overwhelmed by the 2 megapixel viewport, but other than that it's pretty slick for $99.

We've come a long way since 1999, wonder what 2027 will be like, and if I'll have my game out by then . . .

Stagflationary Mark said...


premature optimization is the root of all evil

Isn't that the truth. I came into work one day and my graphics code was broken. Took me a long time to figure out what was wrong.

I was the lead. Another programmer "optimized" my code without even asking.

I asked why he chose to do that instead of getting his own work done. He didn't have a good answer.

I asked how much faster the code ran after he optimized it. He had no idea.

I asked him if he tested his optimization to see if the code even worked. He didn't. It didn't.

Forehead. Desk. Whack. Whack. Whack.

What a waste of time that was.

We've come a long way since 1999...

I'm stuck in 1999. That's the year I retired. I'm such a dinosaur. Oh well! ;)

Troy said...

Dealing with my own PBKAC coding style all day today reminded me why I've taken the last 5+ years kinda off -- what a mental investment it is to think like a computer all day.

Truth be told, half the reason I've taken my time is the longer I wait, the less unreliable the toolchains are becoming.

The other half is terminal procrastination, there's always mañana to get my life back on track . . .

Stunning that Apple has sold 600 million iOS devices while I've been screwing around.

That's kinda like more than all the game consoles ever sold put together!

Retro Racing guy announced his Ouya sales:

300 x $3 for a week's work -- not too bad.

Game sucks btw.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Truth be told, half the reason I've taken my time is the longer I wait, the less unreliable the toolchains are becoming.

My toolchains are rusty and have barnacles growing on them. ;)

Troy said...

My general approach has been 'settlers take the arrows, pioneers take the land'.

My forebears actually took a Northern Pacific train to get to their Homestead Act land in central Washington, which is why the good stuff was all gone and they had to farm a hill, and work for Weyerhaeuser later on.

When they developed the basin my dad's side moved over to start apple orchards at least.

A LOT of government money made the Washington economy what it is, and was, LOL.

If you're a PS guy, Sony's PSM dev SDK etc. might be up your alley.

PSM is pretty similar to MonoGame in intent and toolchain, but I assume more reliable since Sony only has to worry about Vita and PSM-branded Android devices.

C# is really the bees knees for gamedev. There's a lot of language features to learn, but all the good stuff is like renovating all the kludgy C++ ways of doing things.

I couldn't image doing nothing all day every day for the rest of my life.

Well, I can, since that's what I've been doing since 2008, but I don't think that's good for me, and all the indie opportunities are like twenties and fifties scattered on the street, there waiting to be picked up!

If anything a shittier economy rewards the low-cost indies, a $3-5 game provides a lot more value than a $50-60 one.

Stagflationary Mark said...


I couldn't image doing nothing all day every day for the rest of my life.

Well, I can, since that's what I've been doing since 2008...


In all seriousness, does playing Rocksmith count? I managed to tack on another 300k or so onto my high Scale Runner score recently. ;)

Troy said...

darnit, pacmen aren't supposed to do that!

still, not bad for a long weekend's work.

gonna need to sleep on this to figure out the right way of pacman cornering (it's really quite subtle and very much why the game made billions and not thousands).

Looking at the ouya sitting on the table, I gotta say that if it didn't exist already it would have to be invented.

$100! Next year's update will be pretty damn good, but it will be competing with the xbox1 and ps4.

Major flaw with the system is the controllers. They don't give off a "wow, these are really great!" vibe. Plus 2 controllers cost as much as the ouya itself (though xbox and ps controllers can be used at least).

But I'm having a grand ol' time sitting on the couch, pounding code into Xamarin Studio on my laptop and having the builds travel over USB to the ouya.

Apparently the Android SDK shell connection can also exist over Wifi, but I haven't tried that.

I started from semi-ignorance with MonoGame API (I'd played around with XNA for many years but not actually serious done anything in it) and complete ignorance of Android development a week ago, and am almost up to speed now.

And the beauty of this is that all the C# work is directly transferable to every device worth targeting. And if I stick with MonoGame, the XNA stuff too.

A++, would hack again!

Stagflationary Mark said...


It's definitely starting to look like Pacman!