Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The problems with Battleship


If you haven’t heard of this game I’ll explain it in the next 41 words since it really is that simple.
You’ve got a grid, your opposite number has a grid. You position the various ships of your respective navies on the grids and attempt to guess the grid reference of your opponent’s ships. It continues until someone has no more ships.
I’m sorry did I say it was simple? My mistake. Let’s just take a moment to think about this.

  • Who appointed you admiral?
  • As much as I dislike wild speculations or assumptions on this blog this one time I'll assume that you've no military record or indeed proof of any kind to show that you do have the authority to target enemy vessels, if indeed they are the enemy and you haven’t just kicked off World War III by firing upon a previously neutral or even friendly flotilla.
    However, since the naval forces are obeying your orders regardless of any sighted proofs the most likely situation is that you have just initiated a military coup [1]. While this will undoubtedly lead to a stern talking to by the United Nations at some point in the future, at this time we will accept your explanation that “It had to be done!”
  • You, “The Admiral” are in the same room as your opponent, who is presumably an “Admiral” also. Why are you guessing the position of his ships?
  • Any military person would already know that war is won or lost on intelligence of the enemy’s movements and there you are with access to them. Clearly it’s time to disregard the anguished cries of “Don’t look you cheater!” and gain vital intelligence that could help to save the lives of the brave men and women who serve upon your ships.
  • To concentrate on those members of your own flotilla for a moment. Exactly why don’t they move their ships at all?
  • I concede that it’s a pretty difficult thing to do when your vessel has just been broadsided but when the opposing admirals shots are getting closer it is almost certainly time to move to another position or at the very least, send a coded message to HQ, which is you by the way, to let them know what’s going on.But against all logic your navy will simply sit there and soak up the damage until they sink. These ships cost a couple of million to produce and an Iowa Class battleship will hold around 1800 people. You owe it to them and to your country to see them safely through this conflict. At the very least your other ships can fish the survivors out of the water.
    The largest vessels you have at your command are the aircraft carriers only they don’t seem to carry any aircraft. Surely it couldn’t hurt to send out some spotter planes in order to scout the area rather than simply firing randomly into the ocean and hoping that you hit something which will be confirmed by the enemy.
    Speaking of which, you've managed to score a direct hit and you watch as the ship sinks faster than a Titanic sequel. The first thing you do is get on the radio and report "You've sunk my battleship"
    To the enemy.
    Congratulations. You are now in direct violation of military law, no matter how you dress it up you’ve just managed to pass on vital information to the enemy.
    It doesn’t matter if you have instigated a military coup and elected yourself El Grande Supreme Generalissimo for life you’ll still get a lot of flak for this. [2]

The main problems as I see it is that there are two naval forces who are equally matched in size and lack of intelligence. [3] Simply blasting away at each other reduces the battle down to one of luck rather than skill and thus it is clear that a nonlinear approach must be taking in order to achieve victory at sea.

  • Alternative solution A: Operation Tattler
  • While a propaganda campaign is a perfectly acceptable strategy it’s affects are going to be negligible in a battle situation unless it is extremely well orchestrated. Bribing the officers of the enemy flotilla has a chance of inciting mutiny on that particular vessel but this is a chancy affair at best and could easily backfire if there is a sudden surge of loyalty.
  • Alternative solution B: Operation Snakehead
  • As previously pointed out the Admiral of the opposing fleet is in the same room as you and while your spies may have failed [4] it remains perfectly acceptable for the leader of one side to fire upon the leader of another [5]But the ultimate goal of Operation Snakehead is to capture your enemy due to the fact that his naval officers will not willingly carry out your orders even if you have “totally won” [6]
    However, if your enemy were to be captured, interrogated and finally brainwashed until he was little more than your puppet then the size of your navy will be double and your position as El Grande Supreme Generalissimo will be that much more secure.
  1. Which, considering that the ships used in Battleship! are taken from the American Navy is slightly worrying and only throws wieght to the milatary coup theory. One can only hope that your country has managed to acquire some old junkers which were otherwise rusting quietly in the shipyards of Westpoint.
  2. These are the sort of actions that guarantee you a spot in the top ten silliest El Grande Supreme Generalissimos for life lists.
  3. Military intelligence that is. Not the other kind.
  4. Going home in tears after being called cheaters.
  5. Certainly more acceptable than passing on military intelligence.
  6. As an aside I'd like to mention that the official definition of "Total Victory" is one where the enemy has been utterly wiped out. This would leave your naval forces considerably weaker than it could be

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Analysis of The three army surgeons

The Analysis of The Three Army-Surgeons
This is one that I've been wanting to do for some time now but, owing to the various pressures and responsibilities of life (1) I haven't been able to, until now that is.
What you're about to read is an interesting tale and one that, I suspect, was not meant for the impressionable ears of the children but rather whispered to their parents in the glow of the dying embers of the fireplace after the little ones had been sent to bed and the brothers were angling for a free nights lodging by keeping on with the stories. The version I'm working from was translated by Margaret, you'd like her if you met her, Taylor in 1884 (2)

It's much longer than the usual offering which is why I've taken the opportunity to break it up into four acts.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Rube Goldberg Machine Post 4: Studio session notes



Class notes for everything that we discussed regarding the marble race. 
I've tidied it up and made it alot more legible than my notes which meant heaps of cutting and pasting into the various sections.  If I've missed anything or managed to get something horribly wrong then please let me know and I'll change it. [1]

  • Maybe just tilters.  no fancy tricks.
  • Simple things that are done well look good.  Complex things that are done half arsed look terrible.  This doesn't mean you you shouldn't try complex things but do it in the back room where people can't see it.
  • I liked the idea the other week about staggering it so that we don't all have to deal with pulleys. [2]
  • "It's one of the most difficult things to do well and participate in.  even in Weta Workshop which has been doing this for 20 years there are still a dozen people who do all the work and the others leave at quitting time.  Those people that do the slog pull off the best work in the world"
  • The collaberation part has been missed by people.  It has happened but not as much as was anticipated by the beginning.
  • Everyone is working in teams of two.  Some are not doing as well so joining another group is an option.  This will take the compliment from 2 to 4 people. [3]
  • Time being spent.  Many ideas but had to scrap them due to time.
  • just difficult finding time to work on it.
  • Organise a day everyone stays behind to work on it.  prefer to work on paintings first.
  • We've got 3 weeks left.  What we need to do is adapt and adjust the plans.
  • "Other classes haven't done this.  The mockups haven't proven anything.  Theres so much other shit that we've got to focus on it.
  • "We put it on you because you people are working above the BCT level.  June the 5th is the deadline.  After that 2 weeks are left to include this into the portfolio"
  • It is dropping by the wayside in relation to other projects and assignments.
  • The height of them is not a good idea and the project hasn't been thought through.  We are the art class, not the engineers.  There are so many different elements to this thing that it is complicating it.  If we use that corner, the danger of things falling, a simple track is boring.
  • Keep it against the wall so people can do it against the wall.
  • "I'd like to expand it, I think it can be done.  One thing that is important is the rigidity in ancor points which could eliminate all hangings. 
    Stay with the game plan and get them up and running.  Pick out certain ones that are ready to go and can be modified to work together, other ones could be set up on a table" - Eddie
  • "I just thought off the table idea instead of scaling the marble race down you could use that part of the room but keep it in the same shape which keeps the distance down but scales the project down.  This gives everyone the wall to work off instead of empty space"
  • Each group works on their designs and makes them work.  once they are in physical form the sections can be juggled together.
  • I think, for me I got an idea of what I'm doing for my part of it but as a whole I don't think there has been an even contribution to the project.
  • Work as usual but pull finger.
  • People need to cheer up about it.

  • In all honesty it's not going to work.  The track needs to be smaller or individual pieces need to be bigger.  I think we might have to scale back to make it a viable option. 
  • Concerns about how everythings going to connect with the individual projects.  People have done things at home but there are transportation issues.
  • Scaling it back would make more problems.
  • We have ideas but haven't tested.
  • Each team develops an individual marble race. [4]
  • Scrap the project completely and set a more achievable task which will get everyone more motivated in doing it. [5]
  • Scaling it back to a corner.  This is a risk that may or may not work since it would be tedious to redesign everything but many people are building in a smaller scale anyway. 
  • If we scale it down there is no wall space for people who have used the walls in their plans.
  • Hanging things doesn't seem to be working - many of the hanging mockups have destroyed themselves after only a day.
  • Building across tables might be an option.  A table in the corner would allow us to block off a square of the classroom for the track.
  • We may or may not spend time on the marblerace.
  • "I can't really comment on the project because it's noto clear it's just a matter of connecting them together.  I've worked in a collaberative envirionment.  This project is doomed and that's not coming from a learning perspective.
    Collaberative projects will fall over unless things are led with an iron fist.  It can't be a democracy.  A democracy takes too long to make decisions.  I've worked in a collaberative environment with mutiple teams.  The spokespeople communicate with leader on a daily basis and they go away and talk to their teams but as soon as you take your foot of the gas there's no impetus to see the thing through.
    From outside looking in it's too complicated with the mechanisms.  You need to know what your doing, Trial and error, the time frame is too short and it's not percieved as important"
  • "If we were leaning on you about this then you'd be working your asses off but it isn't percieved as important.  At no point have you all sat down and discused this and then gone to the tutors and told them so.  It doesn't matter if there's problems because you fix them but until the people that are in control of it know about it nothing will happen.
    If I was you guys in your situation the first thing I'd do is bring them to the tutors and propose a seperate strategy"
  • "What we're doing here is a job autopsy.  Once the project was completed we'd deliver it.  What we made, how we made it etc.  the biggest lesson we've learnt is that we're having this discussion now and we're not having it two weeks ago"
  • "Dictatorship.  A good way to do collaberations the opposite is what we have with the class.  A leader is needed.  Everyone wants to have their own opinions and there's alot of people who are sitting in the back.  Not enough of a leader bringing them to the fore"
  • "The monday morning class is a studio class where you do a project the Thursday is a studio centered around all the subjects"
    "The marble race is part of the Portfolio.  There is no way around it.  Why do it?  Because we live in a world where we have to work together.  I think that as a general class we've got the chops to pull it off"
  1. There were a lot of people agreeing with each other which is fine in a meeting but rather redundent in text form so I've condensed it down a bit - Just in case you were looking for your bit and couldn't find it
  2. Starting from the ceiling each group can have a drop of 200mm before passing it on to the next group)
  3. I believe that a few groups were talking about doing this after the meeting.  If anyone wants to merge groups then talk to the tutors
  4. If we did this we might need to merge several teams)
  5. Alas!  It's part of the portfolio so this doesn't appear to be a real option


Sunday, 6 May 2012

Harts Change: Scribbly Bit - Meeting with Evelyns Father.


A bit of scribble from Harts Change that I'm working on.  It's an argument between Evelyn Oneeye and her father, Sor Esteele.  It's been five years since their last little talk and this one threatens to go much the same way.

At this stage its very heavy on the dialogue but that's because I write dialogue first and then fill in the scenery afterwards but what I want to set up is the introduction of Evelyns adopted daughter, Warchild who will be sent to live with Sor while the war continues.

NB: don't worry too much about the names of people.  They really are just placeholders until I can come up with something more fitting.

There is a touch of bad language which may or may not be left in.  I'm on the fence about it really since it fits that she'd use it to shock her father and also because she's been on the outskirts of the law for so long but at the same time I don't want to use it so much that it loses its power.

Anyway, enough of my rambling.  On with the story!


After the liberation of Tardeel, the meeting between the king and her new appointment:
Evelyn is walking down the hall of the Baronial mansion with Prince Nichus and Lady Florencia when Sor Esteelles servant appears with a message that he would like to talk with her at her convenience.]

A - Z Challenge: Z is for Zephyr and "Zo. you zink you haf reason for beink so very late?"