Monday, February 12, 2007
After seeing this comment in an NWN weekend forum, I had to take a look at Qarl Fizz's enormous cave system. It's quite an impressive project. Qarl was previously known for (among other things) creating the technically brilliant and beautiful Blimpco blimp flock (sadly out of order for the time being). I occasionally use the Blimpco project as an example of a benign use for self replication, as it uses a form of smart self-rep (in addition to evolutionary programming to improve each generation) to replenish the flock after blimps expired or were zotted by outside grid forces. I whiled away many a leisurely hour riding the fanciful contraptions, and passed out many a landmark to players old and new who were looking to tour the grid in style.
In any case, Qarl used a genetic algorithm (a concept of which I only have a sketchy layman's grasp) to generate a massive, sim-filling cube, riddled with labyrinthine passages. It's kind of Borg Cube meets Zork. "You are in a maze of twisting passages, all alike." I just spent a few hours wandering the place, but it's almost certain that I didn't see everything. Unfortunately, I seem to have left Ariadne's spool of thread in my other pants. And the trusty old right-hand rule (keep your right hand on the wall as you walk) doesn't work so well in three dimensions. Still, it was fun to get lost for a bit.
I look forward to seeing what Qarl has in store for the super-scalar construction. If you'd like to check it out, here's a direct SLurl link. Since it's a couple hundred meters above ground, and requires vertical movement, you'll need some form of flight assistance to effectively maneuver. I ended up whipping up a simple mouselook-driven mover attachment for the purpose. If you don't have a favorite flight assist, feel free to use this script. It's quite maneuverable, and has adjustable speed control, making it useful for flying in close quarters. Like, say, a 7 mile long cave complex. You never know when you might run across one of those.
A staring contest with a flock of iBall boxes (cross-eyed stereo image).