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Archive for May, 2010

Why? Just why?

by Andy on May.14, 2010, under General

As I’m currently working on designing the interface specification to connect an artificial intelligence to a game engine, I had to think a lot about causality. And damn it, it’s a complex topic! Perhaps the most defining question in our whole life. We all start as children on the backseat of our dad’s car, permanently asking “Why is sky blue?”, “Why is the car driving?” or simply, but not less difficult to answer “Why does it take so long to arrive at the zoo?”. While those questions, or at least most of them, are rather philosophic or scientific, our early days are usually followed by a much less world-shaking period with questions like “Why did she break up with me?” or “Why the hell do I have to learn all that shit for a stupid exam?”. Following that little downtime, we usually start to ask us more general questions again, but they will now depend on our experiences in the past, as our brain will try to answer those nasty “Why”s based on our collected knowledge. Sadly, that also denies many ways of thinking to us. Those we never collected experience for.

Nonetheless, the “Why” accompanies us through our whole life. That’s quite remarkable if you ask me. But what do those “Why” questions really ask for? In the most general case, they ask for a causal relation, trying to identify the trigger of an action we just witnessed or heard of. But why should we want to know? Haha, there it was again. Nope but honestly, we should try to get a feeling for our need to asking the “Why” question, as the “Why of Whys” can teach us much of our way, and the techniques, we tend to use to solve those questions. This knowledge might open our view to new ways of thinking.

(continue reading…)

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.Net 4.0 and you

by Andy on May.03, 2010, under General

The recently released Visual Studio 2010 includes the new .Net runtime 4.0 with a hand full of new features, including the official release of F#, our new functional .Net friend! Finally! Besides that, the new Visual Studio got a new, much better layout and few new options, like code metrics, a nice achievement system for the MMO-developer. Being a Visual Basic Developer of the first hour (okay not the first I must admit, but for quite some time now) I’m especially happy about some pure syntax improvements, like getting rid of that ugly “_” char for splitting lines.

Okay now let’s start with the fun. Opening up the first Visual Studio 2008 solution will show us a small converting box, but all goes well. The problems start once you click on the compile button. You will probably either get compile errors, runtime exceptions or a hanging application if using a library which was not compiled against the new CLR v4. Like Managed DirectX in my case.

That’s because of the side-by-side feature of the new CLR, allowing multiple runtimes in one app. Something the older runtimes can’t handle. Lucky, there is a switch with the elegant name of useLegacyV2RuntimeActivationPolicy that should allow your older dlls to load fine. But be aware that it also disables the side-by-side feature for those legacy libraries. Don’t turn it on ‘just in case’! Try to avoid it and upgrade your libraries if possible.

It’s too early for me to write a complete review for Visual Studio 2010 and .Net 4.0, but I will post here if I should stumble across something. Happy coding!

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