September 28th, 2003



Good night at the Mission - they played a whole bunch of old stuff, including The Passenger and Alice (albeit the 1994 version). And here's some lyrics, to make me feel young again:

Pass the crystal spread the Tarot
In illusion comfort lies
The safest way the straight and narrow
No confusion no surprise

Alice in her party dressed to kill
She thanks you then she turns away
She needs you like she needs needs her pills
To tell her that the world's okay
To promise her a definition
Tell her where the rain will fall
Tell her where the sun shines bright
And tell her she can have it all

The night only being marred by some drunken idiot at the end (in an Iron Maiden t-shirt) who kept trying to dance with a woman who'd been happily bopping by herself all night. I felt sorry for her, as she kept dancing away and he kept wobbling drunkenly in her direction. I put myself between him and her on three occasions, but without getting very obvious (and risking starting trouble) there wasn't a lot I could do, and eventually she wandered off to the toilet. That kind of behaviour pisses me off no end.

Wandered home through Arthur's Seat. I always enjoy entering the park at 3am, because Salisbury Crags is lit up by this gorgeous orange artificial ambience, and towers over you like a wall. I always want to climb up it, but it's more energy than I have by that point.


This started off when talking to Mike about his tweaking of the AI in Fable to make it work. I then realised that the principles applied to any system which tried to encapsulate higher order behaviours of complex systems in a simple ruleset. This includes everything from roleplaying systems to legal systems to software and I'm sure many others as well.

All feedback appreciated, as usual (as well as pointers to other things on the same topic).

Andy's first rule of systems: No system works in all situations.
Real life is complex (in the scientific meaning of the word) and fractal. At any level above the quantum, while it can be vaguely approximated by rules, there will always be situations where the results that rules produce aren’t what was originally expected or desired.

Andy's second rule of systems: Adjusting the system will take more time and money than you have.
There are an (effectively) infinite number of possibilities, tweaking the rules to each one in turn will therefore take forever, or until your budget runs out, whichever happens first.

Andy's third rule of systems: The result/effort ration decreases logarithmically as time goes on.
Your first rule will work in 90% of situations. The second one will fix 90% of the remaining solutions (and break 1% of the solutions you had fixed). Each successive rule will fix 90% of the remaining solutions (an ever decreasing amount) and break 1% of the currently fixed ones. It will not take long to reach the point of diminishing returns.

Andy's fourth rule of systems: One man's crust is another's complexity.
Eventually all systems reach the point where their complexity causes people to shudder when they think about changing them. Nobody will be able to understand them apart from a few people who have devoted their lives to them. These people will have almost certainly lost the ability to communicate with people who aren’t also heavily involved with the system (lawyers and computer programmers both fall into this category). However, before ripping it out and replacing it, remember that each of those rules is there because they fixed a problem. Any replacement system will need to cope with all of the situations the old one did. And it almost certainly won't until it reaches a similar state of crustiness (unless the situation the old system was designed to deal with has changed significantly).
  • Current Music
    Portishead - Humming

(no subject)

Nobody likes hearing about other people's dreams, but mine last night amused me. I don't remember much, except that it was "Kill Bill" inspired and had Cary Elwes in it, with a mohican.

Oh, and Mike dreamt about me last night.

MikeD says:
I dreamt you were making a computer game about vampires, based around buffy called "for the love of protein"

Which, I suspect, just goes to show.
  • Current Music
    Portishead - Seven Months