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Divergent League Baseball Signup Sheet

You can now sign up for the Divergent League newsletter (and be invited to play in the next Season) by filling out our new form.

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Where To Find Phil Nelson Online, December 2020 Edition

I cannot believe it is actually December 2020. The 6th, even. Time flies. Fruit flies. Something something. Here are all of the places I’m actively hanging out and doing stuff online these days in one handy place.

  • My Patreon, where you can support me directly each month and get exclusive content and early access to stuff
  • My newsletter on Substack is where you can subscribe for free (or $5/mo) and support me while getting a little more personal view on things than I post elsewhere, sent out every Thursday.
  • My Twitch where I sometimes stream video games, sometimes in VR, and we do RetroStrange Movie Night on every other Saturday night
  • Discord: I’m philnelson#1094
  • My Thingiverse account, where I post my 3D printable models
  • Extra Future, this place here, my blog since 2008 or so, where I announce and release things
  • My Itch account, where all of my (pay if you can / free) video games are hosted including the recently-released Chipping Challenge plus old experiments like Duck Jumper, Rassler, and Haunted Floating Eye
  • I am @philnelson on Twitter
  • My YouTube where I upload the intros to every Movie Night and some additional content
  • My LinkedIn which I don’t really use, but when I do, I mostly boost cool VR/AR stuff.

Ongoing Projects I Run

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New Game From Me: Chipping Challenge

From the official page:

Chipping Challenge is a point-and-click meditative golf-like game meant to be relaxing and rewarding. Games usually last about 15 minutes.

As of this writing Chipping Challenge Alpha04 is available for free on macOS, Windows, Linux, and Android. It is totally a riff on Desert Golfing, but more than that, and I hope you like it.

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Subscribe To My Newsletter

I have a newsletter. It arrives at your inbox each Thursday. I write about myself more openly there than I do here. I also write about pro wrestling, video games, what music I’m listening to, what I’m working on, &c.

You can subscribe and read the current issue for free on Substack.

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The 1977 Divergent League Baseball World Series Begins Tuesday, October 6th

Congratulations to the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago White Sox, who have defeated the Pirates and Yankees respectively, to advance to the World Series in this, the strangest Divergent League season yet.

That means the World Series starts Tuesday, October 6th, and 4:30pm. Join us live for every game on https://divergentleague.com/tv

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I’m Available For Freelance Work Again

Having run the $1,350,000 campaign for OpenCV AI Kit, I am now stepping away from that project while they focus on computer vision development, manufacturing and fulfillment. They’ve got a big job ahead of them and I wish them the best of luck.

This means I’m available for freelance again, after several months of that project taking all my time.

My dance card is filling up rapidly, I guess that happens when you raise a million dollars, but I still have space for projects in the realm of 1-2 weeks of work. If you need video production and editing, voiceovers, UI/UX design, web development and infrastructure consulting, or have some other wacky idea- hit me up by emailing phil @ this domain name.

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The 1977 Divergent League Baseball Postseason is here!

I haven’t talked about much about Divergent League (What is Divergent League?), the atemporal fantasy sports thing I run, here. My Patreon is usually kept up to date, but let’s get some cross-posting going on. Marketing 101.

The 1977 postseason has begun, and the White Sox, Yankees, Reds, and Pirates are vying for the coveted Bip Roberts Memorial Cup Even Though He’s Still Alive. We’re streaming games live every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday at 3:30pm PDT on Twitch. Join us!

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OpenCV AI Kit Campaign Final Stats

6,564 backers pledged $1,358,318 to close out the OAK campaign at just a little over the pledge total of the other massive 3D sensor campaign I worked on in 2015… and 2x the number of backers.

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Introducing The OpenCV AI Kit

For the last several months I’ve been helping OpenCV ready their biggest launch ever, and today it’s here. The OpenCV AI Kit is now available on Kickstarter.

A Spatial AI platform so small, it’s going to be huge.

The best press mention so far has been Devin Coldewey’s piece for TechCrunch: OpenCV AI Kit aims to do for computer vision what Raspberry Pi did for hobbyist hardware

The campaign has been up for a little over 4 hours, and we’ve passed 500 backers, smashed our goal, and are about to cross the $100,000 mark.

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New Work: Introducing megaAI, a 4k 60fps AI camera – Now on CrowdSupply

The last month or so I’ve been working with a new computer vision / AI startup, Luxonis. megaAI is the first project we’ve worked on together. I named it, designed the logo, wrote a lot of the copy, and wrote/shot/edited/narrated the launched video. It’s a tiny but powerful camera built for Raspberry Pi and other embedded / low power situations.

Get one: You can get your own megaAI on CrowdSupply right now for $169.

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7 Years On

I’ve been laid off by Occipital after 7 years and 2 months of 8:30am to 6:30pm days. I didn’t see it coming and it genuinely hurts. I’ve got a little money, but not much. Until the next thing comes around, let’s do some of the stuff we used to:

You can find me streaming RimWorld, Fire Pro, and other stuff on Twitch

I’m still posting too much on Twitter

If you’d like to help me directly, you can join my Patreon for a buck and help me pay my rent / eat food while I work on my indie games, apps, etc.

You can, of course, also hire me to design beautiful, usable, apps, websites, and games for you. Hit me up on LinkedIn or send me an email.

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New Work: “Warming Up The Band”

Occipital has posted a new teaser video I worked on, please do check it out.

This is the first big animated render I’ve ever produced and shown to the public, so far. It was created using Modo 13 on macOS, Final Cut Pro, and Compressor.

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Rassler release 13 is now available

Release 13 of my doomed video game project, Rassler, is now available for download. The dev log has more details:

First and most notably: The Rassler title screen and wrestler / territory select screens have music now! I made it. It’s probably fine? I also created and added a little punch sound effect when you start a new game. You can stream / download the new theme on SoundCloud

Rassler is a pay-what-you-can game. Pay-what-you-can means you can download Rassler for free, or if you’ve got the money, you can buy it.

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Rassler Release 12 is now available

Release 12 brings a snazzy new launch screen, and an new territory select/generation screen. We’re getting closer to have a fully tracked career, with persistent opponents and all.

More details are in the release notes. You can download it, or even buy it (if you can afford to do so) on the Rassler site.

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Bridgesketball, a mixed reality basketball game you can play anywhere

I’ve been working off and on for the last several months on a new project for the Bridge headset, which I’m calling Bridgesketball. It’s a mixed reality basketball game. You can put up a backboard practically anywhere and shoot hoops.

So I’ve promoted Bridgesketball to Project status here on Extra Future Dot Com. The last thing I did this for was la petite url (a custom URL shortener which got broken by some WordPress update or other and no longer works, sorry sorry) so… good luck, Bridgesketball. You’ll find a preview video on the Bridgesketball page as well as a slightly more thorough description, and I’ll add more stuff later. Promise.

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The Best Third-Party Carrying Case for the Bridge Mixed Reality Headset

Bridge logo spray-painted on the new hard case. Naturally, I had to customize it a bit.

TL;DR: This is the best case for Bridge


If you work on mixed reality games & experiences for the Bridge headset like I do you might sometimes (ironically, for a super-portable headset like Bridge) have a bit of trouble with getting your headset from point A to point B. The box that Bridge comes in is a great way to store the device when it’s not being used but it’s a little clunky for everyday carry.

Criteria

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks trying out several different commodity hard cases, using the loose criteria of:

  • Does it securely fit the headset?
  • Does it have room for the charging cables, controller, or other small accessories?
  • Would it stand up to my daily San Francisco commute?
  • Can it be had for under $50?

The Winner

After trying several cases that failed in one way or another (it’s especially hard to find something with the right height), the “Khanka Hard Case Travel Bag for Sony PlayStation 4 VR (PSVR) Headset and Accessories” is the best so far.

It safely and securely fits the Bridge headset, controller, cables, and even the lens spacers in the included bag. I re-purposed the lens bag the case came with as a shroud for the Structure Sensor and Wide Vision Lens while in transit, and there’s even just enough room for an external battery if you’re into that. You’ll have to bring your own padding. I used the thick foam that came in my Bridge box, but any foam or egg crate should work just fine.

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A Selection of Machine-Generated NES Game Titles

I’ve begun learning how to do machine learning. It is extremely complicated, but I feel after just a few days of trying I understand it much better. This python wrapper for tensorlm has made generating results much easier for me. I’ve got my little machine trained on the full NES US release list, and it’s giving me back things like this…

  • Super Super Hank
  • Doobley Dragon
  • Chanter
  • Class
  • Cartlevanina I: The Antiration
  • Kiggt’s Burtman
  • Jet
  • Rome Alone
  • Rock Hart’s Cave
  • Rock Master
  • Masher: II Lands
  • Greeado A World II
  • Pet of Tower
  • Baseball Loaded III

They can’t all be winners.

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Introducing TapMeasure – Occipital’s new measurement / room CAD generation tool

TapMeasure is a whole new way to build a 3D model of any room in a few seconds. It works with Apple’s new ARKit framework, and adds Occipital’s special sauce to provide artwork alignment, quick measurements, and the aforementioned generation of (SketchUp-compatible) CAD files. It’s free, and will ship as soon as iOS 11 drops later today.

See the website at tapmeasure.io.

For my part, I got to push some iOS code to this one! As well as helping out with some of the graphic design and UX, I was also able to design and edit the tutorial videos and the launch trailer embedded above. We have the luxury of one of the most seasoned computer vision teams in the world here, and I think it shows.

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Rassler Release 8 AKA Random Events Part II

Just pushed a new release of my free retro pro wrestling RPG, Rassler. This one contains some small updates and an interesting, complicated, unintended consequence:

The last bullet point, explaining the changes to the activity system, is essentially a naive implementation of drug dependency. The player needs their health to be above 0 in order to work or go out. If the player has $40 they can buy some pain killers to get them through the next match, but pain killers only provide a +6 to short-term health (and a -6 to max health, affecting their future prospects and longevity) so it is not a sustainable solution. Either the player gets lucky, and their next several matches are relatively easy and they aren’t further injured, or something bad happens and they’re rendered immobile and bankrupt in the end.

More in the Devlog.

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Squeezing the soul out of digital video

The image above is from the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon title sequence. Pretty iconic, right? It is the result of a new video technique I came up with. For more examples and a thorough explanation, read on:

I was taken by a Strange Mood and created a small combination of shell and python scripts that:

1) Creates a still image from every frame of a given input video, then 2) Compares each of these images against each other, round-robin style, in order to 3) Find the two images (and therefore, the two “shots”) which are the LEAST like each other in the source video.

Essentially it take a video input, and finds the two frames that are least like each other. My theory is that all of this will Tell Us Something. I don’t really know what. This is something like digital mysticism, trying to find the soul of a string of bits and surface it.

The current method is sub-optimal in several ways, for one it takes a long time to run on a laptop. Remember: We’re comparing every second of video to every other second of video, and that adds up. Running the script against a full 22-minute episode of a TV should would require 970921 comparisons, so I’ll set that up to run tonight and maybe it’ll be done by morning? This sounds like a job for EC2.

Some more examples:

A-Ha – Take On Me

Citizen Kane – Original Trailer