What projects are you working on?

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Daemian Lucifer

Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby Daemian Lucifer » Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:37 pm

Supahewok wrote:So, in the food thread nobody reads


I read it:(

Anyway,Ive talked with people who claim to have done successfully what you are planing.But as to the truth of those claims and the precise quirks(how open should the cooler be),Im sorry that I cant help you.

Though I can help you with one thing:When the meat dries,it drips.So you should definitely have a pan or a bucket under it.
Steve C

Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby Steve C » Wed Sep 02, 2015 1:46 am

The humidifiers I can think of are designed to make a room or entire apartment humid. It would overpower a small container like a cooler to the point the inside is dripping wet. It also would melt most coolers. Though it sounds like what you are really trying to make is a diy humidor. That's a small climate controlled box for cigars (and apparently baseballs now). I have no idea about how appropriate it would be for curing meats though, nor curing meats in general.
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Supahewok

Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby Supahewok » Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:28 am

Yes, that is something along the lines of what I want. Humidor is too small though. The meat needs room to hang, so air can get all around it. All the humidors I see that could be big enough are for too expensive. Thanks about the humidifier though, that indeed wouldn't work out at all. At least that was the expensive bit of this conceptual apparatus, so that's money saved if I can figure something else out.

I've done some looking elsewhere, and discovered that a small, unplugged refrigerator would work well. Unfortunately, that's still a little pricey for me, but asking my parents for one for Christmas isn't out of the question.

I also went back to my charcuterie book and found something I missed the first time: a pan of highly salted water (to kill mold spores) resting at the bottom of a small enclosed space will supposedly humidify the air within that space. I'm going to order a cheap humidity measurer (apparently called a Hygrometer) and borrow one of my roommate's coolers. Toss a couple of ice packs to try to bring the temperature inside down to 60 F from 70, (60 is what the book recommends, but it also says the temperature isn't as important as the humidity), along with the pan of salted water, and I'll see if, after a couple of days, the humidity inside the cooler is the needed 70%. That's a cheap experiment, and if its successful, it won't cost much to get a cooler of my own. Well, it won't cost much for a regular cooler. My roommate has these monsters, and according to him, he once accidentally left ice inside one, came back a couple of weeks later, and the ice was still there. Real high end stuff. It'd be cheaper to get a small $100 refrigerator down the road though, which will work just as well my purposes.

Daemian Lucifer wrote:I read it:(


Then comment in it more, I don't want to turn it into my personal food blog! :) Also thanks for the pan tip, that's certainly not mentioned in the book.
Steve C

Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby Steve C » Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:23 pm

You should be able to get a used bar fridge for much cheaper than $100 given you are near a school. It sounds like you don't even need it to be working for your purposes. You could probably get one for free if you put out a want ad and have a look around.
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Supahewok

Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby Supahewok » Wed Sep 02, 2015 3:21 pm

Yeah, I took a look through Craigslist last night. Its looking like I might be able to get one for around $60.

Although something else I realized could work is a wine cooler. Much better temperature control, much more likely to be a contained environment, and a few even have humidity control, although that last is probably on the nice ones well outside my price range. I'm keeping it in mind. There's one on Craigslist for $60, but the glass door may be cracked. I would end up taping over it anyway, though, because the meat shouldn't be exposed to light during the drying process (Light can turn uncooked fat rancid; I assume it's something to do with UV radiation). Can duct tape create a sealed environment, or would I also need some sort of sealant or, I dunno, glass glue?

Also, your mention of humidors got me to look into them some more, and sure enough, it's the exact same sort of environment I need. And although humidors are too small for me, a lot of the accessories people use in them to maintain humidity can be used for dry curing as well. Something like this could be exactly what I need, and is within my financial means. So thanks for bringing up humidors!
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Supahewok

Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby Supahewok » Wed Sep 09, 2015 8:22 pm

Went out today and bought the wine cooler I saw on Craigslist. It was actually a really good deal: it normally costs $500, has a 40 bottle capacity, and is separated into 2 compartments so that I can work on two batches of things at once.

Of course, there was a reason it was only $60. Turns out the seller was a warehouse at the airport. They received the cooler through air-mail, only to discover that the glass door had shattered during transport. The original buyer is/was being shipped a new one, which left the warehouse stuck with the cooler. It weighs about a hundred pounds, so shipping it back to the manufacturer would've been a significant cost for no reward. So they put it up for sale.

On the plus side, this means the cooler is brand spanking new. Plugged it in at the warehouse, worked a-OK. And it turns out that the door has 2 more layers of glass in it that don't even seem to be scratched, and the seal is still good, so environment control is still there.

On the minus side, it appears as if the decals for the buttons on top of the cooler are stickers or were painted on to the glass or something. I chiseled out most of the broken glass in the frame, but that part at the top sticks together, and on a small piece falling out in the middle I can see what I think are the bare bones of the electronic controls. As a couple pieces continue to fall out whenever I open and close the door, and there's a danger of a glass splinter everytime I press a button, I'm presented with a bit of a quandary with what to do. I don't really NEED to remove it for what I intend to do, but its a constant hazard and will deteriorate over time. But if I do remove it, I expose the inner electronics and button pads (I think).

I'm debating what I'll do at the moment. I intend to e-mail the company that makes it to see if I can get a replacement door or front sheet of glass, but I'm apprehensive of the price they'll quote me for it. I could order a sheet of plexiglass, but with the glass gone I can't be 100% sure of getting exact measurements (even an eighth of an inch is enough to either be too big to fit or small enough to wobble). Plus, although the price for a sheet is alright, the shipping is murder, presumably due to how delicate the cargo is.

If anybody else has worked with glass, either in doors or windows, I'd appreciate any advice you could give.

While I sort out what I'll do about the door, I'll order some humidor accessories, a hygrometer/thermometer, and a meat grinder with sausage stuffer attachments. I was waiting to see if this wine cooler was going to work out before taking on the expense.

Pictures!

Image

Image

Also a little apprehensive about that door hinge or whatever on top and to the right. Looks like it might've been roughed up during transport, although I don't detect any resistance when opening and closing the door.
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Sudanna

Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby Sudanna » Wed Sep 09, 2015 8:46 pm

I've done glass in doors and windows before, and yeah, a precise measurement is fairly impotant. How much can you dissasemble that door? I mean, you'd have to do that to put in a replacement anyways. It's not that hard to get a decent measurement if you can see where the glass will set, and the appropriate adhesive or sealant will do plenty to minimize wobble and be good for the environment control besides. Surely the original pane wasn't just set in there bare.

Are you sure you need to order in a replacement sheet? There should be some kind of hardware store relatively near you that can just cut glass and plexiglass to size on-site. People need to replace broken windows all the time. That's a larger pane, but not ridiculous. Less than a hundred dollars' worth.

Exposing the electronics shouldn't be that big of a deal if you just cover them up again eventually. Just do it slowly, so you can tell if there's anything attached to the part you're pulling out that you'd be pulling apart.
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Supahewok

Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby Supahewok » Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:40 pm

I'm putting off disassembling the door until the weekend. There's some wires that run through that upper hinge, so taking the door apart means fiddling with that, which I'm not confident about messing with. I'm waiting for some spare time to find DIY videos on Youtube.

Also I'm sure some sort of glue was used for the glass at the edges, and another worry I have is if its even possible to take apart the door with the 2 other panels behind the front still glued in place.

I'm considering just taping over the edges with duct tape and the top with clear packing tape and putting off replacing the glass until... eventually. I don't really care how it looks, I'm in college. I'm mostly concerned with its safety and usability. But I'll try dissembling the door first, on Saturday, and see if its possible to do that without damaging the remaining glass panes.

Yeah, I should try to find a local glass cutter, that's a good point. Home Depot or something, I'm sure. I'm new to this whole DIY thing so I know I miss some obvious things. That's why I'm seeking advice! Thanks.
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dudecon
Location: Camarillo, CA. Paul Spooner IRL & blog comments
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Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby dudecon » Sat Sep 12, 2015 6:25 am

Sounds like you've got the environmental situation all figured out. The only thing I have to add is, for the meat drip pan, get a small section of metal screen (like one would use in a screen door), fold the edges to keep the center up, and place it in the drip dish. This will stop the drips of meat fluid from splashing the inside of your environment chamber.
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Narratorway
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Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby Narratorway » Sun Sep 13, 2015 10:29 pm

Looks the band things off cause the band's doing the band thing of kicking out the one that's running on meds. :P

So I'm back to my flash animation WIPs.
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mwchase
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Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby mwchase » Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:54 pm

Messing around in Python, as usual. Have a project out in alpha state right now. It's for helping people reorganize their Python 3 classes, in certain ways: https://github.com/mwchase/class-namespaces
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4th Dimension

Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby 4th Dimension » Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:34 pm

WARNING
This is going to be long and quite technical and LOOONNG (easily The Rocketer long). It's actually more of an rant, but it does tell what I have been doing lately too, so I'm putting it here. I guess the programming thread could be suitable too.

Okay, people that visit the Anime thread might be aware that like Spammy is into mecha anime (let's not say obsessed, it's not nice) I'm "obsessed" with a particular franchise.

Anyway along the TV series, the manga and audio dramas (sound stages) all of which I have already experienced and that we have translated versions of two PSP games were also published. They, given the small size of the English speaking audience, were never localized in English. Some of the paths in the first one Battle of Aces were translated, but for the second one that has never happened. We have a pretty detailed synopsis of it but that is it.

Some time ago I decided to take a look at them because I was becoming disillusioned with the direction the franchise was taking recently, and especially the second was supposed to have a pretty good story true to the spirit of the franchise. I played the first one on PPSSPP emulator (worked like a charm), had some fun and then decided to see if I could mod in the English translation into the first one, the one we have some of translations for.
Some time later after much searching I was able to figure out how to extract the data from the pac files on the CD (using quick bms program and add_pac script followed by Lzs script), BUT even though I have figured out how to unpack the game packages I was unable to find a way to repack them. Also considering how much trouble I had trying to pull together extracted files into an ISO that could be played by the emulator (as a test to see if I could output the CD), and the fact that I think at least for some files the game/PSP expects them to be on set locations on the CD, making changes to the files and then managing to put everything back together would have been a longshot.

So with the plan to translate the game going up in flames, I decided to use the translations we had and then put that translation as subtitles over my gameplay. And I was largely successful in that regard producing this: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... Ueo7HtO1Ht . That also allowed me to practice a bit working with the Premieree which I had not had that much experience in. Also I seem to have learned a thing or two given how the initial videos differ from the later ones. While I personally do not know the Japanese, at times I had to make some small corrections when I that the change was more lore appropriate. Also Google Translate while often hilarious in the way it could screw up the translation was helpful. The most challenging of all the videos was probably the first one because for that one I did not have the Japanese transcript so I had no real way of knowing excatly which translated sentence concerns which narrated part. What followed was me trying to input into the Google Translate the words that were clear and that I was pretty certain I could spell, and comparing what I got to the translation. That was a pain. But in the end I think I did a pretty good job for someone who doesn't speak the language.

While I was initially searching for tools to pack and unpack the game files I learned that the Chinese have made a translation patch for the game and had offered the tools they used. Unfortunately the link to the tools was a bust (it was from early 2010s), but later I figured out that the site did hold the Chinese translation of all the game paths (as I said in English only 3/9 were fan translated). Also during my searches I ran into a place where one of the fans made a transcript of the subtitles of one of the paths appearing when characters spoke to one another. So I figured I have the Japanese transcript, the Chinese translation and a pretty good grasp of lore and the characters, how hard would it be to try to translate at least one path?
Well as it turns out it was difficult but doable. Well I never did the entire thing, but I did translate about one third of it. In the end the Chinese translation was only usefull as a general guidepost given how much of a freeform translation they were doing. Also I realized that I simply could not rely on the fan made transcrips because it takes ONE wrong character to screw up the meaning of a sentence and fro GTranslate to go wild. Also other paths were never transcribed so I would have to find a way to get those transcriptions.
I have yet to publish this translation, mostly because I would like for someone at least passably familiar with the language to take a look at it since it might have as much to do with what was actually being said as an abridged series does.

Back when I was working at unpacking the files, I did figure out mostly where the subtitles were probably being kept, but they seemed not to be written in unicode so I left it as it was. This time when I went back I went for the file I knew should contain some dialogue that was written using Western characters. BINGO! There they were, English characters. Considering the number of Japanese characters that would need to be addressed there was no way that simple extension of ASCII (ASCII really only refers to the first 128 characters encoded as 8-bit numbers, other 128 numbers are usually assigned to local letters depending on the code page used, so 140 might mean one character when using Western European encoding and another when using Cyrillic encoding), with it's 128 characters would be enough for thousands of Japanese ones. Hell I don't think Katakana and Hiragana would fit in 128 characters. So Japanese ones had to have been encoded with at least two bytes giving them 65k possible codes to associate with characters. But the ASCII ones certainly did not take two bytes each but were placed right next to each other. This meant there had to be a way they were using to notify the game that the following bytes were in ASCII and use one byte per character and where that ended.
I quickly noticed that with all presumably Japanese characters the first byte was allways greater or equal to 0x80 (128). Ahh realization dawned. They are combining the one byte per character and two bytes per character notations because they know that ASCII characters only cover the first 128 numbers of the 8-bit number (the ones smaller than 0x80). If the game runs into a character whoose byte is greater than 128 that means it's not an ASCII character and it should look for it using two byte encoding. I ran some quick tests, mostly by finding texts that contain the same character in two locations and seeing if the bytes were the same, and it turned out my deduction was true. Later I found out that this is called Shift-JIS encoding and that browsers can read them. I renamed the file from asm to txt, opened it in Firefox and changed the encoding and Voila the characters were there. Great! Now I should have access to the text from all of the paths in the game.

But before I could continue, I had the bright idea that I probably should do this for the second game, since it had a more interesting story and such would be more interesting to others. And I figured, the games were pretty similar in the way they delivered the story and so were the mechanics, so the files were probably also similar right?

Oh how wrong I was. First after I extracted the CD I found similary packed files that were packed using add_pac. The trouble was there were no clear loactions where the story subtitles were located. The first game clearly labeled it's story contaning files as story_charactername_stage_xx, while here things weren't that clear. Some files were hinting they might contain what I need, but the files in them after being extracted and uncompressed (add_pac -> LZS) did not contain text in now familiar Shift-JIS encoding. It took extracting ALL the files (often overwriting them since there were a LOT of duplicates in various packs), finding ways to open GMO and GIM files to rule out the ones that did not contain what I wanted for me to figure out the text was probably encoded in one of the files I first checked. Finally I was able to figure out that the texts were probably in files named story_evXX.asm and story_btlXXXX.asm, but still the bytes found there did not look anything like what I expected.
Eventually after some hits and misses, I noticed that the file contained another section that would start with FTXT and then some bytes later this would be written "story_evXX.txt". I also noticed that several bytes containing 0xFF seemingly deliminated the bytes after this into sections. Still the bytes did not fit either UNICODE or Shift-JIS. I booted up the game and went to one of the stages and opened it's supposed file in my hex editor. And look at that the first line that the character said (thank god for Japanese habit of making games where the characters will wait for you to press a key and acknowledge that you have understood what was being said, so staying at one screen was not an issue) was N characters long and from the header untill the first 0xFF 0xFF there were 2*N bytes. The same happened with the next screen/subtitle and the next one. Then I started noting in notepad which characters seem to map to which two byte numbers and the same characters did map to the same numbers. So I have found the text but even after hours spent trying to figure out it's encoding I have found none would fit the following notation:

Code: Select all

01 00 - 一
02 00 - ...
03 00 - <<space>>
04 00 -、
05 00 -.
11 00 - か
32 00 - の
33 00 - は

72 02 - !
73 02 - (
74 02 - )
7B 02 -?

0A F0 - New line


The numbers are in small endian hexadecimal notation. That endianness did not make things less "fun". I noticed another thing. Even if the programmers were using their own encoding for some reason they pwobably were still using the same order of characters like other encoding right? That would be a sane thing to do and would make transfering characters from one notation to another simple. WRONG!

Take a look here. That page contains the Shift-JIS code pages. Find the か character. Here I'll help you it's in the row labeled 82 9E. That label BTW labels the first character in that row. So since the first one is 9E our character is in the position 82 A9, But that is besides the point. Now note that in the "game" encoding the character is encoded as 0x11. Note also that の is represented by 0x32. So given that the rows are 16 character wide の should be located two rows below (0x31) and one column to the side on that page right? NOPE! ぬ is in that location. And I have checked some other pairs. In some cases when the characters are close to each other the distance between them in both the game and other encoding is same. But for quite a few oter it's not. Which means that they are not using the full set of characters but only the curated set of characters that they actually need and those that are not needed by the text are not given codes.

Now if I could get my hands on their font files I might be able to figure out how to compute the unicode codes from game codes by comparing the order of characters in the font files with the unicode or Shift-JIS order.

But where were they keeping the font information. I tried to see if I could use the debugger and such tools that came with the emulator. While I was able to confirm that the text was assembled from some kind of texture/image that contained the Japanes characters I was not able to get my hans on it, and white text is not really legible on white/gray checkerboard pattern.
I eventually found couple of files that had font in their names. All of them had tm2 extension and there were a lot of other files with the same extension. But now how to open them. The accepted wisdom was to use Noesis to open those files. While Noesis was able to open all those gmo and gmi files containing animations and textures, and did not complain when told to open TM2 files the output was obviosly garbled and looked like the program did not properly figure out the width of the image. Some other wisdom also pointed out that these files were probably images encoded using the normal 8bit per pixel way. If that was so I should probably be able to make a simple MATLAB script (I have expirience with it, and for prototyping simple scripts it's great) to import the files. And so started my odysey last night trying to figure out the TM2 format with no help.

Well I was able to load the file and present it as image with not much problem. I guessed that the image width was probably a power of 2 so I used 256. In hex editor I noted where the content started after the header, so I simply ordered MATLAB to place the remaining pixels on rows 256 pixels wide. What I got was still garbled a lot, but by playing with the width I ended up with this when I set it to 32.

Image
(cropped and zoomed in from the original image 32 pixel wide)

Now some of those do look like characters, now don't they. Near the top you can spot 0, 1, parts of 4, A and B with the bottom looped off etc. Setting the width to 16 did produce better results but not truly better. Further messing around with the width did not produce significantly better results. After some more time in my HEX editor I noticed the same partially cut characters when I was reading the file.

Image

Now you might be thinking, so? What is wierd about that. They are in the picture so they should be visible in the file too. But you are missing the point, the images are usually stored in memory by storing them row by row. Meaning the entire first row of pixels is stored before you continue to the next. But that is not what I was seeing here. It seems that TM2 splits the image into segments 16x8 pixels wide (fortunately that is exactly the width in bytes that the HexEditor uses for rows and why I was able to see the features from the image in the raw byte file). And the image is seemingly formed by concatenating all these segments horizontally. The front part of B is clearly in the second segmentrow. So I ordered the program to compute the segments and place them in one big row and got this:
Image
(zoomed and cropped for emphasis)

It was pretty obvious that the second part of the image should go below the first part to for the next row of segments. Well to cut the long story short in the end I mostly was able to reverse engineer the format. I figured out which group of bytes (again small endian) tells where the image actually starts, which group tells how long the file is, how wide the final image is (from which I could figure out how many segments per row I should use), and when I should divide that number of segments per row by two. I found where the pallette was stored. Palettes occuply the last 2048 bytes since there are TWO of them. So that is 2 palettes * 256 colors * 4 bytes (Red Green Blue and Alpha) = 2048 bytes. I haven't been able to figure out when each of them is suppoosed to be used. Often the second one is used to store gray scaled (black and white) color values, but not always. Anyway the file I was looking at looks like this with no colors applied (when I do things go awry with this file, I'm probably adding 1 somewhere where I shouldn't):
Image

No Japanese characters huh. And the rest of TM2 files I have spent hours to figure out how they are stored? Most of them are game art assets but again no actual Japanese characters. WTF.

Also why are these images encoded in this obtuse a fashion?! What's wrong with storing images row by row. You might think that it's to save on having to read entire rows just to get the pixels belonging to one letter but that is not so. As the pictures above demonstrate the characters allmost allways overflow over the segment dividing line and you almost always would need to load the next row of segments. So WHY? Were they being deliberately obtuse and wanted to make hacking the game as difficult as possible? Possibly knowing how they used their own encoding to screw with me. So using such an obtuse format for small game art assets would be normal.

Now you might think that after I wasted all this time on basically nothing, I would quit. Oh no, making bad life choices is practically our national custom. So I continued on. I then went back into the game with the idea of trying to record which codes belong to which characters and see if I can figure out roughly how their encoding works. Which is when I got the real WHAT THE FUCK! moment. See notice how の is coded as 0x32? And how Japanese comma is 0x04? That is from the second fight during the first stage. When I went back in I started from the prologue. And guess what in the prologue (the slideshow stage prologues and ends are in those story_ev files, at least the prologue was) Japanese comma is drum roll please ...

0x06

WHAT THE FUCK! No I did not look at the wrong location. The text lenght matches the byte length (that is the byte length is twice as big as the character length), and also the ア happens twice in this text and both times in their location the same code is used, and the codes/characters exhibit the similar behavior where their order is similar like in let's say Shift-JIS but the distances are often off. Then I found a set of files named story_xx.fnt... I could make only one conclusion...

THE SADISTIC BASTARDS USED DIFFERENT HOME BREW ENCODING FOR EACH AND EVERY STAGE!!!
That is why they have to have a different font file for every stage. Which also makes any attempt at making translation patches nearly impossible since you would also need to make your own fonts.

I can just picture them now planning this. "Have you heard Butt-san how those gajins from the mainlands managed to translate our superior game!" "Oh no Dick-san that can not be, we must endeavor to make the game files entirely impenetrable for our next game, even if it takes extra work to create the converters that will make all these different encoding possible. The dirty mainlanders must not experience the glory of our Nippon magical girl video games.", "Verily, Butt-san, now excuse me I need to fold some steel to make superior steel too".
Hey guess what you assess, your steel sucks just as much as this practice of yours. Yes you heard me! Not everything needs to be overly complicated to be better. You certainly could have used normal ass fonts and encodings and the only reason for doing this from what I can see is to support that quirk of your language where you can write how something is read over obscure kanji (I think, I don't know enough). But that was not really necessary. You DICKS.

Plan... I guess D for DICKS. Use KanjiTomo to grab characters off screenshots. It works pretty well, but can only really work with up to 4 characters. BUT it does give you options for each of them so you can verify and correct wrong OCRs right on the spot. This is how I'll grab the text once I get some free time.

PS:
The MATLAB file for reading TM2 can be found here.
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grahams_xwing
Location: Corby, UK

Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby grahams_xwing » Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:24 pm

At some point, interesting challenge and
bad life choices
aside, would it not be less stress (and roughly the same effort input...) just to learn Japanese? ;)

Snark aside, you show great dedication Dimension-San (bad lip sync) - One day you shall be worthy (Brandishes sword)
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Retsam

Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby Retsam » Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:17 pm

I've been working on learning Japanese this year - I've been learning the kana writing systems for quite awhile, but this is the first time I'm really taking a more serious push at learning the language itself - and it really says a lot when "learning Japanese" is the less stressful option. It's a pretty crazy language, between all of the writing systems (particularly the insanity that is Kanji), all of the cultural baggage tied into the language, all the ambiguity, etc.
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4th Dimension

Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby 4th Dimension » Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:14 pm

I don't think I'll be trying to learn Japanese* because:
a) it sounds like work I would have to work on fro a long while before I notice any progress and that is unfortunately not how my brain works. I likes me being able to show the products of my works. Which is precisely why I like programming because at the end of each day I can point a finger at something and say "I made that". Also my mind seems not to mesh well with the usual way of learning languages. It seems to learn more through exposure than regular learning. That is how as a kid I learned Italian by watching RAI, and how in the end I became comfortable with English. At some point I simply had enough data points about a language in my mind for it to simply CLICK so I was able to figure out the parts of it I did not know what they meant through context. Basically I'm too lazy to put in effort.
b) it's frankly a prejudice thing. It would mean admitting I'm a bit weeaboo, which I don't think I am because while I love this one show, it's not because it's Japanese. In fact I don't like how the setting got progressively Japanified. And also the more I learn about Japanese society and mores (or lack of in some cases) the more wierded out I get.
c) it also sounds ridiculously complicated both because the writing system is bonkers to my western (defined as peoples whose languages are based on Latin(Roman)/Greek writing sensibilities) eye and both the grammar and the words would be completely alien since the language is not part of Indo-European/Latin group. Well except English words that they have adopted, of which the way they changed them to fit their speaking system will NEVER be NOT HILARIOUS.

The good news is that due to my exposure to their writing during this project, while I don't know what 90% of hiragana sounds, I am now familiar with how the letters look so any line is no longer simply a mass of squigly lines and I can differentiate kana characters. Which does not mean there are some RIDICULOUSLY similar looking letters. Like 工 and エ, yeah here one is shorter than the other, but I think the real difference is that the later one's top line is "slightly" narrower than the first ones, and their meaning and pronunciation is completely different. The first one is *check* huh oh I thought it was for omo which means lord (omo=主), still it's read as ko, while the other is e. Or シ (shi) and ツ (tsu) or 卜(boke) and ト(to) (here boke looks pretty different, but believe me I have seen a font where the only difference between them is that boke's slanted line is slightly curved). Now that I have ranted about somebody's else's perfectly functional language, that I don't know, from my outside perspective, which is highly subjective and unbecoming of me (God knows how my native Cyrillic alphabet looks like to westerners), most of the confusion seems to come from katakana, which is kind of understandable. If you determine to make a writing system based on simple geometric shapes and mostly straight lines, it's inevitably you will run out of sensible combinations and would make some characters similar to already existing Chinese writing system. Also considering that most of them are in kitakana, and that it is mostly used form what I know for obviously foreign words, it should be obvious if a character is a kanji or kitakana if you find it smack dab in the middle of curvy hiragana.

* Which annoyingly given how my stupid mind works means I will have to learn it at some point since a small voice in my head will be saying "pssst, pssst, how hard can it be?" as if I don't have other things I should be doing. Hell I should be reviewing why my "first" paper on remote sensing got rejected by the potential publisher, deciding what to do next, reading that book on networking so I can finally take a crack at passing that one exam and not doing the above. But unfortunately when my mind gets hold of an idea about something it thinks it can do it doesn't let go.
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Retsam

Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby Retsam » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:59 pm

I can sympathize with the "admitting to be a bit of a weeaboo" thing: while I'm pretty open about enjoying anime online, I'm much less so in real life. But for me, I just decided that, if I'm going to be exposed to a bunch of Japanese through anime and video games, it'd be a bit of a waste to not take advantage of all that exposure and try to learn the language a bit. (Also, I haven't really told very many people that I'm trying to learn Japanese either...)

If you want something that actually has immediate payoff, while learning Japanese proper is a big undertaking, learning Katakana is actually a modest undertaking with tangible benefit. Like you said, it's mostly used to write loan words, and most of those are English, so by learning Katakana, you can actually read and understand some things written in Japanese, without any other knowledge.

It's not that useful of a skill, (the most "use" I've gotten out of it is probably that time I was able to identify the tracks on my fiancée's FFX soundtrack...) but it's pretty satisfying for a fairly minimal amount of effort. Katakana is actually the less confusing of the two kanas: シ and ツ is obnoxious, but other than that, it's not as bad as hiragana: the letters are simpler (easier to remember and recognize), and there's less similar characters overall. (Hiragana has ち and さ, ぬ and め, り and い and こ, れ and わ and ね...) Though perhaps that's just because I've known katakana longer.

(And シ and ツ finally clicked when someone pointed out that writing them follows the same general path as their hiragana equivalents し and つ)
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dudecon
Location: Camarillo, CA. Paul Spooner IRL & blog comments
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Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby dudecon » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:12 am

4th Dimension wrote:... What I got was still garbled a lot, but by playing with the width I ended up with this when I set it to 32.

Image
(cropped and zoomed in from the original image 32 pixel wide)

Now some of those do look like characters, now don't they. ...
At first, scanning your post without really reading it, I thought it was some sort of alien character-set. Looks really cool! I wonder how difficult it would be to make an alien font generator?
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4th Dimension

Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby 4th Dimension » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:13 am

dudecon wrote: I wonder how difficult it would be to make an alien font generator?

I think the difficulty would largely depend on how much you mean for the font to look viably legible. Meaning the characters should be different enough from each other to be differentiable. If viability is not a great concern, it shouldn't be too difficult. Simply putting random 1-3 lines in random positions and with random lengths (maybe standardize the lengths to three possible ones) plus 0-3 dots might do the trick. But you will also get loads of ver similarly looking characters that way I think.
Making something actually usable wold be more difficult. Maybe first choose the root line (it's position and orientation, but it should nearly coss the entire char-space) then draw additional elements on top of it, randomly choosing to place new lines, or grow lines out of existing ones. I think standardizing the possible line positions and orientations would probably help a lot.
Or maybe simply define like dozen or so character elements (diagonal line, half diagonal line (of every orientation), vertical line, 90 degree circle arc that takes 1/4 of the space of every orientation, etc.) and then randomly mash them together.
4 possible arc orientations * (4 quadrants of the space + 1 the entire space) possible locations +2 diagonal line orientations * 5 possible locations + 2 horizontal line orientations * 5 possible locations + 2 vertical line orientations * 5 possible locations=50 character elements. Even with just 3 of these per character that is 50^3=125000 SWEET JESUS possible combinations. Yea I think we have a winner here. It might look a bit too mechanical and precise. So maybe in post processing add slight random drift, rotation and scaling to make it look more organic.
Damn. Now I want to do it. DAMN YOU DUDECON, I don't have time for this shit! ;)

Now where were we? Ah yes my closet weeabooity...
Actually I never really had too much trouble differentiating the hiragana during my OCR attempt, well わ and ね was a bit of a nasty suprise when I noticed it for the first time. Bigger problem was the stylization of the particular font I was working with that for example wrote kitakana li/ri as two vertical lines, with no curve at the bottom which stumped me the first time I saw it. But I have to give it to Kanji Tomo, it's suprisingly adept at coping with the stylizations. Also the fact that it offers me likely candidates for every letter helps me correct it's mistakes...
Wait ぬ and め are a thing. I don't think that character occurs often but now I'll have to check if I made mistakes confusing one for another.
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Thomas

Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby Thomas » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:46 pm

If you was to do a really good job you need to discover some aliens first.
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4th Dimension

Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby 4th Dimension » Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:19 am

I did try out the Alien language idea and this is the result:
Image
Image

Here is the code and the compiled application if anyone is interested. It's a WPF C# application which does mean it has some limitations since the code generating the characters is bit divorced from the part displaying them. I initially thought that by adding drift, roation, scaling and skewing of the character segments I could make wierd characters. In the end it fell through, but the controls allowing you to allow the program to use such randomizations when making the characters are still there is somebody wants to mess with them.

In the end I'm not entirely satisfied with teh result. But I think this is the best I could get using cheap ass methods. Making something better would also probably involve working at a lower level with actual lines and not simply setting which lines you want.
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dudecon
Location: Camarillo, CA. Paul Spooner IRL & blog comments
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Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby dudecon » Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:31 pm

That is pretty neat!
I feel like it should check any new characters against existing ones to ensure that it isn't re-using combinations. You can see the problem easily if you set the number of segments to 1, as it will often use the same segment in the same location.
On the other hand, I kind of prefer larger numbers of segments. Here's one with 12, for example.
Image
And of course, it would be nice if the upper-case were somehow related to the lower-case.

4th Dimension wrote:
dudecon wrote: I wonder how difficult it would be to make an alien font generator?

I think the difficulty would largely depend on how much you mean for ...
Damn. Now I want to do it. DAMN YOU DUDECON, I don't have time for this shit! ;)
Clearly you have exactly enough time for this. Very neat work!

Somehow, though, I feel that the first try has missed the spirit of the thing. There are too many crossing lines, not enough continued lines. What you really need is a sequential shape generator which... You know what, I'll just prototype it in Blender, except that I don't have time for this either!
Sigh... You'll probably see an update tonight.
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Lachlan the Sane
Location: I come from the land down under, where women blow and men chunder

Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby Lachlan the Sane » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:43 am

All these pictures are giving me flashbacks to learning the D'Ni numbering system in Riven...
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4th Dimension

Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby 4th Dimension » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:00 am

Well of course it will be reusing characters when you set the segment number to 1. There are really only 40 different segment types (4 curves * 5 locations (corners+entire character)+4 lines * 5 locations). It's highly likely that one of them will be repeated when you are generating even a primitive alphabet. But if you use more serments that is less likely. With more segments it's not really that I'm reusing combinations (since with 3 segments that is 64000 combinations (well less real combinations since there will be ones where I reuse the same segment type in a character)) it's that with the overlap of segment types it's no longer as easy to notice which segment types are in the character and the types can be easily mistaken.
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Narratorway
Contact:

Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby Narratorway » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:42 am

More flash bullshit for me. This time I'm a fair ways into a Game Grumps Animated.
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dudecon
Location: Camarillo, CA. Paul Spooner IRL & blog comments
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Re: What projects are you working on?

Postby dudecon » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:21 pm

Any feedback on my commission page is welcome, I'm going to try to drum up some more business, and I'd like the landing page to be as friendly and helpful as possible.
http://peripheralarbor.com/commission/index.html

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