Emulation

Sometimes we learn things, but refrain from sharing because we feel like we’re the last to the party. It’s safe (and we like being safe) to assume that the knowledge we just acquired is something everyone else knew all along and we just barely skid into line for the awareness club. The truth is that everyone is, to some degree, faking it and projecting their experience as complete and put together as they possibly can. The best way to close the gap of feeling unaware is through emulation.

We often feel shady emulating others as if we’re not being genuine, but are completely okay with watching our peers glean great success from learned lessons through emulation. A good way to get on board with the idea is to think about how some of the most common things we’re good at are learned in that same way. For example:

We learn musical instruments through emulation. Before I started writing my own simple songs, I spent hours pouring over Led Zeppelin and Smashing Pumpkins tabs. That’s how I learned techniques. It’s how I learned to see music through the mind of others more progressed than I was. 

We learn language through emulation. Forget that even learning to speak as children is pure emulation, but even learning foreign languages is managed this way. I learned to speak French and Malagasy (the native language of Madagascar) within about 8 months overall by complete immersion. I had nothing to lean on but emulation. Listening and copying were the only tools I had in my belt. Once I became confident, I started to speak more colloquially and even fluently. I didn’t need to know everything, just enough to feel good about testing the waters on my own. 

We learn parenting through emulation. No matter how many books we read and how much advice we get, nobody is initially up to the task of being a parent. What’s generally our primary reservoir of comfort or advice? Our own parents. We know their parenting process (and I guarantee they felt like they were faking it a lot of the time). We know what we feel worked and what didn’t. We emulate those values of their parenting which we admire. As our own parenting procedures congeal into something more of our own, we iterate and recalibrate our purposes for the children we raise. 

A great challenge for makers of all types is to embrace emulation, press on to iteration, and find a voice in the process. It comes, whether we think it’s soon enough or not. The trick isn’t to just wait for it, but to coax it along through emulating great creative output. That’s going to be my biggest challenge with Display. 

Track to the Edge of Minecraft

Here’s a thought. Can games provide us with no real goal, purpose or objective, but still provide a distinct emotional response?

Today, Twitch streamer JL2579 started streaming an 17 day zen-like ride to the edge of Minecraft. The trip is roughy thirty-thousand kilometers of straight track that he’s managed to generate with some friends. In his words:

I set up command blocks to clone a template bridge pillar in the spawnchunks in front of the last bridge pier when a minecart would ride over them. I also added some fancy overhang and Mountain detection to add tunnel segments when the track goes through an Extreme Hill. Then I let several instances of Minecraft run from different starting points at the same time with the help of some friends from zipkrowd, and together we were able to generate the chunks within few days. 

The rails and the world are therefore pregenerated, because the terrain and the bridge generation caused massive lag and would have ruined the smooth ride :)

I rarely know what to call these sort of interactive pieces but it’s really quite mesmerizing. All I know is that it has a reflective, peaceful quality to it and there’s 16 more days until that cart dives off into the digitally uncharted. It has my vote over your standard digital fireplace.