@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz
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j_bertolotti

@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz

Associated Professor of Physics at the University of Exeter.
Scientific visualizations (grouped under the hastag #PhysicsFactlet).
He/lui/on. All opinions are my own fault.

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eniko, to random
@eniko@peoplemaking.games avatar

i wonder why other devs don't seem to localize to (brazilian) portuguese. the 2nd highest country for wishlists for kitsune tails is brazil (7% vs USA 40%), and historically we've had lots of sales from brazil. i get that the price per unit for that region is low but come on that's still a lot of fans you're leaving out in the cold by not localizing your game for them

j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

@eniko Genuine question: how different is written Brazilian from written Portuguese?

j_bertolotti, to random
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

Reductionism is easy!
/s

https://xkcd.com/2933/

eniko, to random
@eniko@peoplemaking.games avatar

you ever feel so stressed you worry you may literally die?

haha yeah me either

j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

@eniko
haha yeah me neither, no idea what you are talking about 😬

j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

@eniko It was a few years ago. Thankfully I managed to get through it largely unscathed.
Hope it will be the same with you!

j_bertolotti, to random
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

What do Hollow-Earth believers think about Flat-Earth believers? And vice-versa? 🤔

atomicpoet, (edited ) to random
@atomicpoet@atomicpoet.org avatar

It is shocking that Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is already 10 years old.

I’ve held off on buying this game because I only buy AAA games when they’ve got some age, all the bugs have been ironed out, and they fall in price. Well, I’m glad that I waited because last month, I bought both Middle-earth games and all the DLC for less than C$10. Based on all the time I’ve spent on this game today, I’d say it was worth it.

I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan. When I was 10-years-old, I read the trilogy in five days. Never before – or since – has a fictional world felt so fleshed out.

As it happens, I’m also a fan of Monolith Productions, the developer of Shadow of Mordor. They have made some of my favourite PC games of all time, including Blood and No One Lives Forever. Based on their track record, Shadow of Mordor had to be good.

And it is!

This is one of the best open world hack-and-slash RPGs that I’ve ever played. It is on a completely different plane of goodness. Perhaps better games exist, but will I enjoy them as much? That remains to be seen.

Like many games of its ilk, Shadow of Mordor is about fighting evil. You largely do this by killing orcs. You can either shoot them with a bow, sneak up behind them and slit their throats, or take on entire hordes and beat them to death.

But to me, what sets this all apart is that these aren’t random goblins. Let’s say a random orc gets the better of you because he managed a killing blow. His reputation increases amongst the orcs, he gains power, and now there’s a whole storyline about how he ended your life. Once you find that orc, he remembers that initial encounter, and things get real.

Speaking of death, the big gimmick of this game is that you can’t die. In fact, you’ve been banished from death. Instead, you’re somewhere between life and death, cursed to merge with a wraith. So every time you “die”, you just return as an undead hero – ready to wreak havoc again.

In a practical sense, this means that when you die, you don’t start over from scratch. Instead, your “death” becomes part of the continuous story. It’s nifty to experience, and I’ve never encountered anything quite like it.

I’m also impressed with the controls. Playing this game with a keyboard and mouse is a dream. It’s games like this that make me happy that I have a mechanical keyboard because it all feels so satisfying. I could play this with a gamepad, and it would probably be good, but I’d be giving up precision – and I just don’t want to do that.

Graphically, Shadow of Mordor is about as good as it gets for a game released in 2014. It still looks good now, and I think most people who play this on ultra settings would agree. But it’s also interesting to see how much graphics have improved over the past 10 years. Things like hair physics and lighting are radically different from 2014. Shadow of Mordor isn’t yet at the point where it’s “retro” in terms of graphics, but you can see its age.

It’s the sound department where this game consolidates itself as truly “epic”. The voice acting is superb. Combined with the orchestration of the soundtrack, it gives this game a cinematic feel.

Playing this on my Steam Deck is tempting. It’s “verified” for Steam Deck. It would probably work well. However, Shadow of Mordor and all its DLC demands around 80GB of space, and I just don’t want to put it on my Deck. Besides, I got to experience it on my 24” monitor running at 1920x1200 resolution with a 75fps framerate. So that’s fine.

I can wax poetic forever about the goodness of Shadow of Mordor, but this is one of those games that continues to be awesome as time goes on. Monolith, you did well. This is why I love PC gaming.

j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

@atomicpoet Personal tastes are personal tastes, but I wasn't as enamoured with it as you seem to be. It is a lot of fun at the very beginning, but things get repetitive very fast, and after you unlock a few abilities you can just start mind-controlling your enemies. The "nemesis system" also never clicked with me. It mostly boiled down to: make silly mistake -> die -> random orc who killed me got promoted -> kill the newly promoted guy in 5 min -> never see its ugly face again.

j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

@atomicpoet I grew up with the C64, but when I was 10 I had a lot more time to devote to games than I have now.
Now the amount of time I can play is severely limited (2-3 hours a week max), so to me repetitiveness is a big issue.
But, as I said, personal preferences are personal preferences.

VeryBadLlama, to random
@VeryBadLlama@mas.to avatar

I’ve been in Paris for 72 hours and I regret to report that walking 16,000 steps per day and complaining about things over 2-hour lunch breaks has immediately fixed my entire life

j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

@VeryBadLlama Don't worry, a single trip on the RER B will put everything back in their original conditions.

j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

@ParadeGrotesque
I was thankfully spared the RER C during my time in Paris.

eniko, to random
@eniko@peoplemaking.games avatar

did you know coleslaw was apparently invented in the netherlands? who knew!

j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

@eniko No. But I did know that the main improvement to the chocolate-making process that allows modern chocolate bars is due to a Dutch chemist.

pgcd, to random
@pgcd@mastodon.online avatar

The reason why Altman and OpenAI are moving so fast is that they know - they know - their product is mostly useless.
So, what they're doing is making sure we have no alternative when the media bubble pops.
They're killing off everything else, that's it.

j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

@pgcd Who knows? Maybe ponderous paper ecyclopedias will have a resurgence.

j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

@pgcd In the LLM future you can build a successful brand by selling books with actually accurate information on them 😉

j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

@pgcd Should we start a startup that sells trustworthy information in the form of books, rephrase it with a ton of vapid buzzwords and rise a few millions from venture capitalists? 😉

duetosymmetry, to random
@duetosymmetry@mastodon.social avatar

Time once again for the annual "you can wear shorts but not too short" email from the administration. Thanks, Puritans!

j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

@duetosymmetry If I had to write to right now my version would be "You can technically wear short, but have you tried looking at the weather? A swimsuit would probably be more appropriate." 🌧️

j_bertolotti, to random
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

Jack Dorsey: "The problem with Bluesky is that it has too much moderation" (paraphrased by me)

🤦‍♂️ 🤦‍♂️ 🤦‍♂️ 🤦‍♂️
Help me facepalm, 'cause I am out of hands.

https://www.engadget.com/jack-dorsey-claims-bluesky-is-repeating-all-the-mistakes-he-made-at-twitter-234326121.html?src=rss

carnage4life, to random
@carnage4life@mas.to avatar

Every earnings call, WB’s CEO confirms that the things we thought were bad ideas were actually bad ideas.

A game where the Suicide Squad kill Superman, Batman and the rest of the Justice League is such a terrible. Who wants to play Captain Boomerang killing Batman? Who? 🤷🏾‍♂️

j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

@carnage4life I assume that if the game was good people might have played it. But it looks like that forcing a team specialized in open-world single player narrative-focused games to develop a looter-shooter is not a great idea indeed.
Sadly nobody in the upper management will truly pay for this, and the lesson will not be learnt.

demofox, to random
@demofox@mastodon.gamedev.place avatar

I woke up and had a sleepy brain idea that uncountable infinities were uncountable because they were multi dimensional.
For instance, a real number being a 1d integer part plus another 1d decimal part.
Has anyone seen this thought before?
Am I wrong to assume that the space between two integers is a countable infinity?

j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

@demofox If you can label all elements with a finite number of integers, then your set is automatically countable (e.g. rational numbers can all be labelled with two integers).

j_bertolotti, to random
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

People studying brains: "We found no correlation between number of neurons and IQ."*

People talking about AI: "If we just add more nodes to our deep neural network we are surely going to create a super-mind!"

j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

@apodoxus We didn't get LLMs or generative models by using the same networks as in the '60s but a million times bigger. We got them by rethinking the basic way these networks are structured. Any qualitative step forward is also likely to be due to a smart idea and not more brute power.

j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

@topher_batty No, it is false. But a lot of people like to talk about NN like they were brains 🤷‍♂️

j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

@SvenGeier
Maybe, but a mosquito with its ~220,000 neurons can navigate space better than any current neural network can.
@apodoxus

j_bertolotti, to random
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

: The "Ashcroft/Mermin Project"
I will try to (likely very slowly) go through the classic textbook "Solid State Physics" by Ashcroft and Mermin and make one or more animation/visualization per chapter.
This will (hopefully) help people digest the topic and/or be useful to lecturers who are teaching about it. As with all my animations, feel free to use them.
The idea is that the animations are a companion to the book, so I will give only very brief explanations here.

j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar
j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

(If you are wondering where Chapter 3 has gone: Chapter 3 is literally 5 pages long, and it just enumerates all the reasons why everything done in chapter 1 and 2 must be wrong.)

j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

@johncarlosbaez To be fair, chapter 1 and 2 cover two very useful and powerful models. But being models based on some major simplifying assumptions, they are expected to fail somewhere. And chapter 3 explains clearly where they do fail. A large chunk of the rest of the book is devoted to developing a better (quantum mechanical) model 😉

j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

Released into the and uploaded to , together with the script used to generate it: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bravais_Lattices.gif

j_bertolotti,
@j_bertolotti@mathstodon.xyz avatar

#PhysicsFactlet: The "Ashcroft/Mermin Project" Chapter 4: Crystal Lattices
The "Wigner-Seitz" primitive cell is the region of space that is closer to a given point in the lattice. It has the advantage of being a primitive cell with the same symmetries as the Bravais lattice.

A 3D grid of 3x3x3 points, with the Wigner-Seitz primitive cell around the central point highlighted in grey. The grid starts as cubic, but is then gradually deformed (i.e. the Bravais lattice basis vectors are changed) while showing the changing shape of the Wigner-Seitz cell.

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