Monday, August 24, 2009

An annoying discovery

One of the great annoyances of manufactured items is they tend to be very symmetrical. This makes various approaches to automated registration more complicated, since there are often ambiguous possible solutions, so one often has to shove in more domain specific knowledge to get the correct answer. Domain specific information makes thins less portable, and generally requires annoying maintenance effort later.

This is all; relevant, since I've been trying to avoid shoving such domain specific knowledge into the registration step for the calibration cube for the x-ray system, which, being quite a precisely manufactured cube, is rather symmetric. I had thought I had enough information available from the views to get around this, and solve the problem fairly elegantly, but I spent the later half of last week and most of this morning failing to make the idea work. The answer obtained looked almost reasonable, but had a 5 cm offset, and a rather high error.

I thus resorted to a heavy-handed optimisation approach, using the domain specific information to ensure the minimum was near the correct place.

This did not work. Given the fairly specific constraints I had placed on the problem, not working was a very surprising result.

Much digging later, I discovered a sign error in the input data I had created to describe the cube last week, which meant I was trying to register the cube a collection of fairly widely spaced separated planes, and getting odd results out.

While I now have a correct solution, I will now need to revisit my earlier idea, and see if it works better with the correct data. Since I spend considerable time checking the data last week, and had convinced myself that it was actually correct, I'm currently rather annoyed with the universe [1].

[1] Because it's clearly not my fault, after all.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dragonfire 2009 III (Mon)

(being the last in the series of posts based on slightly inaccurate memories)

Most of the day got taken up by the actual draft tournament.

The draft got going a little later than planned, due to Richard oversleeping, and much juggling to arrange that we got 8 players, rather than dealing with 7. Phillip and I got in a very quick 2-player game shortly before the tournament. In an environment without bounce, the Settite bleed deck is really scary.

The problem with the draft was the complete lack of stealth, and, with EK providing both a master out of turn for intercept and an intercept reaction card, the games were very block heavy.

My deck was based around being able to use Batsehava with an Abombwe master and Founders to accelerate out my crypt, but the intercept meant that didn't work out quite as planned. I had a couple of bleed mods, but no stealth, and my combat was more defensive than it probably should have been. I also suffered from having a large number of permanents - my second and third passes through the deck were very quick, which meant I was out of library by the end of all the games.

In the first game, I got a bit lucky, and was able to contest a small vampire with my prey (Simon, and thus revenge for the Imperator final), but, with both of us down a minion, I wasn't able to really push forward, and spent most of my time holding off Dan's deck. This allowed Richard to setup nicely, and, while I was eventually able to oust Simon, Richard took the table comfortably.

In the second game, I was bleeding Richard, bleeding Matthew, bleeding Verolin (Richard starting). I got screwed over as Matthew brought out the same Abiku a turn or so after I had, and, not being in a great position to force the contest, and not wanting Richard to be able to plow forward too quickly, I had to yield. While I was able to push the odd bleed through, I was generally down a minion and thus never able to really pressurise Richard.

However, the 1.5 VP's was enough to get me to the final table.

The final table saw Dan (starting) bleeding me, bleeding Matthew, bleeding Richard, bleeding Phillip. Since I knew that Mathhew, Dan & I all shared a common vampire in Abiku, I brought out Titi first. Phillip found himself in the awkward position of having made transfers onto Titi and Mamadou, the vampire Matthew brought out first, so was struggling to get into the game. Richard took the opportunity to bring out the Remnant and the Tunnel Runner - Phillip then contested Mamadou with Matthew, who chose to yield, which allowed Phillip to steal the Remnant with Legend of the Leopard, and use it to burn the Tunnel Runner. Unfortunately, being down a minion, Matthew wasn't in a position to really pressurise Richard, and consequently walled up against me, which slowed my game down a lot. This allowed Richard to setup a lunge which ousted Phillip. The game see-sawed for some time afterwards, with Dan trying to balance the table. I gradually whittled Matthew down, and was able to land 2 successive bleeds for 2 to leave him on 2 pool, but my minions were running low on blood. Dan delayed me ousting Matthew by putting a minion in torpor, but left himself in range of Richard, who promptly ousted him. I was ale to oust Matthew, but was in no position to withstand Richard, who completed the game win shortly there-after.

After the tournament, there was some complex juggling to fit baby Cthulhu into my car, before heading off to the final after party.

Dragonfire 2009 II (Sun)

(being part 2 of the series)

Due to the previous night, I decided not to try and make the first module, (which seems to have been a good one to miss), and only arrived around 11:30'ish or so. The trip across was complicated by road works on the N2 hat reduced it to one lane at the point the airport road feeds in, which wasn't a good idea.

While waiting for the afternoon module, I succumbed to temptation and spent rather more than I probably should have to secure the Doom board game and the Munchkin board game (I'm blaming the combination of tiredness and the 10% discount, but that's merely because I've always been good at finding excuses for myself). I also played a game of "Settlers of Catan", which is interesting, but not quite enough that I need to rush out and buy it.

The afternoon module was a great deal of fun - children playing monster whacker. The very downscaled capabilities of the child characters, and the local scale of the interactions made for a very enjoyable game. We teetered on the edge of disaster at the end, but came through OK to get the happy ending, so that was good. The module did run very late, though, and e only finished around 20:00.

The evening involved a bit more vampire. Notably, there was a game involving Marc, playing Tzimisce, bleeding one of the new players, playing his Brujah deck, bleeding Dave, playing my !Nos combat deck bleeding me, playing Tremere. Giving Dave my !Nos deck turned out to be a bad idea, as the Tremere combat didn't come up, and I got pretty much cremated by my own deck, and Dave went on to oust Marc (after Marc had ousted his prey), which is one of those situations which leads to rather conflicting emotions.

Since it had now become very late, I opted to sleep over in Rondebosch rather than trying to drive back home and then mke it in for the tournament.

Dragonfire 2009 I (Fri evening & Sat)

(being the first of a somewhat fuzzy and rather short series of posts about this year's Dragonfire)

Friday evening

Friday evening was the start of the con, and involved at least one newbie VTES game (with the usual advice), and a couple of social games.

I got to try my Gangrel aggro-poke deck, which worked surprisingly well - holding off Garrick's Assamite swarm and (admittedly slowly) pushing through both Kevin and Marc. I should add a couple of Amaranths to exploit Ariadne's text, and the deck could use a bit more ousting oomph (although it was hampered by Marc playing a Fame early).

I gave the Ventrue vote deck another run - it did reasonably well, ousting two decks (including Garrick, playing Marc's Ventrue bleed deck), before running out of S:CE at a bad time and folding to Marc's combat deck.


Saturday, I played in both modules, and some vampire in the evening.

The first module was quite a lot of fun - Werewolves in Iran with orcs, with an enjoyable group to play with. My character got to set the big bad on fire, which is always fun.

The second module was also quite fun, although the group I was playing with was a bit less focused, and didn't quite gel. The ending was also a bit of a downer, despite effectively "winning" the module, but, still, overall good fun.

After the second module, I attempted to go down to Kauai on Main Road, only to hit the "returning from the rugby" traffic, which meant crossing Main Road became exceedingly difficult, so I opted for Steers.

I returned to watch and actual help and hinder Kevin's running of a newbie tournament, also spending some time watching an attempt to explain and play the "A game of Thrones" board game, which was complicated by various of the players being distracted by helping prepare people for the evening's LARP.

At around 23:30'ish or so, Kevin, Marc and I finally started a 3 player game. Kevin was playing A modified Toreador starter, me playing my Ventrue deck and Marc playing a Brujah combat deck. I had a fast start (Hardesadt out on turn 2), but, due to Kevin having the vampire who can burn a blood to cancel votes from a not acting minion, and Marc getting out his Inner Circle member, and two minions with intercept when I was attempting political actions, I never got the vote momentum I needed. Marc went backwards to eventually run me out of S:CE, and then whittled Kevin out before finishing me off. However, the game stayed quite balanced for quite some time, and eventually only folded near 2 am.