Constructs for Noobs

Instructor: Rainsong
Date: May 13, 2017 (Saturday)

<Rainsong> Is anyone in the mood for a seminar tonight?

<Dakaran> I would appreciate a seminar.

<Rainsong> Topic?

<Dakaran> hm… Perhaps constructs? I’ve been neglecting the basics.

<Rainsong> Sure thing

<Rainsong> Would you like me to lecture as though you were a noob, or have your own personal Q&A session?

<Dakaran> Noob please.

<Rainsong> Alrighty. 🙂

<Rainsong> Constructs are clumps of psi-stuff/ooomph/ki/whatever that are programmed to do something.

<Rainsong> That something cane be “simple” such as “holding a shape kinda like a ball” ….

<Rainsong> …or they can be “more complicated,” such as “holding the shape of a gargoyle coiled on the edge of a roof until a human comes in contact with the outer edge of the front of the house’s outermost wards, at which time it will spread its wings and swoop down toward the human, pulling up in time to miss crashing into the face by 14.7cm and return to the edge of the roof to recharge from the houseward.”

<Rainsong> Pop quiz: how many points of programming are involved in the first one?

<Dakaran> Well… Assuming all you want it to do is hold its shape I would imagine it would be one line. However from what I’ve read, it would dissipate pretty quickly if it didn’t have an energy supply. So maybe two?

<Rainsong> Good answer.

<Rainsong> You’d actually want three, though. The third is the holding-together part, often considered as a duration: how long should it last.

<Rainsong> The other two are, as you say, the energy supply… and the shape itself.

<Rainsong> Why is this important?

<Rainsong> Because when putting together a construct, you need to figure out what you want it to do.

<Rainsong> It helps if you figure it out _before_ you start.

<Rainsong> Not absolute required, but really helpful.

<Rainsong> Might as well run with the typical psi-shape construct, because they form the standard base of learning to make constructs.

<Dakaran> It is important so it isn’t one line of code that runs once and finishes. Kind of like writing a macro and then making sure you tell a program to run it?

<Rainsong> Yes, that’s right.

<Rainsong> (As usual, I hasten to add that there’s more than one way to do these. And “standard base” doesn’t mean it’s necessarily mean “the best and only base”)

<Rainsong> Any questions or comments before we continue?

<Dakaran> No thanks, so far it seems clear.

<Rainsong> Alright, so: hold together for five minutes, supply oomph as needed from outer field, shape of approximate cube.

<Rainsong> We have the outline of the program.

<Rainsong> Now we’ll gather up some oomph…

<Rainsong> There are a number of equally valid conventions that are popular in the online communities.

<Rainsong> One of them is to send and countermand commands to your hand, to form a fist.

<Rainsong> So, make a fist and open it again a few times, and pay attention to what it feels like.

<Rainsong> Then, send the same command to your hand, to make a fist, and then send another one to stop it from moving. It can take a few tries before the two are fast enough to stop your hand from moving.

<Rainsong> Try it a few times, until you can “not-move” your hand a dozen or so times.

<Rainsong> Feel anything? (As always, “no” is a perfectly valid answer.)

<Dakaran> It felt like there was an orb in my hand, and my forearm was more pronounced than normal. It felt charged, but I’m not sure how to describe it. Some of it felt “tingly” but that wasn’t all of it.

<Dakaran> Pressure might be a better term for it.

<Rainsong> Fair enough. It’s not always easy to describe things English has no words for…

<Rainsong> Tense your other hand a bit, and ‘scrape’ along the “charged” forearm with the non-charged-hand’s fingers, as if you were trying to push a glove off the charged hand, or as if you were scraping sticky cobwebs off your skin.

<Rainsong> You might or might not feel the oomph-stuff with the non-charged hand. Doesn’t matter. Just push it down to the palm of your charged hand.

<Rainsong> Do that a few times, and you’ll accumulate a clump in your hand, like a handfull of snow… Pack it into a not-snow ball…

<Rainsong> …while picturing a cube (and pat it into flat sides and right-angle corners), and think of it as being a free-standing cube…

<Rainsong> For duration, an imaginary clock or hourglass can be useful. A five-minute hourglass-style egg-timer… Or one of those mechanical cooking timers… Or the timer on a microwave oven. Lots of options.

<Rainsong> The programming is often done with imaginary visuals (visualization)… But you can program it in Fortran if you want (or most other kinds of programming languages)….

<Rainsong> Questions? Comments? Or are you ready to try it?

<Dakaran> I’ve been trying it as you’ve been explaining it. I can get the oomph charged and moved, but I can’t seem to feel the shape of it.

<Rainsong> Try adding another bit of oomph to it?

<Rainsong> Don’t worry if you can’t feel the shape of it – That’s a different skillset

* blejin2 Quit (Client closed the connection)

<Rainsong> Try “pinching” the edges and corners a little… as though making a crease in a paper. Don’t worry if you can’t feel it…just “pinch” where you think the edges should be.

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<Dakaran> It seemed like I could feel the edges with my feeling hand.

<Rainsong> Woohoo 😀

<Rainsong> (wb Blejin)

<Rainsong> Sounds successful to me. The edges look a bit rounded to me, but you made a respectable psi-cube

<Dakaran> Yay, thanks for checking! 🙂

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<Rainsong> 🙂 Good job.

<Rainsong> Any questions? Comments?

<Dakaran> Thanks. I did just have a thought that when I was trying to make constructs before I could feel them until I let them go, but after I stopped thinking about them they disappeared. Could that be me feeling my aura instead of the construct?

<Rainsong> Possible, but more likely you didn’t set up the construct as a durable object. It’s quite normal for a “silly putty” shape to dissipate again when you stop paying attention to it.

<Rainsong> So, remember the “clock” thing.

<Rainsong> Any other comments? Questions?

<Dakaran> How would I work on feeling them? Just practice making them?

<Rainsong> There are exercises for working on “sensing” oomph.

<Rainsong> One of the easier ones is to relax your off-hand (the one you don’t write with), and hold it kinda-flat. Slowly use it to approach the opposite forearm (after charging it or not), and to back away from the arm… Back and forth a few times, and notice when you feel *something*.

<Rainsong> Likewise, again with the hands vaguely flat but relaxed, start with the hands a little more than shoulder-width apart in front of you at a nice easy distance. Bring them together slowly, as though you were scooping together a big snowball –

<Rainsong> – no need to charge first, but you can if you want –

<Rainsong> Back and forth, as though packing the pretend snowball together…

<Rainsong> …slowly, so you can notice when/where you feel *something*

<Rainsong> You can practice these just about anywhere. You’re not moving (much) ooomph in either, so they’re pretty safe.

<Dakaran> Ok, thanks again for the instruction.

<Rainsong> You’re welcome. Glad to help 🙂

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