Monthly Archives: December 2012

MoonStocks Works Better Than I Thought

While staring at MoonStocks today, I noticed that my algorithm to convert the dominant frequency of a stock’s song into the price of that stock was working better than I thought. It is hard to see that this process generates predictable patterns because the stock prices are updating every 100 ms but have variance associated with each individual conversion of dominant frequency measurement to price.  Over some number of iterations of a song -> price-series conversion, every point in time will have a price that is converged upon.

Black Swan

Nassim Nicholas Taleb outlines his black swan theory as:

  1. The disproportionate role of high-profile, hard-to-predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations in history, science, finance, and technology
  2. The non-computability of the probability of the consequential rare events using scientific methods (owing to the very nature of small probabilities)
  3. The psychological biases that make people individually and collectively blind to uncertainty and unaware of the massive role of the rare event in historical affairs

The high potential upside of an event can offset the low probability of its occurrence. 

Crowdsourcing a Graphic Novel

I’m looking for artists who want to draw a picture or two for my game.

The Lunar Market has received several responses of “this is cool, but I’m not quite sure what is going on.” As a partial solution, I’m setting a goal for Winter break to implement a kind of in-game graphic novel. This is the opening screen for the game:

System Details

I’d like to add a button that says “Watch intro”. During the intro, this song will play as images with text fade in and out and outline the plot. There is a lot going on in the story, so that leaves a lot of room for what could be drawn. In case the player gets bored with the story and wants to go trade stocks, he will be able to exit the intro.

Crowdsourcing generally says that there is more truth in a larger, more varietal sample set of opinions. I want a variety of artists to draw scenes for my game so there is not a uniform visual perspective, but an idea is averaged towards. Granted, I might not actually get enough images any time soon to have an 8-minute graphic novel implemented, but I want to get the story and code written over the break so that in case the concept takes off and I get some artists, I can include it in either the first Android store release or the first update.

The plot synopsis, which would be depicted in the graphic novel pictures, is as follows:

The game takes place in 2120 or so. This dates all the news articles within the “News” section of the game by about forty years. First, here is a very condensed summary of what takes place in the articles:

In 2082, the Lunar Market opened in order to have a place to trade stocks for companies who were establishing significant lunar presence. The motivation for building an economy on the moon is that the moon turns out to be a source of voluminous energy, due to the fuel that can be refined from “lunar dust”. When the market opened, the stocks therein could only be purchased in globus (a currency denomination with a ratio of $3.72 : 1 globus, with the idea being that people would have to invest in globus to invest in the stocks, and if the stocks went up the globus that were being traded would go up, magnifying the economic growth potential. On the very first day of live trading, information came out that one of the companies on the moon was doing some dishonest accounting. The economy went into spasm.

Here is the stuff that is not described in the articles:

Eventually, the lunar economy collapsed and the earth economy collapsed with it, with EVIL (the ticker for Everline-Ilk, a bank/hedge fund who purposefully triggered the entire collapse of the economy because they assumed they would be the company most resilient to it, having done a decade or two of research on potential outcomes) having a 22% control of the economy, BANK (bank1, a bank run by robots) having 76% of the economy, and other companies composing the remaining 2%. After the global economy shrinks to nothing, worldwide infrastructure quickly collapses. Wars, famine, etc. The 2% of companies that aren’t banks work desperately with their shrinking value and liquidity and end up taking gambles because investor money is drying up so quickly. One of these companies is PAR (Parasol Pharmaceuticals), which ends up clumsily producing a virus that turns people into zombies. Humanity is quickly reduced to Walking-Dead-level pockets of people.

Robots, in the meantime, are having an existential crisis (in case you are curious, the zombies aren’t interested in eating robots). For the most intelligent robots (who are all at bank1 with a few exceptions such as the robots who are taking advantage of Elon Musk’s prehumous findings in the world of lumber conductance, which allows for the construction of wooden computers, which the wooden-computer-building robots take pride and satisfaction in producing), the purpose in life is to make money, because robotic machine learning has gradually been attuned so well that the desires of robots are almost in lockstep with those of the wealth-seeking humans who built them.

As humanity is dying off, the robots seek meaning. Some of them do it by continuing to build bigger and better wooden computers. Some turn to helping humans directly. Most of them just continue to try to make money, because that is what they are best at. Because there is essentially no economy left, the robots decide to pretend there are other companies around, so that they have other stocks to trade. The robots treat these fabricated companies as having a set of information basically frozen in time (info derived from news articles that were relevant when more humans were alive) from before EVIL collapsed over the economy. This allows the robots to have information that moves around (this is sort of what you need to do machine learning–variance). The robots from bank1 (such as the one the player controls) continue to trade to build wealth somewhat arbitrarily just because it is the way that they learn things they can extrapolate best (which, at its core, is the same reason why the wooden-computer robots continue to build computers for people who spend too much time evading zombies to use them). The minority of robots (the ones helping humans and building wooden computers) criticize the bank1 robots incessantly. Eventually the wooden computer building robots become the biggest faction from among these robots that are anti-wealth-building. They are led by one particular robot that spent several decades trapped in the archives at an abandoned religious conglomerate, who has adopted a set of religious beliefs that he believes represent the average (or rather, a refined statistical notion) of religious beliefs of humans over time. This robot believes robots to be the next evolved (though he might not say “evolved”) phase of humanity.


The point is, it’s a complex plot with a lot of absurdity, and I would love to collaborate with some visual artists to further depict it.

If you are interested, leave a comment or contact me through LinkedIn.

The Lunar Market Goes Live

Today marks the beta release of The Lunar Market, a game I worked on with Josh Stewart and Pong Tam.

The objective is to accrue money by trading stocks as a robot. The game includes music written by me, and the fluctuations in the music drive the fluctuations in stock prices.

You can download and install the apk by navigating to the following link while on an Android device. You may have to change the settings to allow installations from unauthorized sources, but if I give you viruses, you know where to find me.

Download The Lunar Market!


Musical Complexity Bloat

Once again, I’ve gone from an undermixed arrangement…
…to an overmixed arrangement…
…saving nothing intermittently along the way. If I were to try to clean things up, I would probably begin by clearing the entire mixer of all effects, and the subsequent process of remixing would take hours.

I really should use version control in my production.