This is an awesome idea for a thread.
What was your most absurd project?
A stack based virtual machine and scripting language to go with it, written in C++
Really like your absurd project though, and I can get behind having fun writing your own virtual machine. It's kind of beautiful to write something that is simple, elegant and consists only of a handful of straightforward operations - but at the same time earning the emergent complexity of all the programs one could
write using only this minimal instruction set.
The real trouble I had with it was writing the compiler itself. Compilers are hard. Really. Freaking. Hard.
I'm not sure what I would describe as my own craziest project, so I'll just list some of them that come to mind*. They were mostly short-lived side projects I did back in school and had some fun with:* cringe-worthy early game things not includedChatbot Stuff
I attempted to write multiple chatbots, ranging from random output over pattern matching to replicating previously heard phrases and modifying them slightly. The results were never that great, but it was fun enough and at one point, I sent some of the prototypes into random IRC chatrooms and observed how users would react. Ironically, the one with the highest rate of success (i.e. being perceived as a human for the longest time, like, about a minute) was one that just put out random pre-defined trash phrases and put in some names.Ants
A visualization of a certain aspect of swarm / group behavior of ant colonies, because I wanted to show my biology course an example of how a simple set of rules (4-5) would lead to complex behavior (forming a continuous path to food and optimizing it for shortest length). It worked, but also consumed easily 95% of the time I needed to prepare a talk on swarm / group behavior in general, so that kind of backfired on the time management part.Evolution Stuff
Various attempts at coding "life simulations", mostly starring bacteria. Each had a genetic code with random mutations over time, and the most successful genome was tracked. The first version's genome simply had some predefined properties that would change, while the second version was more like (I'll just borrow some terminology here) a "byte code" that would be executed in a "virtual machine". Veeery limited and not by far as cool as it may sound. It was fun for a while and I spent hours just watching that tiny "evolution" that took place, but abandoned the project when I concluded that it simply didn't have the capabilities to produce something I couldn't anticipate or "cheat into existence" by providing an implementation shortcut for some behaviors.Random.. uhm.. stuff
A program that just put out entirely random 32x32 bitmaps, because young me got fascinated by the fact that, theoretically, you could see anything
on the output, like, whoa
. As you can imagine, the outcome was just endless streams of noise and I discarded the program soon after.
So.. summarizing this:Why?
Curiosity, I think?Was it successful?
Nope. It crashed and burned, but it was a lot of fun in the process.Still working on it?
Nah, it's over.
Allright, let's hear some more. Tell me about your crazy project graveyards