Archive for the 'Technology' Category

True or False: Vista!

Just quietly, before we begin, small shout-out to Arvixe web hosting who are hosting my blog and stuff now! Thanks!

I have a question to pose. What was wrong with Windows Vista?

I had used Vista from Beta through to the other day when I finally upgrade to Windows 7 (because I wanted new technology like DX11) and never, ever had an issue with it as an operating system. My system specs were not amazing, nothing about my computer other than myself (being savvy) is different than one bought off the shelf anywhere else, and yet it ran flawlessly. And I am not the only one. I have built computers within prices ranging from $900 – $1600 for friends, installed Vista, and none of them have a problem with it either.

This leads me to believe that the problem has to be the setup of the operating system itself. Any computer enthusiast should understand that an operating system is just like any other program, and needs to have its options configured to how the user wants in order for the software to behave accordingly. This is a 5 minute job which changes the entire feel of Windows Vista for the better, and in my opinion, makes it more than “liveable”.

Admittedly, Vista was a long way from Windows XP in polish when it came out, and some features were a little annoying, but these could all be switched off (User Account Control – Bah!) There is only a marginal difference in RAM usage from Vista to 7 (both fresh installs, no upgrade) possibly 5 – 10% overall on my system with 4GB, and not a lot more on my laptop with 2GB. So alright, it does use slightly more, but then again, it does look a lot better than XP. If you don’t want it to look better, turn it off!

It seems to me, that because the “IT Professionals” preferred a little speed on older computers and were not used to the default setup of Vista, they took an instant dislike to it, and then wrote on their blogs about it. Then the people who don’t know as much about computers listened. And refused to buy it. And the sales crashed. And more blogs by people who know even less came out about how they don’t like it. And the internet wins again.

I don’t want to get too rant-y here, but let’s just see what the latest internet trends are… Tiger Woods (celebrity scandals! O noes!), New Moon (Teen Vamp movies…), Lady Gaga (Bad music…) and Avatar (The movie, I’m guessing). My point is that you cannot listen to the internet. The best bet would be to ask someone who LIKES Vista to tell you why, rather than someone who hates it. Admittedly, both opinions have their flaws, but why not hear both sides of the story?

I guess the point of this blog wasn’t to give you my opinion, but to help you understand everyone else’s. If you do still have vista and haven’t already followed the fanboy rush at the Windows 7 desk of your local JB HiFi then please, take my advice and do the following:

  1. Turn off User Account Control.
    This helps make the computer a smoother, less obtrusive instrument to get what you want done.
  2. Change your Security Centre settings to stop notifying you.
    This gets awfully tiring after a while. Personally I don’t run Anti-virus or anything so it will always alert you otherwise.
  3. Set Control Panel to Classic View.
    The best for people who are used to using Windows XP. It’s the same again!
  4. Set your Start Menu to Classic View and customise to your liking.
    Also suggest using small icons here. This is something I have always had until I upgraded to 7. No, you cannot do that in Windows 7, but you can make it a bit better…
  5. Set your desktop to Small Icons.
    Much cleaner for those with smaller monitors / laptops

There is a lot of other small tweaks that you can do, and I’m sure you can google those yourself.

In closing, please don’t judge before you try. You really can make Vista an acceptable operating system with just a few small changes here and there. It’s like OS Feng-shui. Or something.

Have fun,
Andrew

Fan-Dangle-d Tech-Knowl-Igy?

Just a quick one today, I feel like I want to share some information I have become privy to in the recent minutes. After deciding that I want to format Patrice’s Asus eeepc 900 and install Windows 7 Ultimate, I read a cool guide to do so here, which also points at a very nice Microsoft tutorial on Installing Windows 7 from a USB Drive. The only issue I have with this, is that I don’t want to use a USB key (I have an 80gb Portable 2.5″ HDD.)

This brings me to the issue of how do you format a hard drive to FAT32 (required to be able to boot from the disk). I had done this once before on my Vista setup, which took quite a long time and involved using a 3rd party app to format. Of course somewhere along the line I lost the application. After a quick Google I found The Answer very quickly.

Download the archive file from Here and extract it to an easy place to find (I recommend C:\) then follow these steps:

  1. Make sure your disk is connected
  2. hit Start / Run
  3. type “cmd”
  4. be very, VERY careful you know what disk you want to format
  5. type “c:\fat32format x:” (Where x: is your drive)
  6. once again, triple-check you have the right drive
  7. type “y” and press enter
  8. Don’t go have a cup of coffee. I dislike it when people that make lists and include those stupid items which are meant to be smart.
  9. That’s it. You now have a FAT32 formatted drive of any size!

Now there are a few things to remember, Due to the way FAT works, I would not suggest using it for a primary hard drive, or anything like that. It can get awfully clogged and tiresome to defragment. Also, people might laugh at you if they ever found out.

This trick is especially useful when running a large drive to play DivX or Xvid movies on your PS3 or USB-DVD player (completely legally, of course) as those devices only use FAT32 disks and USB drives. Also, when building USB Boot-drives for a netbook.

Other than that, I am considering getting one of These Puppies for myself, as I do not have a small laptop, my current one is large and cumbersome.

Keep “with it”,
Andrew

Trials and Tribulations

So, after a month of radio silence, I am back, spreading the love.

A fair bit has happened, such as my motherboard breaking, a car crash, and more game development issues, but that will come later.

First off. What is with web hosts? All I want is a good, reasonably priced, completely unlimited hosting service. Cause my host has kinda changed it’s pollicies and now I am going to be hit with a bunch of fees and charges I didn’t have previously. Gah.

A project I have been working on between uni and fixing my computer, known as BuildStik is coming along nicely. I am aiming to find a new host and run a type of mirroring service for all kinds of free applications, possibly even tutorials etc.

As for my computer screwing up, turns out my motherboard died, so I had to pick up a new one. Not that I am complaining. My new GA-EP45-DS5 kicks ass.

My final semester of higher education is cruising along at a scary pace. I only have 5 weeks left. Ahh! I am a little worried that i’m not going to get a job. And I really need a job to move out of my mum’s place. Embarrassing much?

The final game-design unit is coming together. We have had another team member drop out, so our group is down to three members. This makes it a little hard for us to get everything together, though we are kind of used to it by now.

On a less cool note i was involved in a car accident last saturday, but it wasn’t too bad. Just ruined my car. Gotta follow up on insurance. *sigh*

Anyway, gotta run.
Great chatting,
Andrew

Posted by Wordmobi

Next Best Thing

Ok, so i have been thinking about how we are going to make this game of ours interesting, and not a lot has been coming to me.

I read an article in the September PCPowerPlay about the original Duke Nukem, and how that was appealing to gamers at the time, and i just don’t think people are the same. All the choice people have in games today means that a good, but simple game will fall through the cracks, even if it has a small following.

Admitedly, we had this in mind from our research and have tried to compensate by including aspects from many different, yet compatible genre’s of games. Because we are developing a 2D platformer, we are incorporating other 2D games styles, such as shooter, puzzle and even some card games.

This being said, it’s still gonna take more than choice to get people interested. It’s going to take polish, and character development. Having a character that the players can relate to is something, but having a character that the player enjoys playing and wants to find out more about because of their smashed expectations is ideal.

We are developing Cyber Granny to do just that. Take what the player knows and understands and smash their perception. Even if it is of an old lady. Sticking to stereotypes helps inject humor into the game, like cups of tea as health powerups. Because what else would a crime-fighting, ninja-kicking 80year old woman want?

Level design has also been thought about. As we are having a frame-based game, and it is a platformer, we are going to endevour to get the map layout as non-linear and interesting as possible within the engine we are using. Giving the player multiple possible pathways and making them feel as if there is a bigger game than what they are experiencing is excellent for replayability.

On the whole, we are hoping that CG can really give us a helping hand into the industry, and possibly even give us a name!

Check back later for updates.
Andrew

Posted by Wordmobi

Final Farewell

Well, where to begin? I am back again at uni after a long break of about 8 weeks, and roaring to go (heh). I admit it has been a while (again) since I have blogged, but i’m not going to let that stop me!

During the break my old Nokia 6110 Navigator broke down, and I have a shiny new E71 with WordMobi for blogging. I hope this gives me reason enough to try keep it a little bit more up to date.

As for the education, I achieved two credit’s and two passes for last semester, which is very relieving, and I only have three subjects remaining.This semester I need to knuckle down and finish the game we (as a team) are developing.

In more personal notes, my engagement party was awesome, thanks to many peeps, and my beautiful fiance’ who organised most of it. We are chugging along happily towards marriage.

I know I am meant to blog about games and gaming, but of late my habits have been… Less than average. So when dev issues arrive with this game we are making, i’ll let you know.

That’s about it from me. I hope this one gets posted right..
Andrew

Posted by Wordmobi