Archive for the 'Technology' Category Page 2 of 4

Is Life Still There?

Alright, now I understand the frustration of such a long period between updates, and yes, I may even feel your frustration, but there is a force much more sinister causing my actions (Or lack thereof). What force is this you may ask? Procrastination. Also World of Warcraft. Yes, it is the complete fault of procrastination and Blizzard that I have not blogged in ages, but here I am starting again.

My studies are going quite well, and now I am well into my third semester of a six semester course. I have a GPA of only 4.625 but a few more 5’s could change that pretty drastically. I would say that assignments have been the reason I have not updated my blog, but that would be lying as the assignments have been pretty light on, and the workload quite manageable. Along with blogging more regularly, I want to continue working on my portfolio website as that is something which I really want to keep up with and have around sooner rather than later. If you would like a look at the beta version I have at the moment, feel free to check it out here but please don’t be harsh.

As for something that has been going around and around in my head, I believe I am starting to think more philosophically due to some lecture material by Jane Turner and just general abundance of time to “Think”. I have started work on another webpage which will promote people to be open with information, and to really ponder some of those heavy questions. I am a Christian so my way of thinking might be completely different to some people, but I believe looking at the world in different ways is the only way to begin to understand how things around you change your world.

As for a gaming update: World of Warcraft. Yeah, I know, its old, but it is hella fun. I have only recently hit the level cap and so much more has opened up for me. My character is growing and so is my understanding of human interaction in a game world. Other games I have been playing are limited, but I have been spending some time with Need for Speed: Pro Street as I recently acquired a Logitech Dual Action gamepad.

Pro Street is the weakest Need For Speed game I have played in a number of years, possibly since Underground 2. It has moved from the “Free roam” mode to a new “set races and tracks” aesthetic. There are no police, no real opposition, and hardly any cut-scenes. If it weren’t for the graphics and compatibility with my gamepad I don’t think I would have played past the first two or three races. The graphics are amazing and the control of the cars is good. The selection of vehicles is similar to Carbon where you can select older “Muscle” cars or newer cars, both of which have their advantages.

Something else which has been keeping me occupied is my new phone. I had a Motorola V3X which I picked up second hand for a little over $100, and I truly loathed that phone. After my girlfriend got a Nokia 7500 off eBay, I decided it was my turn, so after some quick shopping around I found that I could get a Nokia 6110 Navigator with built in GPS for a little over $500 (and convinced mum to pay for most of it). I love my little phone, and it can even tell me where to go. The only thing I find slightly annoying is the buttons, as they are just a wee-tad too small for my fingers. As for features, it has everything except Wireless LAN, which is ok by me since I have my laptop. It would have been cool blogging from the mobile, but at least I won’t get lost and die somewhere ’cause I’m too lazy to read a “RL* Map”.

In other news, not much is happening in my life at the moment, I am spending lots of time with my girlfriend and playing plenty of games. Uni is taking a small chunk of my time, which is ok, cause eventually I will be rich cause of it! Hope to talk to you again soon!

Peace Out,

Resting and Results

Once again I haven’t been blogging for a while, but that doesn’t mean I have been doing nothing. For the most part I have been finishing up uni for the year, and taking a seriously needed break from everything. My results were quite acceptable, accomplishing a 4, two 5’s and a 6 for my favourite class.

As for my aforementioned portfolio website, progress is slow. After exams and assignments finished, I began work on a project with some of my friends. We planned on making a Neverwinter Nights 2 module, but progress on that has been really slow too.

About a week ago I purchased Unreal Tournament 3 Collector’s Edition which had an unexpected surprise. On the bonus DVD was about 2 hours or more of video tutorials showing how to make levels in the included editor. I have always wanted to make first person shooter maps as this is my favourite style of game, but I had always found the learning curve too steep without having some form of tutorial. The video tutorials included were perfect. They detailed everything from construction of the map, to filling it with meshes, lights, navigation and effects. I have begun work on some of my own maps and hopefully will get them up on my portfolio page soonish.

Something else exciting coming up is DorLan. Only 1 month to go. Although I am not totally sure on the turnout just yet, I do know that there will be a few people there, and I will be there. That’s the most important thing. Of course the game of choice this time will be Unreal Tournament 3, because it is just awesome. Also, I have someone brining some Gigabit switches which will help, and having 2.5 terabytes of disk can’t hurt.

Anyway, that’s about it for now.
Watch out for Manbearpig!


Vista Vitality

As everyone knows, Windows Vista is the latest and “Greatest” operating system released by the software giant Microsoft. Yet no businesses have adopted it yet, and barely anyone knows exactly what it can do or how it can do it. Not to mention the hardware requirements. Why is Vista so poorly marketed? For that matter, why are the Intel Core2’s poorly marketed?

The answer is simple. If they told everyone what it could do, people wouldn’t buy it because they would feel stupid. In today’s high technology, sushi and innovation-full world, almost no one understands the bigger picture. People think computers just work because some geek told them too, and they pay those geeks to fix their computers every 10 minutes because they keep breaking down.

A computer isn’t really all that intricate to understand. Basic principles (not “this is a computer”) would help people diagnose problems so much quicker than no learning at all. If the government put up free computer classes in basic hardware and software “understanding” then people would be more creative, more productive and heaps less noob. Yeah I said it. As a bit of a case study I have been slowly teaching my girlfriend about the inside workings of a computer, and she has begun to understand applications and even hardware better, leading to better output using a machine.

With OS’s coming out like vista, boasting increased user-friendly-ness, it makes the everyday person even less compelled to take the lid off their computer and blow out the dust. Why bother, when for $50 someone else can do it for me? Knowledge for the sake of knowing. Understanding what things can do helps use things, helps fix things, then you can teach your friends and then the whole world knows it. Then people can stop worrying about making User-friendly operating systems and start making stuff that people want. Windows Media Center? HELL NO!


Back from the Non-living!

It seems like forever since I have blogged. I guess it has been a while. I have been bogged down with uber amounts of assignments (like 2!!!), the it04 site taking off, and generally being busy. I want to change that though with a comeback post. What is going to be in this comeback post you ask? Well, truthfully, not much. But it will start me blogging again! Yaaay!

Anyway, if you haven’t heard, Bioshock has been released and many people say it is awesome. I say yeah, it is awesome, but it is also generic. What does it offer gaming culture apart from some new jokes? The plasmids are not that great, the weapons are just that, weapons, and the storyline… well it has an interesting idea, even if it is completely implausible. Alright, it is a good game, which I am sure to spend a few more hours finishing and then replaying, but it just isn’t the HL2 killer everyone thought it would be.

With my new rig fully operational (scoring 10500 3Dmark06 marks) I am able to play it on high, and marvel at the graphical goodness. Because I am waiting for Vista SP1 before upgrading, I will leave judging the graphics entirely until I have played it DX10. But we all know graphics don’t make the game.

In one of my more interesting classes this semester (KIB202 – Enabling Immersion) I have been tasked with creating a MUD (Multi-user Dungeon). This is a group task which we will be undertaking soon enough. After talking to the lecturer I have decided that this task will be best completed in entirely text, without any fancy “flash” foolery, or very many artistic depictions. Knowing the people that I am working with, I know that this will be an excellent venture into the linguistic side of everyone. Who doesn’t love reading a good book, or even better, reading a good “pick your own story”?

Some other things that I am getting involved in soon are a Neverwinter Nights 2 Module (details TBA) and possibly building up a new computer for my girlfriend on a budget! I love bargain shopping.

One of these days I promise I will update my uni page with all of the subjects I am doing this semester, but until then please check out the IT04 forum for all the latest goss, glam and gaming celebs (heh, by that I mean arguments about ATI, Nvidia and everything else geeky).

I’m out.

Modding a Community

Modifications for games are some of the most interesting, innovative and often inspiring pieces of software that are on the web (Usually for free). They range from making a gun in Quake 3 look like Yoda, to an entire “Total conversion” making the game completely different, with a new story, new models, new quests, new everything. Modding is a community based hobby, which has made some people very rich.

This rant is about two things; the fact that mods are awesome, and the fact that some companies are exploiting them.

Do you remember the days when a new version of counter-strike would come out, and you would have to wait another 8 hours for the 150mb file to download on your dialup connection, because all those internet servers with amazingly fast internet already have it downloaded? I sure do, and I miss them greatly. Valve, after all, are a good company, in that they have released some good games, and they know what the market needs. But buying off modders and selling their content for profit? Is it just me, or is that low.

The latest victim that I am aware of is Garry Newman, creator of Garry’s Mod which is now for sale through the steam shop for $9.95 or something. Why? I don’t know why. All I know is that it is stupid how we have to pay for stuff like Team Fortress 2, Day of Defeat Source, Counter-strike Source and even the HL2: EP1+2. I realise that episodic games can cost, but they are a little expensive for 4 hours of gameplay. How greedy are they?

Anyway, some friends and I have decided that we are going to use the Neverwinter Nights 2 toolset to make a module for that, so we can have something to show sooner, rather than later. This will take a fair bit of planning as we don’t want to do something small. It’s going to be grand. 5 or 6 person production grand! I am thinking about using it as my other project. That may be a good idea…