Archive for the 'Technology' Category Page 3 of 4



Technological Consideration

As you may have heard, I have recently purchased myself a new computer. This beast set me back a fair bit, but I can assure you it was worth it. I have been unable to play some of the latest games and have been quite annoyed that technology was holding me back. Thus it is time for a blog on how much I don’t agree with that!

From the beginnings of technology, there has always been “upgrades”. New, pointier sticks to get food from in holes with, new steam engines with more power, new Morse-code style beeping devices, and of course, new computer parts. As most of you would know, the way it always seems to happen is you buy an upgrade, which seems great, until two weeks later something twice as fast is released for half the price. And then another month down the track all the games now require this new feature, so you have to go and shell out more money for something else.

Ok, maybe the timeframe there was a little skewed, but you get the picture. Why does gaming have to be so pointed at rich people? Most geeks don’t have that much money, and have to settle for “just gets the job done”. Quite frankly, I don’t think this is right. Games should be for everyone. Now I understand that games requiring windows to run won’t work on MS-DOS, but why do you need a Geforce6600 to run Neverwinter Nights 2? Something game companies will have to start thinking about is backward compatibility.

Why should someone have to spend heaps of money to enjoy something that everyone else is enjoying? Gaming is about enjoyment, not tech.

Games run with different graphic settings, and some games run well on any system while still looking good, but there is definitely a point where they are just unplayable. To cater to a wider audience (and to people who want to spend their money buying games, not the tech to run them) is going to take some ingenuity, even recreating games down to their core, but Valve seemed to do it pretty well. Half-life2 is very well known for the engine on which it was created, how damn good it looks and how well it runs on almost any computer. The minimum specs for this game are 1.2 GHz Processor, 256MB RAM, DirectX 7 level graphics card, Windows 2000/XP/ME/98, Mouse, Keyboard and a Internet Connection, which nearly everyone has.

More developers should start making games this way. They look amazing at high settings, but run just as well at low settings for playability. Because no one likes a game they can’t play.

Andrew Out.

Console vs. PC Rants

Personally, I am a computer guy. Consoles have just never really done anything for me because of the stupid thumb sticks and lack of buttons. Also, with consoles everything that you play has to be bought, and none of them are cheap. But beyond my rants, I think consoles have got one or two things right.

One thing: They never have to be upgraded. Consoles are some gamers’ choice because you don’t have to put $1500 into them every 2 years to stay up to date. This is both a good and a bad thing because although everything runs perfectly, it runs perfectly at whatever quality the unit is capable of. As new consoles come out (X360 or PS3) the quality gets better, but do either of those consoles know what is one, or even two years down the technology track? They will be as old as the PS2 in a few years.

Two Thing: They are stable. Although consoles have maybe a 10th of the computers over all usefulness, they are maybe 10 times less likely to break down. Computers are amazing, with so many different brands for different parts which all essentially do the same thing, but this brings up compatibility issues. Older software with newer computers, newer software with older computers, the list goes on. Consoles have maybe 2 or 3 versions with different sized hard drives, and that’s it. A lot less room for screw ups, unlike the PC.

I own an Xbox but that is only because it was a present, and a cheap present at that. I enjoy playing with it every now and then, but my main gaming addiction will always be satisfied by my computer, which I have just purchased an upgrade for. Yes, this is exactly why I am writing this, but I believe it was $1500 well spent. My next blog will most likely be my upgrade, which I will take photos of the whole way though.

See you then!
Andrew

Computer Game Fences, Boundaries and Potholes

The first video game was called “Tennis for Two”, and used some rudimentary technology to emulate a game of tennis. Games made using technology which was not designed for them have to be some of the most innovative and interesting games ever. Ever since companies have been making engines, and tools to use them, games have become more and more key holed. How can you make something new, never before seen if the technology you are using has been used before for other games and will be used again.

Game genres, such as FPS (First Person Shooter) or RPG (Roll Playing Game) are so old that even “new” games have the same feel, the same game play, and most likely even a very similar storyline. I believe that for the game industry to really move forward there will have to be a number of games released which break these boxes which all games fit into, and set new limits to what people can do with code and pixels.

If we are to move out of these boxes, we will have to change our perception of video games, and also of reality. Games are steeped in reality and only represent an alternate version of what we know as the world, or space, or things which we are familiar with. What if games made their own rules? Gravity? Who needs it! Physics? Invert it! Time… now time, that could be really interesting.

User interfaces to games are set only by technology, and availability. At the present time, people only have access to a keyboard, mouse and possibly a joystick, steering wheel or game pad. Some new technology which is being released within the next few years will be surface technology.
This is an interesting development which is a touch screen, which allows multiple touches at the same time. This can allow multiple users to use multiple fingers to interact with it. This opens up a few game development ideas.

Another advancement which has been released into the public was the Nintendo Wii, which uses motion sensing to help the user interact with the console. A number of games have used this to their advantage, opening up new gaming ideas and giving the industry a bit of refreshment. But I don’t believe that there will be a big advancement for a while.

Just wait it out for Virtual Reality!

Andrew

Case Modification 1: Switches

After my recent purchase of a Soundblaster X-Fi Platinum the door on my case which has the power lights and covers my drives is unable to shut. The volume knobs on the I/O panel stick out to far. This has made me consider some things which I have not considered before. My case has a window, with a fan (80mm, red LED’s), a coloured rear exhaust fan (120mm, Orange and Green LED’s) which is not too bright, but doesn’t suit, a foot-long red Cold Cathode tube which I procured the other day, and a few other little lights. These can be quite annoying when you are trying to sleep.

This is why I have decided I am going to create a switch panel for my peripherals using a blank 5.25″ drive bay cover. I have purchased 6 on – on switches from Jaycar, a female Molex connector, and 6 male Molex connectors. Tomorrow I am going over to my father’s house to borrow his soldering iron, and I will whip it up after work.

I also have some plans for changing the door of my case so that I can shut it. That will be another time though.

Monday will be my first day back at uni, so we will see how that goes.

Blog at you later,
Andrew

Semester Two, Two Thousand and Seven

This previous week has been incredibly busy for me. I apologize for my lack of blogs, but I have been non-stop from the late AM’s when I usually drag myself out of bed into the early AM’s when I find myself falling asleep. A lot has happened since my last post.

First of all, I have been trying to work out my uni timetable for this semester. It isn’t looking good. So far I have a single class on Monday, a single class on Tuesday, Wednesday 9 till 12, Thursday 8 – 4, with an hours break and possibly a class I will have to move to Friday, making that a single class. Although the timetable sucks, the subjects are looking quite interesting.

DEB201 – Digital Communication
ITB751 – Games Production
KIB202 – Enabling Immersion
KMB105 – Music And Sound Technology

These will all have their own respective pages, which will most likely be upkept while I am in those classes. (I will add links as they go up) The worst part about this selection is that KIB202 and KMB105 are on the Kelvin Grove campus, and DEB201 and ITB751 are at Gardens Point campus. This means that there will be even more traveling for me to get from one place to another.

I am not sure if this has any way around it, but I am sure that this course should have been planned a little better, so students didn’t have to go from one campus to another. Because I have chosen the Game Design major, I will be spending quite a bit of time at Kelvin Grove.

But anyway, Something else I have been doing is playing Paintball! (Or skirmish, whatever you wish to call it) I was invited to a mate’s 18th which was there a few months ago, and loved it, so I organized for me and 9 mates to go again last Sunday. Good times. Not as many bruises as last time, and my legs are not as sore, but definitely still very enjoyable.

On the technology side of my life, I purchased a Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum which has very quickly become my new best friend. I was considering only getting the Xtreme-music edition, but for an extra $80 or so, the Platinum came with the X-Fi I/O panel with a 6mm headphone jack (perfect for my new headphones!) and a remote control which works with Windows Media Player which is something I have wanted for ages.

The sound quality is amazing. Not a great lot of difference to the ear from my Audigy 2 ZS but the features… Oh the features! The 24-bit Crystallizer is my favorite, because you CAN hear the difference from having it on or off.

I am also considering creating a Peripheral Switching Panel using one of my spare 5.25″ bays on the front of my case and some switches purchased from one Jaycar which has moved to Ipswich. I’ll let you know how that progresses.

Andrew