There comes a time in everyone’s life when their computer dies unexpectedly. To be honest, I should be glad I’ve lasted twenty-odd years of computing without it ever happening. Every machine I’ve discarded has been because I wanted more power, not because they were from life untimely ripped.
Alas, it happened a few weeks ago to dear old Helios (named for the AI in Deus Ex), about 4 and a half years into his projected 5 to 6 year lifespan. This is the story of his death… and his resurrection.
I’ve always been bound to the desktop, at least since the GameBoy gave way to the PC and all the delicious level editors it brought. I’ve flirted with cute netbooks once or twice, and while they have their uses as ultra-portable units they are also not very capable. I have never before owned a real laptop…
But with the most productive time of the year upon us, and family obligations looming that will drag me away from my studio and its brooding powerhouse Helios, I felt that it was at last time to equip myself with something that has a foot in both camps. Something capable, but still portable.
It took me until far too late to even conceive of the notion that one could travel to a gig rather than waiting for it to come to one’s home town (or not). The first time I did it was to see Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark’s special gig in the Museum of Liverpool, then I followed them to London for the truly stellar Royal Albert Hall performance of Dazzle Ships and Architecture & Morality (I even bought the T-shirt for that one!).
Now, I’ve done it again, albeit to a slightly more modest venue. This time, I followed my favourite Greek synth-pop duo Marsheaux to… Norwich.
Well, it’s 2016 now.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.
A few years ago now, I needed a computer for commuting work. A companion for the monolithic base-station, something that sacrificed power for portability. I bought a cute netbook and named it Astradyne.
Technology has moved on since then, though. Astradyne still works but is not quite quick enough for my increasingly impatient brain. Astradyne is light but surely not as light as an equivalent machine from this age of pocket rockets.
So I started looking around…
The main problem with my game development right now is that I’m just not clever enough to do the things that I’m trying to do. Bot obstacle avoidance is a very complex problem and, while parts of my approach are fine, the whole thing starts to wobble as I layer on more and more features.
Maybe it’ll all be fine in reality; my scratchpad level is, after all, festooned with obstacles deliberately placed to stress and confuse the system. Maybe once I build real patrol routes on real levels things will be much smoother.
I am beginning to wonder if I’m punching too far above my weight, though — and what will happen when I finally get knocked out.
I was going to play Wolfenstein: The New Order during January, but it requires a 10GB patch. Coincidentally, that is my entire month’s internet allowance. I discovered this after having used the internet at all this month.
So I decided to try Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor instead, which only (“only”) required a 3.9GB patch. This exhausted half my limit and put me down to emergency rations, sure, but I can cope… Except then I tried it and it was unplayable due to a cripplingly narrow field of view, so I’m down to emergency usage with nothing new to play…
(I’ll find a FoV hack sooner or later, there were other reasons that I bounced right off it too.)
Hence I needed to take a break with something completely and utterly offline, which is luckily a good chunk of my collection. Pretty much everything newer than about 5 years old is Steam-infested and so unplayable without enforced updates, so it’s a good thing I’ve got plenty of older games with patch executables neatly stacked away on an external hard drive…
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog, and I’ve decided to use this opportunity to
plug previous articles reflect on the goings on of this year…