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Blog 840: Robbie Enterprises Movie Company

When I was a teenager in secondary school, before I’d been suckered into Warcraft III modding, I dabbled in stop motion animation. I got Lego MindStorms not long after our first family PC, and maybe a year or two later, the Vision Command expansion pack. The LegoCam was just a Logitech QuickCam in sheep’s clothing, but since that clothing had proper, official Lego studs and was perfectly-sized, you could build it securely into a model.

Eventually the world moved on. Driver support for the LegoCam ended and all that obsolete tech was relegated to the cupboard. Until…

My parents recently cleaned out their attic. I once again have a Windows XP computer. Can I make it any more obvious?

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Blog 838: Third Build Lucky?

Managing old computers is hard; if it’s not one thing, it’s another. Last time, in order to fix blue-screen hard crashes in Starcraft and LEGO Rock Raiders, I got a very old graphics card, which required a very old motherboard (and a very old sound card, and some old RAM). Yes, a full rebuild.

The other week, I took a fancy to do a wee bit of Age of Empires II skirmishing… only to discover that it had started crashing on this build! Only to desktop, admittedly, but reliably and in a peculiar way suggestive of… other problems.

There was only one way this could end.

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Blog 821: Everything Eventually

My workplace recently started a scheme where they’d let total rando employees tell their “stories” through internal blog posts. Being the relentless shill and lover of blogging that I am, I reckoned that my story of bloody-minded solo game development was surely worth a pitch.

And they actually accepted! I’m quite pleased with the result, so I’m copy-pasting it here for posterity. So please, enjoy this more philosophical look at my journey from Warcraft III to Exon — but can you spot all the song references?

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Blog 800: Don’t Be Fooled By the Blogs That I Got

Eight hundred blog entries! My target is always about 1000 words per entry, so I’ve come even close to that average, that’s… a whole lotta words. I could have written a whole fantasy epic novel sequence instead! But writing novels takes a hell of a lot more effort than… organising your thoughts on a subject into a coherent and structured narrative… … Uh… shhhhhhhh!

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Blog 797: Who Wants To Be Dungeon Master?

I’ve been playing tabletop RPG Dungeons & Dragons (5th edition) regularly for a couple of years now, with a small group of close friends. We started with one of our number running a big long campaign, then when we got to level 20 (and after I’d finally cajoled him into letting us fight the Tarrasque), the next started his big campaign. About half-way through the first, we took a small break to play the published adventure Dragonheist. During this second campaign it… fell to me to provide the interlude adventure.

Picture the scene: a man who has dedicated his life to spending years meticulously crafting scenarios hosting an infinitely-responsive adventure with only a week between sessions for planning.

Sweat dripping emoji, as the old saying goes.

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Blog 792: Monument

I’m big into software preservation. I think it’s important to maintain access to things as they were, not as you remember them or as you wish they were — accept them as they were, warts and all, or judge them to overall be wanting and discard them on that basis. This is most relevant in the area of games, where lots of classics are now unplayable and only remasters of various stripes can be had. Whether it’s new graphics or gameplay tweaks, most re-releases don’t fix only the compatibility issues to get things running again — they make changes too. I’m not here to argue whether those changes are better or worse, simply that they make these games different.

Luckily, I still have my original CDs for a selection of classics. While I can’t run some of these original versions on Windows 7 or 10, I still have the media — given a system that could run them, their ancient truths could be unlocked once more.

So I have found a system that can run them. I have built… a new old computer.

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Blog 784: I Get Locked Down, But I Get Up Again?

It’s been a while since I last wrote anything, that’s for sure. Before I get to rambling about the reasons (excuses?) for that, here’s a new video of Exon: from starting the game to playing an Arena match to indulging in the side-questy exploration that will make up… the actual game. Some glimpses of the inventory, journal, shop windows and even a surprisingly seamless performance of the save/load system are included!

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