Thursday, 24 January 2013

Thursday Not Friday

Lee, It's Not Friday!

I have corrected myself about four time today. I keep thinking it's Friday, when it's actually definitely Thursday!  I have some important things to do Friday and this might be why I want it to be here so I can get on with it. One of the things I have to do as a head developer type bod is to prepare estimates for future projects, and Friday is one such day. It is one of those jobs that has far reaching implications, and in this case asks me to accurately predict how long a project will take, and projects can take months. It's like throwing a snooker ball across a football field and predicting how many centimetres it will go before you throw it. Only experience in both throwing and judging distances can you ever hope you get something that bears any resemblance to the outcome.  Friday afternoon, I throw about five snooker balls and bet the bank I know precisely where they're going to land!

Room With A View

Thought I would take a photo of my lovely Welsh view so you can see what I see every day (on those days I working in daylight):

Somewhere in Wales

It's nice compensation for not being able to Ski this year. Those mountains are very much like the ones you see when you're dropped off the ski lift and look out over the vista you are about to plummet. I might arrange the next TGC convention so we meet in the Alps and combine a meeting of minds with huge amounts of skiing and beer.

Fun Times Ahead

I probably should not mention this, so I am going to use evasion and cryptographic speech to tell you anyway. You will only know what I am talking about later on, when you read more blogs. Something arrived on my door step and it was very big. I opened it and it was smaller than very big. I plugged it in, and lo, it was good. Very good. Stonkingly, ziffingly, smagdogglingly good! And better. It's also got very little to do with anything I have blogged thus far this year, and I will be able to reveal more and all in February when it will make a whole lot more sense.  All I can say is that every fibre of my being is being restrained from playing with said object so I can remain professionally focused on my real job and because this exciting item has been confined to the weekend and dare not look upon it during the week.  Be excited!

DGS - A New Master

Another day, another master, this time the Dark Game Studio gets a few tweaks, ready for a UK release later this year. I had to change a few things around so it would work better on Windows 7 and 8, which included changes to DBP and FPSC Free installers. This of course meant making NEW installers. The original DVD was mastered in 2008, so you can imagine it was tense for a moment as to whether any of it would work on the frontier OS that is Windows 8. The good news is that thanks to my work with Vista, the DVD pre-warns users of the ADMIN and UAC requirements, and with a few text tweaks was good to go.  Spend most of the day testing on Windows 8 and Windows XP so should be good to send out test masters to various eager beavers.

AGK Project B Hand Over

Another good bit of news is that Dave, one of TGC's top coders, has successfully integrated himself into one of my former AGK projects which means I have more time in the Reloaded camp.  I will still have a finger in the pie for some time, but Dave has made the transition very smooth to such a degree I have no doubts or concerns about the future of the project in question. Sorry I cannot use titles for these mysterious AGK projects, but they are either under NDA or in a pre-release state and can only be revealed when the marketing for the titles kicks in later this year.

Monster Hardware Thoughts

One of my hard drives just melted on my test machine today, just disappeared, just like that. The cheek!  My hard drives do not get holidays, that's the rule.  Fortunately it only stored backups of backups, but it does represent one level of redundancy down the drain, so I need to open up the machine and swap out the dud (if I can figure out which HDD it is, they all look the same).

As I contemplate opening up the PC, it occurs that I have not built a PC since my current one was over-clocked which was about two years ago.  It further occurs that my processor must be two years old and my overall architecture a little dated. It does the job very well but there is no harm in having a faster system for 2013 is there?  Would make a cool series of blogs too, especially for those of you who are unfamiliar with ripping a machine down to it's wires and building it up from scratch.  My preference is always to go for fast and silence, air cooled not water blocks, super fast drives and chillingly powerful GPU, over-sized power supply and easy access case. No flashing lights and no colour co-ordination. It is usually a machine designed to be the ideal development machine rather than the bell of the ball at the next frag-fest.

I've had a look to see if there are any developer discounts floating around but the processor I have my eye on is $999 which pretty much ends that line of enquiry.  That's not the PC, that's just the tiny little chip in the middle of it all. The other costly components are the motherboard, memory, graphics card and power supply. I will likely relegate my main machine to the new test machine, and use the test machines case (identical to the main machine) as the housing for my next monster creation.  It's not just the cost, but the time it will take to build and re-install my life onto, so the timing has to be right also. My favourite store for buying bits is Overclockers as their site seems to be designed around the needs of the PC builder, and sometimes compile a special "motherboard + processor + memory" pack which they have tested in-house for stability, compatibility and rock star qualities.  The more I type, the more I think I will jump to the overclockers site now to see what they have. It's 6:30PM now and my DGS DVD tests are all but complete, so I think I might have a wonder :)

Signing Off

Been a few days since I played an FPS game so there is a danger I will slip back into the old funny-duddy mindset. I have a nice pile of them now, so if Friday goes well I might reward myself with a few hours of Borderlands 2, and check out these amazing customisable weapons I have heard about :)


  1. Your life is in full swing.
    Sorry to hear about your HDD lost.
    I'm intrigued by what's coming soon. I can throw a guess that its new console, but I'm 99.9% sure I'm wrong on this one.
    By the way, wonderful view. I wish I would've have landscape like this, but all I have is just snow, snow, snow and snow. Oh, and snow. Tons of snow. And it's freezing.

    Have a nice weekend and rest with a good games.

  2. Lee, since it looks like you live in rural Wales, I wonder hows your internet connection? Do you have a fibre? I think UK could do a bit of an improvement as less than 40% of population has access to high-speed internet and in digital age that's unacceptable.

  3. I tie little bits of paper containing a string of ones and zeros to a sheep's leg and throw stones at it until it heads in the right direction. Took me seven weeks to send this reply!

  4. Hmmm... "smaller than very big"

    Steam's Piston PC perhaps...?

  5. Well, before I have anymore comments I have to say that I just got my Borderlands Game of the Year Edition. I'm here in the states and guess where I got it. Yup, the UK for only $14.00 US. They sent it airmail and I can hardly believe that. I sure wouldn't have. What intrigues me is what it says on the back of the box. "Action RPG Meets First Person Shooter." Excited about playing it. Maybe I'll see what I can do to enhance my RPG Mod. OK enough of being way off topic.

  6. I was going to say that someone sent Lee one of those Virtual environment goggles he was talking about in an earlier blog. Could be wrong though. ;)

  7. There ain't nothing like building a spanking new system. I know it always puts me in a mindset to get some work done. I build mine last spring with an Ivy Bridge chip, 16gb ram, and a GTX680. I was determined to get that 680, I refreshed Newegg constantly for 2 days straight until one came in stock!

  8. The 680 is still expensive (especially when I used to get them for free when I worked closely with NVIDIA and ATI). I have decided to buy the 660 to keep the Reloaded graphics engine honest (if I got a top card, I would keeping adding to the shaders. With the 660, when it starts to slow down I know to stop).

  9. Loved the pic. Made me think of home. I used to live in North Wales in a little village called Hawarden. Now I live in Peterborough and the land is ironed flat. I miss seeing hills and any other form of landscape.