13/12/2014 – A Suggestion For VR Developers

Although this is probably brought on from the amount of Sword Art Online I’ve watched recently (It’s not a good show regardless), there is an aspect of VR Gaming which worries me.

It’s no secret that imbeciles have somehow managed to die while playing video games for an absurd amount of hours, and I can’t help but feel VR isn’t going to help. Now the obvious solution to this problem is to force the user out of the game and take a break. I know it’s not a well liked solution to this problem, but a forced reality check every 8 hours or so is probably the only way to get people to stop.

I’m not saying we limit their daily playtime or anything. I know the Chinese government implemented time restrictions on certain games, but this is slightly different. You should be able to go back and keep playing. It’s more like one of those things of “Hey stop, get some food, drink something, and use the bathroom; then come back”.

To be honest, most people probably wouldn’t notice. I’m pretty sure only the dedicatedly stupid can play a game for more than 8 hours without even a bathroom break or food. But it is certainly something to think about.

And this goes without saying, although SAO seems like a cool concept, don’t actually implement a system where the headset kills your players.

I’ll make another post once this semester is over with. So probably a week or two from now.

-Adam

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08/11/2014 – Some Advice

The past version of yourself is probably a bigger dick than your current self, thanks in part to giving you a lot more work to do now instead of doing it earlier.

Anyway, I’m catching up at least. Figuring out AI pathing is actually more fun than I thought it would be, but trying to get it working with the rest of the game engine is going to be difficult.

Lastly, you should buy Freedom Wars. It’s fun, and has some cool concepts.

-Adam

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13/10/2014 – Virus Riddled Music Visualizer

So I’m sick. I’ve been sick since August and coming back to Hull I got even sicker. The problem is that it’s no more than a common cold, although I had flu this weekend. On top of this, despite only having a week’s worth of classes, I’m slightly behind on work.

Now let me tell you an interesting story. I have never programmed a music visualizer, or done any real sound engineering. So doing a music visualizer as my 3rd year is probably the smartest thing I could probably do. But that’s not the point. When starting off my research I decided to look for FFT libraries in C# that would help me build this thing, and I found a few, and figured “I’ll keep these saved until later once I get closer the the year starting” (This was around July). Upon coming back and doing more research, I find out that the libraries are old and will not do the task.

From there I looked at more common audio libraries like FMOD. New problem; not in C#.

And then, like a fucking fish in the face; during one of my lectures last week, the lecturer mentions that OpenTK (OpenGL wrapper for C# and the graphics library PlayStation Mobile uses) has a bunch of audio tools as an add on from OpenAL (The audio library stuff from old OpenGL – 1.1-ish). So here I am, stunned, that the thing I wanted to get was right there in front of me this whole fucking time, and I wasted several days of my life looking for shit I already had.

Fuck this shit sometimes.

Anyway, my first week was alright. Even if I am down with the sickness.

OOOO-WA-AH-AH-AH!

In completely unrelated news, this laptop I’ve had for about a year is apparently a toaster. Opening up multiple Chrome tabs seems to push the CPU towards the highend, and most 3D games released 8 years ago struggle to get an ideal framerate on this thing. Even low-end Unity games have issues. So I ordered an ITX PC. I should have it within a week or so, but there might be a problem with the order.

Anyway, see you later.

-Adam

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ADMAN’s Den – 09/08/2014: Life with a 144Hz Monitor, WiiU & PS4 thoughts.

144Hz

A monitor like this has been something I’ve wanted for about a year or so. Since hearing John Carmack’s Keynote at QuakeCon when he talked about the benefits of a 120Hz monitor and how it significantly improved response rate. Finally, I managed to find one for less than £200 from a well-known brand. It’s a AOC G2460FQ.

First problem with it, it comes with a HDMI cable, however the cable is not cable of doing anything over 60Hz. Secondly, I had to purchase a new DVI cable to actually get it working properly. Once both of those issues were taken care of, I noticed an immediate difference in moment from the mouse alone. It’s incredibly smooth. I have two monitors, and the other is my old main 60Hz monitor from Acer. So I notice the difference quite clearly. Mouse moment is significantly choppier and stiff by comparison.

As for games.. I haven’t really been playing anything that takes full effect of it yet. I was tempted to try GRID Autosport, but I didn’t feel like playing it. I did play a lot of Deus Ex Human Revolution, and I can certainly say it seems smoother in parts.

Other than that, with adjusted options, this monitor is on-par visual wise with my old main, which was already an excellent monitor in regards to the contrast ratio and colour output. I still think my old one looks shaper, but the colours are less vivid.

All in all, I really like this monitor. Maybe I should boot up Quake.

WiiU

Let me be honest, outside of Uni and the other crap I’ve been doing, the reason I put off giving my impressions of this thing for so long is because I haven’t had much to play on it outside of Wii games. I mean I fucking love the fact that it is backwards compatible, but still.

Although I should start off with that. It is basically a Wii when it comes to backward compatibility. Wait no, it is a Wii. It’s not emulating it, it is one. Anyway, any Wii game works and all the controller stuff works fine (Except GameCube stuff, but I don’t have any of that). Only thing I wish it would do is have some filtering options, better scaling, and maybe some AA. Other than that, everything looks fine.

In terms of actual WiiU games, I’ve only got 4:

  • Windwaker HD
  • Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
  • Wonderful 101
  • Mario Kart 8

Windwaker looks pretty good and runs perfectly. Wonderful 101 has it’s charms and barely ever drops below 60FPS. Mario Kart 8 looks really good, but that’s probably more to do with the art style choice of the tracks than actual graphical ability. It does the job. No, it’s a fucking power-house, but the games I have look and run perfectly fine.

One thing I ended up doing on it was using it to watch stuff on YouTube and Amazon Instant Video, along with other things in the browser. The web browser is pretty fucking impressive, and is easily the best web browser I’ve used on a console. As for Amazon Instant Video, it woks, but the UI can be kind of choppy at times.

Frankly, that’s my one major complaint about the system, the load times on the menus for fucking dreadful. I’m sometimes sitting there for a good 10-20 seconds waiting for thing to load, and this is after all the patches. I know there’s one released super-recently which might improve it more, but I haven’t installed it yet.

On a final note, MiiVerse is a cool idea. Too bad no-one gives a damn about it.

SoVeryLonely

Look at all these friends I don’t have.

Overall, it’s not a bad console to be honest. The things it does well are enough to justify it. Backwards compatibility are a good selling point seeing as you’ll probably want to check out the few JRPGs the Wii had. And the games it currently has work fine and are fun. It’s a good console. Also, the Pro Controller is pretty damn good and has an insane battery life.

PS4

Now that you’ve skipped ahead to the point you actually want to read, let me tell you about the PlayStation 4.

It’s shit.

Nah, just kidding. But there is more promised potential than it actually has features right now. Games wise, I’ve got MGSV Ground Zeroes and InFAMOUS Second Son on disc, and Resogun as a downloadable title. I have more download stuff, but it’s the only one I’ve played. Anyway, I’m satisfied with graphics improvement that the PS4 offers. It’s not amazing, but it is an improvement. What I’m most looking forward to is a heavier use of custom shaders to get some cool effects. However, the problem InFAMOUS and MGS have is draw distance. InFAMOUS has some really bad moments where the other end of a street can look untextured and blurry. I kind of expected it though.

Another thing I hope for is more photo modes like InFAMOUS, look at these:

inFAMOUS™ Second Son_20140708141659 inFAMOUS™ Second Son_20140708010456 inFAMOUS™ Second Son_20140707175340 inFAMOUS™ Second Son_20140704201841

I’m not sure how many people agree with me, but I think that shit looks cool. Which brings me on my next point, the Share button.

Now, people like me have use for this thing because I like taking pretty screenshots of games or recording interesting moments. And while the screenshot feature works as intended, I’ve been having issues with the video stuff. Basically, it isn’t saving any videos whenever I press the button for first time booting up the console, so whenever I need it to work, it doesn’t. I’m not sure if anyone else has this problem, but it annoys the shit out of me. Another thing, the quality when streaming from the console is awful, even with HD selected. Frankly, you should get a capture setup if you are actually serious about streaming. It’s not like those are terribly expensive anyway.

I mentioned before how much I like the PS4 controller from a comfort perspective, but actually using it with a PS4, still the best controller out there right now. I don’t like the materials on the sticks, but other than that. From a functionality stand point, CAN DEVELOPERS STOP USING THE TRACKPAD FOR BOTH START AND SELECT FUNCTIONALITY? Fucking Hell. Use the options button for the Pause Menu, and the trackpad button for what used to be known as the “Select screen”, or “Map screen”, or whatever the fuck games used it for. MGS has this problem. Whenever I try to get the pause menu, he pulls up the I-Droid shit. But pressing options is just pause, and no menu. Why would you do that? Holy shit.

Another thing, let me decide if I want sounds coming out my controller or not, don’t force them on by default. The only way to get around it in InFAMOUS is to stick headphones in. As for the lightbar, well I usually sit with my legs crossed, leaning back into the chair, so my legs block the light from the controller glaring the screen. Even still, the light from my window gives a more significant glare than the controller does.

Vita Remote Play works for the most part. I tried a little bit of InFAMOUS and it seemed to work fine, give or take 50ms or so of latency. You just have to be careful of the connection. I lost connection while using my Vita, and the game no longer registered regular controller input, the console then had a hard crash which required me to unplug it because it wouldn’t turn off via the switch.

Applications like the PSN Store and Amazon Instant Video are much smoother on the PS4 than they were on the PS3. Especially the former. Trying to use the store on PS3 is a nightmare. It’s slow and really unresponsive at times.

Miscellaneous things like friends lists, profile view, and trophy lists have been improved in various ways, mostly from a UI perspective.

Overall, there are a lot of things I still want, mostly MP3 support and custom backgrounds. But for what’s there now… It’s good, but I wouldn’t recommend buying one unless you really want to play something on it RIGHT NOW.

I would usually talk about anime stuff now, but it’s been so long since I did this type of blog that it would take a really long time. So instead here’s a link to my MAL account. It should give you an idea of what I’ve been watching lately. If there’s anything specific I feel like talking about, I might post about it.

Only anime related thing I feel like talking about in any sense is Monogatari. To which I say; I looking forward to Hana next week.

Later

-Adam

 

 

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31/07/2014 – Summer So Far

As I thought would happen, I’m going to have to do two resits later in August. I’m not surprised, I’ll just have to manage my time better.

In terms of projects, there’s two I’m working on. One is a music visualizer, which I’m doing for my dissertation next year, and the other is a instant messaging program that doesn’t suck. For the former, I’m currently in the process of getting my head around FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) which I’m using to get the frequency of sound every 20ms or so, and then producing that as an image on screen. I haven’t done much in the way of note taking so far, but I have found a library for it which I might use to save time on development.

As for the instant messaging program, I’m more or less doing it as a test for more networking stuff. I never got my head around it as much as I would have wanted, so I figured doing more stuff on it would help. I’m still figuring how much stuff I want to put into it for the prototype. I’ll definitely give an update later on once I start making some more progress. The more worrying thing about it at the moment which I haven’t looked into is security. That should be fun.

In terms of other things, I’m working my way through my Gaming Backlog. Currently jumping between Deus Ex Human Revolution DX, Yakuza 3, and Ni No Kuni. Although recently Tabletop Simulator became available, and I’ve been looking forward to trying that for a while. Somewhat related, I bought a 144Hz monitor, and it is fucking sweet. Everything is super smooth now. I might boot up Quake Live and see if it makes a difference.

I also played some stuff on my PS4, so I might give some impressions on that console at some point, along with the WiiU which I promised to do ages ago.

On a sadder note, MGC is shutting down. I will probably archive the History of MPU stuff on this site. The podcast will stay up though, but I’ll rename it with MoA stuff in mind. The Steam group is also unaffected.

It’s a very sad thing to close down something that a long line of people have kept alive over the years, and it was fucking awesome talking to every one from MPU, and helping start MGC. I wasn’t there for MPC, but everything about it sounded great, and speaking to the people who have stuck around since that time gave me a lot of perspective on the whole thing. But everything must come to an end.

That’s it for now. See you when I see you.

-Adam

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06/06/2014 – You Should Listen To The Pillows

It really has been a while since my last post. Fuck it, I’ll stop taking notice.

So yeah, I’m done with my exams and coursework for this year. It’s been tough. Last couple of weeks before the exams were a nightmare. Partly my fault though, I spent far too long trying to get my 3D coursework working that I neglected my other work. Unfortunately, I’m probably going to have to do a resit for at least one thing. That being Advanced Programming, which mostly consists of C++ work, which I had barely used until I decided to start my coursework. So yeah, that was great. If all goes well though, I should get my shit together properly for next year. I’m taking all my stuff back this Summer, so I’ll have less distractions.

I FINALLY MADE SOMETHING OF SOME POSSIBLE USE. I made a Magic Eight Ball program, which depending on what kind of life you live; may become useful. Personally, I’ve been using it to decide on what food to order.

I might have mentioned this before, but you should listen to The Pillows. They’re a really awesome Japanese rock band. I spent quite a bit of money getting a few of their albums. I’d embed an example, but my WordPress stuff is kinda fucked up right now. I’m probably going to rebuild it in the next few weeks after I get back home.

So about the Summer. Basically my plan, like last year, it is try and periodically make blog updates about things I’m working on. This year should actually work out seeing as I have coursework to do, but also have a good idea of software I want to make. So hopefully you’ll get something on that. Hopefully.

That’ll probably do it for now. I’ll make a games and anime focused post later next week or something. Also, E3 is happening, so look forward to that I guess.

Later.

-Adam

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21/02/2014 – “So, What’s The Craic?”

University life continues.  Exams have been out of the way for a while now, although I’ve never cared much about the results of those, seeing as I care more about what I’m learning versus some arbitrary number grade. But anyway, the second semester started and I’m looking more into networking, 3D graphics, and a continuation of AI. Prolog isn’t proving to be that bad yet, understanding recursion is probably the most difficult part, but once you’re past that, it’s relatively understandable. At least so far.

As for networking, understanding the theory of how that works is really interesting, learning a lot of the protocols, systems, and whatnot that we all take for granted. However the implementation networking through C# code has not been easy. I’ve had to ask for help from a friend of mine on multiple occasions. This is partly due to the pretty hideous layout of the coursework specification and non-explanation of what the fuck I am doing. Finally 3D graphics is OK. That one is sort of on the back-burner because of the networking coursework.

So how have I been? OK I guess. I really need to exercise more, and I was pretty sick a week or so ago. Actually oddly enough, I had a pretty awful nosebleed Thursday last week. Blew my nose after waking up and my hands were covered in blood. Not great.

As for things I’m working on… Well I guess I should write up my impressions of the WiiU at some point. I’m also working on a novel with a friend, it’s still early on that. And these days I’m playing “Bravely Default”, “Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc”, and a copy of “YS: Memories of Celceta” turned up this morning. I also had a good crack at the “Titanfall Beta”. It was fun.

Sorry about the 2-3 month gap, I honestly forgot about it and had quite a lot of stuff to do. Till next time I guess.

-Adam

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Global Game Jam – Photo Dump

I’m not really going to talk about the event, it happened nearly a month ago, but I’m posting what I took now. Sorry about being late.

2014-01-24 17.17.54

 

2014-01-24 23.48.02

2014-01-24 23.47.55

2014-01-24 23.48.09

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11/12/2013 – Humbug, and DualShock 4 Impressions.

The first semester is coming to a close. That JavaScript work I was talking about really was a pain in my arse, I very much doubt I passed that coursework. Luckily I can probably make up a good chunk of the marks on the exam.

But soon I will be going back home and enjoying the ownership of a WiiU, which I promise I will do some livestreaming with.

But anyway, the DualShock 4. Let me tell you something. Do you have a 360 controller for your PC?

You do? Well that thing is hot fucking trash compared to this thing.

The greatest improvement is the latency. Both the 360 controller and DS3 suffer from generally latent inputs, leading to sub-par responsiveness. This is amplified when you start using those things on the PC where the frame-rate and other performance improvements really point that shit out to you. This is not the case with the DS4, it is a very noticeable improvement from other devices, reacting very quickly to inputs.

Well I’ve been playing Assassin’s Creed IV with the DualShock 4 and I don’t think I can go back. The feel of it, the latency (As mentioned), the buttons, and the material used are just fantastic. And before you ask, yes, the analogue sticks are great too. I’m not one of those people that hated the sticks on the DS3, I actually preferred the looseness. But the slight tightened feel is good. The dead-zone for that stuff is not as atrocious as the 360 pad is, so that’s good. The only thing that kinda bugs me is the light-bar, but when using it on PC, it is never turned on (Except with the use of custom drivers).

If you want a replacement for the fucking crap that is the 360 pad, the DS4 is pretty great so far.

Yeah, pretty short this time. I’ll try and make a more significant post before I head back home for Xmas, or maybe I will do a quick write up on the WiiU. Whatever works.

Later.

-Adam

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20/11/2013 – I don’t like JavaScript very much, amongst other things.

So I’m two months into Uni at this point and coursework deadlines are approaching. I feel like I got back into the swing of things rather easily, probably due to a improved lecture timetable that doesn’t have huge gaps for no reason.

So since coming back I’ve been learning some new programming languages, notably C++, JavaScript, and Prolog. The last of which has been described to me numerous times as being “Bullshit fucking hard”. Oddly enough, it’s JavaScript I’m not particularly fond of at the moment. Following the class tutorials, this is what I have currently made:

JSwoek

Some of the image got cropped, but you get the point. To be fair, I am better at it now. Once I noticed that all the things in the scene can be dealt with as if they are objects makes it much easier to deal with.

C++ is pretty standard, the syntax is different and there’s a whole bunch of stuff to do with assembly; but the basic stuff is very similar. Of course, I’m getting beyond basic level stuff now.

Currently I’m getting coursework done and trying to set up a placement for next year.

As for everything else in my life that is going on, it’s getting cold and my general eating habits are not doing me any good. I’m trying to work on it.

Small gaming mention, I ordered a WiiU and that’s currently back home in Northern Ireland. So look forward to some streams of that. Speaking of streams, by upload-speed is actually worth a fuck now at the place I’m staying at, so I should start doing more streams soon.

And a small anime mention, I watched FLCL and it was awesome. Made me question why the Universe exists in the way it does at times with how fucking dumb it gets, but it is very entertaining. Sucks they only made 6 episodes.

That’s all you get for now. I’ll continue to try to post more, but no promises.

-Adam

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