Tuesday, August 31, 2004

New Expert Minesweeper Score

266 :)

A Nation OF Courage

Imagine me watching the news and seeing Bush supporters waving signs reading "A Nation OF Courage." This makes me angry because America didn't attack Iraq or Afghanistan out of courageousness or because it was right, but because they where afraid, and impatient with normal diplomatic channels.

Just Silly.Net

If I do this:

Dim i as DateTime
i = #9/14/2004 1:00:00 PM#

That's good, but if I do this:

Dim i as DateTime
Dim x as String
x = "9/14/2004 1:00:00 PM"
i = CDate(x)

That's bad, because the CDate method reads my system default and recognises the date format as DD/MM/YYYY instead of the .Net standard of MM/DD/YYYY!!!

Monday, August 30, 2004

Evil Demo

I loved it, but it's only a small part of the game. I' am really looking forward to the full version (Oct 1st).

Tip: Since you are constantly under attack in the demo. Put your base on red alert and you won't need to tell your guys to defend the base.

Mirror Mirror Evil Genius Demo #2

If like me you have had a problem downloading from FileShack because of Internet Explorer's crappy downloader. You can now get it from FilePlanet too.

Mirror Mirror Evil Genius Demo

GameSpot was supposed to have exclusivity on this demo for a few hours, but now FileShack has it.

Evil Genius Demo Is OUT!

GameSpot has started distribution with their DLX system. And you can get if from that host Here, but if like me you can't get the stupid DLX thing to work, then we only have a couple of hours to wait. :)

Deus Ex3 Plot Continuation

There has been people discussing the new Deus Ex3 game and frankly I can't see how the plot will deal with the multiple endings of the second.

See in the first game you could either, join the Illuminati, merge with the big supercomputer or destroy the internet.

The second game added onto the first by saying that JC Denton eventually merged with the supercomputer and caused a global collapse of all technology. It's a bit flimsy, but there is a possible fit to all the endings.

Now at the end of the second game you can either join with JC and make the whole world think with one mind. Join with the Illuminati and continue as if nothing happened. Join the Templars and renounce all technology. Or kill everyone and allow the Omar to takeover the world, but ensure humanities survival into infinity by changing the race into cyborgs.

How the hell the plot of the third game is supposed to allow for everyone to change into cyborgs and discover new technologies, while denouncing all technologies and returning to a medieval like lifestyle is impossible. However I am sure the third game with whatever they do with the plot will be far better than the second because frankly the second game was crap, although I did enjoy it.

Steam Service Lockup

I thought Valve would be using some dedicated servers for the Half Life 2 preload, but it turns out they aren't, and so nobody can download Counter Strike or any of the other playable Steam games, because the servers are engaged uploading textures for a game nobody can play.

Edit: This was actually an error with my client, more Here.

Still No Demo

It's going to be one of those late night releases, I just know it.

Comedy Connections tonight (BBC1 10:55pm) is doing the complete history of Red Dwarf. Covering what all the actors and writers did previously before the show and what they are all doing now.

Still No Demo & Something Else We Have Been Waiting For

Just finished watching Jeepers Creepers 2. Not a bad film, but nothing amazing either. I think I preferred the first one.

There is a Thread over at 3DRelms with a history of Duke Nukem Forever developments. Started in 1997 and now scheduled for a 2005 release. During the DNF development lifecycle the two Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity were proposed, authorised, announced, designed, launched and successfully landed upon Mars.

Plus Thief, Thief 2 and Thief 3 where all developed and launched. That's an entire franchise! And the same goes for the entire Grand Theft Auto Series. So it had better be more than just a good game because they have had more than enough time to not only perfect it, but write a few sequels too.

No Demo Yet

I am so glad I didn't stay up waiting for it, because I would still be waiting. And without my twelve hours sleep.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Half Life 2 Gold Tomorrow

I thought this was fairly funny because Gabe Newell (Founder and Managing Director of Valve) was the one responsible for loosing the Half Life 2 sauce code last year by using the company network to check his public email account, with an unpatched version of Outlook (I know major stupid), but a couple of days ago there was a post by Gabe saying that HL2 would go gold Monday (tomorrow). The post was fake and that's because someone guessed his password. And that password was *drum roll* 'gaben'!!!!

As in Gabe (his first name) and N (the first letter of his last name). I am actually surprised that somebody didn't get the password sooner it's THAT dumb. For a secure password you need to use a combination of letters and random numbers for the password to be effective against wordlists and crackers (proper name for people gaining unauthorised access to systems, not the term hackers).

Maybe Gabe is going to make this an annual event because this is two years running, and anyway daddy wants a copy of Team Fortress 2.

Just Beat My Minesweeper Score :)

Just push my score down to 401 seconds on expert.

EA Challange Everything

If that's their slogan, why do they make so many half-hearted crap games!

Plan For Tomorrow

Find and play the Evil Genius Demo/Trial (officially it's referred to as a trial, but I think it will be just another demo).

Deus Ex Invisible War Mini Review

It is so easy to hate this game. The biggest annoyance for me thought the game was the loading times, but this is confounded by the fact the levels are so small. For example the last level in the game is Liberty island, (the first level from the original Deus Ex) and it has both been shrunk, and split in half! Plus you can't even explore the statues base anymore. So the levels are endanger of feeling claustrophobic.

There are only six weapons in the game, a pistol, shotgun, SMG, sniper rifle, rocket launcher and an experimental rifle that can shoot through walls. I suppose it's an ok selection, but you can now only apply two upgrade mods per weapon. There is also a good selection of grenades, but you don't have room for them in your inventory unless you upgrade your character's strength.

The personal upgrades for your character are a joke. You get to pick five from things like health regeneration to cloaking devises, but you can only upgrade each three times, so once you have picked up fifteen upgrade canisters you are maxed out. And this happened to me very early on.

The level exploration and problems faced with a hostile facility are basically all gone because the levels are so small. I remember exploring facilities and picking off the occasional guard, hiding their body and then finding the next guard. This isn't even necessary anymore as their is probably only seven guards in the entire facility, so any use of a grenade is overkill.

The endings where all a disappointment, and I think I spent more time watching load screens than actually playing, but I did enjoy it and I don't know why. Maybe it was the characters or maybe the war between the different factions, made it interesting, but in the end, not as good as the original, not by a long shot.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Random Fact

Ornithologists in America are called Birders.

Olympic 2008 Swimming Pool

Just spotted This. It's a cinematic video showing the building that will house the 2008 Olympic swimming pool. And very nice it is too. Actually I wouldn't mind going to china. And I have no idea what I will be doing in 2008 work wise, so I might actually go and see this.

The company that designed this has an ok Website, but their designs are all excellent.

FilePlanet Replies

This is odd because it's company policy not to reply to feedback, but anyway they said.

Hi there,

It's stated twice on the sign up form http://www.fileplanet.com/betacenter/wow/stress_test/

"Blizzard Entertainment and FilePlanet bring you the opportunity to participate in a one-week North American World of Warcraft closed stress test beta"

"As a North American FilePlanet subscriber you are guaranteed a space in the World of Warcraft Stress Test Beta"

As well as in the FAQ's here: http://www.fileplanet.com/betacenter/wow/stress_test/wowfaq.shtml#15

"Why is this stress test only for North America?
Due to multiple time zone and language differences, we have decided to limit the stress test participants to the United States and Canada."


Dana Bryant
Lead Accounts Support
IGN Entertainment, Inc.

No idea why she is telling me that. Maybe she thinks I am a North American customer or maybe Dana is doing drugs, I don't know, but sometimes I do wonder if people in customer service should have a cap on the number of emails they read, because I do get some of the strangest responses from costumer service people.

Friday, August 27, 2004

World Of Warcraft Fileplanet Stress Test

I was going to do a post saying why I wasn't going to bother with the test, but then I found-out it was only for North American residents and Canada. "Arg!" I thought, and after some research (reading the FAQ) I found.

Why is this stress test only for North America?
Due to multiple time zone and language differences, we have decided to limit the stress test participants to the United States and Canada.

So I sent Fileplanet some feedback.
The reasoning behind excluding other English countries (i.e. England) from the World Or Warcraft stress test because of a language barrier is ludicrously pathetic. And the reasoning behind the time zoning is also just as pathetic, because the US is a time zone split country.

If the reasoning for the exclusivity was because of network performance and ping times you should have said that, rather that giving pathetic snivelling excuses that portrays an image of incompetency amongst your organisation.

Yes, I am a tit.

This Whole Steam Preloading Buisiness

I can't understand why people are getting so worked up over this. It's only the art files (sound and textures) so it's not enough to play the game and even if it was you still can't because it's all encrypted.

There even appears to be conflicting reports between either a September or November release date now. So I think everyone needs to take a chill pill or somthing, because it's just going to endup in tears.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

My New Favoritest Loop

I used to use a lot of While loops in VB6, but not any longer. Now I am using a lot of Do Until loops. See with while, the loop runs while a condition is true. For example, while the value of X is less than 20, but now with the new Until loop, I can tell my loop to run Until the value of X is equal to 20. Not much of a difference, but I have found myself using Until loops all the time now. So they are my new favoritest Loop type. :)

And you thought my other posts where geeky.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Frscape Returns *Gasp!*

This Trailer suddenly appeared (well I wasn't expecting it) and after some research it turns out Farscape will be starting a new series on SciFi from October the 17th.

So if Farscape is back, maybe there is a chance that other dead TV series that begins with an 'F' like Futurama.

Why The Mars Rover Broke

ExtremeTech has a news article about it. And from the sounds of it, a third party program onboard the rover wanted to shove some data from the non-volatile memory (like your hard drive) into the volatile memory (like your RAM) probably to speed up access times or something, but the program didn't take into account the size of the file allocation table. So it was then trying to access files in the volatile memory that weren't there, and hence the nasty error.

To me this is a school-boy error, but then I haven't ever worked on an embedded system like this so I have no idea what kind of technical limitations or challenges that throws at people.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

This Web site hates me

20 Questions to a Better Relationship

    You are magnetic, charming, and impossible to resist. You have no problem with approaching the opposite sex -- it just comes naturally to you, and the thrill of warming up a stranger is one of your great drives. Still, very few people really know you. You don't just *feel* misunderstood -- you are. You are probably nursing a heartache that you never let on.

    You're calm in a conflict (almost *too* calm -- a more emotional partner may wonder why you're not more engaged) and quick with affection. Fighting makes you uncomfortable, but as you avoid direct conflict your frustrations can manifest in the cold shoulder and passive-aggression, which is no better! Still, you make a loving, doting parent -- giving more love than discipline -- and your children prefer you.

    Like an XSYG, you put so much thought and effort in what you give to your partner that you feel dismissed and unappreciated if you don't get the same in return. You also give and think so much that you can also talk yourself into cheating -- physically or emotionally -- and this can lead a cycle of conflict, guilt, conflict-avoidance, chilly atmosphere and then more cheating. But you'll stay with your partner in the long run from guilt and a desire to please.

Previous Total War Games

I was watching an ING Insider Interview with the creators of Rome: Total War, and it occurred to me that they had made a few precious games based on the historical RTS theme. ARG! I thought, and lept into research mode, to have a look at the previous titles.

I can't remember Medieval: Total War, but I do remember playing the demo for Shogun: Total War. It was a horrible game, and I can even remember why. They was no real tutorial (i.e. guy talks you through a battle telling you how to control your forces) and I played it over and over trying to win the same battle, but never could. You fought with these silly little 2D men (very uninspiring) and I had no idea about the units I was fighting with so I just uninstalled the demo and wrote it off as crap, but my hat goes off to the developer for running with their idea and making a good game. That I will most likely run out an purchase from my local.

Rome: Total War

This is a good game. Not one of those silly RTS games with Orcs Vs Space Snargs or whatever, but a proper historically based RTS, that we should have probably had years ago, but it's hear now. And I like it.

Friday, August 20, 2004

My Visual Basic.Net Librery

Ok now finally my review of all my Visual Basic books that I have been buying ready for when I go back to uni.

  • VB.Net Deluxe Learning Edition
    In this pack you get Visual Basic Step By Step (a book) and VB'Net Standard 2003 (software). The book is excellent, and honestly the best self learning language book I have ever read. The software you get in this pack is essential because it IS the VB.Net language tool. Some languages like HTML and Java can be programmed using any kind of word editor, but with VB you really do need to used the official development platform, although the new version is so good I can't see anybody having a problem with that.

  • Visual Basic.NET Complete
    I had one of these for Visual Basic 6 and it was good, so I got one for .Net too. It's basically one of those crappy learn it yourself books, but there are three of them all together and with a big reference section at the back, referencing to all three books, so it's kind of handy.

  • Visual Basic.NET Language Reference
    Now this is an interesting book. It's the official Microsoft reference and it's purly referance material (to the exstreme). Like there are two page with just a big list of all the possible properties an object can have. No descriptions on what they are, just a big long list of them all. Another section has a table of all the variable conversion types (like integer = val(String)). I don't understand a lot of what's in there, but it's a reference book so that's ok. Apparently all the stuff in the book is available through the MSDN Libraries, but I never liked using that. I'am one of those people that prefers having a book I can look through and make notes (yes I write on my books, but with pride).

  • Visual Basic.NET Programmer's Cookbook
    I wish I had of had this book for VB6 because it's simply invaluable. It's basically a code library with all it's code samples being carefully chosen. You can see the contents page Here and honestly there is loads I could have used in the past. I haven't done any .Net projects yet, but I am sure when i do this will come in handy. While flicking through it the other day I found an algorithm (can't find it now) that will allow you to verify a credit card number. It even has a whole section on security and cryptography, showing you how to encrypt a file and even create a random number that can't be reverse engineered by a malicious user.

  • Managed DirectX 9
    Apparently this is a kickstart guide to using DirectX, but I haven't gotten-round to reading any of this yest because I am still not 100% upto speed on .Net (I been slacking off).

Bush Vs Bush

This is kind of funny because it directly shows how Bush hasn't stood by what he has said in the past, and probably moved his moral ground to play with the US public. Not that that's even new or original, but it's still funny.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Evil Genious Goes GOLD!

That means it's done. And now the final code will sit on a shelf and wait for it's September 28th release date, but you won't have to wait that long because a game trial (not demo?!) will be out on the 30th this month!

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Netscape Returns

I don't know why, but AOL has seen it fit to return Netscape, but they have. You can get it Here, but if you read the page you will realise that it's just a re-branded copy of Mozilla. I know there will be people shouting from the rafters how good it is, but even when Netscape was still in development they hadn't had a good version since 4.2 (I think).

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Yay For Amazon!

I got all my books through now. And by using third party sellers I managed to save about £17. Will probably do a writeup later, but at the mo my dad is hastleing me to go bed because he knows I am awake. It's not that he can hear me, but just him thinking I am awake is enough to keep him awake. I tell him he has sleeping problems because he sleeps for at least four hours when he gets home, but he doesn't seem to believe me. "But I am knackered!" he bellows, but hes just an old fool who's stuck in his ways.


FFS!!! The first one just flew in!!!

I am going to get one of those ultra-violet machines-o-death. See how they like that!

Hoty tired and pissed off

It's too hot. I have the door closed because I don't want to wakeup my dad and my computer is making the room like an oven. I have prickly heat already, but if I open the window all the moths and shit will fly-in. And the last one of those just died today from the last time I did that.

Arg! guess the only option is to turn the light off, open the windows and keep going as long as I can before my eyes start to bleed, then I will have to stop.

In other news, I So Would.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Killing Phantoms

This is the result of hitting a phantom with a baseball bat.

It's just a PC in a cheap case!!!
I got one of those in my bedroom.

Saturday, August 14, 2004


I just completed URU and I have to say I am disappointed. Not many puzzles where logical and a lot of the time I would end up looking through a walkthrough for the obscurest of answers. See, with a lot of puzzle-games when I reach for the walkthrough, I will then go say "I see" and move on, but with URU it's more of a "How the hell is anybody supposed to figure that out!"

One of my books still hasn't arrived from Amazon. Not sure if I should send an email or not. Probably give it another week just to be sure.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

New Evil Genius Trailer

Yep, and I so want this game. When I sit at home and feel like playing a game, Evil Genius is the game I think about. Yes, even over Half Life 2.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

A Tale in the Desert 2 Beta

Not my kind of game. It's too much effort to play, you need to talk to people to progress and socialising with AFGCAPs isn't my idea of fun. Plus the actual game is just one repetitive task after another.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Surly they know me by name now

I just bought Uru Complete Chronicles and Myst 4. So it looks like I will be looking for walkthroughs very soon and even more walkthroughs in October when Myst 4 is released. I completed Exile with very little help, and I only needed help with that pollen puzzle, in the jungle age.

Exile was good, but it didn't feel epic. The story revolved around Atrus's sons past, where as Myst4 deals with the future and expands the story forwards. Plus Myst4 is on DVD as opposed to CD. So this will be my first Myst experience where I haven't had to change discs between ages.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Myst IV Revelation Demo Compleat

That has to be one of the shortest demos I have played, but well worth it. I will definitely be buying the full game. One recommendation to anyone playing it. Deselect the distancing focus option in the option menu. That will make distant objects sharper.

The only criticism I can see at the moment is that the transition from ingame graphics to FMV and back again still isn't seamless, but that's a technology limitation and nothing anybody can do about.

Myst IV Revelation PC Demo

It's finally Here!
I have been waiting all day for this and it's now available for download (mine is currently at 26%).

Windows XP SP2

It's out and you can download it from Microsoft Here.

    Below is a list of stuff I have noticed in the past fifteen minuets:

  • Internet Explorer is a bit more zippy (like Opera used to be).
  • The built-in popup-blocker is the best popup-blocker I have ever used.
  • The silly little popup messages on IE irritate me and I have no idea what ActiveX control it is complaining about because it won't tell me (I have been forced to allow all ActiveX controls).
  • Doesn't recognise my Anti Virus or Firewall (even though I use industry leading software). So I have a big yellow marker instead of a green one on the security center screen.
  • The auto hide and show taskbar icons setting screen, loads it's list of icons significantly faster.

Dog-toy Or Marital-aid

Still no Myst 4 demo, so I found This. And I only got two wrong on each page! :P

Sunday, August 08, 2004

We Invade Caneda At Dawn!

I can just imagine President Bush shouting that just after being reelected.

Finished That Stupid Sherlock Demo

A bit ago I mentioned a Demo Of Sherlock Holmes and The Silver Earring. Well I finally finished it, with the help of a Walkthrough and a Solve for the stupid questions you get asked at the end.

Having completed the demo, my opinion of the game had dropped because after completing a case you have to answer related questions by matching supporting evidence, to your answer. This is all ok, but if you get any one answer or piece of evidence wrong, Holmes tells you something is wrong, and you have to do it all again, but what's even worse is that some of the pieces don't match! Like the Colonel Patterson says he knows what type of gun was used because he hared it, and so that's supporting evidence, but the guest list says he has poor hearing and eyesight, so his evidence can't be trusted.

I think the developers should have Holmes mention what answer is wrong, as opposed to just saying it's not correct. At least that way you could find the answer by trial and error.

Must Sleep

It's hot, I am tired, why can't I sleep!

I got one of my Visual Basic.Net books through today. Can't be bothered writing anything about it now, but when I get them all I might, just might. Do a writeup on them all.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Myst 4 Demo Already Out!!!

For the Mac!

Mysterium (a Myst Fansite) has a link.

Myst IV Revelation Demo

Apparently we will be seeing the demo for the newest Myst game Monday!!

If you haven't seen the game yet, (and you know who you are) Check It Out.

Additional: Actually they have a really good Promotional Website going on. It's not developed by Cyan so this should be very interesting to see another developers take on the series.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Book Blowout

I just spent £75 on Visual Basic.Net books. I have really gotten into the language and so I decided to get some books ready for when I get back to uni so I can challenge anything they throw at me (programming wise).

My dad thinks it's a wast of money, but that alone makes him an idiot. He never understands, or even tries to.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

New version of Mozilla Fire Bird Fox

I downloaded the New Version Of Mozilla FireFox (0.9.3) and the install says 0.9.2, so I got confused and downloaded it again, but it is 0.9.3, and not 0.9.2 as the installer says.

Bit odd, but a detail like that is going to confuse a few people.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

DOOM3 Benchmarks Don't Reflect Card Performance

Just had a look at the Benchmarks (yes it's a little old now) and I think people are missing something. See the new Nvidia cards (and excuse me if I don't spend two hours looking for a link) have an optimisation where if a part of the screen is black (i.e #000000, black black) then, rather than rendering the whole environment and colouring it all in, it only renders the parts that aren't black. So if you are in a dark room and the only thing you can see is a panel across the room, than that is all that's being rendered. So say there was a big machine is over to your right in the dark, that won't be rendered and so boost rendering time and framerate. So in an unusually dark (VERY dark) game like Doom3, the new Nvidia cards have an unfair advantage. And that brings me to my point.

Doom3 is an unusually dark game. So this optimisation will probably only be used while playing Doom3. And so, to use Doom3 as a benchmark tool is wrong and you can't trust these graphs for card performance on next gen games.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Social Situations I Can't Handle

The most interesting thing that happened to me to day was a knock at my door. It was a kid from down the road (probably about seven years old) that had been playing football and he got some oil on his ball from my car (it was some kind of black greese).

I told him it would probably clean off, but other than that I had absolutely no idea what to say. At this he just stood there and looks at me. I said something about getting my dad to have a look at the car (and I will mention it), but I have absolutely no idea how to handle these kinds of situations. Not when there is nothing rational to say and the poor kid just keeps looking up at me with his cute little face.

Thinking of it now, my dad would have probably cleaned his ball for him, and that's probably what I should have done, but at the time I was dumbfounded.

P.S. Apparently Doom3 has been leaked. And I think that goes to show that developers should take internal security more seriously.