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A gaming and technology blog by TWHL admins Penguinboy and Ant. A music blog by TWHL users Ant and Hugh.


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User Journals

Take a look at all the journal entries from our members.

User Journals

avatar AJ 13 comments | 18th December 2014, 01:41 AM

So Invert-x is properly back, which means an obligatory journal entry to advertise that fact.

Invert-x, if you don't know, is a joint project between Penguinboy and myself in the form of a op-ed website for games and gaming concepts. We write articles about games and concepts we're interested in.

Until recently, we concentrated purely on the gaming world with our 'duelling article' layout (in which we posted an article each on the same topic, which would display on the same page, side by side). Since the redesign, we are expanding the types of articles we post and also expanding into films.

This redesign was a very, very long time coming. It necessitated the move to a new platform (we built the theme from scratch on Wordpress - nothing was salvaged from the previous version, aside from article content) and also introduced a complete overhaul for the Invert-x brand.

We're still working through some kinks and bugs (Wordpress can be mind-boggling at times), but we're pretty pleased at what we've got going so far. Pebs and I have a pile of new content in planning that we're itching to get going.

We're not gaming or film journalists and we never will be: we just write about things we find interesting.

Check out Invert-x.

avatar Tetsu0 15 comments | 16th December 2014, 23:55 PM

I now have my Bachelors degree!
Today, 12/16/2014 I took my last final of my Bachelors degree for Electronics Engineering Technology. It was a simple networking course to end it all. A nice relaxing final semester to end a hectic journey.

Through it all I wrote a book, made an automatic beer bottle opener, was one of the youngest inductees into the Adult Education Honor Society, consumed countless gallons of coffee, countless more gallons of beer, and gained valuable years of work experience.

Next stop: who knows.

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avatar Archie 29 comments | 15th December 2014, 03:15 AM

I'm well aware that you guys have been laughing at me behind my back due to my woefully underpowered system, so I've decided to finally do something about it.
You may remember my previous upgrade - the Nvidia GTX 780 Ti which did extremely exciting things to my 3D Mark score. As you can see, the overall score was let down considerably by the lacklustre first-generation i7 CPU.

I have remedied the situation with a new motherboard and CPU combo, bringing my score up to a blistering 9898 on Fire Strike - an achievement-unlocking score that is apparently higher than 93% of all worldwide Fire Strike results. Nailed it.

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So what has powered this ridiculous score?
The main upgrade is of course the CPU - I went for a Haswell Intel Core i7-4790K CPU @ 4.00GHz. It's apparently an overclocker's dream, but the base clock of 4GHz has already blown me away.

Supporting it, I went for the Asus MAXIMUS VI FORMULA Z87 motherboard. It's a real beauty and the upgrade from my previous two USB3 slots to seventeen million (I counted) is invaluable to me as someone who works with video.

I had some teething problems after reinstalling Windows, but thankfully everything has been ironed out and this beast of a machine is ready to splatter games all over the walls.

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I had planned this purchase for months and saved up significantly and specifically for it, waiting for a drop in the price of these components after meticulously researching them. Don't impulse buy components, you'll miss out on great deals!

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avatar Instant Mix 10 comments | 11th December 2014, 01:39 AM

So I've set myself a challenge:

From now until mid summer 2015, I'm going to create my own ePOS system.

What is ePOS? It's these piles of shit that every shop and their dog owns:

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Working in a hotel last year, we were stuck with a shittly little till from the early 00's, maybe even 90's. Looking into the cost of how much one of these ePos systems would be, it's fucking ridiculous what they charge. The cheapest they provide for a glorified touchscreen? 500. I spent less money on my bloody beast of a computer.

I've been learning Java as part of my uni course, and being fairly OK with it, i thought i'd learn a bit of SQL and fuck about with that. From my very, very recent proper retail experience I noticed that their system runs on something called retailJ, a java based system that's in fairly wide use - so writing this in Java isn't a far out idea.
I've made similar POS systems on GMOD and made mockups of the UI and systems using Love2d - obviously as Love2D is a game engine and not something that should be run in an actual place of work it'd be useless.

I've got some idea of what I'm doing, and as well as working in retail I know exactly what sort of stuff needs to be kept in databases and retrieved.

My initial plan is to write up the code, get a very basic version working on my computer. Once that's all done, I'll double check whether my previous employer would be interested in the software ( because even if they don't want it, writing a POS system from scratch is pretty good practice ). If they are, I'll grab a raspberry PI, a shitty touchscreen off ebay, polish the thing up and trial it.

If all goes well, hopefully I can earn myself a bit of pocket money.

avatar ninja defuse 1 comment | 10th December 2014, 20:05 PM

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.

Saint Augustine

avatar satchmo 10 comments | 5th December 2014, 18:01 PM

I might visit Stockholm next summer.

I've always wanted to visit Sweden, and now I'll take my whole family there.

avatar Rimrook 2 comments | 4th December 2014, 13:34 PM

Oh wow look I still have my christmas icon from last year. Time to switch it to my regular one. It's about time don't ya think? :)

avatar zeeba-G 29 comments | 3rd December 2014, 18:49 PM

It's finally arrived after literally three months. Took me eight hours to assemble.

Now to get it running and make some prints.

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avatar Striker 8 comments | 1st December 2014, 20:35 PM

So I discovered something really cool in the kitchen. Was cleaning the stove of dried cooking oil and what not, and took out the stove grate and burner parts. I thought: "Hmm, I wonder how the flame would burn without those parts...". It's a fucking rocket! Instant bunsen burner.
This is so fun, must try one more ti

avatar ninja defuse 5 comments | 1st December 2014, 19:32 PM

I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light

Helen Keller

avatar Jessie 25 comments | 28th November 2014, 23:58 PM

This is Jessie with her annual word of caution during Steam sales.

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*word of caution may not actually be annual
*may just be that wacky EA

avatar TJB 19 comments | 26th November 2014, 12:20 PM

I was thinking the other day about how Super Sleuths was pretty fun, so I decided to have my own go at it. I have taken one of the Golden Rufees out of my profile, and hidden it somewhere. If you can find it, you can have it for your own, because as we all know imaginary currencies are actually incredibly valuable irl.

This will probably be fairly short because of reasons.

avatar Urby 10 comments | 24th November 2014, 15:58 PM

I'm not a professional voice actor, so I do it in the car on the way to my real job to amuse myself: Look here.

avatar TheEdvinazard 7 comments | 21st November 2014, 22:21 PM

Life Before The Half mod development in progress...

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avatar ninja defuse 6 comments | 20th November 2014, 05:51 AM

I've been making a list of the things they don't teach you at school. They don't teach you how to love somebody. They don't teach you how to be famous. They don't teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don't teach you how to walk away from someone you don't love any longer. They don't teach you how to know what's going on in someone else's mind. They don't teach you what to say to someone who's dying. They don't teach you anything worth knowing.

Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones

avatar JeffMOD 15 comments | 18th November 2014, 01:23 AM

I'm getting really frustrated in my uni program. We've got teams of 5-6 people, and we have to make a game prototype in a semester then finish the game in the next. We have to do this from scratch. On top of a standard university course load.
As happened last year, I'm getting shafted by our limited scope. I'm expected to do my job as a level designer with, not only no neat toys, but no gameplay tools whatsoever. I have a school-provided copy of Maya (Which I am not fond of, though god help me I'm starting to be able to manage with it) and notepad with which to organize the map props and the gameplay entities. Nobody else is writing tools to use with the engine, because we have no time to do so with and it's not a priority for anybody else. I'm not writing a toolset because I'm not an engineer and I don't have the skill or knowledge needed to even get started with it. Also we don't have any finalized formats so I can't even write a parser to read or write map files. I have to hardcode everything character by character, and I don't even have a full format.

If you want a level designer to do neat things, you need to give them toys to work with. Spending all my time buried in a text editor with barebones gameplay code will not lead to a stellar product by any standards.

So you know what? I am going to, right now, with all my authority of a nobody, declare Laurie Cheers the programming patron saint of level designers. Because he took a look at us, and he said "You know what? These guys could use some new features to play with." AND THEN HE MADE IT HAPPEN. Spirit of Half-Life is still used by nearly every Half-Life mod in development now, because it was that damn good, and it gave us that much flexibility and ease with which to do our jobs.

Would that we had more people like him. My headache would disappear.
Bless you, Mr. Cheers. You knew what we needed, and you provided.

avatar Striker 7 comments | 17th November 2014, 10:37 AM

I loose a lot of time commuting and walking in the city nowadays, and I am a bit frustrated by that lost time. Yeah the first times when you go on new routes you admire the landscape and buildings but then it's routine.
I'd like to start listening to some podcasts while on the road, but I don't know where to start. I have my phone and an MP3 player.

Do you have any podcast and podcast apps recommendation in the technical domain? For example tech news, stuff about coding... hardware etc. There was once a cute podcast from "techstuff" or something like that, it was nice in that it explained how different devices work.
Or any podcast that you find sufficiently interesting... I just want to start somewhere and see if listening to podcasts is a thing I could do :).

EDIT Just to be clear, I'm talking about walking in the city and going by bus, which at rush hours can take up 40 minutes between point A and B. When I commute by train there is wi-fi so I can watch stuff on youtube.

avatar DiscoStu 9 comments | 16th November 2014, 21:40 PM

I have an old phone. It's not very old, just old enough for updates to mess with it. On its own, it's a very good phone. It's robust and well-built, and it does what it has to do just fine. But throw software updates into the mix, and everything gets screwed up. Software updates are made for newer phones with much greater processing power, but they are too much for an oldish phone like this to keep up with. As a result, it can't do the number of things the apps expect it to do in a reasonable time and it freezes, hangs, or generally slows down so much that I want to throw it against the wall. Which I do, and I find it highly therapeutic when I've spent five minutes trying to text someone while seeing little more than a blank screen.

It's not that I use a lot of apps either, I'd say the only app I ever use is WhatsApp. But lately they've been making every update mandatory or else WhatsApp won't run, and with that update I also receive non-optional OS updates that take up a lot of space and a lot of processor time.

Today I wasn't feeling particularly patient so I threw it against the wall. This time, though, I watched it fall apart in pieces. It felt good for a minute until OH SHIT I STILL NEED TO TALK TO CLASSMATES AND I DON'T HAVE THEIR NUMBERS ELSEWHERE. So I had to pick up the phone, battery, back cover from the floor, take it apart and remove the broken pieces of its metal frame and then put it back together. It still works. All it has is a small scrape on the side.

I do feel it's a bit of a shame to mistreat it like that. It's a good, sturdy, robust, well-built phone, victim of inconsiderate software updates. If it weren't for apps and software updates, it could live for a lot longer than it will. It doesn't deserve this destiny, but this destiny has been forced upon it by the app devs.

Sorry, I just had to rant.

TL;DR: Software updates make smartass phone slow. I get frustrated and throw it against wall. Still works.

avatar Dimbeak 4 comments | 14th November 2014, 00:36 AM

Balaclava Man: Episode 2

A time I'd rather forget.

avatar Jessie 19 comments | 12th November 2014, 11:52 AM

Too short for a thread, too long for the ShoutBOX.

I have three doors. (Actually I have five, but I'm not going to make this more complicated than you need to know. So three doors.) All of them are Use-Only and Toggled. Two of them should be openable and closable at will. We'll call these doors A and B. The other, door C, can only be opened if and only if door A is open and door B is closed. If door C is open, doors A and B can't be moved (I.E. door A cannot be closed and door B cannot be opened). When door C is closed, A and B should be freely moveable again.

What setup of multisources and (if required) trigger_relays is needed to make this work? If it makes things simpler, one of door A or B could be set to Starts Open to make the conditions the same for both.

This could be simple or complicated; I'm not good at wrapping my head around these kinds of setups either way.

avatar Dimbeak 8 comments | 3rd November 2014, 22:20 PM
avatar ninja defuse 1 comment | 2nd November 2014, 21:49 PM

Aunder the arrrrk of weader ztained boarrrds
Auncient goblins and warrrlorrrrrds
Come out to the grrrrround not mayking a zound
The zmell of deat is all ahound
And the night ven the kold vind blows
No one karres noboty knows

I dont want to be behhied in a pet cemiterrry

avatar satchmo 6 comments | 1st November 2014, 16:07 PM

One of the hidden gems in 2013 was "Snowpiercer". It shares many similarities with the world of Half-Life 2.

The story sets in the dystopian future, when mankind became nearly extinct after a global catastrophe. A megalomaniac holds a tight grip on the fate of humanity, and a decrepit leader (Eli Vance) inspires a resistance to overthrow the oppressor.

It's a brutal film that is saturated with graphic violence, but at the same time very stylistic. Any sci-fi fan would appreciate it.

avatar ninja defuse 0 comments | 31st October 2014, 05:41 AM

Zombie Apocalypse Halloween prank

Hello my friends!!

avatar satchmo 4 comments | 30th October 2014, 05:07 AM

Scott and I had an interesting conversation last night.
"I am so glad that I met Mom. Had I not met her, you wouldn't be here," I told Scott.
"If you married someone else and had children, would you love them as much as you love me?" questioned Scott.
I paused, considering all possible responses and how each one might be interpreted by him.
"I think so, because they are my kids after all," I answered finally, deciding on the most truthful reply.
"I think you are right," agreed Scott.

avatar The Mad Carrot 20 comments | 28th October 2014, 23:31 PM

I've seen a lot of rocket launches live on NASA TV and SpaceFlightNow.com, including todays launch of the Antares rocket carrying the Sygnus spacecraft to resupply the ISS, as seen here, 4 minutes and 28 seconds before launch:

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But the launch didn't really go as planned:

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It exploded six seconds after lift-off.

Aerial view of the damaged Antares launchpad:

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Live NASA webcast footage of the failed launch
Video of the failure from the press site
Video of the failure from 3000ft

This is the first time I've seen a launch failure live. Holy crap.

avatar TJB 11 comments | 27th October 2014, 17:25 PM

Today, about two and a half hours ago my dog Fred was put down.

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He was 11 years old. He had a number of benign tumours, particularly a football sized one in front of his left back leg. We had already decided that he would be put down once they started to affect his quality of life. Normally he wasn't a very active dog anyway, so he didn't seem to mind them.
While I wasn't at home to see it apparently he had deteriorated rapidly over the weekend, and when I got back he couldn't walk and was having trouble breathing. I was with him for about an hour before the vet arrived. That photo was taken when the vet had just pulled into the driveway.
It was especially difficult for me because there have been a number of times, when dealing with depression, that I felt that Fred was the only true friend I had. He was always happy to see me, and I was always happy to see him, right up until the end.
Goodbye Fred, I will miss you.

avatar Rimrook 11 comments | 27th October 2014, 01:22 AM

Question for you:

I'm rebuilding Super Matt Jordan and I can get it to run in full screen natively, combined with my 16:9 widescreen res, it looks really sexy.

But how popular is widescreen, or a 16:9 aspect ratio?

And no, I cannot change the game's resolution from within itself. :/

avatar ninja defuse 4 comments | 25th October 2014, 16:25 PM

"One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose, and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don't throw it away."

Stephen Hawking

avatar JeffMOD 16 comments | 25th October 2014, 12:09 PM