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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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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!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJsKtRx4wf8

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 Angry 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
avatar Striker 8 comments | 23rd October 2014, 19:50 PM

Upgraded from the S1 Mini to an S4.

Holy cow what I've been missing on.

avatar Captain Terror 8 comments | 20th October 2014, 19:30 PM

This guy has inspired me to try and start making my own Lithium-Ion Battery packs :)
Here is the video I first watched to get inerested in it :)

I might invest in a used terminal welder, just becuase soldering cells scares the shit out of me.. ='(

Also a big plus, I get an unlimited amount of cells to play with due to failed battery packs at work; we throw them out, and normally when they fail, only 1-2 cells out of the pack(out of 8) are actually bad.

avatar Instant Mix 2 comments | 19th October 2014, 17:43 PM

So I've had a fairly fun few weeks

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Since i've started second year at Uni, i've decided I really should get more involved with socities. I auditioned last year for the Footlights Society which is a musical theatre based one but unfortunately didn't make the cut. ( I didn't realise the musical was a very heavy urban-dance one... and I can't dance). This year however I auditioned and (surprisingly) got in to the Showchoir ( basically the glee club except filled with alcoholics ) and It's been great so far - I've met so many amazing people from it.

I've not just joined the showchoir; Edinburgh University has it's own student-ran theatre, known as Bedlam - which is literally an old church

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They've a resident weekly improv-comedy show called the Improverts, and they hold their own little tech-workshop alongside it to learn some small bits about theatrical tech.Since i've had some interest in the lighting area, I've been attending almost all of these since the semester started and have got on really well with the senior techs and a few of the not-completely-nerdy first years. I got asked a week ago if I wanted to be the lighting operator for a show - and in my blind enthusiasm I accepted, without really knowing what I just signed up for. The show was a round so myself and the lighting team managed to come up with some really funky lighting ( and some really creepy effects as well ).
The show came and went ( and unfortunately we had to turn people away we'd sold that many tickets) and I learned a fair bit about how to actually use Bedlam's lighting desk - which comes onto my next part

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Bedlam's desk is an ETC Element, according to the techies it's a fairly nice ( and expensive ) bit of kit, and is fantastic for theatrical performances, but for live stuff ( which i'd attempted to do beforehand) it's a bit awful.
The fun fact about bedlam is that almost all of the senior techies there actually work at the Student's union, and run the lighting for almost all of the union's events - the major one being the weekly "Big Cheese" club night. Because I'd said I was really interested in live stuff, almost every techie replied with "oh just come along to the big cheese and i'll let you go mental on the desk for a bit".

When you're literally invited to freely play about with some smart lights, you can't really turn it down.

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( Slightly outdated image, those moving LEDs were only temp. hired, we've got Martin RUSH MH3s permanently )

So I come in to the venue at 10, the dancefloor is dead as almost nobody comes in that early, and I'm literally plonked in front of the desk and the two techies who'd helped at bedlam started showing me how to use their Tiger Touch II

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nerd part
The difference between the Tiger Touch and the ETC Element that Bedlam has is that the Tiger is almost entirely designed for busking ( fancy way of saying on-the-fly lighting rather than having everything premade ), and is actually incredibly simple to use. Presets and playbacks are available and can be easily created on the fly, if an idea for an effect pops into your head in the middle of the night.

Becomes about 11 o'clock, and I'm expecting the person who is actually employed by the union to run the lighting desk to chuck me out, but he seemed overjoyed that he was now being paid to do nothing, and let me stay were I was. 11 became 12, the venue got packed and pretty much before I knew it I was single-handedly in charge of lighting the now rammed venue.

The annoying thing was that the union had recently had job openings for Tech crew, but I'd literally missed the deadline for a few days. Turns out the positions are re-opening.. next year. The tech people helping me seemed frustrated that I'd not applied, and I was equally pissed off that I had come to the conclusion that I could've been paid money to do something that I was literally vibrating with excitement whilst doing it.

And that's the story how I lit a clubnight with little to no experience, totally bossed it, and how I missed a fantastic job opportunity.

avatar Urby 11 comments | 18th October 2014, 02:44 AM

10,227 days

avatar ninja defuse 10 comments | 16th October 2014, 22:16 PM

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Theodore Roosevelt

avatar DiscoStu 9 comments | 14th October 2014, 06:05 AM

Marketing. I may not be great at it, but I think this gets the point across.

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Am I doing it right?

avatar Dimbeak 4 comments | 13th October 2014, 02:57 AM
avatar Rimrook 17 comments | 4th October 2014, 16:06 PM
avatar Bruce 17 comments | 1st October 2014, 20:51 PM

Hey guys, I've been in this universe for 20 earth years! What a waste...

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avatar satchmo 5 comments | 1st October 2014, 15:26 PM

Scott and I took apart a defunct LCD and explored the miniature world within. We learned about capacitors together.

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avatar Tetsu0 15 comments | 27th September 2014, 04:54 AM

I'm 26!On sept 26!

avatar Lajron 15 comments | 25th September 2014, 19:22 PM

If you didn't know Euclideon has released a new video for their engine after 3 years and i must say im pretty impressed tho still waiting for better lighting and animations :D

Euclideon Makes World’s Most Realistic Graphics

avatar satchmo 33 comments | 17th September 2014, 22:14 PM

I've been staying up all night learning the history of Scotland. I am fascinated by the prospect that a new nation may be born tomorrow.

I am pro-independence. America did it, and so did Australia. It's about time for the proud and brave Scots to be free.

I even spent an hour talking to my son, Scott, about the independence movement and the history of Scotland.

avatar TJB 11 comments | 15th September 2014, 21:28 PM

Well, today I got dental braces installed, something that probably should have happened earlier given that I'm 22 years old.
There are also two protrusions that have been added to the backs of my upper incisors, which prevent me from closing my mouth all the way, so I can't chew and will not be able to until the structure of my mouth is corrected.
I will probably be having a lot of soup for the next 18 months.