Check out Half-Life Re-imagined competition results!
Check out Skewing textures in Hammer, our newest tutorial!
Welcome, godblesspapa, our newest member!


Site Stuff






Feeling Blue

What's your favourite shade of blue?














46 secs


1 mins


10 mins


17 mins


22 mins


41 mins


42 mins



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


<< ... 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 9 10 11 12 ... >>

User Journals

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

User Journals

avatar Admer456 24 comments | 11th June 2016, 08:26 AM

Impressive, by just looking at it:

User Posted Image
[Open in new window]

At first, I thought that my laptop had a...... something. But then, if it's what I think it is now, I will be able to plug in an external GPU!
Right now I'm thinking that it's an ExpressCard slot, because the manual of the laptop says that it has that slot.

Basically, using the slot, I could connect a good graphics card via a dock made for those. And, therefore, gaming would be a lot easier for me.

See, people dislike low-end laptops, like my Fujitsu S7210, which has:
-2 GB of RAM
-120 GB of HDD space
-an Intel T7500 CPU (with 2 cores at 2.4GHz)
-and worst of all, an integrated Intel X3100 GPU!

...thusly, the reasons to dislike are pretty obvious. But it can be upgraded :D

So yes, I hope that I'll someday plug an eGPU to my S7210, and enjoy playing Crysis (1) at 30 fps, also mentioning Far Cry (1), Half-Life 2, and Doom III, all three running at 60 fps. Those days are yet to come.

P.S. "Teh epik master plan Part 3: Moment of Truth" coming soon in 4k and 3D. 150 Limited-edition Blu-Ray copies, available at $59.99 on June 20th 2016.

avatar zeeba-G 14 comments | 8th June 2016, 00:02 AM
avatar UrbaNebula 10 comments | 1st June 2016, 12:50 PM

Sooo... streaming. Let's talk about that. I'm going to be doing it.

You can check my Twitch channel HERE

My net connection isn't amazing at the moment which limits the quality somewhat, but I think it should be watchable.

I'll be playing maps and mods from time to time, as well as mapping every now and then.

Mainly I'm putting this out there in case any of you feel like dropping in for a chat. You can see my past broadcasts to get an idea of the feed quality, mainly the latest one. I will also be on mic next time. :)

avatar DoctorAmazing 6 comments | 29th May 2016, 00:18 AM

Anyone here played Overwatch yet?
From what I've been told, it's a TF2 imitator, but a very well done one.

avatar Admer456 2 comments | 26th May 2016, 21:23 PM

My dreams are such that you'd think how I'm a crazy person. All of the dreams listed here were actually dreamt by me, so I'm not making this up.

To start off, I'll tell you how random they are:
It always happens, dreams shuffle and transform from one to another. I'm building a fence, and I suddenly become sucked in by a black hole (it was cold, and noisy in there). I'm in a castle, and then my brother chases me with an axe, while I'm on my bike. Some were dreamt twice, too.

It's weird. Totally. I mean, the greatest example of a weird dream is my dream when I dreamt how Tito (who was the leader of what used to be Yugoslavia) drove me through my village in a Zastava Yugo. The hills were cyan! And a famous folk singer was singing on the radio, too.

It gets weirder, as I once dreamt how I defeated my "follower of dreams". It was that guy from "The Darkest of Days" (good game, though). I found him in the canals (that airboat level from HL2) and threw a pair of scissors at him (yes, I dreamt of playing SMod, sort of). The scissors hit his neck, with blood splattering around it, and he became a ragdoll, and fell into the acid. I felt sorry for him when I woke up.

But, don't worry, there are happier ones, even if they are still 'dark'. Once, in a dream (of course), I was invited to a party organized by a person that I fell in love with 3.5 years ago. She'd never do that in real life! So, I drove a VW Golf through an abandoned city in a desert (similar to the map someone submitted a while ago). There was an earthquake, and a building collapsed, and the asphalt cracked, leaving the streets filled with holes. Instantly, I was teleported into Minecraft Alpha (because grass had that green colour), and an old man said "Go there." And he showed me a cave, which I had climbed into. Apparently, "she", nor anyone wasn't there. The lights were red, so was everything, except for the blue sofas and a power generator.

I went to exit the cave. But then, I saw her, and she saw me. Before I said her name, however, something pulled me down the stairs, and I hit them with my head, thus ending the dream.

Well, I once saw a giant, light blue moon in my dreams. It was so huge, it covered the whole horizon. I wanted to touch it, but it shrank, and changed colour to gray :(

But, luckily, I had 3 dreams about "her" in total, which are perfectly enough for good dreams, and I already told you one. I mean, who wouldn't dream about that cute, beautiful being? I already told too much, haven't I?

So, I told you something about my dreams, because only 1% of people have these, probably. I wonder if anyone else has similar dreams. I also find it weird how they are tightly related to the games I played.

avatar DiscoStu 32 comments | 14th May 2016, 18:27 PM


User Posted Image
[Open in new window]

avatar Admer456 13 comments | 9th May 2016, 20:34 PM

"Teh epik master plan" Part II: The Research

Ah, hello, I haven't written here for a long time. So, for the unguided individuals, "teh epik master plan" is my plan to actually buy a game via Steam for the first time in my life, by opening a bank account and linking a debit card to my PayPal account. TL;DR is at the bottom!

Before commenting:
- First of all, I'm 14 years-old.
- Second of all, my parents won't borrow me their credit cards, hence the need of my own debit card.
- Third of all, I live in a second-world country, so we can't buy any Steam Wallet codes too.
- Fourth of all, I'm not poor, I am only unable to buy anything online for now.

Actually, we have the codes on some places, but a 5 code is 16 BAM, for God's sake! And the EUR to BAM chart is 1 = 1.98 BAM (approx.), so it should have been 9.9 BAM.

Alright, let us begin:

So, after 1 month of research, finally, I've decided in which bank to open an account, and they have a special account type just for teenagers like me! And, along with the bank account comes a debit card, using which the client can do, besides normal stuff, Internet shopping.

However, I'm uncertain whether I could buy something with a different currency, since we use BAM in Bosnia, and on Steam, there are Euros () for my region. So, this is the plan's question which will either kill it, or save it. Pala&#263;inka! (Or '&#1073;&#1083;&#1080;&#1085;!')

But, yes, if all goes well, I will inform you in 'Part 3: The moment of truth'.

If the plan works, however, I will:

-Finally buy some hats (in TF2) for my 5 year-old brother, and a copy of GMod for him
-Buy a copy of Call of Duty (either 2 or 3), in order to make some maps for it
-Buy a copy of Half-Life 2 (duuh, to make mods for it)
-Transfer some 'resources' to one of my friends' PayPal account, so he can buy Mount & Blade.

Of course, that will happen only if the plan works, and I'll buy games when the 'Summer Sales' hit. And, if it doesn't work, no worries! There's Fiverr, online surveys, and, of course, an app called Joy Rewards (because AppNana is poop, and I'm pretty close to the $5 PayPal gift card).

TL;DR: I did some research and found out about debit cards for teens, and I found a bank which offers "accepted-by-me" teenagers' accounts and debit cards. I'm only worried if I'm able to use currencies other than KM (a.k.a BAM).

And a message to other minors (people under 18) who are in a similar situation, use my plan if you wish to buy games, but your parents just won't allow you their credit cards.

avatar Striker 2 comments | 7th May 2016, 21:06 PM

What a great year this will continue to be! ... and indeed was already! Last month I proved myself I can handle a 30km bike marathon with an almost 800m altitude gain. As a beginner, this was one of my most intense mind-over-body experience I ever endured. I finished it in 2 hours and 15 minutes, while the advanced guys finished it under 1:30. I'm now seriously considering investing some money in a good bike 'till the next year( but good bikes are very expensive).

Several challenges lay before me still, and uncertainties. Life is so fucking weird at this point. I have some difficult exams I'll have to pass to finish college, and then explore my options for the future. It's quite chilling to realize each passing birthday that your future options and opportunities "pool" shrinks.

This year will also be great from a technological standpoint. I'll be very Zen while fishing at Kaby Lake in early mornings, watching the Polaris star and philosophizing about Pascal's wager. Man, one can't wait for October as much as I do!

God help me I have so many thoughts, I don't know how to beat my fears and manage every anxiety so I can experience more of this life...

avatar DiscoStu 12 comments | 7th May 2016, 04:49 AM

The creativity of the human mind is amazing. This... is how not to use it. I used to think this type of stories were only internet fiction. Not anymore.

A few months ago I had to form a work group with a few classmates. In these cases, if you intend to work with digital files, one would think it would make sense to use a service like Dropbox, Drive or other comparable product. This way, everyone could have immediate access to the latest versions of all the files. Right?

No. This girl REALLY didn't like Dropbox or Drive. What kind of mess is that? The best way to maintain a tidy, up-to-date collection of files, of course, is Facebook. Because, amongst a thousand other reasons she gave me, you can tag people. How silly I am, of course, because how could I expect people in a group of 5 to know that they're supposed to be doing something! Besides, what if you're at someone else's computer? In the end, I couldn't convince her to adopt my whimsical processes and she went as far as decided to go do look more like creating an email account, and creating a Facebook account with that so that I could abandon my backwards ways and accept the goodness of Facebook. And tag people.

So far, I though this was a pretty incredible abuse of technology for file management. But as hard as I thought it was, last night someone managed to top that.

How do you send a file to a large number of people? If you have their email address, you could send it to them as an attachment. Or maybe if it is too large, upload it somewhere and email them a link to that. Or you could do what last night's lecturer did to send the students the slideshow of the day:

- Create an email account
- Email the file to that account
- Give the students the password to that account so that they could log in to it and download the attachment

At the end I couldn't hold myself and went up to her and asked why not just sending it to the students directly, they already have everyone's email anyway. The answer? "Because maybe not everyone wants it". The look of confusion on my face must have been quite notorious, because an assistant (that looked under 30) insisted with the same answer. At this point people was giving me that look of "how do you not understand how this BRILLIANT idea works" so I ended up thanking them and leaving. I can't fight that.

It clearly wasn't the case of the lecturer being old and not understanding technology, because there seemed to be CONSENSUS that it was a brilliant idea.

I am unable to comprehend what kind of thought process can lead to an idea like this. My brain is full of fuck.

avatar Instant Mix 2 comments | 3rd May 2016, 01:45 AM

Remember my fringe journal I posted last year? Well, things have developed a wee bit since then:

Around September time I applied for a technician job at my university's student union - I luckily managed to get the job but because I was working full time at the 'ol hotel chocolat, I had done about 1 shift between getting the job and finishing our production of Guys & Dolls ( feb 2016.. so almost 6 months).

Within the last few months ,I've gone from knowing a thing or two about tech to being able to plot, mic, setup, soundcheck and live mix a band ( on some decent peices of kit), use and rig lighting fixtures and consoles, and know almost every bit of troubleshooting under the sun.
I've mostly only used Analogue sound desks (Image is a midas verona 400, big and heavy desk that needs two people to physically set up - great guy to use) - Desks that are entirely physical, that is they don't make use of microprocessors to alter the sound- but yesterday I had to learn, within the space of an hour for a live band, how to use one of the worlds most common digital desks, a Yamaha LS9. ( spoiler: wasn't easy, but managed to set it up and sound great )
Who knows where I'll be in a couple more months time! I've been told from multiple sources that EUSA (The company I work for) is fairly well known in Scotland for making some really well trained staff - I had gone to PLASA ( Lighting & Sound expo ) in Glasgow with a couple colleagues - just by wearing our work shirts, we were literally handed business cards and offered jobs then and there!

I'm currently about to apply to work at the Gilded Balloon over the Fringe, so instead of volunteering to do the lighting op for a show, I'll hopefully be one of a team to overhaul our students' union, setup and mix several acts in a day, every day, for just over a month. And get paid too!

Gilded Balloon is one of the most popular venues, alongside the Assembly Rooms and Pleasance. These three get most of the big names.
If you don't know anything about the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.. well, it's the worlds' largest arts festival .

Oh yeah, Guys & Dolls, never mentioned that. Nothing too major, just, y'know, Sky Masterson. Was good, but was completely disappointed with our tech & set; every review mentioned that. However I'll take this from a renowned harsh reviewer:
Oliver Barkers Sky Masterson has a strong stage presence, especially when he abandons the Presleyish curled lip he overuses at first, but his singing does not match up to his acting, or to Millars huge voice. Nevertheless, he has just about enough pizzazz to carry off Luck, Be a Lady successfully.
....ehhhh, I'll take that as a "good actor with an improving voice". I never realised how nervewracking it is to read reviews about yourself.

User Posted Image
[Open in new window]

avatar DoctorAmazing 6 comments | 1st May 2016, 17:55 PM

Half-Life 2 Done Quicker

avatar satchmo 7 comments | 27th April 2016, 05:24 AM

We will be in Stockholm from August 15 to August 21, 2016.

avatar Loulimi 11 comments | 22nd April 2016, 09:31 AM

We have to deal with complex entity systems quite often in Goldsource. Until recently, I used to start working on them directly in Hammer without any preparation beforehand.
However, as a computing student, we've been taught Oriented Programming and the analysis and design process. Basically, it's about finding requirements for a software and designing the code before actually starting coding it. Naturally, I wondered: why not try the same for Goldsource entities systems? I always struggled to make complex entity systems and the method Iused to use makes the system a real pain to build, to understand and to maintain, so it sound like a good idea.
So here it is, I tried to design the entity system of an elevator using the software Visual Paradigm with an object diagram. Each type of entity is a class and each entity is an object. Targets are represented with dotted arrows.
Classy, isn't it? The only problem is: for some unknown reasons, it doesn't work -_- But I'm working on it!

avatar Admer456 8 comments | 20th April 2016, 20:26 PM

"Teh epik master plan"!

"Teh epik master plan" is my own brilliant plan used to escape the cruelty and sadness of the F2P world. Sort of like Team Fortress 2's separation of P2P players and F2P players.

I am currently an F2P player if we forget the piracy (that's how I have Half-Life in the first place). And I became bored of it! Being F2P is poop! And a pirate...

Therefore, I developed one of my biggest plans of my life - "Teh epik master plan" a.k.a 'Operation Green'.

So, if you came to see the plan itself, here are the steps:

1. Create a bank account (mine will be a savings account, since I'm 14)

2. Create a PayPal account

3. Acquire some 'resources'

4. Link the debit card (or a credit card) to the PayPal account

(Optional)5. Validate the PayPal account

6. Buy a copy of Half-Life 2

Of course, I've only done step 2. However, what bothers me the most is how I have an OK amount of real cash, while I'm a hobo when it comes to virtual cash. Nevertheless, I am a genious!

So, I always thought (when I was 10) that putting 10 KM (BAM, a currency) in my DVD-ROM will actually buy me the game. Turns out that it wouldn't. But now my opinion is greatly changed:

2010 - putting money into a PC buys a game
2013 - using credit cards buys a game
2015 - using credit cards or PayPal can buy a game
2016 - using my plan I can buy a game

AND, from now on, I will only use torrents to test the games I buy!

I will inform you in another journal about this plan, and I'll tell you if it worked.

P.S. For you "Git a j0b m8" posters, I can't have a job because I'm 14 years-old.

avatar Shepard62700FR 3 comments | 19th April 2016, 19:14 PM

User Posted Image
[Open in new window]

Unfortunately, I have some errors when attempting to compile the Half-Life 1 SDK, gonna do some searches and see if I can fix it ^^

avatar Striker 9 comments | 15th April 2016, 14:24 PM

I have left the palindromic age.

Need to do a lot of shit this year.

[EDIT] Got a pair of Sennheiser CX 300-ii earbuds from a friend, my last earbuds were "Canyon" and lasted my 4 years, but holy shit are these new ones better!

avatar ninja defuse 1 comment | 13th April 2016, 12:21 PM


I have just found an interesting article. I wish i could grow a talent :|

avatar TJB 5 comments | 12th April 2016, 16:11 PM

In my last journal I wrote about how for university we're making a model aircraft which has to be capable of carrying a 32oz bottle, and it must also be capable of being disassembled to be carried in another model aircraft.
Today we had the flights, and my team's plane performed fairly well. It had one problem, in that the landing gear wasn't rigid enough and the wheels were too small, so it caught on the ground a lot and flipped over when that happened. We had three flights, but there were also three failed attempts where the plane flipped before it left the ground, and on one of the flights it flipped on landing.
We fixed the problem with some zip ties however and none of the flights after that had any problems.
I'll upload some pics from my phone and write more about it tomorrow, but until then I will leave you with this very important piece of news:

User Posted Image
[Open in new window]

avatar Tetsu0 11 comments | 9th April 2016, 15:30 PM

Got a new RC car! Kinda...

While it's not totally new, it's new to me. It's a 1988 Tamiya Grasshopper II. It's as old as I am!

Slow Motion 240fps

My old boss gave it to me as a gift because he hadn't used it in quite some time and left the batteries in it to leak and get the controller all nasty. I cleaned it up, replaced some battery terminals, re-soldered some joints and it works great!

Here's an album of the tear down - Tear-down and a cat

avatar Dimbeak 4 comments | 4th April 2016, 19:13 PM

User Posted Image
[Open in new window]

It's a start.

avatar Dimbeak 1 comment | 3rd April 2016, 16:46 PM

God help me I made some things.



avatar DoctorAmazing 11 comments | 29th March 2016, 03:39 AM

So an idea just struck me, so I thought I'd share it with you guys:

With all the "Virtual Reality" headsets and controllers and things, and after using the intuitive level creation tools of Super Mario Maker, I thought, what about some sort of VR input system for Hammer or other game mapping software, to make the creation feel more intuitive?

Imagine something like glove sensors, where it can detect where you hands are and what position they're in. Hell, we've had the technology for that since the 80s, with the predicesors to the Power Glove being very advanced even for the early to mid-80s, we're bound to have even better glove controller technology that's cheaper in 2016. If we could hook that up with something like the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive, could we create an interface to interact with game creation tools?

It would be amazing to be able to create maps in say, Half-Life by simply choosing entities with a virtual menu, and molding blocks and archetecture using motions and grabbing/releasing your hands.

avatar Admer456 2 comments | 22nd March 2016, 22:36 PM

It finally happened, at last!

I tried to make a map for Team Fortress 2 for the first time, and guess what:

On the 22nd of March 2016, I, at last, became a Source mapper! Finally, after so much trouble around getting Hammer to not show the 'default scheme not loaded' error, and then after finding the most stunning solution, I launched Hammer 4! It worked!

I immediately started browsing for the grass texture, and after going through many blend textures, I found one of the most generic ones used in Half-Life 2. I made a brush which was 512x512 units big in the top view, and, of course, I put the skybox correctly.

And I can freely say how one of my biggest wishes were accomplished, which is actually being proven by the fact that it's raining (at the time of writing). Therefore, I'll celebrate this exact day every year.

So, since I already knew some things about Source mapping even if I never mapped for it at all, I proceeded to put some displacements into my first map, which I had done. I inserted some player spawn entities, one for each of the teams (remember, Team Fortress 2), and I also included a wooden box into the map thanks to Source's beautiful func_physboxes. And then I compiled the map, but I, as you could have thought, forgot to include a light entity. But, despite my earlier experiences with the VHLT compilers (they leave it dark, no fullbright), I still knew that the map will be lit. Because Source's compiling tools are different.

And it was lit, it also had a wooden box whose properties I had edited before, so it wasn't made out of glass. The map was very tiny, but big enough to be playable. Sadly, it was bedtime already :(

I already knew so much about Source mapping, yet I had no experience in it! Well, that's all because of the tutorials on this site, and probably some YouTube ones there and there. I used to read them a lot, that's why I made the map without errors out of the first try, and it wasn't that empty, since it had a breakable (ugly, but breakable) wooden prism in it.

So, that might just start my 15th evolution (which only affects me). Yeah, I had 14 of them... the latest one happened in January 2016. And the one before that happened in the winter of 2014, when I just started mapping.

The problem with VHE turned out to be that I didn't launch it from the correct folder. I had to go to my Team Fortress 2 folder, and then into the "bin" folder. I found hammer.exe there. But I actually discovered that on my brother's laptop (my brother is 5, but he understands mapping and such), while I was trying to make a map for it for the last time. I used my brother's laptop because Team Fortress 2 was downloading on mine, so it wasn't installed yet. And my brother and I got entirely surprised how there weren't any errors when I clicked on File-->New... And then I saw the tip of the ice berg, it seemed to be too good to be true, but I did it, and now I'm unstoppable! I can't wait to play with the cubemaps, and that flashy normal mapping, oh, especially with the physics...

Of course, my ever-lasting quest still continues, as I've found a new goal to achieve. I only have 2 games left to make maps for, Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike Source, and then, my quest will be almost complete.

avatar satchmo 4 comments | 19th March 2016, 02:23 AM

I started writing a novel this week.

It's a historical fiction based on a family friend set in WWII China.

avatar 2muchvideogames 6 comments | 18th March 2016, 01:11 AM

I just played some Russian military mod of HL. The USA invades your counttry and you have to fight them back. Prepare to get heavily wrecked by the US army and their troops, light and medium tanks, and worst of all, the machine gun nests. I swear, those machine gun nests added at least 20 hours to the gametime since I didnt quicksave as often as I should have.

The mapping is alright as you can see in the screen shots, but what you dont see is that the mapping is actually extremely sloppy. Loads of areas to get stuck in and visual glitches. Instructions appear as on screen game_text and in some cases you have about 5 seconds to read it or fail to know what to do. Alot of doors are breakable(but they dont open) so if you dont whack every door you see you will get stuck too.

The mod contains all of the base op4 assets but I suspect the biggest reason the author used op4 is for the friendly soldiers.

I must say this mod is pretty unforgiving. Combat is very tough even with the op4 weapons in stock. There are many US soldiers coming and they wont hesitate to rush at u from any direction or hide in some dark area and ambush u. Expect every US soldier to carry grenades or noob tubes. And the worst is how they can see you perfectly from behind thick plants where you have no hope of seeing them. Same goes for the tanks. Did I mention the machine gun nests? They will reck u hard. They dont work like normal machine guns, they spray shotgun shells extremely fast from extra long range. Dont even THINK about rushing them or even picking at them from long range. You will have to be extremely careful. Not only can they take you to school at extra long range, they can actually bend at a 90 angle to spray you when you think you are save. And there's a random weaponstrip somewhere in the mod so don't bother saving ammo or whatever.

It says theres 2 endings, but really there's almost no difference between them. Basically one 'ending' will let you get to an extra level which I thought was unfinished, because nothing happens in it. And another map was about 2 seconds long. About 7 or so maps are copied due to the routes splitting between the two endings, but there are no differences between them.

Overall I think this mod is very different from you standard mod. If you are looking to get recked by US soldiers then this is the mod for you. It's difficult, but not impossible and you might make it to the end if you be careful and find a way thru.

(I wish someone would stream this mod so you can see how tough it is, lol)

avatar ninja defuse 1 comment | 15th March 2016, 20:52 PM

"She'll never drown with those floatation devices on her chest.&#65279;"

btw. a great vocal trance song

avatar DiscoStu 17 comments | 10th March 2016, 05:07 AM

I use XT9. It may or may not be the best option out there, but it works for me. I like it because words require less key presses than the length of the word being entered, and also because since there are less keys (or touch-screen equivalent) they are bigger than on a Qwerty keypad, giving me more area per key and making it less likely to press the wrong key.

Now, I'm not an expert in phone software, but if I had to do an XT9 parser, these are the rules I come up with without much thought:

- Look for words matching the current input;
- Of the above, prefer complete words that match the length of the current input;
- Of the above, or if there are no direct length matches, pick the most used;
- Give the other words in a list sorted by frequency of use.

* If you don't want to keep track of the user's frequency of words, there are statistics on word usage for pretty much any language to help with that.

It's not particularly hard, right? I haven't put a lot of thought into it and I'm pretty sure the above rules would do a pretty decent job. The Samsung phone I had generally got it right. But the current Android keyboard and any alternate keyboards I try prefer to do it this way:

- Look for words matching the current input
- Ignore one-letter words (trying to write "I" results in "g" unless I tap the letter I from the list)
- Of the word matches found, disregard frequency of use and instead:
- - Pick any words with special characters (such as )
- - If none have special characters, prefer the longest word available even if there are other words matching the length of the input
- - Pick the least likely word possible. The statistics will help achieve this.
- If a valid word is entered and it isn't one of the above, autocorrect-substitute it with one of the above.
- Finally, provide a list of alternative words following the above rules. If you run out of screen space, leave out the common words. You'll auto-correct them out anyway.
- For inputs over a certain length, don't bother matching or suggesting, just spew out the gibberish the user obviously wanted to type.

Which do you prefer?

avatar rufee 14 comments | 5th March 2016, 16:14 PM

I don't know about you, but i'm 22 :)
In other news there might be a TWHL Tourney around the corner.

avatar Shepard62700FR 9 comments | 3rd March 2016, 22:35 PM

It's time for another "Buying a new PC build journey" at TWHL ^^

Many months has passed since the death of my old desktop PC and I'm stuck with my "development" laptop. It was an already built PC by Medion bought from an ALDI shop. I had a lot of great times with it until the motherboard started to do weird things, we tried everything to save it, but there was nothing we (me and my brothers) could do about it. I couldn't use a PC that had constant BSoDs on clean installations of Windows 7 and even "kernel panics" on any Linux distribution. Here are the specs of it just for reference :

CPU : Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 2,88 Ghz
GPU : NVIDIA GeForce GT 230
RAM : 4 Gb
HDD : 640 Gb

As I said, I'm stuck with a Medion laptop (because Medion is a good brand) which the main usage is for university. But since it's the only PC I have left, kinda everything is on it. Here are the specs of it for anyone :

CPU : Intel Pentium 2020M 2,4 Ghz
GPU : Intel HD Graphics (no dedicated AMD/NVIDIA GPU)
RAM : 4 Gb
HDD : 1 To

To give you an idea about how much pain I have with this laptop for gaming : Killing Floor 2 refuses to launch until I pass the magic "-dx10" in the command line to force DirectX 10.1 instead of DirectX 11. There is no in-door lighting (everything is black) and I run the game at 20-30 FPS on the lowest settings at 800x600. But since Killing Floor 2 is an Unreal Engine 3 game (UDK to be precise), I spent a lot of time tweaking the INI files and disabling everything that consumed a lot of CPU/RAM : texture streaming, lighting, shadows, M.E.A.T. ("Massive Evisceration And Trauma" aka the gore system), FPS cap and I even reduced the "screen percentage" to 50%. With all those tweaks, the game runs at 60-70 FPS max and 30-50 FPS in average. But I think you've guessed it, it looks horrible. If I want to, I can go up to the 110 FPS if I set it up to "Quake Competitive Mode", take a look at this video to see what I mean :
League of Legends run at 60 FPS on Medium which is quite good. Insurgency at 40 FPS in low. PARANOIA set to High with the "hacked opengl32.dll" at 20 FPS and Unreal Tournament 4 at 20 FPS and a screen percentage of 25% aka "very Minecraft style pixelated mode". And the worst for the end : I was chosen to participate in the Closed Technical Test of Battleborn (Gearbox Software's FPS/MOBA) : 10 FPS in the menus and 1 FPS in-game. I also had an access to the beta of Paragon (Epic Games's MOBA) : 30 FPS in the menus, 1 FPS in-game.

So I've said myself that enough is enough, I took my courage and started looking at building and mounting my own PC. I want to step aside from the already built PCs because I don't want my PC to last 5 years or wait that the warranty void to clean the inside of it. I think that already built PCs are good for people who have no experience in PCs and they don't know somebody to guide them if something goes wrong. Furthermore, have you opened the case of an already built PC ? They put stuff in it to annoy the hell of you if you need to do something on it. I'm going to take my girlfriend's Packard Bell as an example : she had a problem with corrupt/damaged RAMs and we had to replace those by fresh ones. When I opened the case for the first time, my heart was close to stop and my anger level was almost reaching the 100%. Her power unit is located at the middle back of the case and there is some kind of "bridge structure" to hold it with the front part, below it, you have all the cables (SATAs, fans, power...) tied by a clamping collar and below, the RAMs. Even worse : her CPU and cooler was behind the power unit, and if you want to remove the power unit, you unscrew the first 2 screws at the top and there are 2 more behind. Either you need a ninja screwdriver or you need to saw the case if we want to access the CPU/cooler and the screws that hold the motherboard. From easy unscrewing to EXTREME HARDCORE IMPOSSIBLE UNSCREWING OF DEATH.

I want my new PC to work for years, I want to play the games released nowadays and the future games that will be released in the next years without any problem. I also want a PC that can be easily upgraded, if I need to change the GPU then I just want to change the GPU not the whole PC, this was one of the issue I had with my dead Medion. If I wanted to change one part, I had to change everything. Without any further addition, here's the build I've found after many weeks of searching :

CPU : Intel Core i7-4790K 4,0 Ghz
GPU : Gigabyte GV-N960IXOC-2GD - GeForce GTX 960 2 Gb
RAM : G.Skill XM Series RipJaws X Series 16 Go (2 x 8 Go) DDR3 1600 Mhz CL9
MB : Gigabyte GA-B85M-D3H
DVD : Lite-On iHAS124-14
HDD : Western Digital Red Desktop 1 To SATA 6 Gb/s
SSD : Corsair Force Series LS 60 Gb
Power : Corsair Builder Series VS650 80PLUS
Case : Zalman Z3 Plus Black

For the CPU, I prefer to stay on the 4 cores side for the moment. The amount of applications and games supporting more than 4 cores is very low these days and I think I'll be fine for years with this i7. A lot of people think that i5 is enough for gaming but I think that statement is going to be wrong in the next year(s) because games will demand much more in the future. Why an Intel and not an AMD ? I agree that AMD is way cheaper than Intel, but one of my first PCs had an AMD Duron and this CPU died after 4 years of service. It seems that AMD has fixed this nowadays but I told myself : "better safe than sorry" hence why I'm staying on Intel's side.

The GPU was very hard to find. First of all and to be clear, don't mention AMD/ATI. I had a Radeon 9550SE in the same first PC and it was HORRIBLE. Old drivers = everything runs fine but can't change the brightness in id Tech 3 games (Quake III Arena, Call of Duty 1, 2...). New drivers = drivers crashes, can't run anything, the ATI OpenGL fix for Hammer didn't worked. I had a conversation with a friend a few days ago and he wasn't very happy of his Radeon too, I think you've guessed it, I stay at NVIDIA's side even if they cost more than AMD/ATI. One of the problem I've found out with NVIDIA is that you need to look very closely to the GPU's specs because a lot of people think that 7XX beat a 6XX and they are wrong. Sometimes, a 6XX beat a 7XX for the same (or lower) price. The GTX 960 from Gigabyte is the only GPU that I've found which allow me to avoid this trap, the GTX 960 from other vendors were just a GTX 740 with the name changed.

The RAM was very easy to find unlike the CPU and GPU. 1600 Mhz is a good frequency in my opinion, CL9 because lower latency is better and 16 Gb is enough for my purposes. One friend told me to stay away from Kingston because he had issues with it.

The motherboard was a nightmare to find. Before the Gigabyte, I've found some kind of low cost MSI motherboard but the problem that a friend of mine spotted is that I've chosen the wrong PCI Express version for the GPU. So I changed it for another correct MSI motherboard but when I have chosen the case, there was not enough connectors for the fans. And I've found another MSI motherboard but there was again a problem with it. One client bought it and tried to install the same RAM of this build, and he reported that the space between the CPU and a RAM slot is too short making it "useless" for RAM with a radiator. And after more searches, I've found this Gigabyte GA-B85M-D3H which this time seems to be perfect.

The DVD burner is the cheapest I've found and I don't care too much about it because the only time I will use it is to (re)install old games and Windows 7/10. Hooray for the USB boot ! ^^

One friend highly recommended me the Western Digital for the HDD. 1 To is likely enough for my needs and I'm an organised man so I won't come short in terms of disk space. When I saw that the Red versions of Western Digital are more designed for NAS, I was like "WTF ? You want me to use a pro-NAS HDD on my PC ? Are you high or something ?". He reassured me that he's been using it for years and no problems at all, he also told me that previous versions (Green and Blue) weren't good for performance but rather for energy saving, so I'm trusting him on this.

This is gonna be the first time I'll be using a SSD and I'm quite hesitant about it. I've done a lot of research and found out that there are some very important steps to do after Windows installation (like preventing "defrag.exe" to run on it). I'm considering of installing my Windows 10 (and maybe the root partition of an Arch Linux) and all softwares on that SSD (Google Chrome, Steam, Mumble, Visual Studio...) and keep all the games and data on the HDD. Is my "SSD usage strategy" correct or I am going the wrong way ? Anyone here has a SSD and tell me his experience with it ?

I think 650W for the power unit is gonna be enough for this build and for potential future upgrades, this Corsair Builder Series VS650 80PLUS is the only 650W power unit that I've found to do it's job properly for a good price. At first I started looking at 700W power units but I think that's a little bit too much.

And finally the case, this Zalman Z3 Plus Black is the only case I've found that has a dust filter and 3 fans included for a very low price. Many people seems to like it as well.

The price of this build is 995,95 without shipping costs. For french folks here : I'll buy this build if everything is fine and I'm 100% sure about it on LDLC. Concurrents like, GrosBill, CDiscount and Rue du Commerce are way too expensive and their catalog is shorter as well.

And this conclude the first part (or entirely) this "Buying a new PC build journey". Before probably some day buying this build, I would to hear about your opinion. Do you think my build is correct for my needs ? Do you suggest more interesting components ? Feel free to tell me, I appreciate in advance for the comments, suggestions and all.

avatar UrbaNebula 18 comments | 29th February 2016, 12:06 PM


So last night I had a pretty horrific dream. I figured I would write it all down as best as I can recall so anyone who cares can look over it, say "meh" and move on.

The dream starts with me waking, face down in a bed, not my own and in a room I don't recognise. I immediately feel uneasy, as if somebody is watching me. I roll over and sure enough, my heart skips a beat as I see a ghostly white woman standing at the foot of the bed, who looks unsettlingly similar to my wife. She is draped in rags that flow as if she is underwater and her eyes are completely blacked out. She raises her arm, pointing to a nearby window and whispers; "The tractor is coming"

Within seconds I can hear a distance sound, an engine, drawing closer. It continues to get louder and louder until everything goes black.

Suddenly, I am driving along a country road in the dead of night, sure enough on an old fashioned tractor. The lights barely light the road ahead and I can just make out that there are thorn bushes either side of the road, about six feet tall. I hit a bump and realise that something is shifting behind me. It turns out that I am pulling a heavily loaded trailer. I turn to see if everything is still in place and to my horror, the trailer is piled high with dismembered and disfigured human corpses. Another jolt sends the heap tumbling off the trailer with a sickening wet sound as they fall onto the road. I keep driving.

Up ahead now, maybe 150 metres, I can see a single street lamp on a wooden pylon. Below it, standing on the grassy curb just in front of it are two figures, silhouetted by the bright light. On of them stood firm, like a stone while holding the other by the back of the neck. They are clearly distressed, thrashing and trying to break free of their grip. I hit another bump and the motionless figure looses it, brutally hacking at the squirming figure with a cleaver or hatchet, eventually beheading them. Their body remains upright, blood shooting up like a fountain. I hit the breaks, stopping the tractor instantly. Both figures stop, motionless, the beheaded figure still standing and squirting blood from it's neck... then they both take off, sprinting straight for me, screaming and gurgling. They vanish into the darkness between myself and the lonely street light. I put the tractor in reverse, look over my shoulder and see all of the disfigured and mutilated bodies from my trailer are now standing behind me, staring right at me.

The engine cuts out, the lights click off... and I wake up.