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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 zeeba-G 12 comments | 2nd February 2016, 00:09 AM

27! What what.

avatar DoctorAmazing 11 comments | 1st February 2016, 18:06 PM

For those of you who were in the HL community in 2004: How much of a game changer was it to the community? And what was the communities general reaction to it? I was too young to really remember this, yet alone even play HL2 until about 2008. I'd love to hear your guys thoughts on it circa 2004.

avatar Penguinboy 16 comments | 29th January 2016, 10:26 AM

Gather round and let me tell you a story. It's a story of hope and despair, sadness and enlightenment, desperation and joy, life and death. It's a story of my computer upgrade.

It all started towards the end of last year. Lots of people on TWHL were getting new graphics cards, and I was starting to think that it might be a good idea. Ant bought some Mac thing for twice the retail price so he could play all those mac games that exist, and Strider bought something ridiculously overpriced so he could play games from the 90's. Archie has had a crazy GPU for a while but he's just rubbing it in our faces with his fancy new screens. Other regulars in the upgrade club include notable pillars of our community such as DoctorAmazing, TawnosPrime, and Jessie.

So I thought: enough is enough! I will no longer be a spectator, I must take action! And action I took. I went to my local internet providing mechanism (my work computer) and ordered myself an upgrade with intense focus and concentration. The upgrade in question? It was none other than an Nvidia GTX 970 with 4GB RAM, 400mb of drivers, support for VR, Shadowplay, built-in toaster, plus I opted for the Roomba attachment and extra fries on the side.

My boss has a parking spot at work, so I knocked him out by giving him a light tap on the head with a ball-peen hammer and grabbed his keys and escaped before somebody could initiate a safety share about getting hammered in the workplace. As I swerved my way over to the computer store (I've been playing GTA recently so I couldn't remember which lane to drive in), I imagined all the incredible things I could do with my new graphics card. I could increase the draw distance in GTA V by 10%! Play Rainbow Six Siege in slightly higher detail than potato mode! Experience Half-Life in a graphical fidelity that's never before been possible! I was so excited that I almost ran over a particularly wide person on the footpath, but fortunately I managed to avoid them with only a small amount of collateral damage.

The gentleman that served me at the store had an incredibly impressive afro. I'm talking big, puffy, and really tall. His hair was larger than the rest of his head. This afro was hypnotising in its puffy majesty. I stood there staring for about 10 minutes while he was trying to serve me. Eventually I managed to exchange an impressive sum of Australian dollarey-doos for a chunk of plastic and steel that a Chinese dude made for ten bucks. I asked the guy for a lock of hair to remember his afro by, but he refused. I left empty handed, but that hair will forever be etched in my mind and I will compare all future hair to that noble image.

After dreaming about my new graphics card on the train home, I finally managed to walk through my front door and get ready for upgrading procedures. I took all the standard precautions, of course: take off pants, put computer on fuzzy carpet, don't bother unplugging the power because honestly who bothers with that nonsense. I was under my desk without much light so I put my phone into flashlight mode and balanced it awkwardly on the edge of the case.

After unplugging a few cords running over the old card, I was able to yank it out with only a little bit of brute force. A few things snapped but they probably weren't very important. The new card was jet black and reminded me of a super sleek racing car, if a racing car could be installed in a PCIe slot. I carefully jammed it into said slot and reconnected the power and whatever else was lying around that looked like it would fit into something. I stood the computer back up and pressed the magic button.

I grinned when I saw my motherboard's BIOS screen flash up. The GPU was working! The grin lasted about 5 seconds before it turned into a slight frown. The BIOS screen was still there. A minute later it changed into a blinking cursor on a black background. 5 minutes later, nothing had changed.

Have you ever felt that sinking feeling when you know something's gone horribly wrong? I have. Not only today, but in the past as well. My first GPU upgrade was at a LAN party, upgrading my GeForce MX440 to a FX5200. I eagerly installed the card and flicked the switch. All was going well until I smelled something. It was the metallic smell of ozone, the smell of fried electronics. The tab on the card was blocked by my computer case, and the AGP pins hadn't connected properly. The resulting short fried a capacitor in my motherboard. The rest of that LAN was not an enjoyable experience for me. It took 6 months for Intel's warranty department to issue a replacement.

Anyway the point is that I have felt this before. Fortunately I've learnt my lesson and I knew the pins were connected properly, and nothing smelled of ozone so I was trying to stay positive. I shut it down and checked that everything was seated properly, that the power was connected, and that my PSU had enough juice to support the card in the first place. Everything was okay. I tried again, and still nothing happened. The sinking feeling increased. Something's broken. I paid 500 dollarey-doos for this damn thing. The store is not known for its refund policy, and its support is Valve-quality. What the hell am I supposed to do?

I was desperate. And what do people do when they're desperate? They try everything. In my case, 'everything' included looking for motherboard BIOS updates. You know, that thing that absolutely never does anything to fix your actual problem? But it doesn't matter, I was desperate. I did it anyway. The last update on my motherboard was published in 2012. Not a good sign. But even still, I did it anyway. There was indeed a BIOS update, and at this point I didn't really care if it made things worse than before.

So I flashed the BIOS. I squeezed my hands together as the progress bar progressed. I popped a stress ball. The blood in my fingers experienced a pressure so great that it would still be in liquid form if I was sitting on the surface of the sun. The progress bar finished and my computer rebooted. I crossed all my fingers and toes and even digits that I didn't even know could be crossed. The BIOS booted...

... and worked! A BIOS update actually solved my problem! It's even less likely than the second coming of Jesus. But it worked. Windows started, and the driver installer struggled to start up and eventually gave me a green light after choking on installations for a while.

I celebrated by turning all the settings up in GTA. I can now make everything in the background incredibly blurry without it dropping frames! It looks absolutely awful so I turned it off, but isn't it nice that GTA with maximum settings also doubles as an "I'm not wearing my glasses" simulator. I'll now go back to playing games that I was able to max out on my old card anyway. New games are expensive, you know?

TLDR: Got a new graphics card, GTX 970. Didn't work initially, but for the first time ever a motherboard BIOS update actually solved the problem. Story may be slightly exaggerated in places. Not that guy's hair though - it was 100% real.

avatar DoctorAmazing 17 comments | 25th January 2016, 22:38 PM

Vinny from Vinesauce plays TWHL Tower
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fX4nm6RKHk

avatar DiscoStu 6 comments | 18th January 2016, 20:20 PM

I have a handful of throwaway email accounts on my web host. As such, some passwords are pretty half-assed and they may even be things like AAA123456. Today I got an alert from the support team at my web host:

----
Our servers have detected the passwords of several of your email accounts are insecure. Because they include the u sername (sic) or domain in them. [Note: not the case]
Please change your passwords from your control panel and re-enable the accounts. Follow these steps to build a strong and secure password:
(typical secure password advice removed)

----

My reply:

How do can you even tell that? Do you happen to be storing passwords in plain text instead of running them through a one-way algorithm as would be appropriate for a hosting industry of your caliber?

----

I can't wait to see what they reply, but it looks like I'll be changing providers soon...

===== UPDATE 1 =====

Dear User:
The server detects it automatically and modifies them, at no point we can see them because they are encrypted.

----
Yeah totally encrypted. With ROT13. TWICE!

avatar TJB 7 comments | 14th January 2016, 20:58 PM

I'm sure I mentioned it a few months ago, but as part of my final year at university our class is put into teams and each has to design and build a radio controlled model aircraft to perform a specific task as set by the AIAA foundation's Design Build Fly competition.
This year the aim is to build two aircraft; a Production aircraft, which must be capable of carrying a 32oz Gatorade bottle around a set course, and a Mission Support aircraft, which must be capable of carrying the production aircraft (stored internally, disassembled) around the same course.
We've spent the last semester designing the two aircraft, and manufacture started last week.
I'm in the fuselage group for our team, and in the last few days we've been busy building. Since the production aircraft is intended to be broken down into different parts, we've been able to work on the fuselage independently of the other groups (wings, gear, etc.)
The majority of the design is carbon fibre tubing and laser cut plywood and balsa wood. Here you can see the laser cutter cutting out some wing ribs from balsa:

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While the laser cutting is pretty impressive, the one they have at the university isn't great. Because the plywood we're using isn't laser grade, parts need to be cut out in multiple passes, but the cuts are in slightly different places on each pass, so they don't come out very well.
Here's an image of what little we could salvage of our first attempt at a fuselage, with a Coke bottle for scale:

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Here'a a pic of our partially constructed second attempt:

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To account for the poor accuracy of the machine, the parts were all cut slightly oversized, and then hand fitted. While this is labour intensive (two of us spent three or four hours filing and sanding and we've got more to do tomorrow), it allows for a very close fit:

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Those two images are of the parts we have ready so far (plus one that was accidentally broken). There's no glue or fasteners used there, but we were able to hold it by the tailboom and shake it fairly vigorously without anything coming off. Also in those pictures you can see my two 3D printed parts. I was pretty excited about those as it was the first time I had seen something I had designed on a computer as an object in the real world.

Also, as an extra: While the laser cutter isn't very accurate, it's perfectly fine for small objects that can be cut in one corner of the cutter bed. So I've been making keyrings.

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I have a few more designs I'd like to cut in the next week or so:

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avatar UrbaNebula 6 comments | 14th January 2016, 19:56 PM

Mere days after we lose Bowie, cancer has done the world yet another great disservice and taken Alan Rickman from us.

Fuck you, cancer.

avatar Suparsonik 3 comments | 11th January 2016, 23:30 PM

Damn, I missed my sixth birthday.

avatar DoctorAmazing 9 comments | 11th January 2016, 13:42 PM

RIP David Bowie

avatar DoctorAmazing 18 comments | 8th January 2016, 16:11 PM

So Marc Laidlaw left Valve.
What will this mean for Half-Life?

avatar Striker 7 comments | 6th January 2016, 16:09 PM

I played with some friends Exploding Kittens. This game is awesomely frustrating. But hey, at least I rubbed the belly of a pig-a-corn.

Do you guys know of any cool boardgames? What do you say about Pandemic?

avatar sample vodka 9 comments | 5th January 2016, 10:19 AM

For you,which is the worst map of some game you played?

avatar sample vodka 1 comment | 3rd January 2016, 13:49 PM

This is my reaction when there isnt Internet in my house :^)

http://i.imgur.com/4O2kuPk.gif

avatar NineTnine 10 comments | 3rd January 2016, 05:17 AM

So I finally got around to playing HL2 the other day (yeah nah don't ask why it's taken me this long).

Because the game was the first one to use the Source engine, I can't help but notice that a lot of the game puzzles and gameplay focus on the physics, as if Valve was attempting to exploit this part of the engine to the max.
ie. You get a tool that can pick up objects around the world. You can't shoot to destroy turrets, they have to fall over. You build see-saws in the sewers to escape, etc.
Maybe I'm just cynical but because I've played games post HL2 which feature similar physics engines that aren't exploited like this, I'm finding this part of the game a bit overkill. kind of like how there are games build to exploit a graphics engine, this feels like it was built to exploit a physics engine.

Also, the story isn't explained very well either.
And Alyx is actually pretty annoying.
But apart from that Its alright.

avatar DiscoStu 2 comments | 1st January 2016, 04:51 AM

Time flies. It slips away like sand between your fingers every second you're not looking. One day you realise all that time has gone, we're not here long enough. Don't let it run past with impunity. Have fun, love others. Trap that time in your heart and make it last forever.

Now go out there and have a great 2016!

avatar DoctorAmazing 2 comments | 27th December 2015, 16:07 PM

XVIII

Edit: Got A PNY Geforce 730 2Gb for myself, not top of the line obviously, but I'm so happy to be able to run Black Mesa and the like. Still stuck on 6gb of DDR2 RAM though.

avatar Dimbeak 10 comments | 26th December 2015, 04:10 AM

Please play the Beginner's Guide.

If you don't quite like walking simulators, I don't care. To me, dismissing a game with minimal input is like dismissing a movie for not being interactive--the level of interactivity doesn't matter so long as it's a competent story told in an engaging way.

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I just don't get it. If it's art, it's art. If it expresses itself ina way that works, then it works. And I feel it's very dismissive of you to revoke this game from the right of being called a "game," even when it's expressing an idea which evidence suggest might very much relate to you. Isn't it quite funny that the person who made a whole journal saying "Fuck homophobia." is now dismissing an entire genre of human beings' work just because it is a game primarily about observation, and listening?

But even if you hate movies, books, music, or any other form of entertainment which requires minimal interaction, I know that the majority of you will be able to connect to it.

It's basically a game which holds your hand and carries you through the Source maps of the creator's friend, and tries to relate his works to things happening in his life. It may not sound thrilling, but it's very introspective, and the end of the game left me with a very compelling feeling.

Is it fiction or nonfiction? It's hard to tell. Personally, I believe it's somewhere between the two, but that won't make much sense until you try it for yourself.

Basically, this game is a must-play unless you have no interest in the deconstruction of artistic expression and introspection.

Side Note: If you have played it, please no spoiler discussion in the comments.

Side Side Note: It's an hour long, so you can play through the whole game and get a refund if you didn't like it. If you did like it, however, please don't refund it you immoral bastard, unless it's because you think the work itself is immoral, which is a fair stance to take.

avatar DoctorAmazing 1 comment | 25th December 2015, 06:05 AM

merry something
https://youtu.be/nUKku3MhCPs
and have a happy new

avatar Tetsu0 3 comments | 23rd December 2015, 14:14 PM

My book (electronic version) is available for only $5 until January 8th!
https://www.packtpub.com/game-development/source-sdk-g
ame-development-essentials

Thought you all would like to know.

avatar DoctorAmazing 7 comments | 18th December 2015, 04:56 AM

Just saw The Force Awakens.
Wow.

avatar TawnosPrime 12 comments | 17th December 2015, 00:27 AM

The time has finally come. I will return to the upper ranks of the PC Master Race! After sliding down the ranks over the last few years with old faithful:

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0 GHz
Motherboard: EVGA nForce 750I SLI FTW
Memory: 8GB DDR2 800 4x2GB (2 native, 2 overclocked)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB 3.5" 7200RPM
Video Card: XFX GeForce GTX 285 1GB
Case: Cooler Master Haf 922
Power Supply: Corsair TX850 850W
Keyboard: Generic Keyboard
Mouse: Logitech MX518

I've just ordered the parts to build my new rig, and it will be Glorious!!!

CPU: Intel Core i5-6600K 3.5GHz
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master GeminII M4
Motherboard: MSI Z170M Mortar Micro ATX
Memory: Kingston HyperX Fury Black 16GB 4x4GB DDR4 2400
Storage: Samsung 850 EVO-Series 120GB 2.5" SSD
Storage: Western Digital Red 3TB 3.5" 5400RPM HDD
Storage: Western Digital Red 3TB 3.5" 5400RPM HDD
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 970 4GB ACX 2.0
Case: Corsair Air 240
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA GS 650W
Case Fan: Corsair SP120 57.2 CFM 120mm Fans
Case Fan: Corsair SP120 57.2 CFM 120mm Fans
Keyboard: Corsair K70 RGB Wired Gaming Keyboard
Mouse: Razer Naga Hex Wired Laser Mouse
Other: Razer Sabertooth

Before you say anything, yes, the HDDs will be in RAID 0, and while the risk of failure is greater, given their reputation and my personal experience, I'm willing to take the risk for the performance increase and reduced cost for my game installs.

avatar DoctorAmazing 7 comments | 16th December 2015, 15:40 PM

Star Wars.

avatar Luke 12 comments | 15th December 2015, 18:54 PM

Big year. Got married and had a kid. Mad decent.

avatar Strider 4 comments | 14th December 2015, 10:47 AM
avatar Archie 14 comments | 13th December 2015, 16:29 PM

I recently asked you guys for some advice about 1440p displays. After much deliberation, I went for the AOC Q2770PQU sitting at a glorious 27" which takes up my entire desk width - an impressive feat on a desk this big.

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I've now been living and working with these panels for about six months and I've got to say I haven't had a single problem. The colour reproduction - which is easily my most important priority - is staggeringly good. I had them calibrated to broadcast standards in mere minutes and the faithful, bright and vibrant colours are simply beautiful. I'm also running them on the absolute lowest power settings and they're still totally bright and rich. On the full power setting it's like looking out of a real window.

For work, the extra screen real estate of 1440p is phenomenal. I have almost all the tools I ever need on screen at once in After Effects and it creates a painless and efficient workflow that makes work so much less tiring.

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For games, I was worried that I would notice the slightly lower-end refresh rate. I don't, at all. Maybe if I was playing a twitch-fps like Counter-strike at an e-sports level I might see a difference, but for gaming for enjoyment, the beautiful picture, immersive screen size and ridiculously crisp resolution more than makes up for anything lost in the refresh rate. I was using a 144Hhz monitor for years and I don't feel any worse off at 60.

There are some nice bonuses like USB3 ports in the sides and I personally quite like the design of the bevel, though it's nothing mind-blowing. The stands are sturdy and easily adjustable and sit on lazy-susans so that rotating your displays won't scratch your desk. Nice touch.

Overall, I couldn't be happier. Would heartily recommend to anyone on here, but especially to those with jobs in design or video - I can't stress enough how stunning the colour is, even at basically a 180 degree viewing angle. What a display.

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avatar Striker 1 comment | 5th December 2015, 22:32 PM

3000 days.

TL;DR: been here for 8 years. My deep thanks to the community. Youtube link to an unfinished project at the bottom of the journal

Three thousand. This is an interesting, if not cool number that probably make most of the geeks think of the future. How will life be in the year 3000? It's difficult to imagine, but it's fun to speculate. Flying cars, teleportation? Outdated concepts by that time. Are we going to be merely some spheres of energy having fun by shaping matter, that move through the universe in the ultimate quest of solving the last philosophical questions? Are we going to meet with other intelligent beings by that time, or, why not, ascend on a higher spiritual path and maybe discover new realms?

I don't know. But it's not about 3000 years, it's about 3000 days. I've been here for that amount of time and I thought it would be nice to present my respects to the community. It's a community that tolerated me in my internet youth and I'm grateful for that. People have very little patience in real life these days, much less in a virtual space. Although maybe it's not fair to suppose that it's virtual, because electronic communication is one of the greatest inventions: expanding our electrical impulses from the brain, through an interface, to thousands of miles away. It's... mind blowing, if you think of it.

I'm ashamed that, because of my very busy schedule, I couldn't work at a mapping project I had, and neither I could make a "gift" to the community, to say so. I can only present my thanks to you, the regulars, who give this community its unique appeal that had me stay for so long. It is still the first tab in my tens of tabs opened each day, because I'm quite honestly interested of the evolution of some members around here. It's heart warming to know the origins of some members and see them where they've arrived.

It's not fair to present thanks to only the regulars I know from the top of my head, I'd surely leave some out and that wouldn't be nice. But to you, the regulars: I tip my hat to you! Please continue to come to this site and share your stories :).

The project I was talking about was started quite some months ago, in preparation for this event. But college started and... well, those of you who went to college know what this means. I also work now as a programmer, so I have only about 2-3 hours of free time per day.
It was supposed to be an amalgamation of very intense and dynamic moments, as some of you know I hate "static" maps. It was supposed to be... a culmination of my restless mind in summer nights. Yeah this sounds weird :)).
Anyway, enough with the talk, this was the starting area:
=======================
HL2 mapping project
=======================
This can become a long term project where I could co-opt some members and expand it into a short mod. But I don't know for now. Most of my projects start by having an idea pop in my mind when having a shower, and idea that grows and expands into a couple of scenes that I rehearse repeatedly in my mind until I can't stand if I don't start implementing it. So, in conclusion, I don't have a real story. Do not consider this post a team project announcement, I'd be very clear if it was so.

Sorry for the long post ^^.

avatar Dr. Orange 2 comments | 5th December 2015, 19:13 PM

I find it kind of weird how in video games, sometimes the reload animation let the used ammo clip stay on screen, obviously showing you weren't switching it out.

Here's a gif I made to show what I mean:

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avatar AJ 11 comments | 3rd December 2015, 00:02 AM
avatar ThatGuy4878 7 comments | 27th November 2015, 20:30 PM

Something something something roman numerals.
Something something something clever way of saying it's my birthday.
Something something something I'm 19 now.

Goddamn I'm bad at this. `-`
I'm getting some tea.

avatar zeeba-G 4 comments | 25th November 2015, 19:23 PM

Will be test playing my ScoutzKnivez remake later today prolly around 5-6 pm central time.

Come join and check it out, cs 1.6 server.

Ip: 68.232.164.122

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