Sounds very Microsoft-like... >:|
This has been the softest launch of a game I’ve ever done. I spent about $100 total on facebook post boosts, I tweeted, I blogged and I posted to the ProductionLine facebook page. Since then…thats it, I’ve been pretty much going along on word of mouth, and even then, sales have exceeded my expectations! This is really good news, because so far the development of the game has gone exactly as I had hoped, with a lot more focus on what actual players of the game want, rather than me guessing, or doing just want I want, or me trying to guess what makes the press happiest.
This has resulted in a lot of bug reports! (many thanks for that) and some really good suggestions and ideas, some of which have already made it into the game. People do seem to be surprised how quickly stuff goes in or gets improved, but frankly thats because I worked on this game for about a year in silence so there is this whole huge library of decent engine code in the background that is *done* and thus I only really have to code new features and GUI stuff now. New GUI does not take that long, and thankfully I’ve got good enough at debugging multi-threading and recursive stuff that this is not a huge bottleneck either. I’m almost disappointed nobody is having frame-rate issues, because I love optimizing :D
This is just as well as there have been a LOT of ideas and suggestions. I’ve already seen factories way bigger and more efficient than anything I have managed to create. It never occurred to me to re-use the conveyor belts in cunning roundabout-style loops with the individual processing elements happening at different junctions…until someone found a bug in it.
Users feedback has been excellent, encouraging and invaluable.
But anyway! I’m actual;y sending out a puny mailing list today with 7,500 recipients, so that should open things up a bit, especially as some are press. I don’t expect massive press coverage, but I’m not relying on it either. The game remains very much in Alpha (not even beta) so I expect a lot of people, gamers and press alike will stay in a ‘wait and see’ mode.
In the meantime, I have just set a big patch(1.04) live, and here is the fairly hefty changelist. (not bad for about 4 days work).
[version alpha 1.04]
1) The task ‘make fuel tanks’ now unlocks when researched correctly.
2) Fixed some crashes and routing bugs caused by deleting resource importer bays.
3) Pop-up details on the slot-picker now should show decimal places for times.
4) Vehicle details windows limited to one per vehicle and can now be dragged by the player.
5) Fixed minute format bug in save games.
6) Pause now works as a toggle, and all speed controls have hotkeys.
7) Escape key now closes slot picker.
8) Slot picker has less visual ‘padding’.
9) Double-click on the relevant window now loads a save game.
10) The upgrades section of a slot details dialog is now hidden if there are no upgrades available for selection.
11) Any open dialogs are now correctly closed when going to the main menu.
12) Fixed crash bug when a single stretch of uninterrupted conveyor belt was over 64 tiles long.
13) Added new efficiency dialog which shows efficiency over time and also a snapshot of current slot efficiency.
14) Fixed bug where slots could be placed ‘spilling’ over into a locked factory area.
15) Fixed bug on low resolutions where the slot upgrades window did not fit on the screen.
16) Floating numbers fade out now even when paused.
17) Improvements to ‘load-balancing’ at junctions.
18) New ‘Efficiency’ dialog currently just showing global state of all slots now and over time.
19) Slight speedup of creating the load-game dialog.
20) New vehicle pop-ups show the reason a vehicle is stuck.
21) Some conveyor belt graphics now have darker, more obvious direction arrows.
22) Fixed incorrect sizes of some delivered resources.
23) New upgrade for painting slot: ‘High pressure paint nozzles’
24) Fixed bug where components built inside the factory at ‘make’ slots did not survive a save and load.
25) Corrupt resource deliveries to roof making and similar slots fixed.
26) New graphics for the tyre-making slot and the window making slot.
Thanks for everyone pre-ordering, and I also really appreciate it when people tweet or post online about the game, its really helpful. If you don’t have the game yet, here is the order form :D
Kneeling is a sign of reverence, submission and obedience. Darth Vader assumes this pose before the Emperor more than once during the original Star Wars trilogy, and this poignant action helps to emphasize his emotional conflict, between the master that guided him most of his life (but who he eventually destroys), and the offspring that he has known for a much shorter time. In recreating this moment in LEGO, builder SPARKART! takes the unusual approach of using a Vader minifig headpiece atop an entirely brick-built figure. He even offers a glimpse at the parts and techniques necessary to copy this distinctive statuette yourself.
What is it with TV executives and non-tech savvy journalists? Can they not do the vaguest bit of research and kill of this myth about ‘gifted child genius programmers and hackers’? its so off-base its laughable, especially to anyone my age who works as a software engineer. If it isn’t immediately obvious what I’m talking about, its characters like this from silicon valley:
And also like this (also from silicon valley)*
And like this from ‘halt and catch fire’
And any number of media stories about ‘teenage bedroom genius hackers’. I guess it all goes back to a single film, in the early days of computers (and the threat of hacking)…war games, starring Matthew Broderick aged 19 released in 1983. The myth of the young genius computer whizz was born, and nobody has seemingly challenged it since.
Firstly…lets get something straight., The ‘cleverest’ programmers are not usually ‘hackers’. Firstly, its much easier to break something than build it. You build software with 100,000 lines of code and 1 line has a potential exploit? you did a good job 99,999 times, versus a hacker who finds that one exploit. are the finest minds in programming really working for the Russian mafia? I suspect they are more likely to be working for Apple or Deep Mind or some tech start-up with fifty million dollars worth of stock options. They get better pay and no threats of violence, which would you choose?
Secondly, computers were invented a while ago now. We have people with a LOT of experience in the field out there now. Amazingly, C++ is still perfectly usable, and very efficient, and given the choice between someone who has written tens of millions of lines of C++ over twenty or thirty years, versus some ‘bright’ kid…I’m going with the old guy/girl thanks.
Learning to code takes TIME, yet because bookshops hawk crappy ‘learn C++ in 21 days (or less)’ bullshit, some non-coders actually believe it. There is a BIG difference between ‘knowing some C++’ and being a C++ software engineer. Writing code that works is fucking easy. Writing reliable bug-free efficient, legible and flexible and safe code is fucking hard. Why do we think that surgeons with 20 years experience are the best choice for our brain operation, yet want software coded by a fourteen year old? Is there some reality-distortion field that turns programming into a Benjamin button style alternate reality?
So ideally, any movie or TV series that features the ‘ace’ coder would have them aged about 30-40, maybe even older. At the very least they would be in the darned twenties. Enough with the school-age hacker god bullshit. Here is a recent picture of John Carmack. I bet he is a better coder than you, or me. He has even more grey hair than me.
While we are on the topic, the best coders are not arrogant, mouthy, uber-confident types on skateboards wearing hip t-shirts with confrontational activist slogans on them, and flying into a rage whenever people talk to them. Nor do they always blast out heavy metal or rap music on headphones whilst coding on the floor cross-legged, and nor do they ‘do all their best work’ when on drugs, or at 3AM, or after a fifteen hour coding blitz.
These are myths that make TV characters ‘more exciting’. Except they also make them unbelievable and stupid. I’m quite unusual in being a fairly extravert (in short bursts) programmer. Put it down to being a lead guitarist in a metal band 27 years ago. Most really *good* coders I know are actually pretty quiet. They will not draw attention to themselves. they are not arrogant, they know enough to know that they know very little. Really good coders tend not to brag. I brag a bit, its PR but would I claim to be a C++ *expert*. Nope, I know what I need to know. I also only really know C++, a little bit of PHP, and some HTML, CSS, but not enough to do anything but the few things I need. When I meet coders who brag that they know 10 languages, I get that they know the syntax, but how to use them effectively? enough to write mission critical code that a company is built on? I find it hard to believe.
Most coders look pretty boring. Most of us are pretty boring. Most of us are not arrogant shouty attention seekers. The experienced ones know to stop coding by 9PM at the very latest, and to take regular breaks. We also aren’t stupid enough to store backup disks next to hi-fi speakers in the same room (an actual plot point in halt and catch fire). We make shit TV, but good code. I suspect our portrayal will never change.
*All the SV cast are young, but carla seems to be portrayed as younger, cooler, more confident than the rest.
A critical flaw (possibly a deliberate backdoor) allows for decryption of Whatsapp messages -- UPDATED
"That means that a government could order Facebook to stealthily decrypt Whatsapp traffic, despite the company's claims that it can't do this under any circumstances." enough said, hm?
Update: Be sure to read the followup discussion, which explains Facebook's point of view, that this is a deliberate compromise, and not a defect, that makes the app more usable for a wide variety of users, while putting them to little additional risk (namely, that Facebook might change its mind; or be forced to spy on its users; or suffer a security breach or internal rogue employee).
When Facebook implemented Open Whisper Systems' end-to-end encrypted messaging protocol for Whatsapp, they introduced a critical flaw that exposes more than a billion users to stealthy decryption of their private messages: in Facebook's implementation, the company can force Whatsapp installations to silently generate new cryptographic keys (without any way for the user to know about this unless a deep settings checkbox had been ticked), which gives the company the ability to decrypt user messages, including messages that have already been sent in the past.. (more…)
That is beautiful :)
One of the scenes I found most interesting in Star Wars: The Force Awakens was the sight of an Imperial star destroyer rusting into oblivion on Jakku. I imagined other relics of the fallen Empire scattered and forgotten on planets throughout the galaxy. Austrian builder sanellukovic does a fantastic job expanding this element of the story with his depiction of a derelict Imperial shuttle.
The builder has taken the UCS Imperial Shuttle design and turned it into an ugly, rusting pile of junk – and I mean that in high admiration. A lot of builders (including myself) would have felt just fine breaking the shuttle apart, scattering it across a landscape scene and calling it good. This builder, however, went so much further, creating a scene so full of character I wish it had been in the movie. Note the busted windshield, rust patterns and jungle overgrowth. The ship’s layout is spot-on, particularly the crumpled wings and the way the dorsal stabilizer leans forward as if it was just barely holding together.
The jungle looks wonderful too and adds a nice sense of mystery and abandonment to the creation. How exciting it would be to stumble upon this during a trek through the woods!
That sounds annoyingly true right now...
I could stare at that for hours :P
Japanese builder akiyuki applies the concept of strain wave gearing to Great Ball Contraptions, a popular LEGO fan convention theme in which hundreds of balls are passed through complex machinery. From both an engineering and a visual standpoint, the module is mesmerizing to watch. See the module in action in the following 2 minute video.
A fascinating read detailing the design process and engineering challenges faced by the builder can be found on akiyuki’s blog.
Artist Mike Kelley creates "Airportraits" of the world's airports by photographing all the planes that take off on a given day, then compositing them together into a kind of time-lapse of a day's worth of flights, which presents an instantly comprehensible way of comparing the different services; they're available as stunning prints. (via Kottke) (more…)
A new Star Control. Why didn't I know of this before?
All right, *campers*, there’s some new news lurking on the horizon for Star Control fans eager to find a new *happy town*. This morning, Stardock founder Brad Wardell announced the official name of the company’s upcoming Star Control prequel: Star Control: Origins. Wardell has also offered up the first public gameplay video:
Today’s announcement also gives us a tentative release date and an early price: the game will be coming to Windows and consoles, and the PC release will be in the second half of 2017. For $35 (£30), players can join the studio’s “Founder’s Program” and get access to the closed beta and some additional developer goodies.
Does somebody actually still pay attention to what Vladimir Zhirinovski says? :D
An ultra-right Russian politician aligned with Vladimir Putin says American voters should elect Donald Trump for president, or prepare for nuclear war. Vladimir Zhirinovsky likes to compare himself to Trump, and is a similarly unrestrained blowhard.
"Americans voting for a president on Nov. 8 must realize that they are voting for peace on Planet Earth if they vote for Trump,” he said. “But if they vote for Hillary it's war. It will be a short movie. There will be Hiroshimas and Nagasakis everywhere."
Aaaand that sounds like my WUpdate is going to be turned off. Ain't that safe?
In August, Microsoft announced that it was going to change the patching model used by Windows 7 and 8.1—as well as Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, and 2012 R2—to something close to that of Windows 10.
In a break from Microsoft's older operating systems, Windows 10's monthly updates incorporate both security and non-security fixes into a single monolithic update. These updates combine not only each month's new fixes, but also the fixes from previous months. A similar system is being offered to those older operating systems. The patch on October 11 is the first time this new system is being used.
The patch system for the legacy operating systems has complexities that Windows 10's patching lacks. There will be three series of updates in total. Two of these updates will be a monthly roll-up that combines security and non-security fixes, as well as a monthly security update that contains only that month's security fixes without any previous ones. They will be released on the second Tuesday of each month, known as "Patch Tuesday." The third update will be a preview of the next month—which combines the current month's cumulative update with the next month's non-security fixes—and will be published on the third Tuesday of each month. This will give users the ability to test the non-security portion of each month's patch before it's rolled out.
Elon Musk finally did it. Fourteen years after founding SpaceX, and nine months after promising to reveal details about his plans to colonize Mars, the tech mogul made good on that promise Tuesday afternoon in Guadalajara, Mexico. Over the course of a 90-minute speech Musk, always a dreamer, shared his biggest and most ambitious dream with the world—how to colonize Mars and make humanity a multiplanetary species.
And what mighty ambitions they are. The Interplanetary Transport System he unveiled could carry 100 people at a time to Mars. Contrast that to the Apollo program, which carried just two astronauts at a time to the surface of the nearby Moon, and only for brief sojourns. Moreover, Musk’s rocket that would lift all of those people and propellant into orbit would be nearly four times as powerful as the mighty Saturn V booster. Musk envisions a self-sustaining Mars colony with at least a million residents by the end of the century.
Beyond this, what really stood out about Musk’s speech on Tuesday was the naked baring of his soul. Considering his mannerisms, passion, and the utter seriousness of his convictions, it felt at times like the man's entire life had led him to that particular stage. It took courage to make the speech, to propose the greatest space adventure of all time. His ideas, his architecture for getting it done—they’re all out there now for anyone to criticize, second guess, and doubt.
I personally lost all interest in Oculus Rift the moment fecesbook bought the company. Sounds like I chose wisely.
This week saw the latest Oculus Rift software runtime begin to roll out to PC users, and the 1.8 version includes one new feature in particular: official Facebook integration. The software update is rolling out in waves, so Oculus owners may not yet have this live on their PCs, but once it rolls out, users are told that "Oculus is better with Facebook friends" and are given the option of logging in to a Facebook account.
To confirm, this is wholly optional, and the service will still operate normally should users not opt in. And in some ways, this change brings Facebook up to speed with other major online gaming platforms such as Steam, Xbox Live, and PlayStation Network, which all support Facebook-specific features like searching for friends and posting updates.
However, Oculus' tie-in to Facebook is different from the others in more aggressively tying FB to a gaming service, according to the Facebook-in-Oculus terms posted to the headset's official Reddit forum. For starters, should you log in to Facebook via the Oculus Rift's PC app, your username will change to your real name. If for any reason you'd rather your Oculus username continue to be your favorite gaming handle, whether for privacy's sake or just because you like the sound of it, you'll have to avoid the login.
Surprised? Hopefully not.. :p
Ars was among the first news outlets to report on discussions among astronomers about observations of an intriguing "signal" that may have originated from a distant, Sun-like star. We cautioned readers that, because the signal was measured at 11Ghz, there was a "significant chance" it was of terrestrial origin, likely due to some military activity.
Well, it apparently was. First, astronomers with the search for extraterrestrial intelligence downplayed the possibility of an alien civilization. "There are many other plausible explanations for this claimed transmission, including terrestrial interference," Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer with SETI, wrote.
Now the Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences has concurred, releasing a statement on the detection of a radio signal at the RATAN-600 radio astronomy observatory in southern Russia. "Subsequent processing and analysis of the signal revealed its most probable terrestrial origin," the Russian scientists said. (Maybe it was really Steve Martin and his hair dryer?)
Bone is awesome - even when translated into Finnish
Bone: Coda (25th Anniversary Special)
by Jeff Smith
2016, 136 pages, 6.4 x 8.9 x 0.5 inches (softcover)
$13 Buy a copy on Amazon
If you haven’t read Jeff Smith’s Bone series, just stop. Stop reading right now, mid sentence, and go pick up his masterpiece. It’s wonderful. Quite possibly one of the greatest fantasy stories ever told. Once you’ve read that and fallen in love with Smith’s humor and characters, then you can appreciate this follow-up that gives you a reason to revisit the Bone Brothers.
If you aren’t familiar with the Bone series, this coda won’t interest you. It’s a companion piece that includes interviews of Smith, an oral history by comic historian Stephen Weiner, and early illustrations of the Bone characters. I found it compelling to hear that Bone was a story that almost wasn’t. But through determination, some luck, and careful maneuvering, Smith was able to get the comic off the ground. It’s great inspiration for any independent artist out there.
But the best part about this book is that there’s a new Bone story to be had! The brothers and Bartleby are still in route back to Boneville, when in true Bone fashion things go awry. It’s not a long story, or a deep one, but it’s a reminder about everything that was so great about this series. It’s a little heartbreaking that Smith makes a point to define coda as “the concluding passage of a piece or movement, typically forming an addition to the base structure.” Hopefully we’ll see more from this world, but for now this is a pretty good sendoff. If you’re a completest, you’re going to need to pick this up. – JP LeRoux
August 26, 2016
Back in April, we learned that UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi had hired a sleazy "reputation-management" company to scrub her reputation and that of the university after the 2011 incident in which university police lieutenant John Pike hosed down peaceful protesters with pepper spray, jetting chemical irritant directly into their open mouths and eyes. (more…)
Paris's Musée national du Moyen Âge teamed up with The University of Geneva to make this video demonstrating the fighting techniques available to people in 15th century armor, which are much more fluid and athletic that I had presumed -- turns out you can really move in those tin cans. (via We Make Money Not Art)
So it's another way of pushing that cursed telemetry crap, CEIP and whatnot so one can't opt out?
Microsoft is switching Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 to a cumulative update model similar to the one used by Windows 10. The company is moving away from the individual hotfix approach it has used thus far for those operating systems.
One of the major differences between Windows 7 and 8.1 on the one hand and Windows 10 on the other is what happens when you run Windows Update. Microsoft's two older operating systems usually need to fetch a handful of individual patches each month. If a system hasn't been patched for a few months, this can require dozens of individual fixes to be retrieved. In the case of a clean installation, that number can reach the hundreds.
Windows 10, on the other hand, has perhaps one or two updates released each month. A single cumulative update incorporates not just all of the newest security and reliability fixes, but all the older fixes from previous months, too. If a system isn't updated for a few months or has had its operating system freshly reinstalled, the scenario of having hundreds of individual fixes never occurs. Windows 10 just grabs the latest cumulative update and, with that one package, is more or less up-to-date.
Ten years ago, British domestic security claimed to have caught a terrorist cell that had planned to blow up airplanes with a gel they'd carry on in a Gatorade bottle and detonate with an Ipod. (more…)
Vintage Works built this fantastic motorcycle that is exactly like a Star Wars Speeder Bike. Only it doesn't fly. Sadly.
My main question is: have they finally stopped pushing 3035583 now that the free downgrade period is over?
If you use Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 and want to upgrade to Windows 10 for free, there are just a few more hours left to grab your copy. The offer expires today, July 29. At the time of writing, less than 19 hours still remain.
If you're eligible, you should upgrade. In almost every regard, Windows 10 is a better operating system than Windows 7 or 8.1 (unless you use Media Center, in which case you're trapped on old operating systems forever). If you want to get the free upgrade but can't upgrade right now because of timing or compatibility concerns, your best option is to install Windows 10 onto an empty hard drive using your existing Windows 7 or 8.1 key. Activate that installation and magic will occur: your key will become Windows 10 "enabled," and you should be able to use it to perform the upgrade at a later date. Similar results can likely be achieved by installing into a virtual machine rather than an empty hard disk.
The cut-off doesn't apply to those who use assistive technology such as screen-readers; those Windows users will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 whenever they feel like it, though Microsoft apparently has yet to fully explain how this will work.
He was one of my favourite artists in MAD
Davis had been with MAD since its first run in 1952, and his illustrations helped define the look of satirical art for generations. (more…)
Hotline Miami was awesome
Hotline Miami LEGO are two things which shouldn’t mix. One is an ultra-violent top down murder fest of a game, and the other is a made-for-kids interlocking bricks system. Luckily, Nannan Zhang does both properties justice with this little scene from the games.
Aside from the great colours used to imitate the game and the textured brick pieces being used as carpet details, what I really love is the fact that (as far as I can tell) only LEGO pieces were used. The Chima headpiece acting as a Tony Mask works particularly well. It all comes together so well and makes me want to play the games again.
Hovertext: Once you realize there is no hope, you can relax and just enjoy the progress in machine learning.
This also includes the GWX-adware and CEIP packets, I would assume. I'll take the tedious route instead, if I ever need to do a fresh W7 install.
This should become a thing of the past. (credit: Microsoft)
Anyone who's installed Windows 7 any time in the last, oh, five years or so probably didn't enjoy the experience very much. Service Pack 1 for the operating system was released in 2011, meaning that a fresh install has five years of individual patches to download and install. Typically, this means multiple trips to Windows Update and multiple reboots in order to get the system fully up-to-date, and it is a process that is at best tedious, typically leading one to wonder why, at the very least, it cannot pull down all the updates at once and apply them with just a single reboot.
The answer to that particular question will, unfortunately, remain a mystery, but Microsoft did today announce a change that will greatly reduce the pain of this process. The company has published a "convenience rollup" for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (and Windows Server 2008 R2), which in a single package contains all the updates, both security and non-security, released since the Service Pack, up through April 2016. Installing the rollup will perform five years of patching in one shot.
In other words, it performs a very similar role to what Windows 7 Service Pack 2 would have done, if only Windows 7 Service Pack 2 were to exist. It's not quite the same as a Service Pack—it still requires Service Pack 1 to be installed, and the system will still report that it is running Service Pack 1—but for most intents and purposes, that won't matter. Microsoft will also support injecting this rollup into Windows 7 Service Pack 1 system images and install media.
A "Casey and Andy" reference, perhaps? :p It should be!