IT’S BEEN RELEASED!!

No, not ULSG. Haha, gotcha there. πŸ˜› If you DID think it was ULSG, you can probably go away now, because I’m about to talk about DAZ Studio 4. Not for long, mind you. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, yeah, I’ve just spent the last couple hours trying it out and comparing it to DAZ Studio 3. And now only one of them is now installed on my computer. And yes, it’s DAZ Studio 3. πŸ˜›

There is literally NO POINT to DAZ Studio 4, at least for my needs, anyway. It’s exactly the same as DAZ Studio 3, and even renders at the same speed. Couldn’t find any new features at all. No, the new UI ISN’T a feature, it must be a bug of some sort. Really, finding my way around a maze blindfolded is easier than figuring out this stupid interface.

Hilariously, it was actually designed to be EASIER to use than DS3’s interface. Maybe someone who’s NEW to the program would appreciate it. However, I’ve been around since DS2. I liked that interface. They made it a BIT worse with DS3 (pinning windows was replaced with something more irritating) but UberEnvironment made up for that. Now they’ve destroyed the interface completely, it hogs more resources, uses more CPU, has annoying slidey animations when you’re attempting to navigate/rearrange stuff which are totally unnecessary and just annoy me, and they’ve probably halved the number of supported plugins again. Oh, and one of the menu bars ALWAYS stays in the middle of the viewport, at the top. And you can’t change that. At all. Oh, and you can only have one viewport setup, in Expert mode at least, which is totally retarded.

Oh, and another thing – now the interface has changed, I can no longer change the image at the top right. I really liked that feature, especially as mine featured Morshu…

Image: Morshu in DS3!

I bet NO-ONE else in the world has done that, which is a shame, because that’s the BEST possible image you can put there. πŸ˜€ The rest of the community probably has boring V4 looking at them, or a bunch of trees sat there. The MilDragon is passable, I guess. πŸ˜›

The only things I DO like about it is the new splash screen, because it features a SubDragon, and that it actually includes a LE version of the SubDragon. I thought they’d forgotten that model existed entirely, even though it’s probably their coolest, most interesting model. Not V4 or whatever. They’re just boring. I’m a fantasy renderer. I’d rather spend my time posing an awesome dragon or something that doesn’t exist in the real world, instead of a man or a woman, which you see every day. πŸ˜›

So, ignore pretty much all of their users’ positive comments, because they’re all retarded. DAZ Studio 4 is shit, and you might as well just use DAZ Studio 3, because it’s easier to use, more responsive, less stupid, less annoying, has the same features, likely supports more plugins and renders just as fast. End of. πŸ˜›

Now, as for ULSG…

It’s coming along okay. It’s a bunch of painful, horrendously repetitive coding, but it’s making steady progress. Finished off my last assignment yesterday (WORST ASSIGNMENT EVER), so until I have to resit/redo something, I’m completely free. πŸ˜€ Well, until Tuesday, when the Blind Panic competition starts – we’ve gotta try to make a game in 32 hours from scratch. A group asked me if I’d join them, and I joined their group on Bookface, but I said I wasn’t sure if I’d take part, since I hate speed coding. They entered me into it anyway. πŸ˜› That’ll slow down ULSG a lot, but I’m still aiming to release it on Saturday next week. πŸ™‚

Anyway, that’s all from me for now. Stay away from DS4. πŸ˜›

PS: My computer crashed midway through writing this post. Just a full-on, sudden freeze of everything. No BSOD. No idea what happened, but since my CPU’s overclocked, I took a guess and just added a couple notches of CPU and RAM voltage. πŸ˜› The reason I brought this up was because of WordPress’s autosave feature. I commend it. Everything else is still shit. πŸ˜›

UPDATE!!
This made me laugh…

“Been playing with DS4 for about an hour now and I am happy. I have noticed a speed increase in the rendering and for me, the quality appears better too. I am thinking that this is the version I need.” -Muon Quark

Muon Quark, you sir, are deranged. Have you not noticed the annoying UI which is MORE difficult to use? Have you noticed that Expert Mode is actually LESS flexible than Annoying Mode and possibly Noob Mode? And NO, rendering ISN’T faster, you fucking liar. It’s EXACTLY the same render engine, literally, EXACTLY the same. So it CAN’T be higher quality. And it’s DEFINITELY not faster. Try decreasing the Shading Rate to what you used to use in DS3. You’ll find this “speed increase” is in your weird little dream world.

I really hope you see this and respond. I’m sick of people saying how great DS4 is when it’s clearly a DOWNGRADE.

UPDATE 2!!
Just found this update in Drafts. No idea why. I blame WordPress. πŸ˜›

I noticed a while ago that I got referrals from DAZ’s own forums to this entry. I followed the link back, and I found a thread on DAZ’s forums, which was apparently a complaint thread, which has a trail so far back it’s unbelievable, as in, more than 5 threads. Each thread is capped at 1000 pages, so that’s more than 5000 pages. Wow. It’s also unbelievable how long it’s been off-topic – it’s not even a complaint thread anymore. I can’t goddamn tell WHAT it’s about, really, since some people don’t know how to stay on topic even slightly.

But anyhoo, this entry was linked there, but no-one said anything about it. Either they silently agree, don’t care, or they disagree with me but don’t have the balls to post anything. πŸ˜›

UPDATE 3!!
Another referral! I’m surprised this is even being read. πŸ˜›

This time it was from a different forum, and from the looks of it, their users agree with me. Nice to know there’re others out there who actually know when stuff is good and when it’s not. πŸ˜€ And it’s nice to see I made you laugh so much. πŸ˜‰

It’s quite interesting, though, reading through that thread. If all that’s true, DAZ 3D sounds even worse than I first believed. Encouraging fanboys to threaten and bitch at users that complain enough? What the hell…? :S

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ULSG V13 may be closer than you think…

Firstly, let me just start with saying HOLY CRAP WORDPRESS IS SHIT. The dashboard needed changing, yes, but the general idea when you improve something is to make it BETTER? STOP MAKING STUFF MORE DIFFICULT TO USE GODDAMN IT!!

Right, now that THAT’S off my chest, onto the actual topic. πŸ˜›

I only have one piece of coursework left to hand in until I have a massive amount of free time. πŸ˜€ That is, unless I fail an exam (maths) or screw up a piece of coursework (algorithms, processes and data structures), in which case I’ll still have a little work to do. But anyway, since I do have more free time now, I’ve picked up ULSG V13 again. πŸ˜€

Big problem, though. I, um… I’m a much, much more experienced programmer now. I can pick up a piece of C# or Java code and figure out what it does, I’m a little more experienced with PHP, and I can easily recognise the vomit-inducing syntax of C++. πŸ˜› Because of this, I nearly DIED when looking at ULSG’s code.

It’s all over the place. And it’s not just limited to the code, there are other things that are really bad, as well, the biggest of which is that I haven’t set ANY objects or code to be global, and because of this, updating Challenges to allow equipment to be used is a nightmare. :S

The reason for this is totally due to the way ULSG was made. It started its life INSIDE a larger project about FOUR YEARS ago, and although I had experience with MMF2, it wasn’t a massive amount, since most of my experience came from The Games Factory 1 and Multimedia Fusion 1.5. Over time, ULSG just had features bolted to it without any real planning, because I didn’t think it would get so big. Now, this bad planning has come to haunt me. πŸ˜›

What I’m planning to do now is get V13 finished as soon as I can, and start work on V14. That means stopping any planned new features, deleting anything that’s not really fit for the final version, and getting everything else polished. It won’t be as good as I want it to be, but it will make it less painful when I start V14, because I’m planning to start that from scratch. The more I add to V13, the more I’ll need to scrap when I start V14. πŸ˜‰

Yes, I’m gonna start V14 from scratch. I’ll still use some code from V13, because some of it was good, and I still have the assets, so it won’t take another four years to make. πŸ˜› Plus, it’ll be better, smoother, more efficient and it could use less disk space. πŸ™‚

So, if I get to work, ULSG V13 will be released within the next month or so, maybe even within the next couple of weeks. πŸ™‚ It will have some things missing such as local multiplayer, and online multiplayer might be a bit crap, but all of the single player enhancements – ships, drones, special modules, new challenges, and so on, will be there. Plus, the unlockables will be more accessible; instead of earning AP solely from Achievements, you can earn them by collecting Creditz and destroying enemies, too. πŸ™‚

If you’ve played the V13 Alpha, you might not notice a huge difference, but compared to V12… it’s a MASSIVE leap forward. πŸ˜€ So yes, keep an eye out for ULSG V13, coming to an Internet near you very soon. I’ll also upload a guide here, which gives you general hints and help on how to unlock everything. πŸ˜‰ I might also start a Facebook page for ULSG… not sure WHY, because it’ll get absolutely no likes, but whatever. If it could help spread the word, I’ll try it. πŸ˜€

Anyway, that’s ULSG. Now, onto my solid-state drive…

Yes, I bought an SSD. πŸ˜› For those that don’t know, solid-state drives are like hard drives, only they use flash memory instead of platters. Hence, they’re better in almost every possible way. They have no moving parts, so they are silent, they don’t generate as much heat, a head crash is impossible, and they’re also less susceptible to shock, although I wouldn’t drop one anyway. πŸ˜›

They’re also much faster. MUCH faster. The hard drive needs to move the read/write mechanism over the correct part of the platter, and then it needs to wait for the platter to spin to the correct position. On average, this takes around 12ms, and that doesn’t include the spin-up time if the drive is stopped. A solid-state drive doesn’t need to spin up, nor does it need to wait for anything – it can just go where it wants to go and read the data it needs to. Because of this… the average access time is about 0.1ms – 120 times faster. πŸ˜€

The only thing that hard drives have over SSDs is PRICE. My 1TB hard drive cost me about Β£80. This 180GB SSD cost me Β£230. :O But oh damn, it was worth it. My PC is so much more responsive now. πŸ˜€ I didn’t believe the hype, really, I thought that SSD’s were maybe a bit overrated… but they’re not. Windows now boots in less than 30 seconds, and shuts down in about 5 seconds. Programs start loading instantly and finish within a few seconds, games start up insanely quickly and loading times are cut VERY significantly… it’s just unbelievable. πŸ˜€

If you’re looking for a way to improve your PC’s performance, and if you can afford it, you really can’t go wrong with an SSD. And if you CAN’T afford it, you could always try a hybrid drive, which are cheaper and can give near-SSD performance in some cases, but they’re not QUITE as fast as the real thing. πŸ˜‰ Don’t sweat it, though. SSDs will be mainstream in a couple years. πŸ™‚

As for games, I’ll just quickly talk about the two I’ve played recently. πŸ™‚ In a nutshell, Ace Combat is still my favourite action-flight series thanks to the amazingly fun, exciting, addictive Ace Combat 6 (it blows H.A.W.X out of the sky ;)), and I can’t wait to try Ace Combat: Assault Horizon. πŸ˜€ Brink, on the other hand, is a boring pile of poo, with stupid clunky controls, constantly low FPS, dumbass bots and a campaign mode which lasts for about 9 seconds and has the most boring story of any shooter possibly ever. πŸ˜› The only reason it got any real attention is because Bethesda published it, and the only reason THEY published it is because they wanted money for Elder Scrolls V. Which I have a feeling will be pretty average, but it’ll get a good mark anyway because it’s an Elder Scrolls game. πŸ˜›

I think that’s everything for now. I’ll probably be back soon to announce THE COMING OF ULSG V13! πŸ˜€ Remember, you can follow its progress in more detail here:

http://www.create-games.com/project.asp?view=main&id=1684

See ya lat0rz! πŸ˜€