A night like this, 40 million years ago…

O haiii! 🙂

I be speaking writing SPRITING (omg no) writing to you this time from the comfort of my (somewhat) new laptop! 😀 Aye, I got one for those occasions when I get in from work and all I feel like doing is eating some food before faceplanting my face on my bed, but don’t want to go to sleep immediately and don’t want to play games but still want to do something with my brain, like writing. Specific, I know. 😛 I already have a cheaper, sort-of-laptop that I backed on Kickstarter a while ago, but it turned out to be pretty much the worst thing I ever bought and is now just stuffed in a drawer somewhere. I have a ranty post somewhere in drafts about it and my reasons for getting it, and I’ve been meaning to clean up and post that for ages now, but I never got around to it. Maybe I’m putting it off because it’s all ranty and negative and crap. Writing negatively is fun sometimes, but I understand that reading negative stuff is usually like “ahhh stfu no-one cares ya shartface”. 😛

Oh, as we’re on the subject of computers, another technomological-related thing that happened recently was that I realised that my Raspberry Pi server was kind of… massively overworked. It was working as a media server, web server, backup device and downloader, and I’m pretty sure it hated me for it. 😛 So, I decided to give it a POWER UP!

It’s now the machine on the right of that picture. So… slightly bigger than a Pi, now. 😛 It’s basically the leftover bits of my old PC build all stuck together inside a stupidly cheap case with a low-end power supply and tiny CPU fan. Cost about £80 for the missing parts, and it’s pretty much just like my old machine was before its last major upgrade (pretty nippy!). Like the Pi, it’s running Linux (Ubuntu), which is the world’s worst OS until you have it all set up like you want it, and then it’s great! Uh, not for everyday use, though. 😛 I called the new machine “Shard”. Because it’s as if the Pwnage-O-Matic (my main PC, the giant thing on the left side of the picture) was upgraded and left some shards of its old self behind which then became Shard. Or something. 😛 Ahh, maybe I should’ve called it Snakeskin… no, no no no, shut up brain, Shard is good. 😛

Yes of course I name my computers. 😛 The laptop’s called Dragonflight! Because it’s an MSI machine, which has a dragon as its mascot, and it’s free to move around as it wants, and it’s quite powerful! Uh, but it’s a really hungry dragon. It needs to eat like every three hours. Friggin’ laptop batteries, man… 😛

Anyway, no, none of that was the actual reason for this post! 😛 Ahh, but maybe I can work the fact that I’m writing on the laptop into the actual post topic, somehow! Ahem… “So, MongMaster, why’re you writing to me on your laptop?!” I pretend to hear you ask. “Are ya just showing off, you fartnose?!” Yes, I be a showoff! But I’m not showing off the laptop… I’m showing off a NEW RENDER! 😀

But, uh… as I’m writing this first section of the post… the truth is that the render isn’t… actually done yet. 😛 That’s why I can’t use the Pwnage-O-Matic right now. It’s been locked up all day, burning the CRAP out of my EXPENSIVE 1080Ti in what is the most complicated render I’ve made so far. 😛 I mean, I could use it if I really needed to, but things will be slow and I’m kinda scared I’ll click the wrong button or do something the GPU really didn’t want me to do, which would cause it to crash and lose all the progress it’s made, and that would make me very angry and depressed at the same time which would cause a strange rip in space time and cause the universe to implode which would kinda ruin the weekend I have planned. So I’m not touching it. 😛

I’ve done some estimations using ULTRA SCIENCE and a simple calculator and figured out that the render is probably gonna take most of tomorrow, too (as of writing). Of course, to be honest, if it’s not done by the end of tomorrow, I’ll become very nervous and very bored, so I’ll probably end up stopping the render at that point and accepting whatever convergence ratio it’s reached. I think it’s entering the overkill phase of render quality right now, so I’m sure it’ll still look good if I do that. 😛

For now, though, I think I’ll save this into drafts and come back tomorrow to finish it off. 🙂

Hello tomorrow! Uh, today! Yesterday it was tomorrow, but today it’s toda- yeah, you get the idea. 😛

So, I never told you the idea behind this render yesterday. Today. 😛 Well… it was inspired by two different songs, one which I heard a while ago, and one I heard recently which ended up being the catalyst for the idea. The first song, the one I heard a while ago, is Liskodisko, by Hevisaurus. Yes, I’m still listening to them, and yes I know it’s Finnish so I barely understand a word, and yes I know it’s supposed to be a children’s band, but… DINOSAURS? PLAYING METAL? HELLO?! 😛 Honestly, I’d go so far as to say they’re my favourite band ever. They’re that perfect combination of unique, crazy, fun, and genuinely great. XD Anyway, as you can probably tell, “liskodisko” means “lizard disco”. Translating the lyrics of that song seems impossible for me, mainly because, as I said, I have almost zero understanding of Finnish, and partially because Google Translate just spits out total crap most of the time, but it’s pretty obvious that the song is about a bunch of dinosaurs or lizards partying at a disco and generally being crazy. I’m pretty sure there’s something in there about Herra Hevisaurus (vocalist) and Muffi Puffi (bassist) somehow falling over and getting tangled up after some kinda comic chain reaction, too. 😀

You might be able to tell where this is going already, but I’ll keep boring you with my explanations for now. 😛

The second song, the “catalyst”, popped up while I was listening to an online radio-station-but-not-really called DI.FM (not an advertisement, I hate ads, please use AdGuard on my site, I hate the shitty clickbait ads everyone is forced to see but refuse to give WordPress money to remove them 😛 ). DI.FM’s great for me, because it’s focused more on genres and music shows, which I hugely prefer over specific artists or eras, and I like hearing a random shuffle of tracks rather than going through set playlists. Anyway, I was listening to the Glitch Hop channel one day at work. It’s quite a cool genre until a horrendous, ear-raping turd of a track comes up, but it sometimes plays really awesome, funky tracks that get stuck in my head for days. One of these songs was a glitch remix of a well-known song by Was Not Was, called Walk the Dinosaur. You probably know it. 😀 The track’s great fun until you read into the lyrics and find that it’s actually a insanely convoluted protest against the Cold War. Of course, being me, I completely don’t care about that and just take the song at face value. 😛

I found myself letting my mind drift a bit as I listening to the lyrics of that song, taking them literally. I even ended up mishearing a lyric, and it actually helped the idea (I thought “I walked the dinosaur” sounded a lot like “I was a dinosaur” 😛 ). “Open the door, get on the (DANCE)FLOOR, everybody walk the DINOSAUR.” That, combined with remembering Liskodisko at the same time, was pretty much the moment where my brain went “AAAHAAAAAA! I HAVE AN IDEAAAAA!” and I had to stifle a laugh at the idea, cuz I was in the office and was supposed to be trying to figure out an incredibly irritating and boring bug I’d been working on for about a week. 😛

So… on a night like this, 40 million years ago, yeee-eah-heah the lizard disco’s starting! Everyone kick your legs in the air! This is the DINO DISCO!!

There’re some more flavours here!
(1080p) (2K) (4K)

YEAAAAAAAAHAHAHAAAAAHHHH!! DISCO DANCING DINOSAURS!! WOOOOOOOOO!!! 😀 😀 😀

Haaaahh… ahaha… okay okay… okay, I’m calm… I’m calm. Sorry. 😛 I was just super-excited to share this one, because I think it’s my best render yet. 😀

Were you surprised? I mean, look! There isn’t a single dragon in there! :O That’s another reason why I thought this scene would be an interesting, fun one to do: I’ve never posed or rendered dinosaurs into a polished, “final” piece before. No, that one I did with the kaiju, “Monster Fight!“, doesn’t count. 😛 Hell, even in my big cesspit of rough/test renders, I’ve only ever posed one dinosaur-like thing before. So making dinosaurs dance as my first real posing attempt? Sure, why not dive in at the deep end?! 😀 I mean, if I can help dragons break their boundaries and do things like play basketball or play chess or code at 1AM, why can’t I help dinosaurs dance the night away at a disco?! 😀

Gotta say, though… this scene turned out wayyyy more complex than I originally thought it’d be. At first, there were only about 5 dinosaurs, but when I noticed the scene looked a bit “dead” in my first preliminary render, I decided to add more… and it ended up having 10. That means it broke my record for the most number of unique subjects in a single scene (that record was previously held by Fast Break, with 9 uniques). 😀 I’m… glad the subject count stopped at 10, though, because this render was the first one since Monster. Hunter. that really made me want to punch DAZ Studio’s face in the face. 😛 After adding all those different dinosaurs, the scene became so heavy that it stopped fitting in GPU memory. I have a GTX 1080Ti with 12GB of VRAM and it wouldn’t fit! I never thought that day would come, but aaaaargh it happened! And what does DS do when it can’t fit the scene in GPU memory? Why, it tries to render solely with the CPU, of course! And as I’ve said so many times, this is insanely irritating, because I always disable the CPU option under the render settings, but DS totally ignores that and tries it anyway! Yeah, the CPU might be able to render this scene, oh, in about a MONTH! And when this CPU render that I never asked for tries to start, it just takes so loooong to cancel because DS is stupid and dumb and ARRRGHHH! 😛

I fixed the memory issue in the usual way, by cutting the size of texture maps of things in the background, which somehow didn’t actually save that much memory, but it was enough. There was one other thing, though… I found that the Post Denoiser, the best thing DAZ added to DAZ Studio since Iray, sometimes turns itself off silently and without any warning. This seems to happen if you almost don’t have enough memory to render the scene. So, like automatically using the CPU when your GPU doesn’t have enough memory, this is yet another friggin’ stupid silent thing that DS does to “help”. Can’t they tell me when and why stuff like that happens?! It’s so annoying when it silently stops working and you have to fag around trying to figure out why!

Oh, this was the first time I tried out some volumetric lighting, too. DS doesn’t let you do it easily, of course, so I had to use an asset for it. Took a while to figure out and set up so it didn’t look like crap, but it worked well! It works by shining a stupid-bright light at a set of transparent planes with smoke textures on them. The “smoke” then catches the light and gives a volumetric effect. They seem to be quite expensive to render, though, and I had to do some postwork to remove some really ugly artefacts on one of the light sources, but overall, they turned out great, and added a lot of niceness to the final render. 😀

So… yeah, despite DS being annoying as usual when you push things right to the limit of what your machine can do, this all came together really nicely, IMHO. The thing I’m most proud of? Well… it’s gotta be that breakdancing raptor. XD I’m still not sure how I managed it. 😛 What do you think, though? 😀

Now… time for some render stats! This was… by far, my longest render ever. At 4K, Rendering Quality 2 and with the Architectural sampler on, to reach a convergence ratio of 95%, it took… 1 DAY 16 hours 38 minutes 25.58 seconds!! Holy CRAP! :O And normally, I use something called the Caustic sampler, too, which increases quality of light refraction. However, when I tried to use it this time, it made the first three iterations take about three MINUTES. This render needed about 26,000 iterations! I ain’t got that kinda time, foo’! 😛 It was probably the volumetric lighting that made the Caustic sampler hyper-expensive. As for postwork, there’s a fair bit this time. I blurred out some nasty, fuzzy artefacts in the background and on the red volumetric light facing the camera, covered up a blunder which resulted in a black circle near the raptor DJ (no WAY was I re-rendering the whole scene for that 😛 ), added motion blur to different dinosaurs’ arms and legs, added a “fake bloom” effect (which is way better and more reliable than trusting Iray to do bloom 😛 ), added a vignette, and did some vibrancy and levels tweaks. 🙂

Also, I managed to create a timelapse video for this render, too! 😀 Let’s see… the WordPress editor appears to have changed very slightly, so let me try the OneDrive embed code again to see if it works this time…

Okay, it seems to work for me… but it did take 742 years to load. Oh. It stopped working for me, and suddenly says it’s blocked. And it’s suddenly working again. But you can’t make it go fullscreen. And now it’s forcing a redirect to the video page when it loads. And now it isn’t loading again. And now it is, but it still doesn’t go fullscreen. And now it’s blocked again. And it’s working again. UPDATE!!: NOPE, it’s way too unreliable, and doesn’t work in the mobile app anyway, so I’ve removed the embed. Fucking goddamn it, WordPress and/or OneDrive WHYYYYYY?! Sigh. Well, I guess my only option is a lame hyperlink. Click here if you want to watch the timelapse. 🙂

Just like Fast Break, I added some music to it which (vaguely) matches the render’s theme. This time, the soundtrack consists of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”, followed by the Crazy Daylight Refunk remix of Was Not Was’ “Walk The Dinosaur”, and finally, of course, “Liskodisko” by Hevisaurus… but while I love the song, I find that music video quite creepy. 😛

Also, one other thing (slightly) worth mentioning… if you do watch the timelapse, you might notice that I started writing notes over my preliminary renders. They pointed out problems I noticed, things that needed to change, and stuff that was going well. I’ve never done that before, but the notes really helped keep my thoughts straight, and I found it quite useful. Especially when I had a feeling that the render would take ages to finish. 😛 And in the end, it became a nice “progress history” sort of thing, showing how the render evolved (and sometimes how it broke) after each set of tweaks. 😀 Here it is, if you’re interdasted:

Right… whew. I think I’m all partied out. Time for me to faceplant my bed again. 😛 I hope you liked the render! See y’all later. 🙂

Advertisements

Why is this harder for the people who bothered to test it?

RIGHT, Windoze 10 release day! Woot, yay, and all that cobblers. Looks like the upgrade process is going fairly smoothly for most people who didn’t actually test the damn thing.

So how the hell do upgrade?

Seriously, one of the most irritating things about Windows 10 is that it installs updates when it wants to, not when you want to. I left some feedback with extra details, actually:

Auto Updates Are Dumb

They pretty much don’t give a shit. But now, it’s not upgrading me to the official public release automatically! How ironic! Maybe it’s busted because I’ve been on Build 10074 for ages since the two latest builds on the Slow ring didn’t support my network drivers, meaning I couldn’t friggin’ get on the Internet.

So, I’m basically stranded on a pre-release build of Windows 10 with no way of upgrading to secure my free copy of Win10. The only option I have is to install Windows 7 again, run the Windows 10 installer from within Win7, upgrade to secure my free Win7 -> Win10 upgrade, then boot from the Windows 10 installer, format my drive and install a fresh copy of Win10. Because I don’t trust Windows’ upgrade process for shit and always want to install new OSs from fresh. I mean, my network driver issue was probably caused by the upgrade process. 😛

It’s a bit of a faff, but pffft, no problem. Can do. On it like a car bo… what the fuck:

Media Creation Tool MAXIMUM FAIL

I got this completely professional and informative error message when I tried to use Microsoft’s official “Media Creation Tool” or whatever it’s called to get an ISO to burn to disc. A-FUCKING-MAZING.

I found this Reddit thread which shows some other people are having the same problem. A solution suggested there was to make a new Admin user and try launching the installer from there. TeamViewer took a shit on me when I switched users, but eventually I managed to log in as the new user “PhuckinWindoze”. The downloader booted OK. “Ah, sweet, that’s fixed it; it’s downloading the ISO now.” I thought. “Everything’s backed up, so when I get home tonight it’s ready to go, should have it installed no prob– WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK”:

OH MY FUCKING GOD ARE YOU SERIOUS

You are ACTUALLY shitting me, right? Windows’ sense of humour hur hur hur but it’s NOT A JOKE, this is ACTUALLY AN ERROR. The ISO that had appeared during the download was now nowhere to be found. I tried again thinking the download was duff, but nope. Same cocking error.

Then, you know what? Through a random Google search, I found a DIFFERENT webpage on Microsoft’s site that sends you to a place where you can just download an ISO. No shitty tools or something happening. The link I originally followed to get the Media Creation Tool was one that was on the Insider site. So yeah, Microsoft made it harder for the ones who actually tested their OS for them. THANKS. A LOT.

Oh yeah, and as Microsoft just loves to add a twinge of confusion, on that site there are two English region options for the download: “English” and “English International”. I wasn’t particularly sure which one to get, and I had to confirm that the latter was actually “English UK”. So if you’re actually English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish, not American, you’ll want “English International”. Because of course, “International” globally means “Not America”… 😛

Should you upgrade? Kind of an impossible question, really. I’d say “not yet”. Partially because it’s probably still got 6 quadrillion bugs, but mainly because I have no idea of the state of the release build. 😛 I’ll go first and letcha know if it’s safe later on. 😉

UPDATE!!

OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!

Seriously. I just tried to burn this ISO to a DVD. ImgBurn claimed that the disc I inserted was a DVD-RW.

No. It isn’t. It just isn’t.

I ejected the disc and reinserted it and it picked it up as a DVD+R. CORRECT. “WELL DONE HAVE A COOKIE. Now burn the fucking image!”

Guess what? After an excessively long 15-minute burn, the verify failed IMMEDIATELY. THEN guess what? IMGBURN THINKS IT’S A DVD-RW AGAIN!

It ISN’T a DVD-RW! It’s a cocking DVD+R! IT SAYS RIGHT HERE ON THE DISC:

2015-07-29 19.57.25

WHAT IN THE SHIIIIIIIT?!?! Seriously, this is beyond retarded. I decided to humour ImgBurn by saying “YEAAAH you GO AHEAD and ERASE that DVD+R and then CRASH cuz you CAN’T.”

It’s ACTUALLY ERASING IT.

BUT IT'S NOT A DVD-RW

BUT IT’S A WRITE-ONCE DVD! ARRRRRRRRGH WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT!!

Be right back, gonna put my brain in the washing machine for a bit.

UPDATE 2!!

Okay, since EVERY DVD+R I was putting into the drive was making Windows AND ImgBurn say “HURRRR IT’S A DVD-RW YA WANNUH FORMAHT IT?!” I decided to put in an ACTUAL DVD-RW. Well, a DVD+RW if you wanna be pedantic. GUESS WHAT?!?!

It’s fine. 😛

No, I’m glad it didn’t come up as a DVD-R. I guarantee I would have just given up and gone to bed right then. 😛

Of course, I still have to pray that the burn actually succeeds. I think my DVD drive is busted since it has quiiiiiite a high burn failure rate recently. If it DOES fail, I’m gonna have to use my external drive. Hilariously, that is also unreliable. It likes to, y’know, RANDOMLY LOSE CONNECTION to the PC. For literally no reason. I’ll just be watching a video or something from it and BAM, BADUNK, media could not be found. Then half a second later, it reconnects. REALLY don’t want that to happen during an OS install. As a last resort, I still have the thing that helped me install Windows 10 Technical Preview in UEFI mode. My handheld video camera. Not even kidding. 😛

Anyway, time to eat while this ImgBurns. Hehehehheh shut up me.

UPDATE 3!!

Windows just showed me this:

Okay

What. I clicked on it, and Windows shows me this:

WHAT

THERE ARE NO UPDATES FFS go and die! I can’t wait to get off this broken build. 😛

UPDATE 4!!

AAAAAAAAAAAARGH NOW WORDPRESS IS AT IT!

WORDPRESS SUUUUUCKS

I can’t write a blog post in a MICROSCOPIC EDIT WINDOW!!

UPDATE 5!!

Right. It’s been about… 3 hours now. I’m STILL on Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 10074. THAT’S because the burn to the DVD+RW FAILED. No no no, actually, the VERIFY failed. Because the DVD drive fell asleep and ImgBurn couldn’t wake it up. The burn was fine; Windows picked up the contents of the disc no problem. UNTIL I REBOOTED. Then suddenly THE DISC WAS BLAAAAAAAAANK! Then, when I tried to re-burn the image, ImgBurn got stuck in an infinite loop when formatting the disc, going from 96% to 98% and then jumping back to 96%! All of this is happening while I’m TRYING to prepare Plan B by getting everything off my external hard drive, but THAT keeps friggin’ pooing itself as well, needing to take little breaks by disconnecting itself and throwing errors like:

ARSEHOLE ADAPTIVE POWER

WHAT IS WRONG WITH TECHNOLOGY TODAY?!?

UPDATE 6!!

FINALLY. The DVD is burned although the verify failed again. Adaptive Power (my external drive) has been formatted and is ready for Plan B. I’m gonna disconnect all my excess drives, and then it’s time to jump back to Windows 7 to upgrade to Windows 10.

See ya Technical Preview Build 10074! You’ve been alright. Apart from recently when you’ve been a slow-ass bag of turd. 😛

UPDATE 7!!

I am currently blogging from my phone like a spack, battling with shitting autocorrect bullshit and a cocking text editor that won’t FRIGGIN’ DO WHAT I SAY. Why? Because everything is FUCKING MAGICAL, like a unicorn SHARTING EVERYWHERE.

It took 30 minutes to get the Windows 7 installer to boot despite the fact that I’ve never ever had a problem with it before. After trying everything and eventually unplugging every USB device, it actually turns out that it can’t even launch in UEFI mode.

Then I had to install network drivers. It failed, because I needed the .NET Framework for literally NO REASON. As I downloaded that on my phone, the installation succeeded. What the fuck. I restarted like it asked me to, and guess what? Windows stops booting.

WINDOWS STOPS BOOTING.

I’d LITERALLY HAD IT INSTALLED FOR 5 MINUTES AND SOMETHING FUCKS IT UP. WOW. WHAT THE HELL.

Startup repair fixed the problem. Whatever it was. Oh, and upon booting Windows, my network drivers that seemed to not install were working. WHAT.

Validated Windows 7. Got ready to install 10. THE DISC WAS BLANK. WHATTTTTT

Seriously, it HAD THE DATA ON IT! I checked it before rebooting to install Windows 7! It’s LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE that the data just DISAPPEARED!

So, I’be just been waiting for Windows Image Burner to burn the image back onto the disc. It’s done, and the data IS THERE. I am JUST about to boot the Windows 10 installer. HERE WE GO.

UPDATE 8!!

Can this actually get much worse?

The install completed successfully. Windows 10 was activated. Excellent. I then restarted to do a clean install. When I began the clean install, it asked for a product key. I entered my Windows 7 product key which I had just used to upgrade from Win7 to Win10. The installer said it was wrong. I checked. It wasn’t wrong.

I skipped entering the key and finished installing. Installed my network drivers. Tried to activate. Product key invalid. What the fuck. I thought they said you could do this?

Right… I’m getting fucking sick of this. I CAN’T upgrade my install from Windows 7 because I CAN’T INSTALL WINDOWS 7 IN UEFI MODE. Hello Microsoft? I have a UEFI motherboard and would like to use that functionality? The only way I can install Windows in UEFI mode is to install Windows 10 from fresh. But if I do that, hey, my key doesn’t work!

So. It’s nearly 3AM and I’m going to have to go through the WHOOOOOLE PROCESS AGAIN. Out comes the Windows 7 disc again! yaaaaaay

UPDATE 9!!

Mooooooorning. Urghhhhh. That was painful. Piece of shit OS. I have never had a Windows install go so badly before. Seriously, it kept me up until about 4:30AM. Now I’m at work, and my brain isn’t.

The stars aligned and I got it installed in UEFI mode. It turned out that you can install Windows 7 in UEFI mode. I mean, I tried that before but y’know, the installer wouldn’t launch. I fixed it by going into the BIOS, and instead of turning on “Windows 8 Support” (which deactivates Legacy drive mode), I left that off but switched the drive mode to UEFI only. The installer booted without choking. It still looked like BIOS to me, and I had to install Windows 10 before I was finally convinced that it really was running in UEFI mode. My bad, I guess? But kinda not?

Since it’s finally installed in UEFI mode after more than 6 hours of complete hell, I no longer care that it’s been installed over the top of an old OS. I’m calling it a win. All that stuff you might’ve heard about being able to do a clean install is complete bullshit. You can reset the PC to factory defaults, sure, and I guess that does count as a clean install because it apparently nukes everything. But by “clean install” I meant “install from a boot disc”, and you can’t do that if you upgraded from Win7 or Win8!

Of course, I appear to be wrapping this up as if I’m finished. The thing is, Windows 10 didn’t activate last night. It failed because of some licensing error three times before I gave up. The first time I activated Win10 before trying a clean install, it also failed in the same way once before activation succeeded, so it might be a server error.

Why don’t I just see if it activates now? Well, this is why:

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 11.37.07

An Internet outage in my area for the first time in about 1.5 years of living here. It’s like a huge joke. I wanted to use some of my lunchtime to TeamViewer into the PC and sort out some important stuff so that the machine was ready for me when I got home and faceplanted on the keyboard tonight, like restoring my documents from backup, installing Steam, Dropbox, Skype, Office, PlayClaw and all that. But noooooooo.

Well, I guess I’ve gotta wait. I’m pretty sure my next update will be the last one. I’ve also got a bunch more screenshots that I took during the install process in the previous update. I’d upload them but they’re on my PC at home, and heh, yep, no Internet!

UPDATE (windoze)10!!

Okay, it’s activated. Installed in UEFI mode, and activated. Thank fuck. 😛

So, what’s it like? Well… not a huge amount has changed from the Technical Preview apart from stability. All I’ve noticed is that Start menu has been tweaked and the calendar display that you see when you click the system time in the bottom right has been revamped.

They have almost ruined the Start menu for me by making one very small change. They reduced the number of columns per row of Live Tiles on the Start menu by one, and it’s absolutely senseless. Y’see, you can have a Live Tile in the following sizes: 0.5×0.5, 1×1, 2×1 and 2×2. I’m ignoring 0.5×0.5 because I don’t have enough stuff to put on the Start menu for me to use it. 😛 These dimensions mean that with a four-column Start menu, you can have a 2×2 next to a 2×1 or a 2×2 on the same row(s). With only three columns, those choices are nuked. You can only have a row consisting of three 1x1s, or one 1×1 and either one of 2×1 or 2×2. My old Start menu design:

START IS HEEAH!

I can’t do that any more. I don’t want Facebook on there, I want Calendar as a 2×1 above Weather instead, but I can’t. This is the best I can do:

My Start Menu

And it looks like dirge. 😦

I’d show you the new calendar but it’s just a calendar and I can’t be arsed to screenshot it. It’s pretty and stuff. Nothing that makes you go ERRMAAGEERDD NEED TO INSTALL WIN10 NAO

One thing that made me explode when I got it installed for the first time was THIS:

Windows Install 6

WHAT. THE FUCK. GET THAT FUCKING SHIT OFF MY MACHINE RIGHT FUCKING NOW is pretty much what I said. 😛 That, and friggin’ Twatter, and all the other cunting bloatware apps. Why MUST they bundle Sport with it? I don’t want it. If I wanted it I’d install it myself!

I’m not even going to talk about Solitaire Collection. Just go look up what they’ve done if you wanna know. 😛

One notable improvement from the Tech Preview is Quick Access. Thankfully, you can make it usable by unchecking recently used files and frequently used folders:

Yay Quick Access configuration for non-morons

This prevents Windows from clogging it up with a random jumble of files you poked recently, limiting it to stuff you’ve pinned, i.e.: stuff you actually want to see in there. You can get to that window by right-clicking the Quick Access option in the Explorer sidebar and selecting Options.

I can’t really think of anything else notable that’s changed. It feels infinitely more stable than the build I was on, so I’m actually gonna go ahead and say it: yes, you should really upgrade to Windows 10 now. It’s fine. Probably. 😛 Usability-wise, it’s… pretty much as good as Windows 7. It’s a bit better, actually, thanks to UEFI and a better Start menu.

As for the install process, the least brain-melting way of doing it is to install Windows 7/8 from fresh, then upgrade to Windows 10 from within that. You can then clean up the files left over from the upgrade process by running Disk Clean-up, then selecting “Clean up system files” when the initial scan completes. Of course, if you’re not sure whether you want to keep Windows 10, I’d hold off on doing that; it’ll make downgrading easier. 🙂

When you have Windows 10 installed for the first time, if you really want, you actually can do a fresh install from BIOS. Apparently. Someone I know did so by pulling out his Windows 10 key using Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder, then reinstalling Windows 10 from BIOS and entering this key during setup. Instead of going through the process of installing Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder, though, you can do it way quicker with this VB script. Download and open it, and boosh, your product key is displayed in a dialogue box. 🙂 This method seemed to work for my friend, but I haven’t verified it myself.

Right, I think that’s it. If anyone has any questions about Windows 10 or the install process or anything that I probably missed, feel free to drop a comment. 🙂 For now, though, I’m gonna drop myself on my BED. I’ll leave you with the most awesomest thing I’ve seen in the past month:

TA TA

That’s how many months now?

Just under 5 months of notpostingonablognoonereads-ness! Wow. *blows dust away*

How is everyone? Good? Great. I’ve been hard at work on my placement, but we’ll get to that in a sec. 😉 First of all, I finished a new render today. I’ve posted it in MongMaster’s Other (Bad Word) already, but if you haven’t seen it yet, here it is:

Year Of The Dragon - DracoAurarius

Sure, it’s a little premature, but happy Chinese New Year, y’all! Couldn’t miss the opportunity to create something for Year of the Dragon. 😉 It was my first time ever rendering with the Eastern Dragon, and although his crazy length outfaced me at first, posing him turned out to be pretty interesting! 😀 Oh, and that epic background and the badass neon Chinese characters? That was my lame Photoshop skillz in OVERDRIVE. 😀 I’m planning on making similar pieces for the Chinese New Year from now on. Especially can’t miss Year of the Horse – that’ll be my year. 😉

Anyway, yes – I’ve been on my placement for about 4-5 months now, and it’s… alright. It’s cool that we’re making games in a team and not doing uni work at the same time… well, sort of – we’ve gotta do stupid reports and a dumb diary to pass the placement year. What a pile of crap – surely you auto-pass the placement year if you don’t get fired? But yeah, it’s alright. We’re making two mobile games (yes, mobile games, *shudder* :P) at the moment; a domino-knocking-down puzzle game called Lapsus, and a tiki head-breaking action-puzzle game called Katu Toka – the one I’m working on.

I don’t like Lapsus at all. It’s one of those puzzle games where you end up looking at a single level for ages – I find it really boring and really frustrating. Katu Toka is alright, I guess. It’s fun, but I don’t know whether that’s the gameplay, or the ridiculous sounds and music I’ve put in as placeholders. 😛 Those’re just my opinions; I hope they both do well, of course, but I doubt they’ll get much attention, and they probably won’t sell. Because neither of them are like Angry Birds. But hey, at least they’re not shit and don’t completely rip anything off. 😛

We’re making them using a horrendous SDK called Corona. You program for it using Lua, which is simple enough, BUT it’s not object-oriented. And that makes it painful. What makes it even more painful is the way Corona has over-simplified everything. It actually makes it less powerful.

Also, when you get an error, it’s USELESS. It only ever gives you a tiny piece of the stack traceback, saying where it thinks the error occurred, but it very rarely tells you what was called before that. Oh, and it CAN’T detect syntax errors properly, it spams the console if it comes across an error in an enterFrame event instead of just halting the simulator, and 90% of the time, Corona directs you 200 miles away from the error, leaving you to figure it out for yourself. Many times, I’ve had to put a massive number of print statements where I suspect the error is, and find out where the code stops executing, so I can understand at least WHERE the error is. For simple stuff like crappy recipe apps or lame little games, it’s excellent, but if you wanna do something complex with it… God, it’s horrible. It’s like Multimedia Fusion 2 – trading power for ease of use. 😛

Anyhoo, they’ll be out on the Apple App Store and Android Market at the end of this month, hopefully, if SOME people decide to pull their thumb out of their ass and get some testers in to help. 😛

What else… ah yes, Ultimate Lame Ship Game. 🙂

Now, because of the placement, it’s almost impossible for me to find time to work on it. I’m not doing it after work, cuz I’ve just been working all day. I’m not that interested in doing it over the weekends either, cuz again, I’ve been working all week and want to chill. 😛 It’s kind of annoying, because I DO want to work on it and get it done.

I was updating it last weekend, aiming to figure out why it was being so slow on a low-end PC, or when it was being run off a memory stick. To be honest, I’ve had this problem with it ever since college, but it’s never been as intense as it is now. I didn’t understand the problem back then at all… but now, I think I do. 😀

When the game loads, it copies all its data into a temporary folder on your PC’s main drive, so I figured it wasn’t an internal MMF problem such as inefficient rendering, or a user performance problem such as a slow card or slow loading times or anything (can’t be anyway – I’m running a GTX 295 and a Solid State Drive, and it still runs slowly off an external drive for me. :P) So… if it’s still slow, the game must access something ELSE on the external drive while its running.

*click* Of course! The save file! That stays in the ULSG directory!

What I think is happening is that the crappy INI extension I’m using looks directly in the file for information, instead of loading the file into memory and reading it from there. Because of this, I also think that every time data is changed, it updates the INI file. This… is very, VERY costly, especially when you’re running it off an external drive which can only communicate with your PC using the comparatively slow USB.

So, I’ve gotta change the extension I’m using. I’ve started converting my code to use Ini++, which actually loads the file into memory. In addition, you can control exactly when it saves and loads data. This should help. One problem, though. It’s going to take FRIGGIN’ AGES. I’ve gotta go through every single event that has something to do with the INI, and change all the actions. And there are many, many actions. >.< This, paired with a ton of other tedious crap I’ve gotta do, is NOT helping my motivation. Especially when I could be working on ULSG V14 – a nice clean slate devoid of lame code. 😛 I’ve really gotta set myself some sort of target, such as working on it every other weekend, or making a major update every month or something. Otherwise it’ll never get done. 😛 Speaking of updates, there’s something I’ve decided. I’m changing the place I make updates. Might be a separate blog dedicated to ULSG, might be something else, I’m not sure, but I’m not gonna use The Daily Click any more. No biggie, cuz I doubt the site’ll last much longer, due to the oh-so-massive amount of money it costs to run. >.> I’ll post the final version there so people can find it, but won’t make updates.

Why? Cuz I’m not liking how the site’s turned out. People are constantly whining about the admins, who aren’t doing their job. One of the site founders left, probably because he can’t be bothered with all the bullshit he has to put up with. And I swear that the core of this site is just a circle of friends. For example, an admin apparently left, but I’m not sure how they knew because he never said anything about leaving anywhere on the site. “Well-known” members who have been around since very early on seem to get special invisible privileges, such as the admins and other “well-known” members siding with them automatically, even if they’re in the wrong.

Also, people keep talking about members that disappeared or got banned, like they’re gods or something. One of them actually came back and started spamming news posts and stuff, and hasn’t been banned again for some reason. It’s ridiculous. And members only ever care about the games that the “well-known” members make, that is, if they’re actually making a game and not just sitting around the forums whining and moaning. I bet if I were to update my devlog there, it wouldn’t even get looked at. On the other hand, if a “well-known” member updated their devlog, people would swarm all over it. It’s a site where the rule seems to be “the longer you’ve been around, the more authority and popularity you have”.

So, anyway, like you even care about that crap. 😛 The bottom line is, I’m making updates elsewhere cuz TDC’s community is annoying me. I’m pretty sure I’ll just make another WordPress blog and do it there, or maybe there’s another site out there that has good features. I’ll post the link to it when I decide. 🙂

Alright… I think that’s all for now. 😀 I’ll see ya later. 🙂