Virtual reality; a demo.

With time to kill and shopping to do, I needed a break after an hour. Remember how much I detest clothes shopping? Since it was early, the staff in PC World were happy to give a demo of virtual reality gaming.

Using a Sony PS4, and a sci-fi racing game and the headset (pictured) we went ahead. I know there is always a process of setting up and customising kit as there were problems to overcome. Here is a list with starting with the least significant:

  • Sound: harsh and loud,
  • The game, frantic and stressful,
  • Blurring, and chromatic aberration,
  • Vertigo, felt as dizziness.

I think the game was called Wipeout. What a ridiculous cartoon game for children. I had to stop before the round was over with my head spinning and stressed. The fault may lie with the game, a flight simulator usually has a clear horizon line. In Wipeout, the banked track as the bit that made me dizzy.

I’d better not be too dismissive until I’ve tried a proper flight simulator. From what the staff said, it sounds like the focus on this console is arcade games. That’s not encouraging for me.

More interesting would be a similar setup that enables players to explore virtual worlds. Surely, it must be possible with current technology to generate a procedural planet and populate it with user content. Better still, one that we players can create scenes, buildings, vehicles and objects.
There would be a way to get back into 3DS Max and build a world, maybe with the Unity engine. What fun to make a familiar building but with hidden secrets.


18°C, wind & sunny bits

Ill and off work but after a monster sleep, you find me feeling better.

Making Scenery for FSX like old times. The default land texture for Peleliu in the Pacific is a joke. It should be all tropical jungle, but MS have put dry farmland on the little coral & volcanic island.

What is should be like is closer to this:
 The island’s shape is still wrong, but I’m not sure how much more I want to do on this one. There is plenty of detail that could be added, there are coral reefs, beaches with black sands and channels in shallow waters (The German Channel) and of course, other small islands slightly to the north. Visually, the result could be rather appealing. All this tropical island paradise conceals a grim human history- The Battle for Peleliu during WW2. The US Marines invaded and forced the Japanese occupying forces out with a huge loss of life to both sides. The jungles now conceal tank wrecks, demolished bunkers and crashed planes. There are, of course, memorials on important sites there.
I’ve been watching a series called Pacific on blu-ray which tells the story from the USA side.

So there is an ugly story hidden under the canopy of palm trees on this beautiful tropical island paradise.

Smolensk for FSX

10°C, calm, clear but chilly.

First vapour trails lace the sky again, it’s been six days and the media are rambling on conspiracy theories.
FSX: back into making addons for FSX (the flight sim). After Poland’s disaster last week, I decided to add these missing airports (doing Smolensk South too). It fits in nicely with previous projects because there are RBMK-1000 Nuclear reactors in the East of the city. They are of the same type that blew up in Chernobyl in ’86. They even look alike.

Patch news

14°C, heavy rain

Brother in Arms: new patch, it’s been out nearly a month but went unnoticed. Description to follow.
Not much of a fanfare on this release, it adds some new single-player missions,
get it here:
BIA_EiB 1.03

It’s possibly changing some of the bahaviours of the AI as well, but maybe I’m imagiing that since it’s not stated in the readme. It does add three new single games:Brothers in Arms:

Earned in Blood by Gearbox Software – English retail v1.03 patch

Changes in v1.03:

– Added three new skirmish maps:

Flanked from Above is a free Skirmish mission that takes place in a rural town of Normandy during the famous D-Day invasion. Players take on the German role with orders to defend against the American paratroopers descending from the night sky! Play solo or cooperative with a friend to complete this unique and challenging mission.

The new Skirmish mission, Across the Marsh, for BiA:Earned in Blood is the largest Skirmish mission to date! Players are challenged to fight across the open marsh toward the city, where several paths are available to complete the same objective. Victory will not come easily in the city. The Germans will put forth their best defense, so playing cooperatively with a friend might help you conquer this map.

Locate and destroy German flakvierling anti-aircraft weapons amongst the hedgerows and fields of the new EiB Skirmish mission, Into the Farm, but beware! The weapons are guarded by mortar fire and Germans expertly using the bocage to their advantage. Once you’ve taken the farm, you must use all the squad tactics learned from the original EiB missions to defend it!

MySpace: was in the news today, what is it? Is it better than msn spaces? Does anyone know, (or care)?

To the Endth degree


Nth… thanks to Y12 for that little goof. Pity it wasn’t from one of my lessons. Last time someone in one of my groups made an error like that, I issued them a commendation. I did of course point out it was wrong, but some errors are so well thought through. On that occasion we were talking about mono-chrome, so I first asked what "mono" meant- ( they got this one right), the second part was what is "Chrome" about, the first brave reply was "something to do with time?"
I love things like that! There are stupid mistakes and there are brilliant mistakes. These are examples of the latter. Without them, we’d have no creativity.

Ubisoft have aplogised for the botched patch they released this weekend. see->Terriblysorry :
Boontybox are probably the real culprits, Ubi will have commissioned them to provide a download manager-installer, just like most software houses employ Wise-installers. There will be more paid-patches for games, so I guess we’ll have to install Boontybox to add patches then remove that dirty little prog’ each time we’ve finished with it.
Oh well, at least the patch itself is of high quality.



Ubisoft paid addon is now available for Forgotten Battles. Pe-2
It’s a massive download at 160Mb, so it better be good. Ubi are using a nasty little download manager, which is probably good for dialup people who suffer broken downloads. It’s a shame we can’t download another way.
boontybox is the program they use, there are rumours on the forums about it installing spyware on your machine, UBI forums are populated of paranoics though, so who knows?
Still, it’s curious the patch being so big. there must be a language pack or maybe a new map or something ni there.


6 to 2°C, cold NE wind

Far Cry level now has some vegetation! Nevermind the fault with the ground texture, now I can place objects and am formulating a kind of plot for the mission. Trees bend in the breeze- and there’s a setting to make them flex more in the wind- this shows up on screen. not only that- there is a brush tool for "painting" various trees and other things onto the landscape. This is neat, shame we can’t have this in a 3D application like 3Ds max.


6°C.light grey.

Sandbox turns out to be a very capable and relatively easy to use game editor. The interface is remarkably 3dsMax-like. Here is a basic landscape and begun texturing it so far. Heightmap editor has excellent tools to work with rather like Sitni-sati Dreamscape 2. The height brush is especially neat- since it works in the perspective viewport (which incidentally is fully textured with an animated saea surface). Beat that!
It’s built in programming language is LUA– which I’m reliably told -is easy and light.
Make sure, if you get into this that youhave the most recent sandbox manual- the one supplied in the box is terrible.
In short- it’s a fully fledged 3d app, sold as a level editor but cost me only £5.99. It would be good enough to use at school, in some kind of after-school club except for  one thing: the game is rather violent.



Removed Far Cry to make space for Brothers In arms on the PC yesterday. Unfortunately, my first impressions of BIA is not overwealming. It’s all a bit boxy- and resstrictions in movment are quite frustrating. You can jump but not over a low gate, there are ladders but you can’t climb them.
Cryek hae released a much better manual for the Sandbox editor– it’s the level editor for Far Cry which makes the possibility of making my own level more "do-able". So it looks like I’ll be re-installing Far Cry – even though I have actually overplayed the game somewhat. Perhaps, with a bit of luck, if the plugins are available, I can make my own objects to insert into the game.
I dunno.