A Physics with Astrophysics graduate and level designer specializing in the Source engine. You can contact me here or by yelling really loud.

The Vortex of Time

Time passes in strange ways doesn’t it? » Continue reading “The Vortex of Time”

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Asus eee Slate

I’ve had my eee Slate for a little under a week now and I love it.

I just need to buy a small blutooth or USB mouse and it will be perfection. It chews through battery life so it’s not really suited to heavy use out and about but on the train, at university at a friend’s house or even other rooms in my own house are perfect locations.

I can now take my level design with me when I leave my room and dropbox means I can sync files with my desktop without even thinking about it. The big advantage the slate has over a laptop is the pressure sensitive screen and digitizer so I can take lecture notes in my own handwriting, which is essential for a physics course. I’ve tried using MS Word’s equation builder and in a lecture where I might have to write over 100 equations, that’s just a joke.

I haven’t really begun to tap its potential, mostly I’ve been web browsing and watching House MD on it but Hammer is installed, as is Photoshop so once I get back after Easter, and back to work on tc_strata, I’ll really be having some fun with it.

Only thing to complain about is the battery life which is really short, otherwise it can do everything I could ever want it to.

More on the eee Slate to come…

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Half life: Precursor

Before I begin, this will contain spoilers so if you don’t want any stop reading and play Precursor first http://precursormod.com/

» Continue reading “Precursor”

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How to win me over and make me buy a console just for your game

Super Brothers: Sword & Sworcery EP

In contrast to my last post, I’d like to highlight two games and their methods of making me buy (and nearly buy) a console just so I could play that one game. » Continue reading “How to win me over and make me buy a console just for your game”

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How to lose my respect and put me off buying

Two games recently have taken hold of my attention, and both of them have squandered it. I could have been one of those guys who gets excited at the very mention of it and preorders a copy at the first opportunity possible, but instead they push me away into that area no developer wants to put its potential customers in.

What are these games, and what have they done so wrong? » Continue reading “How to lose my respect and put me off buying”

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Manor hits 10,000 stamps sold!

Today is a red letter day, Mann Manor has had over 8,000 people buy 10,000 stamps through the Team Fortress 2 store and Hoodoo is following just 150 stamps behind it.

I never imagined that anything like this would be happening when I bought the Orange Box back in 2007, the levels that TF2 has escalated to and the quality of the community surrounding it continue to amaze me. Seventeen community maps and uncountable community made weapons and hats added to a game that originally had just three weapons per class and only six maps and the team responsible are showing no signs of slowing down.

So I’d like to offer my thanks to everyone who has bought stamps, everyone who has made anything for this game, be that fan art, model replacements, maps or anything else that shows love of TF2, everyone who runs servers and communities that play with the stuff we make, and to everyone who plays TF2.

Thank you all.

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tc_strata is now jinxed!


Why jinxed? I have started a lot of projects and stopped a lot of projects short and I’ve found that often projects fall through very quickly after I write some kind of blog post about them. Hopefully Strata will hold on to completion, I’d certainly be very upset if it didn’t!

Here’s just a bit of an overview of what’s going on. » Continue reading “tc_strata is now jinxed!”

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Dead Space: a dissection

I foolishly bought Dead Space in early December instead of waiting for the post-Christmas Steam sales when it was about a quarter of the price, still, I think it was just about worth what I paid for it and despite the problems I’m about to discuss I did find it to be somewhat enjoyable after getting used to the very sluggish controls. An average gaming experience in all I’d say, and definitely a good lesson of how not to do horror games.

This article will include spoilers, more after the jump. » Continue reading “Dead Space: a dissection”

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New Article at Nodraw.net

I’ve just finished writing another post for Nodraw.net about the Source engine, this one details the more advanced lighting options available since the Orange Box was released in 2007. I still see maps released that clearly don’t use them so I figured it was time to rewrite all the information about them from the original tutorial on TF2maps.net.

I spent a few hours whipping up a little map that had enough examples in for a full article, unfortunately I focused on the easiest to explain, -staticproplighting so I have a load of unused shots:

Some lighting examples I didn't use in my article on nodraw

I changed the lightmap scale to 2 from 16 so that the more accurate shadows would be clearly visible so I spent more time compiling than I did actually making it. One thing I wanted to show but didn’t was the transition between adjacent props that are lit differently, if I’d remembered to put something to shadow half of the tracks I’d have been able to show this and make the advantages of -staticproplighting really clear. I also wanted to demonstrate the sunspread angle but couldn’t stomach the extra half hour waiting for it to compile twice more. I can assure you that this is just an example map and not a small section from any upcoming TF2 maps from me.

Topic of next article for Nodraw will most likely be on reflectivity values for textures, a great way to increase the amount of bounce lighting without adding any significant filesize to the bsp.

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Drop the device in the Aperture Science Equipment Recovery Annex

I’m pretty much done with mapping for Team Fortress 2, I’ve had a great time working with it and have seen some amazing maps come out of the community around me. Now though, I’m turning back towards Portal. Single player mapping is an entirely different beast to multiplayer. It’s something I really enjoy and what I started with, Glad to be back.

I feel like I learn so much more about the engine when working with multiplayer, every time you want something to happen, you need to find a new entity to do exactly what you want. Sometimes the entity you try out doesn’t do what you want it to, and you don’t end up using it, but you had to learn how it works anyway, which I love. » Continue reading “Drop the device in the Aperture Science Equipment Recovery Annex”

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