A Gamer’s Lament

13 Aug

MAJOR UPDATE: They listened! They added support for older hardware and improved the framerate. Enable the “Beta” channel to try the improved version!


Since it was first unveiled, I was excited about No Man’s Sky. I wanted to be one of the first to explore the procedurally generated universe with 18 quintillion planets. In July 2016 I finally preordered it. I was ecstatic and I couldn’t wait for the PC release date (I don’t own a PlayStation). When I found out it was being released on August 12th, I began counting down the hours, halving the intervals. 24, 12, 6, 3, 1:30, until it was finally released. I began downloading it to my PC within seconds of the release. Evidently I was one of the first, because download speed was insane for the first 15 seconds. After that, about 20 minutes passed and it was ready to play.

Or so I thought.

When I started the game for the first time, I didn’t skip the intro. I needed to see it. The starfield moved in front of me, the huge, amorphous blob of light that was the centre of the universe on the right of the screen. The screen faded to white, I heard some wildlife and then… Nothing. The game crashed, my desktop showed up and I was in shock. I relaunched it sixteen times, hoping it would work, but it was the same. It would always crash.Over 200,000 players were on the servers and I couldn’t be one of them.

All thanks to OpenGL 4.5. That was the game’s minimum requirement and of course I was running OpenGL 4.4.

I dropped into the Steam support forum and over 200 people were having the exact same issue as me. We were all desperate for fixes. I surfed through Reddit, Steam support and the No Man’s Sky website. Nothing worked for me. The PlayStation 4 release went fine, and evidently over 200,000 people had OpenGL 4.5.

This is the problem with game developers. All OpenGL 4.5 adds from 4.4 is some new shader and of course tons of developers are using 4.5 because it’s newer.

If they release support for older systems (OpenGL 4.4 or earlier), then I will definitely re-buy it because it looks like an awesome game. But think about this for a minute. If they had used just one or two versions earlier OpenGL, then hundreds or even thousands more gamers would be able to play No Man’s Sky. By making this decision, Hello Games has completely screwed over potentially thousands of gamers. That’s thousands more who wouldn’t be requesting refunds. Thousands less lost customers.


Why do we use old Icons?

29 Mar


There are icons everywhere of old items that we have come to accept as “normal.” The problem with this is that the objects depicted in these icons are completely obsolete. The floppy disk means “Save.” The handset (yes, handset, as in phone shaped like a crescent) has become the “Phone” icon. The folder, the calendar, the address book. All have become icons.

Perhaps the most insidious of them all is the “E-mail” icon.

E-mail has revolutionized what we do. People can now communicate in a matter of seconds what used to take days or even weeks to send. Plus, it’s essentially free, apart from the electricity usage.

The problem is what icon they use.

The vast majority of e-mail clients use the envelope as their icon. Even the innovative Microsoft used the envelope as their e-mail icon.


Microsoft’s E-mail icon.


But why? Why do we use things that have become obsolete as icons?

The answer is that no one can think of a good replacement.

I’m glad to see that the LibreOffice suite uses a hard drive as the “Save” icon. It makes a lot more sense than something that the new generation has never seen, but lots of people have never taken apart their computers, so that’s still a problem.

Someone needs to fix this.

STEM Learning and how it Applies to Everyday Life

15 Mar

I am in a STEMX program (STEM Accelerated) program for students who want to do grades 8 and 9 in the same year. Throughout the year I have come across some problems, mostly math, that I needed to solve. The first one involved the Scout Speed 60 rally, where I was designing an “Open Class” car in software, with the goal being to have a 3d printed Speed 60 car. I needed to use algebra to find the exact scale of the car because there is very little margin for error. Another time, more recently (as in a few minutes ago), I had to reverse the Pythagorean theorem to find the exact size of a screen in order to make sure I could fit it into the laptop I am in the middle of restoring (More on that in a post that I will publish when done). I also made good use of ratios throughout reversing Pythagorean theorem.


A quote from my good friend Dylan

7 Dec

“Programming isn’t going out of style. It’s here to stay.”

Origami Atom

4 Dec

This is an origami Helium atom.output_KJFZsk.gif

Saitek X52 Flight Control System Review

21 Aug

The Saitek X52 computer “flight stick” is the flight joystick to end all flight joysticks. With ergonomic design, adjustable LEDs, 17 mappable buttons, a twist axis, autocentering and much more, This is amazing. It is a H.O.T.A.S. (Hand On Throttle And Stick) system, meaning tons of precision and even more buttons. It has three “hat” switches, toggle switches and a ministick and precision slide. In short, this is an amazing joystick with tons of features, but the one drawback is its price. This doesn’t come cheap unless you are some king of Craigslist wizard. (I found one for $60.) This comes with a price tag of $199.99. Plus tax.

3D Printer Review

13 Aug

I have had a 3d printer since about May and it’s time I review it.


First of all, this “RepRap Prusa i3” printer is very easy to assemble, if the person who assembles it is competent. I like how the z axis motors do not use belts, but it may be frustrating to fine-tune.

20150604_212225 20150607_16582220150607_165813

I am also impressed by the build size. 200x200x180mm makes a great size for a $506.73 (Canadian dollars) printer. Top it off with a heated bed, easy-to-use software (Repetier-host) and clear acrylic pieces (also an autolevelling bed) and you have one good printer.

However, there are a few flaws I must point out. The most game-changing flaw is the fact that sometimes the company sends the wrong manual, showing a different circuit board and LCD display. The e-mail technical support was friendly and responsive, describing the right way to wire the printer to the new circuit board and sending the right LCD screen.

Overall, the RepRap prusa i3 is a great beginner’s printer. The print quality may not quite be up to par with more expensive models, but it is more than good enough for a hobbyist or maker.

Order one here: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Upgraded-Prusa-i3-DIY-3d-Printer-kits-P802-with-Leveling-platform-auto-leveling-feature-Melzi-2/32332469089.html

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