Shadow of the Computer

Aside from playtesting for a game I’m developing as part of my university course, I have not been playing many games lately at all. So I’ve been limited to the joys of constant crashing, being pushed off cliffs, throwing myself in holes, accidentally, and getting wedged awkwardly in the environment (in our game, that is, not in real life). Let’s just say it’s not the stellar experience of Gran Turismo 5. Not yet, at least.

I did play a bit of Killzone 3, and thought to myself, “So, Rico is still a knob”, when he died in a doorway, conveniently blocking me out so I HAD to revive him before we could continue. It wasn’t long before he threw himself into enemy fire again, and it was quite amusing listening to his shouts while I walked off, then when I was out of earshot, calling me on the Killzone phone as though I’d made a slight error. No, Rico. I intend to leave you dying in the snow for as long as Guerilla will let me. Sadly, it was only a minute before he magicked himself alive for a cutscene.

Through what has been some sort of weird and extremely bad financial and woeful saga, I’ve finally come out the other end after retreating with safety to the wonderful KTD, who have built me a great new PC, and I have spent the last few days being in awe of how good it is.

Compared to the last one, this is like some sort of gigantic Collosus, triplicating ice out of three huge orifices (I didn’t make triplicating up, I saw it in Red Dwarf).

Normally I’d put this machine to the test by running a beautiful game, but I haven’t got any games on here yet apart from Minesweeper, which is not really an adequate test. Oh no. I’ve been doing exciting things like saving out 4096×4096 .png’s, baking ambient occlusion maps and waving the clone stamp tool everywhere. While watching a DVD. And browsing the internet. Of late, I couldn’t do any of these things on the old machine without it giving up and switching off. I had to leave my door and window open to create a draft that ran past my computer to try and stop it overheating, and even if it did manage one of these tasks, it took unreasonably long.

Simple work is now, actually, simple. Playing with lighting and shadows is now, actually, possible.

It’s such a simple scene, but there’s all kinds going on here with the lighting and shadows. There’s a fairly strong light beaming in outside from the window, three sets of lights guiding the stairs, and what will become a pair of candle lights on the table. My old computer would most likely get half way through rendering this before either freezing or switching itself off.

If you can picture rendering between my old computer and the new one, it would be like a race between an overweight, non-flying pigeon and a silent rocket-powered whippet. I fire a gun at the starting line, and the overweight pigeon has bumbled forwards, spontaneously set alight, diverted through running water and had to take a break about two meters into the race. Before even exploding, the rocket-powered whippet has sped to the finish and back, eager for the next challenge.

Rest assured I will challenge my computer to a game, but probably in about three months time when I finish my degree, because I nearly died from a combination of the Dead Space 2 demo, disorientating medication that makes stringing a coherent sentence together at normal speed a mental challenge, and mega final year degree stress. I should be a functioning human again in time for Diablo III.





3 responses to “Shadow of the Computer”

  1. Alex Austin avatar
    Alex Austin

    Now I’m wondering what a overweight, flying pigeon would look like.

  2. Simon avatar

    I’m picturing Jo Brand with wings.

  3. Optimus Pints avatar
    Optimus Pints

    Well I do like the Boris Johnson Pigeon….although the Usain Bolt Pigeon has it’s charms. but which pigeon is better? theres only one way to find out…FIGHT!!!!

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