Saturday, 27 February 2016

2016 seems to be a really bad year RIP Fergus.

On top of all the celebs who are dying right left and center, it seems even the games industries bright lights are now starting to dim. Today we heard the sad news that Fergus McGovern, former head honcho at Probe Software died suddenly , apparently from a blood clot cause by DVT. Such a tragic waste.

I won't go as far as to say we were friends, in fact I probably pissed him off big time doing my 4th and final NHL hockey game for him as I simply had a massive breakdown and could not finish it.. He tried to talk me into continuing but to his credit, he knew I was beaten, and let it go.. No we were not friends, but he was a big influence in my career, and many others. He worked well with people and got what he needed out of them, rewarding them well if they manged to get things done a bit quicker or a bit better, and as I discovered being sympathetic when it didnt' go so well

He could have sued the arse of me if he wanted when I just broke down in tears on the phone. but it would not have achieved anything! I worked for Fergus many times over the 80's and 90's and it helped pay a lot of bills and set me up as a freelancer. Its hard to explain how something like that connects you to people.

Even after the breakdown on NHL, and inevitable fallout he absorbed, he was always nice to me when we met at shows and events, remembered my name and said Hi, asked how I was. That meant a lot. He wasn't a spiteful man, he was a ball breaker sometimes but always fair. He loved negotiating you down on price, but never went below what he knew the job was worth,

The games industry does not have too many true legends, a lot of overbearing diva's for sure, but actual honest hard working legends who achieved something special are rare. Fergus was most certainly a Legend.



Friday, 26 February 2016

Oh shit, its happening

I sent off my finished book proposal yesterday, fully expecting to hear nothing back, but no...the editor replied within a few hours and was very happy with it, :D

I'm very happy with that, no I'm totally delighted... It still has to go through a publishing committee and get good feedback from reviewers but he feels its got a very good chance of going forward.

I'll hold off putting the deposit down on my Larry Corsa Les Paul (which is what I'll buy with the income) for now, since I won't know for 100% sure till April, and even then it could still be a no. But I have to say this excites me and will give me a lot of motivation to continue with my slightly crazy ideas for the next few months.

Also a very good excuse to feed my OCD collecting habit and get a few more SBC's to test the projects with.

Onward and upward.


Wednesday, 24 February 2016

I like Raspberry and Banana but Orange disagree's with me

Picked up an Orange Pi one on ebay, another cheap clone of the RPi but unlike the Banana Pi, this one seems to be a very poor copy.

Failed to recognize any of my full size keyboards, preventing me from logging in. Though I did try to use my mini wireless combination pad/key unit which almost worked though did stick on some letters.. However no matter how many times and how carefully I entered the password it failed to recognize it.

It maybe the password is not orangepi as suggested on some sites, but its impossible for me to find out since their website is down....

I think I'll have to write this one off as a not worth the effort.. The others all fired up really quick and easy with no keyboard hassles.

Oh well....I have more than enough fruit in my diet for now, and some meat in the form of a BeagleBoard XM is on the way, if it actually ever gets sent back from Canada, where Royal Mail apparently believe the Netherlands is located!!!


Tuesday, 16 February 2016

new tiny machines

My C1+ arrived all the way from Korea, 4 days after being posted, sadly I wasn't at home but arranged to have it re-delivered at work the next day..what a service so 5 days total...including a weekend!

Meanwhile I think my Pi Zero has been delivered 3 weeks after allegedly being posted, at least that's what the tracking site says....will find out when I get home!

The C1+ tried out quickly on my work station at the office, and its certainly a nippy little bugger, much more responsive and lively than the Pi or Pi 2 I'm quite looking forward to getting it hooked up at home to test out, hope it does not prove to be a couple of days of new frustration like the Banana Pi turned out to be ;)


Saturday, 13 February 2016

I miss my old chair

After putting up with its slipping height adjustment for months, I finally cracked and got rid of it, now sitting an a much better but quite different feeling mesh style office chair

the old one has served me well for 7 years now...but the slips were ever 10 mins now and thats annoying when you're already screaming at the screen about to pound on another hapless keyboard when something that should work doesn't..

I seems there is a bug in some of the Raspberry Pi's OpenGL extensions...meaning that some of the things I want to do can't be done, quite the same way...took quite some research to work it out, and find some possible work around.. I'm not there yet.

So I'm going to blame the new chair.


Friday, 12 February 2016

Insomnia again......

7.14am and I've not been to sleep yet, the cycle continues...I'll probably doze off on the couch where I am sat doing this, and wake up rough as fuck around 1pm...maybe 2.

It does not seem to matter how tired I am, I go to bed and just can't drop off...its very frustrating

I'd do some work on my book projects but I'd just end up getting into a groove and staying up even later,

Anyway the book is going fine 120 pages now, edited down now so that I have all the chapters laid out and the 1st set of projects and what they introduce all sorted, but still need to get the projects tested and cleaned up. I'm still waiting on a couple of the boards I ordered, though I believe they are on the way.  I haven't tried to properly do the Banana yet, beyond getting it to connect. I'll do that when I have the 1st game with graphics up and running.

I have my own version of a surface/canvas class sorted, just different enough from the old School template we used to use but the principles of a smart buffer are essentially the same, I got the double buffer framework almost done, just need to try and run a game loop through it and see how it goes. Hopefully that will let the 1st couple of games sorted  before I then do the GPU based frameworking.

Also doing some proper C++ coding for work, something I've really not done for a long time, I usually do C with classes, but for work I really need to do proper C++, kinda strange but it's started to click after a while

And Z80 is going fine too, got a great new idea to save memory and give me room to finish, it is taking a while to code but it is getting there...

ok, I'm bored now, lets see if the sleeping thing works on the couch.


Saturday, 6 February 2016

So, thats how you do it.

There's a reason I don't like Linux....not just that it seems to exist only for hardcore geeks to show off their condescension skills. Its just pants. I mean utter utter pants, nothing you ever want to do is simple and easy.
This is from someone who still has fond memories of Dos 3.0 and enjoyed using line commands.
Linux is just bloody weird and has become such a subset of internalised knowledge that you have no clue what to do when you want something normal without asking some guru who will chuckle publicly are your inability to understand the relevant runes.

Anyway, I have no interest or intention of actually doing much with Linux in the book, but I do need it in order to set up some of the target machines.

My 1st non Raspberry one being the Bananna Pi, which runs a version of Rasbian, but not quite.. And  needed to install the Open GL libs...which I have to say is not a simple case of going to a website, downloading and installing...oh no, that would be just too easy.

To cut a painfully long story short, since I really don't get why people on Linux forums are so flaming obtuse...I eventually stumbled on the idea of updating and upgrading my OS...then trying the "standard" install system again which had failed miserably the 1st 20 times, I tried it.

After the upgrade though it finally worked, and I now have OpenGLES on the Banana Pi...I took the best part of 3 days worth of hunting and reformatting to do it, but I think I now have a system, which only takes 2 hours, to prep the target, that should work on the other targets (careful now, don't make statements you can't back up)

I'll try to get some actual coding done on it soon, but for now the experience has drained me and I want to finish some Z80 and C++ coding jobs I have waiting.


Friday, 5 February 2016

uggg not all Pi is good

To maintain some degree of independence in my targets, I have mentioned before some of the other SBC's I plan to target in the book, one of which I thought would be simple to work with. The Banana Pi, which for all intents and purposes is a Chinese copy of the Raspberry Pi with a bit of a boost.

It supposedly even runs a version of Rasbian. and is moderately popular with the SBC community because of that. Any way mine arrived yesterday and its not at all unlike the Raspberry model

It didn't come with an SD card so I had to hunt for the OS, called Rasbian of course, on the Lemaker (the makers) site. Installed it over the course of an hour hunting the right tools,  but it seems the card wasn't quite compatible, but lucky I had another and repeated..Got it working

Ok so fire up VS and VisualGBD and yes it connects no problems at all, but the libraries are not in the same places as on the Raspberry..  Its not really Rasbian, its Debian with fruit, kinda, it does not have the same layout or tools as the Raspberry, but no matter it was connecting and that's my main consideration...

And so began a hunt of epic proportions for the OpenGLES dev libs, they do exist,  I don't really know exactly where, Linux seems to have repositories on line which I assume mimic the concept of the cloud. A strange command line process called sudo apt-get install  gets them for you, so I entered the required magic runes into the console..

And it did its thing

And then it said after a while that 5 or 6 of the files could not be obtained.... and install aborted

I tried this several times..but no joy, the standard install process fails when it cannot access all the files it is expecting, and it appears a server no longer has those files...I have no control over that, and the --fix-missing option does not help.


So more hunting, more google fu, and no result by midnight. I called it a day. There are a full set of all openGL libs available which I can download and compile on the target but that's going to be a weekend of download and compile time..with relative amounts of WTF is happening moments.

What a fucking pain in the arse......seriously, Linux...why??? archaic and unreliable, I have no idea why people like this shit?

Still got a Bananaboard and a Pine A64 to review.....oh joy!