A blog primarily about me programming and some tidbits about my life.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Long time no see!

Getting a bit slack updating this blog; I've got a good excuse I promise! Not really, I have been busy trying to get in-to university.

Maybe i'll update in another couple of months.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

What steam needs.

Reworking Steam: Visual.



From the marketing blurb.

Steam delivers Valveā€™s games to your desktop and connects you to a massive gaming community.
Currently it does an "ok" job at getting this done; But at the moment there are features missing or even worse not working at-all, in this post I will put all my thoughts about steam down on this blog and if the steam guys read this and come away with some ideas or anything good then I'll be happy.

Current Features

Generally steam is acceptable not brilliant but not crap, it just works. Which is a good thing in most regards, but it can become so much more than it's current incarnation.

Friends:
Does not work, plain and simple, needs to be fixed.

Play games:
Clunky but good and easily usable.

Browse Games:
Good.

Server List:
Could use improvements but on the right track

General Steam:
Steam itself is what I would say is in a "transitional phase" it's currently in a position were it could become a current future and present player or it could become stale and lose it's market share. In the mind of some people steam is currently the devil and to some people it's heaven, I can see were both trains of thought stem from, if you try steam and it's currently not working for what ever reason(tip: it's usually the users fault) the user is gonna have a hissy fit. If it works then it's all good.

Current Problems:
The friends list is flat out broke as I mentioned earlier. Another problem at the moment is on patch days* the network comes under intensive strain and people are sometimes not able to get the content they need to play a game. Currently this is 100* better then what went on back before steam, for example the CS team would of released 1.0 and all the download sites would be hammered for days and you would have to-go hunting for the update often taking days, and then having to deal with issues like corrupted downloads and all that fun stuff.

What would I do?

Crucial to what I would do would require a fully functioning friends list to even think of succeeding.

I would scrap the current user interface and redesign it so it was based fully around the users experience with friends and clans. I'll show you a prototype I knocked up in visual studio and I'll explain the features that you see.



As you can see the old oogly green interface has been done away with to make room for "battleship grey" Just to make sure we understand this is just a prototype and is not gusseyed up in anyway.

So let's start from the top panel, the 2 items of note are the messages label and the game invitations label . Starting with the message label, the concept behind this is sort of like mail you can leave your friends, as with xbox live you can send and receive mail from contacts or from valve themselves.

The game invitations work like this, say someone on your friends list is in a game wooping butt ;) and feels like inviting you to the carnage, as you can see in your friends list you can still join friends from that avenue aswell, but this is more of a specific invitation a chosen friend will send you.

The next panel is self explanatory on how it works.

The last panel is the "main menu" it has a recently played games list, but as you will notice it has a non valve game "swat 4" mixed in there; In the existing steam you can add programs to the menu through editing .res files(all this effectively does is add a shortcut to within steam), valve should make it automatic for other games/programs to be added to steam. Also there is a similar system for servers.

The last buttons are self explanatory.

Onwards to the game menu.



Everything is self explanatory here, I should of really added some how to add just purchased games to your account :P

Onwards to the servers button.



Servers panel part 2,



Server browser part 3.



Match, can be compared to xbox lives match making features except it just acts like a quick game finder, the user clicks a game and steam will find the quickest and busiest server it can find and join it.




Monday, May 09, 2005

Another Update.

Learning of C++ has slowed dramatically because of this development, and resulting hard work that will follow, I was just back up to learning pointers with a much better understanding of the underlying theory and practicies associated with the use of them.

Work on mod has also stopped while I work out of this predicement.

Life is normal, I am happy :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Update.

I have been busy with college(grr) I am currently re-reading half the programming book I have.

In lighter news, I have started a 1 man modification for half life 2 called "ain't no sunshine" it's a direct adaptation from gangwars for half life 1. I don't currently have much to show at the moment, more information on that later.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Life?

Now I would say in social terms I'm pretty well endowed ;) I can talk to people and make friends easily and all that good stuff. But for some reason I'm a quiet person I like solitude and would rather stay in then go out and get drunk with some mates.

Maybe I'm just an old man? Maybe I haven't found the right set of friends I like going out with regularly? Or maybe I'm just a quiet person who likes to stay home and relax?

I need a job aswell :)

haven't done much learning been busy for some reason.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Blog readers?

How many blogs do you think actually get read? Do we write blogs to express our feelings, or just have a satisfaction that our thoughts are "out there"?

Nobody visits this blog but still I persist writing it, I dunno why. Maybe this is my way to let out some steam or share my thoughts that someone might or might not read.

Or maybe I just like talking to myself :)

Friday, April 15, 2005

Back to normalness, computer wise ;)

Comp is fully loaded and i'm ready to role :D Not going out tonight because I have a serious lack of funds :'(

I recently tried out plan of attack for half life 2 with a couple of freinds, it's fun so far and I can see the mod getting alot of attention and polish in the coming months.

Back with 32 bits.

Does anybody notice if you format ALOT like I do, that it becomes quicker and quicker everytime you do it?

Just currently getting my system up to speed with all the programs I need to survive on the PC ;) The Pariah demo was just released, once I get everything back up and running i'll probably have a go of that :)

Windows 64.

Is good, apart from when you need to find obscure drivers for something.

For my web cam to work I need a driver from logitech, and at the time of writing logitech have not released any 64 bit drivers for any of their products*. Also being on AOL** at the time of writing also* Has made me to use my netgear dg834, now the router itself is brilliant, it's just the way AOL does stuff in it's weird properity world has meant that I get a metric ton of timeouts. And you guessed it! There are no drivers for the AOL provided USB modem.

Everything else works completly fine except for theese 2 items, as such i'm digging out my XP 32 too install again.

At the moment i'm currently reading practical c++. It's a good book for a beginner and has taught me alot of the basics, I am currently at chapter 10, "Using pointers and references" fun stuff :P

* From my searches.
** I wan't to move to plusnet's 2 meg plan :)

Blue Bar.

Does anybody know how to get rid of the blue bar up the top? I've seen blogs without it.

Anyway, i'm just about to-go to the gym, so cya.