Tuesday, December 28, 2004

I have been back home in England for over a week now for the Christmas break, but not had much to update with on here.
The last month at Full Sail ended well and I'm confident about my results. I have an exam the day I get back I believe and that is not too far away now.
Christmas has been good... Some real food, plenty of beer and some nice new clothes for me to model. I've ended up being technical support as usual and was asked to say Hi to the lovely Louise, Lauren, Rachel (I'm pretty sure I've spelt that wrong) and especially Marg (who is probably feeling a bit worse for wear this morning!)

Thursday, December 09, 2004

About a week ago I created a tutorial on "How to Include Blogger Posts on Other Pages" which should make sense to people who use Blogger for their websites. Blogger themselves have posted a link to it on thier User Hacks Page and the MagPie RSS weblog, (whose PHP software I used) have done the same on their news and How-To Pages.
Hope that helps someone. I may make other tutorials for other stuff eventually and add a new section to this site. I've thought about it many times before, but just never written them...

Saturday, December 04, 2004

I have just finished Halo 2 and Half-Life 2 today after taking a break from both games. There may be spoilers in the rest of this post, so this is warning for anyone still playing them.
I didn't realise I was so close to the end of Halo 2 when I stopped playing before. The comments that had been flying around about the ending being a load of crap were right. Unfortunately, I think about the same for Half-Life 2. In fact, that whole game has too great a sense of mystery about it for my liking... But I still love it. Reading around on the Internet has put a few of the puzzle pieces together and now I just have another 6 years to wait for Half-Life 3.
In my opinion though, it is a shame that games are left far too wide open for blatant sequels. I would rather have some sort of closure to the current events and have the ambiguous endings of the current games be the start of the next game if there ever is one. Why not even replay the final battle as the intro? Which is worse though, tacking on a cheap plot extension with little explanation just to produce another sequel, (making more money but raping a successful franchise, like too many movies,) since things were too tightly wrapped up, or leave it open and confusing? But then I still want to buy the next installments for both titles... What can I say? Consumer whore.
Oh well, multiplayer is here now for HL2. I'll get X-Box Live! to play Halo 2 when I get back here after Christmas. HL2 should have some interesting mods released for it eventually. I like the sound of one - Resistance Vs Combine. An obvious, but potentially excellent team based shooter.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

OK, so I have been in this country for about two and a half months now and yesterday I went ahead and shot some guns. Real life, kill a man, bullet firing pistols. Hey, we had a few days off for Thanksgiving, so we were just sitting around doing nothing... why not find a shooting range? I found one on the internet just around the corner so Chris and I called up some friends and let some lead fly. I shot a .22, a 9mm and a big bad .45 Colt. I'm a perfectly fine shot with the .22 but I'd need a bit more practice with the bigger boys... they had some kick.
Also, as I have mentioned, the day before yesterday was Thanksgiving itself and we were both lucky enough to be invited round some people's houses that were cooking. We got a free meal and had a laugh with some people. Thanks for that, those that hosted.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I've just updated this site so it is finally centered, both horizontally and vertically, and resized things so that it should fit within a browser window maximized in 800x600. Things have been tweaked quite nicely. I just need to edit some of the themes now.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

The second month of Full Sail is over and I seem to have come through unharmed. Programming 2 and Linear Algebra await me starting next week, with a harsher schedule including classes ending at 1am and a broken up weekend. But that's the price of accelerated learning I suppose.
The year is drawing to a close, at least in gaming terms since the big titles are pretty much all released now in time for the "Holidays." Metal Gear Solid 3 is the latest one, and the Nintendo DS is out tonight, (at least here in the US.) But life is not all rosey in the land of the Title-of-the-Year Contenders...
Halo 2 has reportedly got a few bugs in it, but that didn't stop me and some friends having a 7 hour marathon, multi-systemlink session yesterday before moving on to a party, (thanks Joe for hosting and good work Duke on the party, great turn out.)
The Halo bugs are not too bad though in comparison to the Half-Life 2 situation. Steam has been throwing its guts up over the past few days under the weight of registrations from people registering their store bought copies. At least I can play my downloaded version, even if it does have a crappy stuttering-every-few-minutes bug. What is ingenious though is Valve releasing a warez copy of the game soon after the retail release with a trap in it to destroy your Steam account if used. So if you happened to pay for any titles over Steam you can no longer use them. Seems fair enough to me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

So one of the most anticipated games ever has landed on my hard drive this morning. Actually it has been there for a while through the magic of Steam, but at midnight last night Half-Life 2 was finally unlocked and playable by the world. It is a beautiful game, but it has had a few glitches on my system, including one almighty crash that filled the class room I was playing in with the screams of Alyx, a gorgeous side character. My main problem though is with the distribution model. Once you unlock the game online once, that should be it. But you are made to do it each time you boot the game, which sucks. Seems I'm lucky that I got it working this morning, (I did the final unlocking at 8am before class, then left Steam open and hibernated the laptop,) so I could play it during the day. But I don't really want to have to go through that every morning. It wouldn't be so bad but Full Sail have blocked the ports that Steam connects through, so that is where one of my major problems comes from, (but it is just the same as being away from an Internet connection.)
Despite buying the game, I would consider using a crack to circumvent Steam, and that's just crap. I would rather have bought it on DVD and have something tangible rather than the download, but its only on 5 or 6 CD's in the USA unless you go for the $90 collectors edition. Stuff that. (But even if I did, you still need to install Steam and validate each time...) At least they have put in a "Backup files" option into the Steam client now.
Anyway, so far the game rocks. Just remember this simple formula:
HL2 Single player > Halo 2 Single player.
Halo 2 Multiplayer > Counter Strike: Source (which is a cop-out anyway...)

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

I'm watching an incredible tv show right now while I'm working. Richard Branson: The Rebel Billionare. It's a reality show where he has 16 people (all yanks which pisses me off, and you'll see why,) which he jets around the world to do challenges, eliminating them when they fail. Fine. But eventually the prize is Branson's Job! They will OWN VIRGIN! All of it!
So 1) Why yanks? (Its a British company with a british owner, why is he doing this show in the USA?)
And 2) How? (How can he give this away?)
There must be a twist in there somewhere. They are doing some crazy stuff. This is the first episode, a 2 hour special. He has had them climbing out of hot air ballons and planes and have been to England and Hong Kong. They are having to do a business task now - do something for the Virgin Airways Upper Class cabin. They have to do something to improve the service on an Upper Class flight with $500 (or something like that...) within 24hrs. But then half way through he makes them take difficult choices such as offering them a trip to a national monument in Hong Kong. But that's it. So do they go, or not waste the time and keep working on the challenge since they have a time limit? Is it an important choice? Not really if they get the work done, but it makes them over analyse the situation.
One team decided it is what Branson would do and have gone thinking it may become a cultural advantage. The other team wanted the time and didn't go. It's quite interesting, and we have no idea what Branson is thinking, and they are all too preoccupied thinking about that in my opinion, but it must be hard in their position.
This is just crazy, that's all i can say!
(It eventually turns out that the group that goes on the trip makes an inferior product and loses the challenge, so Branson says perhaps they should have spent more time on it. But then if they had done the work it wouldn't have been an issue to him I'm sure.)
But more importantly, I picked up Halo 2 last night. EB had a midnight opening launch to celebrate so I got to the mall at around 11.15pm. After paying off the rest of what I owed I was given a number (104) and invited to a Ruby Tuesdays restaurant around the corner to play some Halo to kill the time. I was getting beaten down. As midnight hits people start going back to get their copy of they game as they are called, but in the restaraunt Halo 2 gets put into the 3 networked consoles. This was my chance to shine and I preceeded to pwn everyone. I ended up coming second by a couple of kills and fell in love with the game during that time. There is so much more in terms of tactics. Halo was essentially a choice between the pistol, shotgun or sniper rifle. This one is a choice between any of the balanced weapons, whether to duel weild (but lose the ability to throw grenades,) or carry the baddest of bad ass - the Covenant sword, (close range, but instant kill.) I'm just annoyed that I have had a load of homework today so I couldn't start the single player campaign!
Oh, and I've fixed the crappy bug that made the text bold and blurry on this site in IE.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Today was a fun and active day. First I went swimming (in November in an outdoor pool. Florida sunshine is the best!) and then Chris and I went paintballing with a few people from Full Sail. That was all rounded off by a shooting session at the LAN Party. So now I'm nice and chilled. This weekend we are going to host a party so that means I can have a beer without worrying about how to get home!
25 hours and Halo 2 will be in my XBox. Another week after that and I can finally start playing Half-Life 2 (I signed up for Steam yesterday.)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I didn't realise it has been quite so long since I last posted. Time really does fly here! We've been learning more in a day than you would in a couple of weeks of normal school, at least. We finally have our laptops - they are 3GHz, 17" widescreen beasts - so we could actually take part in our Programming 1 class, which has been going really well. Calculus is a bit more challenging since I'm trying to remember stuff that I learnt during Maths A-Level, and it was pretty tough back then! I should be ok, but I'll have to get back to my studying now...
By the way, I have no idea why this site is being displayed in some sort of blurry bold typeface, and why the frontpage is showing an old post as the most recent, but this site needs updating anyway. It will probably be a few weeks before I can get to it, (although I already have it all mapped out.) Oh, and Halo 2 on Tuesday! Woo!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

After losing my connection to a video stream of the Manchester United vs Arsenal game that has just finished, I found a radio stream from 105.4 Century FM. It ended Man United 2-0 Arsenal but I could not believe what a dick the presenter was at the end. He was so biased it was unbelievable. "It's quite easy to beat Arsenal isn't it?" "They are whingers. They are big babies when they are rattled." Easy to say that after the result isn't it! I thought it was a proper radio station, not a fan forum.
Anyway, the first month is now over. The final exam for GDF was fine and we got a 90 for our presentation, which isn't so bad. Next month is apparently going to be 9am-5pm Tuesday to Saturday, but things may change.
We are still holding out for laptops. They could have turned up yesterday, but Full Sail didn't want to trouble anyone and have them be there to sign for the delivery. After all, we have only been waiting a month so why the hell should they care if we get them before Monday?
On a lighter note, there have been a few parties this weekend so it has been a laugh to have a few beers with a load of people from the school. You can really notice that the drinking age of 21 here affects everybody's attitude, (and how quickly they get drunk since a lot of them are yet to turn 21.) I'm not sure why I'm mentioning that, but it was something I noticed in between bouts of Donkey Konga.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Our first month here is over tomorrow and it has gone pretty well. I have an A in my first class (Behavioural Science,) but have an exam to complete in the morning for my Game Design Fundamentals class. As of right now I still have no laptop, but I have been out this morning buying a wireless router and Vonage VOIP line so I'm all prepared for when it turns up. I still need to get ahold of a DVD burner though.
Anyway, if you would excuse me, I have some gadgets to play with and some revision to do. :-)

Sunday, October 17, 2004

I went to see Team America: World Police last night and conclude it is a very funny film. It just came out on Friday here. It's from Trey Stone and Matt Parker (the guys that make South Park,) in a Thunderbirds (i.e. Puppets) style, basically taking the piss out of America and the celebrities in it. One highlight for me was a brilliant set of Tony and Cherie Blair puppets.
I also have the Internet installed at home now finally, on fat 2.5mb line. Watching football streams should be no problem now! As well as more access to things like email and this blog so I'm more reachable now. My own laptop is not meant to turn up until Thursday and I'll be pretty pissed if it doesn't since the following Monday is our second month of classes which included Programming 1! It's all HP's fault since they ran out of glass to make the screens for our computers apparently. They offered us a replacement laptop, two models older with no widescreen, in replacement which we could have much sooner. We obviously told them as a group to poke it. Not much of a choice really, just the impression of one.
Anyway, that wasn't meant to sound negative or anything. Having a great time still, but gotta get back to work!

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Week two is done and dusted. A lot of work has been done and most has to be turned in this week. I'm on top of it all thankfully, (despite a day when I thought nothing else could go wrong earlier.) In fact I've just printed it all. We have had to create an Executive Summary of our game, Character Designs and more. I only have to revise my Level Design Document before I can call that finished. We have also had some midterms, which is a new experience, but as long as you revise, they are no problem. Public speaking is also a big issue here and I'll be doing a lot of that this week.
A panel made up of people high up in companies such as Sony and Midway rolled into town a few days ago. They sit on a board which makes sure Full Sail is doing the right things when they teach us and get us ready for the real world. It was actually a lot of doom and gloom, saying things like the average games developer stays in the industry for only five years and things like that. Fan-bloody-tastic.
I've been watching the presidential debates, which have been quite interesting. I should really pay a bit more attention to things like this back in England! I was undecided for a long time but I think Kerry would have my vote... if I could.
Anyway, I'm hungry and the fridge is nearly empty, so I'm going shopping, then I'll probably go and see Resident Evil 2 before it disappears from the cinemas completely.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

My first week of Full Sail is over. Well, I still have meetings with my group members today but we will ignore that fact. I am studing 2 courses at the moment - Behavioual Science (study, research and motivation techniques) and Game Design Fundamentals (learn how to do the background work in planning for a game, such as plot and character design.) All has been going well with that, though they pile the work on from the begining! I'm sure it will get more intense than this as soon as the programming starts, so I should try and get on top of things now. My lessons have been at reasonable times so far, but Chris has been in at 5am and has a 1am next week! I'm not looking forward to those. Oh, and I was meant to get my laptop on the first day, but hurricanes have delayed their delivery which is poo. But the upside is, when they do arrive, they are bad-ass machinces. As in 17" monitor, 3 GHz processor, GeForce graphics etc. Have a look at the product website for the HP NX9500 to see the specs.
And to finish off, here is some proof of my consumerist conformism, (or perhaps not, since I didn't buy an iPod!) since I bought this stuff:
Archos GMini 400: A portable media player which doesn't just mean MP3s, but DivX and XVid too! About the same size as an iPod, but with a sweet colour screen and the ability to play videos and play Mophun games, its a nice little unit. The controls could be a little better thought out though I think, (and it doesn't help one of my buttons doesn't work properly.)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX7: A very nice 5 Megapixel camera with a huge screen, small form factor and a motion stabalising lens that moves to correct your movements and prevent blurry pictures. It seems to be a good unit, but it doesn't act as a webcam, has no dock and the battery needs to be charged externally from the camera which are annoying features after having my Fuji 6800 zoom. This has obviously been done to keep the camera size down, which is a major problem I had with the Fuji in the first place, so you can't have everything!
God, I love the weak Dollar!

Monday, September 27, 2004

OK, so hurricane path prediction is pretty crap. We were told about a week ago that Hurricane Jeanne would miss us by miles and just stay in the Atlantic. Well Chris and I were sitting in the dark last night with no power and have not started Uni today because of it. It wasn't so bad. Loads of rain and very strong wind, but we were fine. The lake we live next to is overflowing though and has flooded an island in the middle of it. I'm using a public access computer at the moment since we still have no power at home and don't really want to go back there and do nothing all day. Still, tomorrow is another day and we will finally get to start school.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Hi everyone. Over a year ago I started this blog as an easy way to document my placement year for my MediaLab Arts degree. I had no idea then that my 100th post would be from the USA the day before I move into my new flat before I go back to Uni to study Computer Game Design. I am extremely lucky.
And I have been extremely busy! We have now bought everything we can think of that we need for the flat, a bad-ass 2005 Toyota Matrix and signed up for all our cable, insurance and boring stuff like that. I managed to fail my US driving test today. Didn't come to a COMPLETE stop at a Stop sign. Load of rubbish, but will do it again either tomorrow or Tuesday and I'll pass no problems.
Running short on time right now, so I'll leave it at that and get back to you soon. Probably when I get my laptop, though I'm still not sure when that is.

Friday, September 10, 2004

This is post 99 coming Live! from Virgin Altantic's Clubhouse in Gatwick Airport. I'll soon be off and just wanted to put one last message up since I found a computer and Ivan is on the way.
I'm sending this post via email, so I hope this works. It's a handy feature of this blog if it does. If I make it through Monday I'll try and stick another message up here, (this new laptop I'm getting better have a WiFi card in it...)
*Update* It worked, but the formatting was a bit off since emails text-wrap in a funny way. I also had to flick a setting on that made the post get published and not just saved, but still it should work from now on in a pinch. Bye!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

So this is my 98th post to this blog, but the 100th probably won't come for a while unfortunately. I'm leaving (on a jet plane) tomorrow morning for Florida and won't have a computer with me until I start at Full Sail and they issue me my laptop. So 2 weeks of being pretty much unreachable since I won't even have a phone or anything until I've been to the shops and bought my 21st Century essentials. I just wanted to post a heads-up that I'm not ignoring you... I just won't have gotten your messages! Keep sending them in though and I'll get back to you ASAP. I might find an Internet cafe or something.
I'm getting the itch to redesign the website again since this one has never been quite right. It was always more of an experiment with PHP, mySQL, some CSS techniques etc. so there are things that need addressing. And I've still got a load of work to add to the portfolio. We'll see how the work load goes.
Just before I go, itsajobthing.com is now finished I think. The holding page will come down this evening, I would have thought, after it gets final approval. 2 more jobs may actually have come out of this one, so its a shame I'm now leaving! Why couldn't this have happened back in June?! Oh well. Maybe I will take my currnet laptop tomorrow after all...
*Update* My webhost is crapping out on me, so there may be a delay in this message getting onto that thar Internet thing. When it finally does, there should also be some new photos online under the heading Ashley's Leaving Nights from the BBQ and from last night in Romford. Enjoy, you media devouring monsters you!

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Something I forgot to put in my last post, which was after Amir Khan, (the British Olympic Boxing Silver medalist from this year's games in Athens,) following his fight said something like, "A lot of kids sit at home and play computer games, but I got up and did something." Not knowing he had said that, I had commented to someone that said he was "really clever for doing so well," that he "only threw punches for a living." I guess we can call that a difference of opinion. Not that I'm denying he's a talented boxer, just that it isn't an intellectual pursuit and not necessarily something that should be praised.
Anyway, it is getting very close to moving day, as long as this third hurricane, Ivan, doesn't make it to Florida! As we've just had our last weekend at home Chris and I had a BBQ with our friends and a good time was had by all. Cheers to all that came.
A new website feature that was requested by one of the BBQ attendees, Mr. J Halls BSc (Hons), was a drink counter that records everything alcoholic I drink while in the states, so look out for that. (My prediction is that it will stay low since I'll be the only one old enough to drink, and everyone will think I'm an alcoholic.)

Sunday, August 29, 2004

www.itsajobthing.com is coming along well and the wraps should be ripped off by the end of next week. Its a nice and simple site, but hopefully it does the job.
Incidentally, I have just been checking how the Compass website is doing in the Yahoo! page rankings to see if I'm doing ok with my coding. "Plumbing Essex" returns sixth, "Plumbing Dagenham" is first! There were a few other terms as well which produced similar results, so that is great news. It came about after they were phoned by a company trying to make money out of page promotion and page ranking. Looks like it isn't really needed!
I've just got Doom 3, so expect some comments on that at some point, but I'll be busy packing my life away and throwing out all of my crap before moving day, (which is now less than 2 weeks away,) between working on the website, so the game may have to wait.

Monday, August 23, 2004

I got back from a short break in Portugal yesterday afternoon. Nice and hot but got burnt on the first day and ended up sitting in the shade most of the time after that. Silly thing to do! ***EDIT: REMOVED*** So its good to be home for the last 18 day stretch.
I'm working on www.itsajobthing.com at the moment, so that's where my effort is going and money is coming from.
And in my opinion, this new seizure suppressor sounds a little too scarily similar to that used in Michael Crichton's Terminal Man, (where things go bad...)

Monday, August 09, 2004

I'm back today from my trip to Sin City (a.k.a. Las Vegas.) It was a pretty good trip. Lots of food, too much sun, a few beers and a bit of a flutter on the tables. All in all I was down about $200 by the end, but it was still fun doing it, (except the Blackjack, which raped me for $60 in about 2 minutes!)
Ash on a Wheel of Fortune Slot Machine

Thursday, July 29, 2004

I've just realised, while I was away I was meant to post that this blog is now a grand 1 year old! Started as a way to document my placement year, on CreateUK, it is now going to be my way of telling the world about how I'm doing at Full Sail. Thanks to anyone that actually read any of it!
Anyway, I've done a much better job of the photos of Dublin, and put all of the old photos up in a new gallery. There is no longer any fancy search function, everything is just up there by event, but it means it is more likely to be updated. I have a bit of a back catalogue to get through, so I may get on with that in a min. Check them all out at www.HiAsh.com/photos.
* Update * I've just added the ability to translate this website into one of five languages onto each page. Just click the appropriate flag in the top left of the page. Sweet!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

My photos from Dublin have been hurriedly pushed through Photoshop and have shot up to www.HiAsh.com/photos/ so feel free to have a look. I'll do a better job of them later in the week hopefully, (retouching, having larger images, making a better gallery site and adding more photos from other events.)

Monday, July 26, 2004

I was totally stunned on Friday by being driven by Louise to Stanstead Airport to jet off to Dublin for the weekend to celebrate the arrival of my 21st Birthday tomorrow. All of my mates were standing there waiting for me. I had no idea and everyone did a top job of keeping it quiet for four months! Go Karting, The Guiness Brewery Tour, pub crawls, a couple of clubs and more McDonalds than you could shake a Fillet of Fish at. Thanks Everyone!

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

I have been tinkering with the site again, so you may notice a few small changes here and there, with more over the next few days. I keep saying its getting to be the way I like it, but these little touches are important. One of them should fix opacity problems found in Safari for example, which I managed to have a quick browse with at Submerge. I've also fixed some broken images not changed during the porting of this blog over from CreateUK. Best of all is the addition of more awards and competition wins to the frontpage, one of which is for the X-Box Media Center Skinning Contest, with the winners announced this past weekend.
I think all that needs adding now are more styles for the site and more of my work, as well as a page template for showing off image based work. It will all come shortly.
Finally, I may have landed myself a job as a writer for gamesTM magazine here in the UK, while I'm away studying in Florida. Kind of like a diary of what Chris and I have been doing during our studies and pursuit of a career in games. If it comes off, it would be excellent news, allowing us to earn some money so we could eat!

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Today I bring you photographic joy. Submerge 2004 and the F1 Demonstration in London's Regent Street in glorious visual detail, just for you!
Submerge: Bought to you by James Nation and Some of my Images, in Association with Chris O'Shea
F1 Demo: My Unsorted Images and Videos
Highlights: My GameBoy and I Share an Ice Cream with a Guest at Submerge, then Juan Pablo Montoya Races Past in his BMW Williams and Again in Beautiful Full Motion!

Saturday, July 03, 2004

OK, so I had a crappy spot at Submerge, the judges didn't speak to me or even see my project, I didn't win anything and the two days of little sleep and 550 mile drive have left me knackard. But hey, at least there were a few MLA winners, especially the Submerge Award (i.e. Best-of-Show) winners, Bo-Shing for Minyuns. Well done guys, highly deserved. You'll go far.
On a totally unrelated note, I went to a cash-point (or ATM to you yankees,) today and tried to change my PIN. After choosing that option I got the blue-screen-of-death and watched in horror as the machine crashed and rebooted Windows NT (very slooooooowly.) The bastard kept my card too!
***Stupid bloody coders given important jobs... What's the point in a colour screen when the old black and green ones worked?! Back in my day... grumble, grumble***

Thursday, July 01, 2004

So here I am LIVE! at Submerge 2004. The MediaLab Arts stuff I've obviously seen before, but there are a few other colleges and uni's here displaying some of their 'talent.' There is some good stuff on display, I especially liked a QuickTime someone had done for a Pot Noodle ad. Very Nice. At the same time, MLA is head and shoulders above everyone else here. And my GBA project has had a brilliant responce. EVERYONE that has looked so far has said, "I have never thought of doing something like that," referring to reusing a device we already own for extra use. The first guy I showed practically offered me a job on the spot, but I then told him I was off to the USA. All in all, its looking good so far, and I'm glad I came for the little exposure I'm getting, (I'm in a bit of a crap spot in a corner.) I might even have a chance at a Commercial Value prize...
In related news, my project only earned a 2:2! Very disappointing, but I earned a 2:1 overall. Obviously not the First I was hoping to scrape, but hey... There's always Florida!

Monday, June 28, 2004

I've just been test driving the new verisons of Mozilla and Firefox, (which I am using to post this!) and both have fixed a little glitch which broke up the background image of this website if you scrolled one of the scrollbars. So now the only inconsistancies I can find between IE, Mozilla, Firefox and Netscape is that the 'Text Area' in the email form on the left changes width slightly and Netscape renders the opacity of the backgrounds at incorrect levels. So overall, not bad! I've not ever used Opera, so I can't comment on that, or what it looks like on a Mac, (or Linux for that matter,) since I no longer have access to one. Feel free to send any comments on the way you view the site to the usual address!

Saturday, June 26, 2004

So that's the end of England's EURO 2004 campaign. At least the French are out too, along with a lot of other big names. I thought Greece looked dangerous in the group stage and was glad England didn't face them. I think we really would have struggled. I still would have preferred Spain. Oh well. Now we can sing "40 years of hurt" in the World Cup - Germany 2006!
In game news I've just got Driv3r on the X-Box today. I was really disappointed. The production of the FMV is pretty high, but the in-game stuff is still quite basic. Character animation is somewhat laughable. Mouths still don't move during speech, (and they don't move much in the FMV either, which looks odd.) The car physics is still the main draw though, which makes the driving sections quite fun, but the appalling 3rd person camera control makes the on-foot shooting areas tedious. The maps seem fairly faithful to the real world. I managed to find a hotel I've stayed in on a trip to Miami, along with the shopping centre and Hard Rock Cafe nearby (labeled the Miami Stars Cafe in the game.) Despite my initial disappointment, I have still been playing for a few hours and progressed onto Nice which has a much tighter, complex road layout, which could be fun. So either this game is addictive fun despite it's flaws, or I'm just stubborn! I wouldn't have thought I will return to this title once I have finished it, but I have yet to make a stunt movie which could kill half an hour if I were bored.
Finally, in a website update, I have added the ability to choose the theme you are looking at on this site. In the top left of the page is a drop down box with a list of different themes. Pick one and all pages on this site will be set to that theme. You can change your mind at any time, or stick to Random to sample them all eventually. It also makes it easier for me to add new themes, so look out for new additions to the list very now and again. I have 5-10 more ideas in the works already.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Please England... PLEASE win tonight! And don't start a major bust up with Portuguese fans afterwards, whatever happens. If we do win, we should expect Holland in the Semi's and then France in the Final. Which really would rule.
(If you don't know, I'm talking about EURO 2004. Some Football (not Soccer!) tournament or other.)

Monday, June 21, 2004

I went to one of the Red Hot Chili Peppers gigs in Hyde Park, London this weekend and as expected, they did indeed rock. The support acts were Chicks on Speed, (who sucked so bad they were booed off stage mid session,) and James Brown, (who you were lucky to understand a word from, since it was mostly noises and mumbles more than lyrics. But hey, I've seen the "Godfather of Soul"!)
I got the tickets for my Brother's 18th birthday present, so thanks for thaking me with you Chris! ;o)
Wimbledon starts today, but looks like I'm not going now :o( Never mind.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Yesterday I entered the X-Box Media Centre Skinning Contest, with a beautiful piece.
I've also got my entry in for Submerge 2004. I just hope it gets there before the deadline of tomorrow!
Some people on the MediaLab Arts course have got themselves into the Computer Arts Graduate Showcase this year. My work wasn't chosen by the lecturer's to be submitted :o( but well done to the Bo-shing guys!

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

I've been finishing up HiAsh.com the past few days. I moved over the blog from CreateUK and today added in the latest entry on the HiAsh front page.
On the projects side of things I've added the e-Learning on the GameBoy Advance site into the new portfolio. The only things I can see that need doing now are having the media bar elements change, (especially on the portfolio page so that they are more relevant to what you are reading at the time,) add some work to the portfolio and then add more background styles for the site to randomise to. After that it would just be tinkering, (I might center the whole thing for example, or allow you to choose and fix to a style with a cookie.)

Monday, June 07, 2004

I'm hoping to do a few of the things you should 'do-at-least-once-in-your-life' before I jet off to Florida (moving date is now September 10th for that.) One of those is to go and watch the Tennis at Wimbledon and as luck might have it, my Dad got a hold of a pair of tickets in the ballot and can't use them. Sweet. I think I might be going to the British F1 Grand Prix this year too. So now its just a trip to Old Trafford that I really want to do!
Also managed to book another holiday, to Portugal. Unfortunately it is long after the football is over :o(
I'm still waiting for these MediaSmart people to talk to me. I'm going to get back to GMTV and offer my services to them again, since they seem ready for me.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

I'm typing this in the Upper Class lounge that Virgin borrow from Delta, (pretty swish huh?)
In the past few days my Dad and I have managed to find out about buying a car, drivers licenses, insurance, where to get furniture, actually rented a flat and all sorts of other bits in preparation for my move in September to Full Sail. Got a nice flat in Whisper Lakes which is within walking distance of the Uni which is handy, and will probably get a Ford Focus as our car. Oh, and if you weren't jealous enough ;o) DAMN it was hot!

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

So thats it! My degree is over! All hail Ashley Bennett BSc (Hons) :o)
In other related news, I move out of Plymouth tomorrow, I'm off to Florida on Friday to find somewhere to live and I may be attending, (and indeed presenting at,) Submerge in Bristol this year (1st and 2nd July.) More on that as it comes.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

My project presentation went pretty terribly. So, guess I can hope for a 2:1 then. ¦o(

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Wow. 2 days in and HiAsh.com receives it's first spam email. Bastards.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Monday, May 10, 2004

Bit the bullet today and bought myself a new host and a new URL. Say hello to HiAsh.com!
The question now is whether to keep this blog going, or write a new one without Blogger, which has just had a tasty redesign, (even if I think it has been made more difficult to update due to more clicks being involved.) We'll have to see as I've only just started making the design for the new site, but couldn't wait to reserve my domain name (and save myself wasting more time looking at hosting options!) So, changes are coming. Stay tuned good people!

Sunday, May 09, 2004

I've been looking at sorting myself out with a new website. And I mean the whole shebang; URL, host, technology, design and content. I think I've found all of those, (obviously the content needs work) and hope to work on it after I get back from Florida at the end of the month. Its got a long way to go, but I'll post when I have something I want to show.
I handed in my final project on Friday. I think it turned out ok, so now its down to the presentation, which has been pushed back to Thursday. Hosting the project website on CreateUK has filled up my server space, so the other examples of my work have had to be removed temporarily, just one of the reasons prompting me to move on to a new server. My work is still being hosted on my Blueyonder mirror at http://www.ashleydb.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/ but that will be going soon too, since I'll be disconnecting from Telewest when I move out of Plymouth.
Last night I went to Destiny nightclub for the first time. Not a bad place I have to say, but bloody hot! What was weird though was looking in a mirror and seeing no reflection of myself :o) We went to Heroes for a drink first and the toilet cubicles there have one way glass in the doors facing the wash basin mirror, so I couldn't see my own refection. A crappy story, but weird when you've been drinking since 12!

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

I just switched the news on and it was talking about the postal service and how its pretty crap. Right at the end it says its not all their fault when they get letters addressed to "House with 2 boys and lots of pets" or "House with the blue car" with maybe a few details like a street and a town on there too. The world is full of f'ing morons. *sigh* (goes back to typing project report.)

Monday, May 03, 2004

More ROMs and things on the GBA Project page, which has to be handed in this Friday. But in doing so, I've maxed out my webspace. Well, I was looking at remaking the site anyway (but I think that Radioactive style will just stay as a demo.) Things need a bit of trimming down and updating anyway, so a new style with an easier way of updating would be good. I've been inspired by Chris O'Shea's site which uses PHP, mySQL and a load of CSS. But if I were going to use that, I might have to *gasp/shock* PAY for a new webhost.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Looks like I'll be phasing out my Hotmail account. GMail seems to have some pretty cool features. 1GB of storage for a start! Then the way messages are stored and organised so that emails are more like an instant message conversation, backed up by Google's powerful search facilities. Shame I'm not getting any mail there yet, since I've scored myself a great address while its still so new, (I don't want to post it so that I can defend myself from Spam for at least a few weeks.)
I just remembered something that happened to me on the Tube while coming back to Plymouth. I was wearing a t-shirt from around the World Cup 2002 in Japan that had England written across the chest with some Japanese characters beneath it. I had no idea what they said, but I liked it anyway. So I'm standing on the platform and this stereotypical Japanese kid gets off, GBA in hand, stands right infront of me, stares at my shirt and starts saying "Ing... Eng... Enger..." before his mum carted him off. So, at least I know that I wasn't walking around with dickhead written across my shirt!

Monday, April 26, 2004

Just got back to Plymouth this evening. Had a good time in Nottingham belatedly celebrating Nick's 21st birthday with the boys, even if I only got 2 hours sleep, (but hey, the kebab and casino were worth it.)
I've got a lot to be getting on with now for my project, as well as sorting stuff out like how I'm gonna move out in 3 weeks and getting some food into the house in the meantime ;o)
Google are beta testing a new email service, called Gmail. I'm signing up and will let you know how it goes.

Monday, April 19, 2004

More demos, ROMs and screenshots are now up on my final project downloads page. Check it... (or rather, check dem.)

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Got my C++ coding done before I went to Portugal for an Easter break. Had a good time in the sun. Got back and started to do the paper based work only to worry that I haven't done the coding the way they want it done, potentially wasting a week and a half. I've emailed the tutor to see if it is ok, but no responce as yet. In the meantime I've been getting on with my final project. Got a bit done. Tidied up some graphics, added a new paper, got a new ROM done (but not uploaded that yet.) Also looking for some more opinions, so posted this in a forum: Rllmuk Development Forum (the new and unofficial Edge magazine forum.)

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Finally got Graphics into a hand-in-able state over the weekend. And just in time since I finally received my copy of Unreal Tournament 2004 yesturday too, so I lost most of the afternoon/night to online Onslaught. Buy this game if you have a half-decent PC and broadband connection! I might try and make some maps over the summer, which I have started doing a few times for other games and stopped. Could be useful for Full Sail though, and the old portfolio. I'll have to have a search around for tutorials on other stuff like weapons and maybe make a mod.
In unrelated news, I found my Nintendo DS image on another website; The Edge Forums (well, the unofficial one - rllmuk, since the real one shut ages ago.) Here it is.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Graphics is still doing my head in. I seem to have my head around most of it and the program should be working, but I'm getting some strange errors. Bum. But in the meantime, I've just uploaded a Flash demo as a part of my final project. A nice, easy, 'whack-a-mole' style game. There are also two papers on there too, one of which I have submitted to the Education Arcade for their essay competition to try and win a studentship to E3 2004!

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

I've been found out by Gizmodo! They weren't happy, but I appologised and its ok now. Aaaaaanyways, I've been a busy Photoshopper and B3tan tonight:

B3ta 1
B3ta 2
B3ta 3
B3ta 4
B3ta 5
B3ta 6

I thank you.
HAHAHA! Gizmodo took the bait!
Now to try Gamespot and IGN!
Oh and I forgot to mention, this is based on recently leaked info (see here, near the bottom) to add credibility to my image, both in terms of accuracy and timing. Nice.
To further excite the rumour mill around Nintendo, I have just created a concept image of the new Nintendo DS handheld console. I've sent it to a Gizmodo, a gadget blog, who are offering a real DS as a prize for the first real image they get, so it is bound to be published. I claimed it was leaked by an intern at the printing company who are doing their brochers for E3!
I also showed it to a friend of mine, who had this to say (name changed to protect the gullible):

Friend says:
is that real? or just a concept?
Ash says:
well its meant to be from a guy at the brocher printer for nintendo's e3 booth, so real
Friend says:
Friend says:
whered you get it?
Ash says:
i have a freind on placement with Sun in San Fran who get stuff printed there too
Ash says:
i quite like it
Friend says:
Ash says:
might be a bit long and bulky tho
Friend says:
yeah i think it looks good
Ash says:
i thought the screens were detatchable
Friend says:
a nice hark back to the days of those handheld nintendo game things. i forget what theyre called
Ash says:
game & watch
Friend says:
yeah. i had a wicked mario one


Oh, and here it is (click to enlarge in new window):
GameBoy DS

Saturday, March 13, 2004

It's been a long time since I mentioned it, (but then a long time since I did any work on it) but here is a link to see a work-in-progress version of the new style CreateUK. I'm importing all of the content so it should be easier for me to update than having it all in the flash file itself. I've been researching pulling this blog into the flash site, rather than having to read it on a separate page. This would be the next step, followed by porting the old content and then making some jazzier transitions/ adding bells and whistles. If it goes any further that is, since this is really just a learning exercise... using components, importing text and other media, XML, some ActionScript practice etc. Any thoughts?
I've just had the results back from the US Embassy and we are definitely accepted now. Woo! Back here though, I have written some more essays and things for various modules. I should really start posting stuff like that on CreateUK.
Also, (I've just had a quick flick back through the last few posts and don't think I've said this yet,) I've noticed that GMTV have changed my website slightly. Basically it looks like they have got some new presenters and so have updated the graphics to include them. Problem is they don't seem to be able to use Photoshop and have just left them as full colour square headshots rather than the faded blue ones I had in the background. There may be a few other bits too, like making the pages totally white with no separations with yellow sections, but that is all I have seen. Rubbish! ;-)

Monday, March 08, 2004

It was my lil' brothers 18th Birthday yesturday, (Happy Birthday boy-o,) and a good time was had by all. I whupped everyone's arse at go-karting, posting a supurb time of 44.46 seconds and flying around the most laps. I did have one spill when I had to brake sharply whilst attempting to overtake someone again right at the end, which resulted in a 180' spin. Then one of Chris' mates, who came careering around the corner behind me, saw me late and side-swiped me whilst trying to brake and avoid me. I now have a nice bloody, purple bruise on my right hip. Mmmm.
Still, I also managed to get a load of work done on my GBA project. Expect a decent look at the theory behind the project to be posted soon, since most of it is written. I have also emailed the organiser of the Serious Games Summit at the Game Developer Conference in San Jose, California, to try and get some input on my work and try and score some resourses from the show. I've noticed E3 is hosting something by The Education Arcade, so I'll try and email them too.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Got accepted to Full Sail, so that's all sorted, if I haven't said before. Also now got my Visa from the US Embassy today with my brother. Well, they still need to send it through, but the woman said everything looked fine so all is good.
Got my GBA project mentioned on GBA Dev'rs and GBADev too. Gonna try getting some industry people to take a look next.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Let's see if I can start a major rumour in the gaming world with a theory I just had about Nintendo's future hardware, (the main home console unit.)
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata talking about the forthcoming 'DS' handheld console, tried to play down expectation of the DS as a powerful next gen console, urging that people appreciate that "it is a 'unique' machine, so not everybody will understand it right away." He has recently made the following comment about it:
"There might only be 10 to 15 people applauding during its unveiling at E3, but they'll understand it once they touch it. At the least, it should serve as a hint towards [our] next-generation console."
So here comes my rumour / theory: Nintendo's next gen console, 'N5', will be a tablet style device. A bit big to carry around all the time, but you could if you wanted to, like a tablet PC or laptop. They could be linked to allow multiplayer games with some sort of wireless technology like 54mb/s WiFi, or used as separate screens for a single player, like a dual monitor PC, or indeed the 'DS.' By having one screen simply as a menu screen, such as a weapon select or HUD, the rest of the processing power could be used to do work for the other screen, effectivly doubling the power available to chug through game data by implementing parrallel processing.
Sound good? Guess I should knock up a nice 3D interpretation and get this printed ;-)

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Woo. I am win person. There is an obvious b3ta vibe here...

I won an actual trophy last night for winning a Master Sytem Olympic Games Barcelona 92 100m Sprint Competition with a blistering speed of 9.76 seconds at another SoC social. As I said, Woo!

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Some of the GENIUS ideas thought up over this weekend in the Skiving Scholar Public House (where I seem to have a direct mental link with the Gods whenever I drink in there):
360' Film: For use online through Flash or Director by stitching video together and scrolling the sprites, or flicking layers. For use in a physical space by projecting inwards onto hanging sheets or screens arranged in a circle, with the audience in the center. Would work better with individual sections to the screens, but would be cool if the video were stcked, then played onto a continuous circular screen. Should work nicely with 8 cameras all filming outwards at 45' angles of each other. May have nice implementations in the filming of battle scenes, (where laser shows could enhance the effect by shooting lasers where bullets or arrows, or lasers, should be into the audience space,) sporting events, (especially Tennis, or maybe Boxing,) and of course, Porn.
"Talk to the Hand" Dolls: Girls dolls can't have 'kung-fu grip' so how about a "Talk to the Hand" motion? Could also be used as merchandising for the above Porn site idea.
I'm sure there was more. I'll have to go in there more often, and take a pad.
I also forgot to mention, the application for Full Sail was sorted out last weekend, so we are just waiting for their reply.
I completed, (well I think it is complete,) my paper for the Cultural Industries Redefined conference. It will be a "spoof" seminar on business practice. 'Consumerism from the other side of the counter.'
Chris, my brother, also went to New York with the school for the week and got back last night. Lucky git ;-)
Just been trying to plug away this week really. I went home last weekend for St. Valentine's Day, but the rest of the week was business as usual. This weekend has been cool though, with the MLA Placement Students all coming back to sign up for their modules for next year. That has meant a busy weekend of watching football, bowling, gamecube and drinking :-). They are all off home today so it is time to get back to work.
I've got a lot more content for my final project, in terms of theory, such as papers, quotes and other research being carried out in the area etc. I have also done a little more to the Calculator ROM, whch is now much more efficient and number entry now properly works. All that needs doing now is adding functionality to the command buttons, such as "+" and "=", to which I have made a start. I think I'll make that my priority for today, with the website being updated too, hopefully, to include the new theory in an arrangment suitable for my presentation, and the new ROM. After that, I think other examples of functioning content, in Flash or Director, should come next, to support a learning scenario on a field trip. But thats a bit further down the line.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Ah, just found it! "The number of videos MTV plays dropped 36.5 percent from 1995 to 2000, but ratings are up 50 percent over the past four years." (Written August 2001, the 20th Anniversary of MTV.)
My take on a quote from MP3Newswire.net:
"Apple's iTunes Music store [could] become the MTV of Online track sales."
What, less and less music, eventually being swamped with forgettable presenters, adverts for mobile phone ringtones and logos, before moving into TV programs, rather than the music it was meant to be presenting? Great.
(I found that quote whilst looking for the stat that says how much less music MTV actually plays now, if anyone has it.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I'm getting more famous every day. Got my name on Radio 1 on Sunday (they read out a text I sent in to Wes on the Chart Show on my way back from the airport.) Today Dave Wiltshire pointed this out to me: http://www.arch-os.com/projects/wap.html or view the project here: http://www.arch-os.com/wap/ (note that the actual WAP address is http://www.arch-os.com/wap/i.wml if you want to look on your phone.) i-DAT has somewhat bodged the posting of the project, (in typical fashion) but it still works.
Last night I didn't play football, but instead went to a SoC social, which was OK, but there was also the X-Box £10K Challenge in Scream, in which I failed quite miserably (Project Gotham Racing 2, one go at 2 laps, fastest time of the night wins,) being about 9 seconds off the pace. I did get a nice X-Box Torch Keyring. May be eBay fodder later. I would post a picture, but its difficult to find reliable storage to go with this blog that is likly to be available to me for much longer than a few months. Thats because the Full Sail application is now going ahead. Should be starting at the end of August.
In the meantime, I just got back from a project meeting with Dan Livingstone again which has given me something to focus on. Shame I have to do other work as well though, since it keeps throwing me off.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Hello all. I'm now back from Ski-ing and had a proper bo time, (thats a good thing.) Bit sunburnt but it was a good laugh, even if the last day was hard work on Blades (short 'trick skis'.)
My X-ROM was waiting for me when I got back, finally. I'm going to try putting something on to it later on.
The Imagine Cup Stage 2 started while I was away, so I only have until Saturday to do something for it, (coding a .NET application to their specification for a mobile device.) I've got no chance really, since I've only just started learning C/C++ let alone .NET. I'll have to have a better look at it later on, but I don't think I've got the time to spare.
Time to get back to work.

Monday, January 19, 2004

How impressed am I? Microsoft have officially announced that I am a genius (here is the proof, near the bottom.) A little while ago I entered stage 1 of the Imagine Cup UK, a competition for students (about coding mostly... the media spinning idea being that 'you can imagine and create anything you want too' ...with Microsoft products) and have placed in the top 150 in the country! I got a nice big box this morning letting me know, with copies of Office 2003 Pro and Visual Studio.NET Pro (over £1000 worth of software!) and a 'Genius' T-Shirt.
It also means I get to go through to stage 2, with the possibility of more prizes, glory and a trip to Brazil! ;-)
Right now though, the X-ROM (my GBA Flash Cart) is finally in the post, so I should have that this week. I'm working on a calculator ROM as a demo right now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Not got any further with then new website design. It is currently in Flash and is importing text files and images dynamically, so that I only ever need to update the text files. I was having problems making a custom text scrollbar though and stopped.
I've been doing loads of C++ in the meantime. I was hacking away at the DirectX project to try and add a bit more to it, and I just keep hitting walls. I know what I want to do and even the way I should be doing it, but things just keep going wrong. 3DS Max 6 doesn't have an X file exporter for a start so I can no longer produce X files to fix the rotor blades on the helicopter (which should have worked anyway since it is meant to be a an animated x file.) The game doesn't run at the same pace on different processors due to the way a variable is coded, which should take into account the framerate, but doesn't. This would have been a great thing to have fixed, but I have no chance now. I need to show this to my tutor and hand it in tomorrow.
After that I have been working on other C++ exercises for the Object-Oriented Programing in C++ module I have just started. I has greatly improved what I can do in C++, even if I do have to use Borland C++Builder to do it.
The Graphics module has had me doing some Delphi which is fairly random. This whole year is just essays and coding languages. Not alot in the way of 'fun.'
Speaking of which, my GBA project has had an update. You can download my really small and simple demo from the project website to run on an emulator (or hardware if you have a flash cart.)
Finally, I also applied for a job today to fill the summer before I go to Full Sail. It was with Toxic, in London, which would be cool if I could get it and earn some dosh.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Back in Plymouth now and starting uni again in the morning. Better get cracking on my final project. Also, here is a preview of what my website may look like:

Web Design Sample

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

While I'm here, I might as well get some other stuff down.The helicopter game for the Programming Entertainment Systems module is coming on fairly well now. I may not have learnt much in the way of DirectX but it has forced me into C++ so I guess it has been useful, but definitely difficult.
I have been having second thoughts about my modules for next semester, but when looking at the list of choices again, there really isn't that much there. I might have a look at a Multimedia Delivery module and a Business one to replace the C++ and Graphics modules that have chosen to do so far. But I'm not that impressed with the choice really and will probably end up sticking with what I have got already. I could use a few cushy modules though, so that I can work on a killer final project for two or three months.
First post of the new year, so I should say "Happy New Year" I guess. Hope everyone had a good Christmas etc. etc.
Anyway, I couldn't sleep last night and was thinking about a redesign for CreateUK, shrinking it down a bit, losing some of the crappier projects, giving it a new look, make it easier and faster to update (so that I may actually add stuff more often!) Not that I haven't got plenty else to be doing, but if the workload is light to start off with when I get back to Uni next week, I might give it a crack.
Infact I've even been thinking about getting a new URL and maybe some webspace since I won't be able to keep CreateUK going the way it is when I move off to Florida later this year. Plus the ".co.uk" might confuse the poor dears out there. I'll just have to keep the new design flexible I suppose... But Flash, HTML or ASP/PHP?