Armagetron Advanced

Hey guys! It’s Ben!

What’s that? Why am I here? (Cause it’s my blog, that’s why!) Well, because I can’t stay away from blogging, and Brenden is probably boring you poor readers to death right now! And no, My Internet has not been fixed, but I can post to GB7., so I’m doing a post about every 2 weeks or so. Before I get into tech, I want to announce 2 things:

  • If Brenden hasn’t told you yet, (tsk tsk) GB7 now has a Facebook page! Feel free to post on out wall anytime at http://www.facebook.com/GeeksBlog7!
  • I also wanted to welcome Zara Rethman into the group! She is the first female writer. The board of administration for GB7 (Me and Brenden Winking smile needed a fancy name) were thinking about Zara joining, and a few days ago, Brenden went ahead and sent her an invitation to join GB7, so now she’s part of the group!

Now that I’ve wasted a few minutes of your life, (Mwahaha! Devil) review time!!! (This was longer on paper…)

Don’t really care about the announcements? Skip to here!

You all know about Tron and all that stuff, right? If not, you are not a geek! (Oh wait, that’s LEGO and Star Wars… Never mind.) Anyways, one of the most famous parts of Tron is the light-cycle racing. Well, I found out about this great tri-platform program called Armagetron Advanced (AA, because typing the whole name is tedious.) TRI-PLATFORM: [Tri-Plat-Form] Works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, even though OS X is Linux. In this well-built game, you race around on your light-cycle and try not to be “dumped.” One great thing about AA, is that it has network game functions! This means you can sign in to the server and see a bunch of different games, all with random people from around the world. One thing that is a bit hard to preform, but pays off in the long run, is edit the source code, as AA is open-source. I don’t mean download the source code and make edits to the whole program, I mean opening up a .CFG file and putting in your own data. You can change maps, AI names, game settings and a bunch more! Maps are built in .XML format, so please don’t ask me how to make one, as my last attempt ended in failure.

AA

As seen above, I have version 0.2.8 right now. I haven’t updated in a while, so there may be a newer version. Winking smile

History:

I know, history? Ugh! I hate history! Well, I couldn’t find anywhere else to put this, so I put it here. AA was based off of Tron Legacy, but that was not the first instance of this style of game. According to the readme, the first instance was Blockade from 1976. The first home version was SNAFU for the Intelevision system in 1981 and the next was Surround for the Atari 2600. Either way, the game is great!

I like the game’s menu system and I like the snazzy 3D camera angles, too! There is also a nice little console for you to type commands in. The gameplay is smooth on most operating systems, but I see a major speed-up on Windows as opposed to Ubuntu. (Somewhere from about 100 on Windows and 50 on Ubuntu.)

The whole game is brilliant and I’ll be sure to keep playing for ages to come, and I hope you do too! To grab yourself a copy, go to http://armagetronad.net/.

I want to apologize about the sad state of the blog lately. We hope to get posting again soon, so stay tuned, guys! Smile

-Ben

My Final Post: How to record audio from a device using Audacity

Hey readers! I am sad to say that I am leaving GB7. Perhaps only for a few weeks, a few months or even a few years, but my Internet that I use now blocks sites like WordPress (Who hosts GB7) and Youtube, so I am unable to keep up with comments and such. I am happy to say that the comment issue seems to have been fixed! Our friends over at WordPress took a look and seemed to know what was going on. I am keeping my profile up on the About Us page and will keep my account active, if I am able to resume blogging. From now on, Brenden Reeves will be our webmaster. If you have questions related to the website, you will now need to direct those to him. I will probably be lurking about the blog at every chance I get, but I won’t be doing much else. I know what your thinking, “Ben, you started the blog, why is it you are the first to leave?” Well, things happen, I guess. Winking smile Keep on keeping on!

Now for the tutorial. I will be showing you how to record audio from a device such as a iPod or in my case, a Nintendo DSi. The device will need a headphone jack in order to do this. You will need:

I’m going to do this step-by-step, cause I like it that way. I can’t stand Kelly Clay’s posts on http://www.lockergnome.com/, she NEVER does step-by-step! Anyways….

  1. Start up the device and get to the file or menu with the audio you wish to record.
  2. Insert the line-in cord in the headphone jack of the device and in the microphone jack of your computer.
  3. Download and install Audacity by using the link above or by clicking here.
  4. Open Audacity and make sure the drop-menu to the right of the microphone icon on the second-to-last bar says “Primary sound capture”
  5. Click the large record button and start the media on the device. Wait until that finishes and stop recording by clicking the stop button.
  6. Trim the un-wanted parts by clicking and holding on the large window before the media and after and pressing delete.
  7. Go into File –> Export and save as a WAV, MP3, WMA or your desired format.

There you go! If you want, feel free to use some effects on the audio. I like the “Wahwah” effect. Audacity has tons of great tools for you to use on your music and audio, try them all out! Smile

This is Ben High, for his last blog post for awhile, signing off. Good bye, community! I hope to return to you soon, so stay tuned and try to act excited about iOS posts from Brenden. Winking smile

-Ben High

DOSBox

If you have used MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System) and have switched to Windows, you might be missing some of those old games you used to play on DOS. Sure you could install them (or try to at least) on Windows and probably end up with a crashed computer, or you could use what is called DOSBox. It is a free program that allows you to install and use DOS programs, including games! It is only at version 0.74, but it’s going to get better. You can even run Windows 3.1 in DOSBox, that is, if you want to. You have to use a certain command to mount the folder with your games in it. This is my command:

mount C: C:\dosgames\

I store my games and programs for DOS in the folder dosgames at the root of my hard drive. You can add this line of code to your “AUTOEXEC.BAT” file, which is actually just part of your settings, which is one thing that needs completed. This is what I see when I start DOSBox:

DOSBox default screen

Pretty nifty, no? DOSBox has so many great features, it would take so long to get into them all, but since I’m in a battle on how many pictures you can cram into a post, I will go into the ones I know.

IMGMOUNT

This is an interesting feature of DOSBox. You can mount .IMG files to use for files or to boot from. An IMG file is a Virtual Floppy Image, mostly used in emulators and virtual machine host applications, such as Virtual PC, VMWare or VirtualBox. You have to do a little something special to get the file in DOSBox, but it’s worth it.

Wrong way to import files into DOSBOX

Right way to import IMG files into DOSBOX

As you can see, it’s kind of advanced, but now that I’ve mounted that, I can do this!

What I do with my spare time

It’s Windows 1! No? Lame…

Anyways, that’s how you do it.

BOOT

This command does just what it says it does, boots. You can load in .IMG files and I think .RAR and .VHD files, too! This is how it works:

BOOT

Yes, it’s the right command, but it has an issue booting .VHD files, so I’m just going to close DOSBox. If you guys caught it, I’m trying to boot into OS/2. If you don’t know what that is, it’s older than you.

(Right now, I’m at the record of 5 pictures! Not done yet!)

Additional features

DOSBox comes with some other features, like a keymapper and movie recording! Here’s a picture of that keymapper I was talking about:

DOSBox keymapper

Nice? Well, that’s all there is to know about DOSBox for now, so I’ll end us off with a screenshot of what I use DOSBox most for:

Windows 3 in DOSBox

Smile Thanks for reading guys! I have reached a new record for the blog, 7 images! Have fun catching up, Brenden! Winking smile

-Ben

Windows 8: Developer Preview: Part 2

I just installed Windows 8: Developer Preview on my old Toshiba laptop. I could have done the 64-bit version, but I didn’t want to take any chances, plus my discs are only –W, so I can’t re-write them. It runs a whole lot faster on a real computer then it does on a Virtual Machine. It took about 5 minutes to do what a 30 min process took on a virtual machine, but the first boot was almost 3 times as long on a physical computer. It takes a while to install Windows if you haven’t noticed. One of the new things that I like about it is that when your battery goes low, it notifies you instead of doing a popup which could be covered by an application on Vista and 7. One thing I need to get used to is the new start menu. When I need a desktop app, I have to go to my charm-bar (which is easier on a physical than a vm.) and choose Search, or go to my start menu and type. The other bad thing about that is that I need to scroll down and choose “Applications”, because the default is searching /BUILD. That aside, I applaud Microsoft for they’re new OS. Sorry about me not posting much, nothing to post about lately. Thanks for reading this and I will hopefully be posting a video of Windows 8 running soon. Also!! I forgot to say that it takes Windows about 10 seconds to boot up and it boots up almost instantly from a hibernate, so that’s way faster than the OS I covered! (10-15 minutes booting Vista, 15-20 minutes shutting Vista down.) Ok, that’s done. Thanks, guys! Smile

Microsoft Windows Developer preview initial impressions

Every time Microsoft releases a new version of Windows, they promise a “reimaging” of it. Well, we got that from XP to Vista and a slight change from Vista to 7. Not to mention Windows 3 to NT and 1 to 2, 2 to 3, of course. Once again, Microsoft was able to keep they’re promise… Sorta. They released Windows 8: Developer preview this September and we were unable to install it until last night. (touchy OS…) Once I was done installing it which took two and a half hours (and a reinstall due to a first-boot error… .~.), I was taken to the new Metro UI start menu. It was nice. I liked how they managed to let not only touch-screen users in on the fun, too. Windows 8’s Metro UI was a bit different and I kept hitting the start menu on the desktop, forgetting what it did. I was unable to actually start any Metro apps with my mouse for some reason and needed to use the touch-pad on my laptop to access any Metro apps. I will need to re-enable the start menu we have in Windows 7, because there is no way to get to paint to make my “tile”. The lock screen was great. Again, both touch-screen and non-touch-screen users could use it. What I found one of the best things about the new Windows was that they re-did the ribbon on the top of windows by changing the Close, Maximize and Minimize button graphics and they moved the title to the center of the ribbon, as well as making it slightly larger. One of the things I disliked most was that in order to “customize” the PC, you had to activate Windows, which required Internet, of course, and we don’t have Internet where we live. You get a 30 day trial, but the activation is free and automatic! If you don’t have Internet on your desktop PC, do NOT install Windows just yet. They give you an option to “Activate via phone”, but that requires a certain file which was missing… I installed it in a virtual machine and plan on installing it on my old laptop as an upgrade from Vista tonight. Using it in a virtual machine was strange. I gave it half my RAM of the host system and some extra acceleration, but it still froze up. It also will fail to reboot, so make sure you use VirtualBox’s “Snapshots”. They are life savers. Put one after installing, after first boot and after everything is ready to go if you use it in a virtual machine. I suspect the issues I get in a VM will disappear when I upgrade my Vista tonight. The installer includes a “Repair” dialog, which is actually Windows 8 style. I hope they can manage to make the whole installation like that repair dialog in the final version. You can download Windows in three versions; 32-bit, 64-bit and 64-bit with extras from http://www.buildwindows.com/. Thanks for reading this really long and rather obnoxious blog post. Winking smile See ya!

-Ben