• January 2001: 2 posts

    • Jumping on the band wagon

      Ok, everybody else seems to be doing them, or has done them, so I'm going to attempt to do one too… (Although I'd understand if you didn't hold much hope out for it, looking at my previous success with diaries elsewhere…)

    • I guess I should tell you what I'm building

      Oh yeah, I guess I should also give some indication of what I'm building...

      Basically, it's the office I work in… eventually it will be most of the building, including my major clients as skins, etc, etc… nothing too ambitious for a first attempt or anything…

  • February 2001: 18 posts

    • So I lied

      Oh, so I lied. I've decided that before I set these free on an unsuspecting world, I need to work on the texture packs… there's a 4Mb texture that I don't think I use anymore, but I don't want to put all the stages of creation up until I've taken it out of the levels, and then I can remove it from the texture pack.

    • I have all the files on CD

      Ok, so I have all the files sorted out on CD, and they'll be appearing on here soon…

      I'll also be adding a few notes and the like to talk you through the creation process and my thinking behind the level at the time.

    • As promised, I've started!

      Ok, as promised, I've started! Grin

      I've uploaded the map and texture files, but so far have only linked to the latest one, I'll set up the others over the weekend, along with explainations of what each one's doing, what I learnt from it and so on.

      [13/05/2011: They are no longer available]

      See you later.

    • I haven't really got that much time to update this

      Ok, I haven't really got that much time to update this, as I'm at home today rather than work, and so only have an ickle dial up account that costs me local rates - (I know, there are other ISP's and such like, that either take a flat fee and the like, but the one I'm with has free (yes that's right free) tech support, (0800) only requires me to login once every 90 days rather than the usual 30, and gave me a free domain name, so all in all, not too bad a deal. Anyhow, I should be getting ADSL next week Grin

      Basically, the earlier versions of the levels are all up here, just not directly linked to atm - if you wish to download them, then go to the downloads section and then just right click on the link and in the context menu select "copy shortcut", then paste it into the address bar. Then you just need to modify the file name slightly:
      However, they're not much good without the explanations, and will be of more use in a tutorial version that I'm starting very soon…

      In the mean time, I'm going to get on with the level, as soon as I've finised copying some of my CD's on this pc so that I can listen to them, have the Unreal Tourny cd in one drive, and the Direct CD I use for backing up the level in my CD-RW drive…

      I'll post the chages up on Monday I'm sure.

    • So I failed to get as much work done

      Ok, so I failed to get as much work done on the level this w/end as I'd would have liked, went out shopping, and lost 1Gb data in a failed back up, nothing important, but stuff I would have liked to keep - damn TDK CD-R's Angry. Had a Pack of 10 CD-R74's and 2 seemed to work, then 6(!) failed on me, went back to check the one's I'd already burnt, and the damn things are reported as blank… not happy. Anyway, I had 10 BASF CD-R's and they worked fine… but it did take out most of Saturday and some of Sunday, then had to do some shopping…

      Anyway, I did finish off the mad.co.uk office, without the desks, but then decided that I needed to reduce the number of structural brushes I was using (currently stood at 120), which meant taking out all the desks, the dartboard, windows (these needed replacing anyhow) etc, and then de-intersecting a larger cubiod brush over the room, and then subtracting that fom the level (this should all make sense once I've added my explainations and the like).

      More bad news - I'm not getting ADSL, has my house is too far from the exchange at present, June they reckon Sad.

    • Spent most of my spare time working on the site

      Right (new word to start a post with!), spent most of my spare time last night working on the site itself, rather than the level, but we'll get there Wink. Main changes there - Web Sites section now has some examples, there's one screen grab missing, but that's cause the site's nolonger available, but I do have a back up of it somewhere at home, so I hope to have that in place tomorrow, along with some images for the gallery.

      You never know, we might be able to launch this site soon! Currently racing beatsurrender.co.uk to go live - but he'll have more on-going content than me…

      Good news though, I've cleared my decks for the w/end, so I should be able to make massif progress then Grin.

    • Been a bit remiss this last week

      Been a bit remiss this last week here, but I have an excuse! (Who doesn't?)…

      Lots of work at work this week, trying to have a life(!), and getting things organised on my site for it's re-launch have all meant that the level hasn't had much progress recently... anyway, as promised, this w/end, lots of work on it, should be relatively happy with the two main rooms, and get a load of ancillary rooms done as well - the entrance hall, lifts, etc… we shall see.

      There will be lots of stand in textures on Monday though, as I'm waiting for Andy to get a load of textures off his digital camera for me Wink.

    • Made the level unplayable now

      Oops! Made the level completely unplayable now (on my home box at any rate - only a 700Mhz PIII with 128Mb RAM, 32Mb GeForce DDR), the level's gone from about the 700kb that it was last w/end to a wopping 5Mb today. Doh!

      I think I've somewhat over done the poly count (12,449), and the node count(29,237), as when you try and play in the mad.co.uk office, it just chugs and judders, not good at all.

      Yep, just checked "DM-Oblivion" (good tip that - always look at other peoples work - especially the levels that came with Unreal), and it has the following:
      Brushes: 255, Zones: 2, Ploys: 1,098, Nodes: 2,337, Lights 152
      Compared to mine:
      Brushes: 144, Zones: 3, Polys: 12,449, Nodes: 29,237, Lights 125

      Seeing as I haven't even nearly finished, (I have at least 20 more distinct rooms, and another 100 or more desks to go, plus desk furniture (computers, phones), chairs (maybe not!)), I think I've got to rebuild the desks and drawers again Sad.

      Ok, there we go, just so you know. But I'll put the level up tomorrow so you can see…

    • Argh! Haven't been updating recently

      Argh! Haven't gotten around to updating this recently Confused.

      Ok, I had a better idea - create a new .u package containing some new actor decorations - Cabinet, Desk, etc. Spent ages trying to find things to help me do this, only to realise that I had most of the tools needed anyway - Milkshape 3D, that I found ages ago, but hadn't tried or installed yet, so I think I shall purchase this after I've sussed out how to export Unreal stuff out of properly… Various text editors, and Visual UC++ very useful…

      Once I've got stuff exporting out of Milkshape properly, I'll carry on with the level nicely Smile.


    • Done it! More to follow

      Hurrah! Done it Raspberry.

      Ok, more info to follow…

    • More info follows…

      Right as promised, more info follows…

      I've managed to get from having a real cabinet sitting under my desk to having a very poor representation of one in my level, but as a decoration rather than as a detail brush - I may still have trouble with the overall poly count - I'm still working on that, and will let you know - but build times will be significantly reduced.

      The one stumbling block I had was the location of the _a and _d 3d files in my new package folder - I'd moved my class file, bit not the model files.

      Slow down, I'm getting ahead of myself - will write a few tutorials - I'll come back and cover the basics if I really need to later… really do need a proper semblance of a Content Management solution - should I cheat and move my site to a new server where I can piggy back off another CM solution we've developed? Doubt it Wink

      Right, so off and make some tutorials… (Wow, three posts in one day, making up for lost time now I guess…)

      Wow! Just noticed that Milkshape 1.5 is out - Yay! Grin

    • I lied again

      Fair enough, I lied again… Still no tutorial, nor any explanation of what the hell I'm talking about... but there we go, however, I have made this site reasonable to look at in any version 4+ browser, it's not great in NN v4.x, and nor is it going to be, I have enough other things to worry about at the moment, and we're not looking for work with the site just at the moment - when I am, it will be perfect in all, honest Wink

      Ok, my Mum's coming up for the w/end, so not much work to be done on the level then, but I'll be posting the latest iteration of the level up in a minute, there's a new class file too - wellsStreetObjs.u - contains just one object atm, "Cabinet", and is completely untested, let me know if you get any where with it - read the readme, I'll bundle the two up with the unr file in the zip for now… ;)

    • Ok, it's there

      Ok, it's there, dm-WellsStreet4th8.zip in the Downloads section of the site.

      Take care and read the readme - usual denial of responsibility included ;), unlike in my post two weeks ago the files between 5 and 8 are not in place yet, I'll up load them early next week.

    • Small point of note

      Small point of note - the archived post links now work (i.e. the time stamps at the top right of each post, now link to that post in the archive), so my link in the last post will make sense in a day or so's time, when that post falls off the page :)

    • Built the tutorial section

      Built the tutorial section, but haven't owt it in there yet, will be coming soon, I promise...

      As I said, my Mum was up for the w/end so I haven't managed to do anything at all :(, but I'm going home shortly to work on it, so I'll let you know where I've got to with that…

      Having said that, InterDev has crashed at home, so updating the site isn't easy, so don't expect any tutorials tonight.

    • Creating Actors and Packages

      Got to be real quick…

      I've put up most of the tutorial for Creating Actors & Packages in the Modelling section of the tutorials… Hope to finish it off tomorrow ;)

    • First tutorial done

      Yay! It's done, my first tutorial. I'm sure I'll re-write it a couple of times at least, but there we go. It's a bit technical, but then it has to be, and if you've done any reading around the subject then you should be ok ;).

      Take a look, and let me know what you think...

      I'll be making a print-friendly version of it soon, so keep your eyes out for that too :D

    • New telly

      Ok, so I didn't manage to get anything done over the w/end. Didn't really feel overly inspired at the time, and bought a new telly, and On Digital, so spent most of it veg'd out in front of that, sorry

      I'll try and get some more done later this week…

      Till then,

  • March 2001: 8 posts

    • Some progress

      I did manage to do some work on the level over the weekend :D - not a great deal though, but here's where we are at:

      Fixed the windows between rooms - these now display their textures properly, and still shatter, have transparency etc, also took a decision on desks.

      Due to the limitations of the actors collision radii (ie they are cylindrical - not too good if you have a rectangular desk), and the fact that don't show damage decals, I've decided that the desks can stay as semi-solid brushes within the level, but I've cut their poly-count down. I may take it further if I think I can get away with it. Cabinets will stay as actors though, and will be fine as soon as I can work out where I can change the texture for the wood fragments.

      I'm about to do a tutorial on windows, mainly because there are a lot out there, that really go around the houses - either suggesting that you need to make them slightly smaller than the hole, or doing all sorts of odd things, all of which are tosh if you look at some real levels. But you'll be able to find it in the Intermediate Tutorials later this week.

      Till next time.

    • Been a bit slack recently

      Fine, yes, I've been really slack recently, sorry :(. Anyway, I've gone through a number of incarnations, but only one more level release - version 9.

      As I said last week, I've decided to use semi-solid brushes for the desks, with the tops built in the 2D Shape editor and extruded out. I've cut the detail of the curve down from 8 to 4, and this, combined with the low-poly actors for the cabinets, has made it playable again.

      I'll finish off the air conditioning units this week hopefully, and at the same time finish the tutorial on windows - I think it will be a bit of a hack, playing around with them again last night to get the screen grabs, I had to leave them as movers - not such a bad thing as you'll see… ;)

      Basically I have been having problems with UnrealEd at work - it won't allow me to zoom in (actually, it won't recognise the dual mouse-clicks in any view port >:(), so I've had to take all the screen shots from home, not a real problem, just meant finding some time.

      Anyway, that should be available by the end of this week.

    • Links to older versions

      Ok, I've added links to all the older versions of the map for now. I may hive them off to a separate page soon though...

      Also added links to the updated wellsStreetObjs.u package, which contains the updated lower polygon model of the cabinet, as well as renamed textures etc.

    • Milkshape 3D Update

      Ooh, just noticed, Milkshape 3D 1.5.2 is out, and has been for a couple of weeks %)

      They keep resetting the expiry date of the trial too... ;)

    • Window tutorial coming

      Just to keep you up to speed, the window tutorial is coming on - need to rework the code a bit for NN again though %), but should be ready soon, then I can carry on with the level - which I'll do over the w/end too :D

    • Launched the main site

      Launched the main site too, got bored of fiddling with it - rest to follow soon…

    • Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

      Just so you know, I'm going to change a few bits around before I move out of the two offices I've done, but I'm nearly there. I'm thinking about converting the windows from damageOpenTimed to bumpOpenTimed, that way we can crash through them rather then having to shoot them - bit more fun (Gah, was about to type realistic - how many (closed) windows do you jump through? - Could I make them cause superficial damage? Not sure, might be worth a go though), I'm also going to make the tiles a bit more realistic, as the ceilings aren't randomly covered in tiles, but are mostly white with areas of tiles, so I want to fix that, bit of an arse though as I spent a fair bit of time lining up all those tile textures on each brush %). Ho hum.

      Popped in a few path nodes over the weekend so the bots behave a bit better - ie leave their spawn points before they spot another bot/player, go and get some of the guns, and then spot another player and kill them… makes testing it a bit better - I occasionally get hit now, rather than rarely…

      Another excuse: I've been a tad busy at work to finish off the windows tutorial, but I'll get it finished soon I'm sure.

      Ok, later.

    • Black and White is so close

      Wow, Black & White is sooo close now…

      Can't wait :D

  • April 2001: 3 posts

    • Settlers IV

      Well, I messed up a bit - Bought The Settlers IV at the beginning of last week, and was playing that all week, then, as promised, Black & White came out on Friday - so I've put Unreal on hold atm whilst I play Black & White :(

      Hopefully, one of these days I'll upload my creatures to here ;).

      Also, I've set up the Zhaph homepage ;)


    • Belated news again

      Yup, belated news again :(… This month's issue of Computer Arts has a fully working demo of 3D Studio Max 4 :D:D. However, it only works for 15 days :(, so I'm trying to clear up a lot of things everywhere so I can play around with that, but it means that a lot of other things are on hold while I sort that out, and then two weeks of frenzied action while I play with that, building as many actors as I can for Unreal, The Sims, etc, in as short a space of time as possible…

      Ok, later.

    • Milkshape 3D Update

      Oh, and Milkshape 3D has hit version 1.54 too :D

  • May 2001: 1 post

    • Creature caves

      Well, I've finally uploaded the most recent creature cave to the site, you can view it here:
      Zhaph - 05/05/2001
      "my creatures favorite photo's, and some info about him", straight from the game. I'll try and keep this updated.

  • July 2001: 6 posts

    • The secret of eternal youth

      post, I've also uploaded a more recent creature cave:
      Zhaph - 22/06/2001
      However, it's not much changed from the last one to honest with you…


    • Confused ramblings

      Dunno what happened to the last post I put up - I'd just got back from Canada, and was a bit jet-lagged so I think I'll use that as my excuse…

      Updated the creature caves again:
      Zhaph - 12/07/2001

    • Arrrgh!

      Arrrgh! I'd just written a massif post, and the damn thing crashed…

    • Beat Surrender

      Other News: I'm currently working with Matt from beatsurrender.co.uk to bring you some forums. Basically, we didn't want to pay for this, and all the freebies are a bit limiting, or very poor, so I thought I'd build one. He's supplying the design expertise, and I'll be doing all the backend and database work… Currently it's an IIS, SQL Server application, but it may be reworkable, if you're interested let me know… but I may have to give it to centaur… I'll keep you posted - expect to do a fair bit of this over the next few weeks…

      I'm still planning on finishing off the Unreal Level, just a bit of a back burner atm, saving up for a wedding before I can buy expensive 3D software ;)… Also I must finish a few more tutorials…

    • Issues with Black and White

      As you may have noticed on the creature cave page, I've recently been affected by the "hanging save game" bug in Black & White. This meant that whenever I tried to save the game, or join an online game (which initiates a save), the system would hang. This was a day or so before the patch came out.

      After the patch was out, and installed on my machine, I was still suffering from this problem… I was unable to start the process to join an online game, and when ever I just tried to exit, the system would still hang. Regardless, for what ever reason I decided to have a play with it the other day, (12th July), played for about an hour or so, whipping about Land 3, finishing off a few buildings here and there, and basically preparing myself and my creature for Land 4. Exited, and hung during the save. :( Never mind, I was only playing for an hour.

      However, I ordered some more memory at the begining of the week, which arrived yesterday: 512Mb for the ridiculous price of £70! To think that four months ago I nearly spent 70 quid on 128Mb… sickening huh? And this is from Gateway's prefered partner for memory upgrades, so I'm fairly happy with it as far as reliablility goes… So in that went last night, taking me to the rather odd number of 640Mb RAM, but never mind. Pottered about in other apps and thought, "What the hell, I'll try B&W". Fired it up, and it was where I'd left off after playing on the 12th, not where it was before I started… so although B&W was hanging, I guess the save game bit had worked.

      So I played for about an hour or so, finished up, exited, and went to make a cup of tea while it saved the game… came back, and the desktop was sitting there, no error messages, all happy. :D. Looks like it's fixed.

      I guess the system just couldn't cope with only 128Mb, and swapping to and from disk all the time. :(

      One other thing I did notice though was that one of the villages (The Japanese one at the foot of the temple mountain) had a glitch with it's desire flags - it was trying to display two flags on one pole, at different heights - Need for Offspring and Need for benevolence (Heart and Praying hands). Bit odd, if I can get a screen grab (assuming that it still does it) I will do.

    • That was a large post

      Whew, what a large post ;). Anyway, just to say, check out Habbo Hotel, a nice 3D flash chat room type thing… I'm occasionally about in there…


  • August 2001: 1 post