Learning Java!

I have recently taken it upon myself to teach myself Java. I learnt the basics at University but struggled to grasp it at a deeper level due to learning it just for the level needed to pass coursework. I am primarily a designer though would love to be able to code. I am starting with Java as I know the basics and from what I have heard it is a good foundation language to have.

I am currently working my way through Java How to Program 8th Edition, Paul Deitel & Harvey Deitel and am looking if anyone has any tips, links, anything that they think may be beneficial to speed up or deepen my understanding.

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A letter to Microsoft from 2004

Some how I fell upon this letter that I wrote to MS back in 2004. I designed a non functioning prototype hand held gaming device, with 2 analogue sticks, physical Xbox buttons with a touch interface design and specifically remember using Halo in all the screens that I used to show the product.

Dear Sir or Madam:
My name is Vivek , I am 17 years of age and am currently doing my A levels at *School Name*, UK. I am a graphics product student and for my year 13 project I have chosen to produce a hand held multimedia gaming device. I have chosen Microsoft as the company to produce the product for, as you do not currently have merchandise of this type out on the market.
I am looking to produce a product that will rival Nintendo’s Gameboy series and Sony’s new PSP. The ideas I have complied so far is to have a product that plays games, stores music, can be used for communication (perhaps via MSN Video Messaging) and has windows OS on it. This would mean endless capabilities and the product would cover a wide market area.
For the design of the product I am looking to produce something that is as sleek as an iPod, practical as a PDA and powerful as the Xbox.
At the moment though I am researching my product and I would be especially grateful if you could send me some material which could help me with my project. I have also placed my telephone number and address above so that you can contact me if you feel it is necessary.
Sincerely,
Vivek
Student

I will try and dig up the designs and 3D models I built and might even have the plastic prototype I build somewhere. So what if MS did release a Zune/Windows/Xbox device that you could take anywhere with you? I was a naive kid back in those days and dreamed a little too much. Do you thin MS could have cracked it?

Now of days I daydream about designing every wall in a house being a touch screen LCD that looks normal, but is interactive meaning you could walk through your house and watch a TV show or QL on any surface. Or if you are in the kitchen the recipe appears on the wall in front of you, perhaps accompanied by a video.

This letter reminded me of where I first started my passion for design and I wanted to share it. For anyone who is wondering, Microsoft did get in touch with me and sent me a free Xbox with a bunch of swag.

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Over 1100 Miles for his Dad

Firstly thank you to PsEG for letting me post this. This is my best friend Ross. We have know each other for over 15 years and he is about to do something amazing and he needs our support. Since we were kids Ross has been hard working, determined and never let anything stand in the way of achieving his goals. Ever since I can remember he has always worked for the things he has, and is never one to let a debt he owes go unpaid. He is a stand up guy and that is why people like myself are spreading awareness of the incredible journey he is about to embark on.

What is this all about?

Brian, Ross’s Dad, has suffered from MS (Multiple Sclerosis) ever since Ross was a young kid and has been in a wheelchair since I can remember. He works for the local council and is very active in the local communities charities, whatever the cause. Recently his health has deteriorated and this has compelled Ross to do something for his father.

What is he doing?

In an event to raise awareness and funds for The Welwyn Hatfield Access Group (WHAG), a local charity run by disabled people for disabled people, he has decided to bike from the most northern point in the UK to the most Southern, and climb the three highest mountain peaks along the journey. This 1100 mile and 3400 meter (11,155 feet) colossal bike ride and climb will take him across 3 countries (Scotland, England and Wales), up three different mountains (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon) starting at John O’Groats and finishing in Lands End. Normally the bike ride and climb are done as two separate events as just climbing the mountains is enough to wear anyone out. He will be doing this crazy journey with two other guys and has been training vigorously. All of this taking place 30th June and due to take 15 days. He is looking to raise £3,500 GBP (approx $5,700 USD) and that is where you and I come in.

What can we do?

Unfortunately I am in no shape to take part in the event itself, so I have decided to help voice awareness and help get my friend sponsorship. I am asking that the Giantbomb Community do what they can to help. Whether that be by donating whatever you can afford or even spreading the word, as every little helps. My friend has set up a Facebook Group which I encourage you to join and have posted links to his donation page. I have created a flyer that holds more details as to what my friend is doing and created a poster to spread awareness. Feels feel free to spread the word and promotional items I have made.

Thank You for reading and your Support, the GB Community is amazing!

Flyer: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B4TPYO25HISYbkVPYzY5V0dzYVE

Facebook: http://www.tinyurl.com/rosscharityride

Donation Page: http://www.charitygiving.co.uk/rosswilson

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Finger Painted Ryan Davis (WIP)

After being inspired by Journey I decided to do a little art work. I used to study 3D Animation and Video Games design and used to fill pads with drawing and have GB's of photoshop pieces, but now study Computer Science and miss being creative. This also means that I have none of my art supplies at university with me.

My latest venture is using my iPad 2 and SketchBook Pro. Painting with my fingers is enjoyable and the program is easy to use with tones of depth. After 30mins of messing around here is my progress. Any constructive feedback is welcome. Also the images I used is one from Ryans wiki page as reference.

Update!

I am finished with the first "skin" layer and will add more detail to the ear and neck where needed. Next the eyes and start work on giving that manly beard the justice it deserves!

Update (again) - Redone the beard, and added the eyes. Also did some cleaning up.

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This Is Football! (Soccer!)

Over the last couple of days I have managed to spend a fair bit of time with the latest editions to the FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) franchises. Coming to grips with the subtle changes that both series have made in the up coming 2012 versions of the games, through the demo's that have been released. Firstly though a bit of back story for those that may not know.

The football game genre is constantly evolving and both franchises have been fighting the battle for supremacy since the days of the original PlayStation. FIFA had an arcade game play style that was fast paced and allowed players to shoot from pretty much anywhere near the 18 yard box and score. It was less about the "beautiful game" and more about who could rack up the most amount of goals in 10 minutes. PES on the other hand was a tougher more methodical game that required a level of skill, that tested the player. It treated football fans as if they knew how to play football and gave them control, allowing the game to flow. For many years this trend continued with PES reaching its dominance over FIFA in 2004 with PES 3 even with EA snatching up 90% of the licences for the players and teams.

FIFA 2005 brought change to the way EA made their game. A new engine was bought it and a new team of previous PES players were now in charge of creating the future of the game. PES carried forward too, churning out games with minor updates, but the FIFA team started making major changes, taking note of what PES was doing right and looking to improve further. In 2008 these changes took shape in FIFA '09. The control system had been overhauled to mirror that similar of PES and that new engine was ready to show what it could do. The rivalry began.

PES had its core elements in place, though Master League was still exciting the rest of the game had become mechanical and boring. FIFA had shaken up the genre and PES was losing fans at an alarming rate. With FIFA 2010 PES was no longer the leading game, FIFA had fluid game play, slick animations, fully licensed teams and grabbed football fans alerting them that there was a new king. Konami started to add new features and rather then improving the gameplay, decided too add gloss and shininess, thinking this would help them regain the throne. How they were wrong.

This brings me to the 2011 editions of either franchise, PES is a love hate relationship, one the one hand a great Online Masters League mode, ruined by a aged and frankly broken engine. The game feels punishing and scoring even the simplest of goals feels like relief, rather then rejoice. FIFA 11 established itself are the football game that people had been waiting for, for half a decade.

After playing both demo's of the 2012 versions of the game, Konami has lost the plot, forgetting why people play football games. Their engine, whilst looking gorgeous, still feels mechanical and the players look as if they are on rails. When you initially load the demo you are forced to watch a 5 minute video showing so called "improvements". The whole experience has fallen apart and the gaping holes have been filled with gimmicks. On the other side FIFA 12 is the best football game I have ever played. It feels like the PES of the past with the polish of the FIFA franchise which captivates this genre. The graphics has been improved the physics and collision systems that were criticised have been fixed. EA is listening to its users, making the best game it possibly can.

So in conclusion. You may have noticed from my blog that I used to be a PES follower, buying every game without fail, having faith that they would fix the bugs. Instead I have transferred to the FIFA camp where innovation and evolution are clearly happening. I would recommend playing both demo's to any football fan, but would be highly surprised if they did not walk away with the same feelings as I did. Worryingly this asks what is next for the Konami franchise and can they just carry on making mediocre games. With one franchises future so bright and the others so bleak, I look forward to this time next year to see if anything has changed.

Thanks for reading...

Viv

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Give up gaming for January - 50% there

Hi Guys, 
 
Happy New year to everyone first. Some people may remember I posted a forum message throwing out there the idea of giving gaming for a month. After a large amount of people telling me where to go shove the idea and the few people that thought it perhaps was not that crazy, I have undertaken the challenge and am currently half way there [sing Boni Jovi here]. 
 
Here is the back story, over the Xmas period I spent a huge amount of my time friends and family, though during those periods where there was nothing on the agenda, I found myself spending increasing amounts of time in front of the TV with a controller in my hand. I was using the console to eat up time and felt like I was playing because there was really nothing else to do and looking over 2010, I have used gaming as a crutch, skipping gym sessions, nights out and even family interaction. I love gaming. It is my passion to the point where I worked in the games industry for a short period of time. My best friend and I, who usually meet up during the week to play games were discussing what we would do if we didn't play games and it got me thinking about if I could do it. 
 
So to today. I currently have AC: Brotherhood, NFS: Hot Pursuit and a vast array of 2010 games that I feel that I need to finish, on top of Mass Effect 2 coming to the PS3 this month and Torchlight 2 in February. I have the urge to play games and it is not made easier by the fact that my friends play them in front of me, so terribly that I want to grab the controller of them, but I am getting through the month with surprising results. 
 
I have been to the gym and average of every other day, read my way through most of a book that was barely touched until Xmas and enjoyed watching The Wire. I am losing the urge to go to the controller when I have a spare second and thinking about February when I can sit and truly appreciate my time gaming. 
  
I could never give up gaming for a long stretch of time though this time away has been eye opening as to how many hours I do spend gaming. I would highly recommend stepping away from gaming for anyone who feels like the first free moment they get, they grab a controller, or people who find that they losing hours when they only wanted to play a quick game. 
 
 So until the end of Jan good gaming to you all. 
Vivek "Rean"

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Whiskey Media I like this!

So over the last couple of weeks, there have been changes. The addition on Tested.com, which is an amazing little place to rave about Tech, and watch Norm lick iPads, and also the Quests on GB which is why I am writing this blog entry.

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Arcade Racing, coming back to speed!

Sick of Sim 

In recent history of racing games, the "sim" style has come to the forefront, the Gran Turismo's, PGR's, Forza's. I thought that track based arcade racing was dead.  Burnout Paradise is an amazing game, I know many a people that have suck hours apon hours into Paradise City, I myself restarted just to get trophies. Here comes my big but though. For me Burnout 3: Takedown is the best Burnout game of the series. Nothing beats the first time I saw a takedown, and competitive Road Rage (split screen) became more about remembering the tracks down to every inch, rather then just random ramming of cars. I cannot wait for it to be released on PSN.   The open world of Paradise left me fustrated and it no longer felt like a Burnout game, especially without the crash junctions, but I also of recent have had new hope. 
 
Anyone that has been following the release list of new racing games heading out will realise that Arcade track racing is coming back, and strong. Titles such as Blur, Split Second, even ModNation Racers has me excited. I cant  wait to throw the back end of a car out around a corner, even shoot out power ups , anything but another sim style racer. I may have high hope for these game, but hearing that Criterion has taken over the Need for Speed series, another series I used to love as a child, along side Dayton Racing, Ridge Racer and Screamer (where it all started for me), makes me have hope that my passion for Arcade racing is not going to be lost.
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Beating Up Everyone!

UFC and Me

Don't worry I'm not mad, not yet anyway. I recently downloaded UFC Undisputed via PSN store, and wow. Yukes in the past have been great at fighting games, but ever since the churning out of the WWE series I was slightly worried about the game. Im not generally a UFC or Pride fan. I enjoy the odd bit of boxing and even tried a bit of Jui Juitsu in my spare time, but somehow this game gets me all excited.

Core Elements

Firstly the game looks lush the graphics are outstanding and detailed, from blood splattering on the body to the detail and authenticity of the Octagan itself. The controls are spread nicely over the controller and I always find myself never stressed out to hit the right button, in a way it flows. The best part of the game for me though has to be the amazing comentary. No other game comes close to the depth and accuracy that UFC:D has in this department. The timing and conversational banter between the commentators, truely adds to the polished feel the game has.

Grab and Go

I cant wait for it to hit shelves so that my mates and I can start trashing the crap out of each other, in a safe virtually environment. This is a must for UFC fans but also one to watch for anyone that enjoys a great tactial fighter.

SCORE 9/10

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Liking It!

Great work guys after months of waiting were here. The only issues at the moment is the speed but I guess that that will come with time. Looks nice and easy to use.

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