Uber Update – The secret Pyro Update

Again with the secret updates! Today, there is a hidden pyro update in addition to “World War Wednesday” Uber Update page. Right there as soon as you load the page. Yep, on the blackboard, a picture of a pyro with a great big arrow pointing to it – it’s a link to the pyro update.

Only one new weapon this time, “The Detonator”. Seems like a good name for it too, seeing as it’s a flare gun that detonates. Nice and simple! Details are scarce – “Alt fire detonates explosive flare” – but let’s take a guess – we shoot the flare, detonate it, and set nearby targets on fire. As benefits are rarely without drawbacks, I’ll take a guess at slightly lower damage, a slower moving flare, or increased reload time, though that’s pure speculation.

Sounds like a great weapon for setting distant enemy groups on fire, and a great addition for spy checking at a distance. Anyway, once again it’s exciting to find another secret. Makes me wonder if there’s a missed secret on page 1 – has anyone found one?

Team Fortress 2 – The Semi Secret Uber Update For Scout

Alongside the easily seen Mobster Monday and Timbuk Tuesday is a subtly (or not so) hidden scout update. Lurking at the bottom of the Timbuk Tuesday page is a can of what looks like bonk atomic punch. It’s a link! Click the can and you are led to a page detailing a new weapon set for the scout, “The #1 Fan”

Valve's scoutpack update
Awesome artwork as ever, courtesy of Valve.

“The Soda Popper” looks like another weapon rewarding you for killing effectively, like the Bazaar Bargain, building up ‘hype’ ready for a rain of minicrits. A smaller clip size is your downside, much like the Force-A-nature. A rain of minicrits from behind could cause total disarray to an unsuspecting team.

Next up is a bat – “The Atomizer”, which looks like an ‘access’ weapon – useful for getting behind enemy lines, grabbing a health pack, then wreaking havoc on the enemy team (or their teleporters). I imagine that third jump will also give an interesting edge in combat during the first few weeks when no one is expecting it! Combined with the force-a-nature, will this give the scout a quadruple jump… One can only imagine so, and the prospect is awesome.

The last new weapon, “The Winger” seems like a standard but nonetheless useful pistol replacement. The extra damage, presumably without scatter, looks like a great opportunity to sneak behind enemy lines and snipe their sentries/medics/etc when they least expect it.

Hidden updates somehow always excite me more than the obviously stated updates, it’s somewhat like a treasure trail…

x not a function or static data member, in CUDA

This error message misled me for a while. It was telling me that my templated CUDA kernel was “not a function or static data member” – this after I added a struct pointer as a parameter. If I changed the struct to an int parameter, it worked fine (except being semantically stupid). I didn’t see anything wrong with my declaration of the struct, but on closer inspection, I had mis-capitalised one letter. Not the error message I’d expect for this problem, so it took longer than expected to find.

Hope this helps if you have the same problem…

Reacquiring your ‘gaming mojo’

After reading this, I wanted to put some thoughts down. http://ask.slashdot.org/story/10/11/25/067219/Have-I-Lost-My-Gaming-Mojo?from=rss

I can think of two ways you might lose your gaming ‘mojo’. At least these are the two I’ve experienced myself.

The first case is when I find myself getting slaughtered in x game (or genre of game), when I remember that I used to win easily… I’ve had this with first person shooters, strategy games, and specific titles. Mostly this is a multi player phenomenon, but in some cases also single player. I’ve put this ‘sudden’ degradation in ability down to an unnoticed learning curve. In these games, I got good through practising, but without noticing an increase in talent.

When I come back to them I expect to be good, get beaten, and as a result feel, well, quite bad. Sometimes I just put the game away and resign it to the past. If I care, for whatever reason, I usually go to train in a harder game to bring my skill level back up (playing, for example, red orchestra for an hour or two before, say, team fortress gives me an epic boost in kills).

The second case is when I can’t find a game I actually want to play. I have plenty of choice (really, woe is me) but I just can’t get into anything. I flit off to other things, coding, walking,e eating, but can’t play. Sometimes I just go with this, and get on with non game life – but sometimes it feels like “I don’t want to play anything any more, maybe I should even sell my pc!”. Then I get worried that an important part of ‘me’ is missing, and desperately want to get into a game. What does it take for this? Well, something good usually.

And recently I noticed something remarkable – while I’ve lost interest in strategy gaming, I picked up total annihilation the other day, and as dragged in, despite being tired, cold, and uncomfortable… While first person shooters have recently been quite good, F.E.A.R. and Red Faction captivated me in a compelling way. And I can’t tell you why. But I will try to work it out. All I can really say is, many games recently are missing elements common to these addictive classics.

Calculating the FLOPS of your NVIDIA gpu

This is the formula for calculating the peak FLOPS on your cuda enabled gpu. (as uses by NVIDIA) This is useful as a comparison when evaluating how many FLOPS your cuda kernel is achieving, and how much you can hope to gain through optimization. You can get the numbers needed from the NVIDIA control panel’s system information option.

If your card is pre-fermi:
Processor clock*cuda cores*3

If your card is fermi based: (or higher?)
Processor clock*cuda cores*2

Original Source here.

Internal server error 500 using SVNKit (hudson problem)

Had trouble checking out from SVN on a Hudson client, the error rather cryptically just “internal server error: 500”. The exact same project, but checking out onto a different client, worked fine.
After some hunting around and trying various stuff in vain, I deleted the SVN authentication details stored on the client at %APPDATA%/subversion/auth/svn.simple and the checkout started worked properly.
I assume this is because the client in question had been previously used to check out from SVN with other applications and that the cached credentials were somehow not-quite-right, but that’s speculation.

Paste unformatted text in Word 2003

Annoyed that Word keeps trying to paste your copied text in the original format? Record a new macro to fix it!

Tools -> Macro -> Record New macro
Give it a name – I called mine “PasteUnformatted”. The name can’t have spaces.
Click keyboard shortcut and give it a shortcut, I used Ctrl+v (this means the default paste behaviour on ctrl+v is ignored, but I never want the default behaviour)
Click Ok. The macro starts recording.
Click Edit -> Paste Special -> Select ‘Unformatted text’, then stop recording the macro with the macro toolbar.
This doesn’t quite work, as it forgets the unformatted bit (don’t ask me why, this is Microsoft), so open tools->Macro->Macros.
Select your macro and pick edit. Change the line to this:

Selection.PasteAndFormat (wdFormatPlainText)

Save and exit the macro editer.

now when you press ctrl+v you should get unformatted text (so it should match your document’s current formatting)

There are better ways to do this in Word 2007.

‘Windows 8’

So, someone leaked windows 8 discussion documents and uploaded them, and you can take a look at some of them over at Microsoft Kitchen

I just found it amusing that in this slide: amusing slide about windows 8

They are clearly considering their target audience as ‘everyone’ and have a slightly humorous (I think) section

“Why humans matter”
-Substantial in size

Other than that the idea of logging in by face recognition sounds abysmal. But the increased speed and ubiquitous settings through a cloud is more interesting.

Chalk and cheese, and pork and fleas

Games I’m really enjoying at the moment!

Assassin’s creed 2 (and by proxy 1, as 2 has taught me how to enjoy 1 a lot more). You’re an Italian assassin, enacting revenge for your father’s death, and something altogether grander too. Such an improvement on assassin’s creed one it’s unbelievable.

Dirt 2 – a varied and relaxed rally game. (so often rally games are too hardcore and gritty) Has a great feel, and is one of the best racing games I’ve played. One of the best games – it hits so many spots. I’ve actually gone so far as 100% completing the single player.

Tropico 3 – A ‘Caribbean island sim’. I have Tropico 1 and 2 bought recently from a d2d sale and have briefly touched on them, but it’s 3 that I’ve been spending most of my time with. A great atmosphere, nice looking, and with a horrifically addictive gameplay, it’s been calling me back for a month or so now. And nothing gets your metal limbs ticking like being called El Presidente!

Passing variables in C++

Just a bit of condensed info that people will hopefully find helpful…

Variables that go ‘in’ but not ‘out’:
==================================

void foo(int x)
{
x=6;
}

-x will not be modified outside the scope of foo
-x is copied (consider overhead for big things)

==================================

void foo(int const &x)
{
x=6; //will no compile
}

-x cannot be modified inside foo
-x is not copied, preventing some overhead

==================================

Variables that go in and out
==================================

void foo(int &x)
{
x=6;
}

-x will be modified within foo and outside of foo
-x is not copied, preventing overhead, but modification of x outside of foo may be undesirable. see the use of const above.
-simpler than using pointer technique and avoids having to change calling code to pass a pointer

==================================

void foo(int *x)
{
*x = 6;
}

-the value at *x will be modified inside and outside foo
-x is not copied
-involves more effort to program

==================================