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Many a happy afternoon was spent playing computer games when I should have been outside enjoying the sunshine, but I did get some sun as it shone in through the window! I played too many games to remember and have owned several different computers, some of which I still have and get out now and again for a play; at some time or other I have owned the following computers and games consoles: Commodore Vic 20, Commodore 64, Atari STe, Atari STF, Atari STM (out of curiosity!), Atari Falcon, Atari Jaguar, Atari 2600, 386 PC, AMD PC, N64, eMac, and not forgetting my current G4 Cube and PS2!

Some of my favourite computer games include Turrican 2 (C64), Carrier Command (ST), Civilization (ST), Railroad Tycoon (ST), Dune & Dune 2 (PC), Clumsy Colin (C64), F-19 Project Stealth Fighter (C64 & ST), Ishar series (ST), Transarctica (ST), Lords of Chaos (ST), Frontier - Elite II (ST), Driller (C64), Goldeneye (N64), Waverace (N64), Duke Nuke 'em (N64), Red Faction (PS2), Return to Castle Wolfenstein (PS2), GTA III, Vice City, and San Andreas.

These days I'm also interested in the creation of games, or at least the graphics for them; I've always tried my hand at computer graphics no matter what computer I had at the time but my most recent computers are much more interesting to play with:

Cube SGI

As well as the G4 Cube (above left, more on that later) I own a couple of Silicon Graphics workstations, although the number of games available for them is absolutely minimal there's a heck of a lot of freeware utilities and software that enables you to do just about anything you want with them, and if the software doesn't exist it's a small matter to make use of the existing libraries and online books to write it (knowledge of C or C++ recommended) but considering the number of years that the core OS (UNIX) has been around, and the number of people who've used, it it's unlikely that someone hasn't already at written any program you might require. An earlier version of this web page, for example, was created using Cosmo Create, a freebie WYSIWYG web page creation tool, running on a Silicon Graphics Indy. Now I use my O2 and Octane2 which have hardware texture support, very useful for making those textured VRML worlds.

As an example of some of the things I use my SGI's for, you could check out my VRML pages elsewhere on this website, and the following stills:

CosmoWorlds VRML Scene

IRIX Media Recorder Cosmo Worlds and a VRML scene. Why is one of the trees not reflected in the pool then, eh? Media Recorder (right), used to capture images, movies or sound from a variety of sources including the digital Indy / O2 'Moose' Cam and composite AV.

I have also been investigating 3D graphics programming using libraries, which for those who do not understand anything about programming is a set of pre-written functions that are designed to be used many times in a program, and which often make use of specific hardware or software capabilities of the computer it is designed to be used on; some libraries are standard and exist on most computer platforms, but others (such as the Open Inventor and Performer libraries for Silicon Graphics workstations) are unique to the platform they exist on. For anyone interested in programming, this is certainly the most interesting way I can think of learning and of expanding ones' knowledge, seeing how professional simulations are programmed and learning all the neat little graphics tricks you maybe don't notice in games and such. I find myself playing games now and saying 'Oi! That's a flat texture!' or 'Look! A billboard!' (See a book on 3D graphics or Ian Maplesons' graphics web pages for an explanation)

As a bonus while I am learning about 3D graphics I am also learning unix fundamentals and important administration stuff. I created my SGI Indy on the internet guide after the necessity for me to get my own SGI on the internet taught me how to do it, and a friend persuaded me that others would benefit from my research. It is this kind of sharing of information that makes the unix community so much stronger and easier to be a part of than that of any other current computer system.

I own an Apple eMac, but also a G4 Cube which is a great little computer with a considerable amount of power for it's size, and as a bonus it has silent operation. The big advantages for me are that it's small, has USB / Firewire ports, runs OSX "Panther" very well, and when I want to go and do something else for a while I just touch the top power button and it goes to sleep (it's actually just a touch-sensitive area of the casing with a glowing power light beneath the surface). I had a bad experience with my eMac when the display circuitry went faulty (this happened after I did quiet-fan and CPU speed boost mods during my experimenting phase); it would cost far too much to repair, and although I can run it perfectly well with my 22" SGI monitor I find the Cube much more convenient, and the silence is golden compared to the loud fan noise of the eMac, besides which the Cube has PowerMac specs whereas the eMac is just like an overgrown iMac, i.e. cheaper with lower specs, the only advantage it has is twice the MHz but the Cube still beats it on some Photoshop operations.

Some legal stuff :

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