Ricoh MP9120A DVD/CD-RW – Still Making Rounds

New hybrid drives that combine DVD playback and CD recording have been slowly trickling out to the marketplace, and the first one we got our hands on was the Ricoh MP9120A. With speeds of 12/10/32x (12x write, 10x rewrite and 32x read), plus an 8x DVD reader, the drive rates are up there with the offerings from Plextor and TDK. The Ricoh drive also includes a proprietary technology called JustLink, which is supposed to prevent buffer underruns. In our testing, we only made one coaster, but that coaster was caused by the CD creation software crashing; we’re not sure what went wrong. Overall, though, we were happy with both the speed and the quality of the drive.

Installation of the drive was as easy as possible. We uninstalled our existing CD-ROM drive, turned the computer off, installed the Ricoh drive and turned the computer back on. It was immediately recognized by both the BIOS and Windows. Putting in the driver CD loaded the customized drivers as well as Prassi abCD and a full version of WinDVD 2000. This took all of three or four minutes, including hardware installation, and that was a welcome surprise.

Of course, we were most interested in seeing how well the burner worked, especially with its high speed ratings. For our testing, we used a normal game CD and a lengthy (64 minute) music CD. Since we only had one CD drive, everything was going to have to go to the hard drive first and then to the CD-Writer. The first time we tried to copy the data CD, the software crashed and produced a shiny new coaster. However, we were not able to reproduce the error and the next attempt produced a perfect copy. The music CD took all of 14 minutes to copy, including first copying the entire CD to the hard drive (which is automatic). Considering everything involved in the copy, we were quite impressed with the speed.

When we put the drive on “Test and Record,” the testing phase produced a buffer underrun error but did not ruin the CD-R. Instead, the copy stopped and an error message told us what had happened. Switching the Ricoh drive to be an IDE master instead of an IDE slave fixed this problem. We wanted it as a slave, though, and the only way we were able to get it to work as the slave was to slow the speed of the writing down to 10x from 12x. Considering the speed at which it was writing, this was acceptable, although a mention in the manual about requiring the IDE master setting would’ve been nice.

DVD playback was smooth and without a hitch, although we suspect that the 64MB ATi Radeon video card was partially responsible for that. Even when switching between layers, there was hardly a noticeable stutter, and the video quality was quite nice. The software controls allow most of the controls of a standard DVD player, with chapter skipping, different viewing angles, etc. The 8x speed seemed to be plenty for the DVD movies we tested. The drive ships with a blank CD-R and a CD-RW as well as an SPDIF cable for connecting the CD audio digitally to a capable sound card. One thing we wish they had included is a printed manual. It does come with an install poster, but the manual itself is a PDF file on the CD. Note to manufacturers: We like printed manuals. Also questionable was the flimsy, cellophane-like CD sleeve that holds the driver/abCD disk. Is a jewel case too much to ask for? It makes storing and protecting the CDs much easier (although we could probably just make a copy of the CD now).

Except for the one crash that we couldn’t get to happen again, the drive worked exactly as advertised. It’s awfully convenient to have both a high speed CD-RW and a DVD drive taking up only one IDE channel. Although copying to the hard drive first takes a little more time, the speed of the drive more than makes up for this. Those looking for both a DVD drive and a CD-RW should take the time to investigate this hybrid.

Perfect Pokemon Omega Ruby for 3DS Systems

Pokemon Omega Ruby

We’ll be honest — Pokemon is growing a bit old. But we understand the desires of the children and the yearnings of Pokemon Masters all over the world. And thus we sat down with Pokemon Omega Ruby for some heated Pokemon fighting action — and we have to admit, the sequel hosts a ton more features, but it’s essentially the same experience as Pokemon Ruby of the yesteryear, although with 100 more Pokemon. The game is rife with minigames and the ability to download Pokemon from Pokemon Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold and Silver, and there are all-new animations for attacks and damage taken. It looks pretty, and is an impressive game — but is only for Pokemon fiends.

Which leads to one of the biggest problems with Pokemon Omega Ruby — the best part of the game is the transfer of Pokemon from the Game Boy versions to the 3DS system using the Transfer Pak. If players don’t have any Pokemon to transfer, then they can choose from “rental” Pokemon, which have standardized abilities and stats. The real draw of the game, however, is for those players who know their Pokemon from the 3DS system backward and forward, and want to see them in 3D glory — those that haven’t played the handheld games won’t find much more than, basically, a glorified version of Rock-Paper-Scissors here.

However, that said, true Pokemon freaks will find a lot to love here. The graphics are simply stunning — each Pokemon has a plethora of animations for attacks, and the special effects of the various combat moves are well defined. Commanding the Pokemon is streamlined and simple, and the announcer even does a good job of describing the action.

Luckily, Pokemon Omega Ruby has plenty of things to do other than just battle Pokemon. There’s a whole bunch of minigames that are completely different from those contained in the first game, and most of them are actually pretty fun. The games range from twitch-fests, where the fastest fingers win, to games of skill and thought. Each supports four players, too, so no one needs to be left out.

The integration with the 3DS games also works very well — players can not only transfer Pokemon, but they can also trade them with others and even play the Game Boy games directly through the 3DS (no, this doesn’t work with any games other than Pokemon Alpha Sapphire Rom). There’s a wealth of information about all the various Pokemon for true Pokemon Trainers, and it’s easily accessed. Pokemon Omega Ruby is well-made and fun to play, but still only really appealing to those who are crazy about Pokemon and have plenty to transfer over from the 3DS games.

Farming Simulation on iOS and Android with Hay Day

Hay Day hack is a visually satisfying upgrade from former farming simulation games. There’s certainly the game is visually pleasing, housing an equally easy control tactics. While these two specific areas obtain effectiveness, the game presents a high learning curve, cultivated with plain gameplay. Again, this does not take away from the satisfying visual appeals of the game, which leaves a genuinely beneficial experience. The attention to detail on the farming equipment is something to wonder.

Watching these conductors of planting and harvesting go about their work is the main draw; while you’ll wish to pilot them all the first few times to recognize their workings, they can all be placed on mechanized and left to till the areas themselves, a feature which you’ll count on more as your holdings expand. The AI has to be reprimanded as it is very common; it can’t adjust to challenges and doesn’t inform you when it’s got into trouble, so it’s completely feasible to leave it to work away, only to come back ten minutes subsequently to discover it suspended in place because a header or weight is a little blocking it. The solution, if you don’t fancy babysitting a bunch of computational hired hands, is to locate some real ones; the game’s multiplayer supports up to sixteen aspirant farmers tending the one portion of farm land.

Hay Day has several factors over the map where you can offload your harvests. Each supplies a somewhat different price, yet because none of the map markers tell you which location are which, there’s no reason to chug little by little around the map to discover the greatest cost when you can obtain an adequate offer from the one nearby.  You do not acquire a particular seed, for example. You only buy common seed, and then make a decision what you want it to be once you’re prepared to sow.

However possibly you say the aspect of the game is to operate a successful and rewarding farm. Properly, remembering the troubles of taking care of your laborers and predicting rates, even such an aim is made uselessly difficult in a mechanical way. I’m not saying that Hay Day needs to be a business likeness; however it would be a better game if it merely had even the very most shallow to try of one. This sort of a component would truly set the phrase ‘farming’ in Hay Day for, in the long run, just about the only thing that is come in the game is the modeling of the numerous items of machinery and tractors. The game might also be called Hay Day instead with some random farming mini-games thrown in.

Adventure Plane Games of Today

This kind of game is somewhat similar to the story of the winged Grecian chap which took a day trip too near to the sun and this re-hash of 2011 handheld undertake the long running airborne dog-fighting arcade gamers looks tip-top from the distance however get too near and also it’s all a little bum. This begins promisingly from the time you start to set eyes around the remarkable maps, right through to nodding sagely with a satisfactorily timed missile dodge. The Ace Combat continues to spiral aside into mediocrity instead of ascending to the Legacy suggested in the unwieldy video game in

You take as Phoneix a voiceless and faceless pilot roped right into a conflict in between loosely personified causes of rebels bad and also good allies. Things may put a little bit effort in a setting the scene than in reams of banal between mission dialogue and the preparation files meant to provide you with the low down on which to anticipate every time you head skyward. This may take me to have the unique impact that I’ve currently put in much more effort compared to video game does.

As you can see there are promises within the story for the reason that you’re not necessarily just given the job of shooting down some other planes. In certain task or objectives in early stage you will end up fighting rebel that take or gather supplies from the sky. How interesting directives are never suitably fleshed in the market to provide a palpable motivator to your actions. One factor that equally flailing for good and that might be the co-piloting system. Some tasks that you’re given a range of number two a fellow AI flyer that to tear up the skies. Bland without some compelling arcs that belongs to them to speak of these types of choices feel superfluous.

This amazing action of the game really feels just a little much deeper for a bit. When it comes to you aircraft continues to be streamlined to suit to your palms with increased advanced maneuvers and processes cordoned off behind motivated button presses rather of active deliberate inputs. You have to put more gauge if you sits towards the bottom right to your screen anytime you’re in selection of a dog fighting foe plane. Always enable Y button a tap and you’ll instantly whip around at the rear of your foe for any ruddy good missile barraging. By the moment you’re being hounded by a strong opponent you are able to flick your Circle Pad and tap Y once the on-screen indicator flashes to be able to resist all caps perform a barrel roll and obtain out of the way. This game may require a lot of practice especially the control buttons and to think this kind of game is somewhat too hard to finish. The game never disappoint gamers and this a type of game that gamers will bring their knowledge and skills just to beat up the difficulty level.

Colors and Lighting – the Science Behind

A picture is worth 1,000 words, so here are quite a few pictures to show what difference lighting can do for your level. I won’t be showing you how to do lighting in this particular article, but by the end of it you should have a better understanding of lighting in the Source engine and how it works. By the way, if you’re getting this problem, it’s nothing to do with the lighting- it’s to do with the cubemaps in your level. Look up my tutorial on that instead. If you choose the ‘3D Lightmap Grid View’ in Hammer, your map will turn into a load of squares. When you compile your map, it calculates how bright each of these squares is.

light and colors

Obviously, the more squares there are,the longer it takes to compile your map… and the larger your map’s file size will be.You can change the light map scale in Hammer. The number shown is the number of units across each square is. Smaller values mean more detailed shadows, but your map’s file size will greatly increase, and it can cause strange artifacts and problems, particularly if done across a large area. Before compiling your map you have a choice of which setting to set RAD to. If you set it to ‘No’, your map will have no lighting. If you set it to ‘Fast’, it will have ‘bad lighting’ and if you set it to ‘Normal’, it will have normal lighting.

Personally, I can’t see much of a difference between fast and normal, and I’ve done a couple of are my results. However, the general consensus is that normal is better, so I suggest you just put up with the wait and get some one to make you a sandwich. Light go round corners, but it can bounce off surfaces. Here is an extreme example of a brightly lit orange wall making the shaded wall glow orange. Newer games can do this in real time, but for Source, it’s all calculated when compiling your map.

Because Source calculates lighting when you compile your map, it doesn’t need to do so in-game, leading to higher frame rates than in games where lighting is calculated in real-time. However, because of this you can’t attach (or parent) lights to moving objects in Hammer, and the number of flashing or toggle able lights you can have in a particular areas is limited. There are certain lights that are dynamic to a degree, but they don’t tend to look that good and may lead to problems. Here you can see examples of point_spotlight and env_projected texture entities.

Obviously the best way to learn is to do it yourself. However, I’m going to give you some advice. Putting loads of different colored lights in a room ends up looking horrible and messy, and some times, the fewer lights there are, the better. The aim of lighting isn’t to light everything up like a Christmas tree- it’s to make maps look better more realistic by having darker areas. It’s also quite artistic. The general idea is that certain colors look nice together. For some examples,try watching films like the latest Harry Potters. Compare them to the older ones and you’ll find that the lighting is more uniform, with entire scenes being in one or two main colors. This can be used to make things look more stylized and professional.

Color correction is a large topic and there are ways of changing the lighting in your level much like you would when editing a frag video in a video editing program. However, for now, I’m just going to say that you should try and pick a suitable color scheme when selecting your textures. Green is sickly, red is for anger or alert. You can also contrast colors.

Hopefully this article has helped you to question colors, study shadows and has given you a justification for watching Harry Potter. Don’t forget to point out every interesting shadow you see to your friends and how real life could look better if everything was yellow. Your friends will really thank you for it later.

Amazing Kitchen Lighting Fast and Easy

Make your kitchen glow with easy-to-install under cabinet lighting. It’s a nice accent to your counters and cabinets, and helps with everyday kitchen tasks. First, pick your lights. Plug ins are easy to install, all you need is a wall outlet. Hard wired systems should be installed by professionals. Types of plug in lights include pucks, strips, tape, and rope. Puck lights give off scalloped pockets of light. Space them about 8 to 12 inches apart for more even lighting. Strips emit flooded light, just choose fixtures to match the length of your cabinets.

Rope and tape lights have a nice, even illumination—they’re great for large areas like the top of your cabinets or at the bottom near the toe kick. You can pick light colors too: warm colors work well for ambient light and cool colors are best for task lighting. Buy fixtures from the same product family to ensure color consistency. And make sure your cabinet faces will hide the lights. A quick measurement is all you need to check. We’re installing puck lights but other types of installations are similar.

Kitchen Ligthing

Begin by setting the lights, wires, and power hub in place on the countertop to check the layout. It’s best to position the lights near the front of the cabinet, and it’s important to make sure the cables will reach the outlet. When it all looks good, twist off the light and lens, hold the mounting cap in place, and mark the holes with a pencil.Drill a shallow starter hole, then reposition the cap, and secure with screws. If you’re going to recess the lights—like in the top of cabinets—drill the holes,run the wiring, and secure with screws. Next attach the lights—twist and lock. Secure the power control, and power hub with screws. Route the wires to the power hub and plug them in.

You might need to drill through the cabinets to run the wires. Use cord clips to secure them. Tuck extra wire in the space between cabinets. Plug in the power and turn on.If you like the look of LED strips, they install the same way—attach with screws and route the jumper cables to link the lights together. Plug them in, and that’s it.Rope lights are great for ambient lighting. Simply fasten with the included clips, and plug in. Tape lights work the same way, except all you need to do is remove the adhesive backing and press onto the cabinet. Some even come with a remote. For small spaces, try battery-powered lights. Just peel and stick, then press the switch.Whether it’s for task or décor, your kitchen will shine with under cabinet lighting.