Monday, January 21, 2013

Spectrum Lenslok

Way back in the day, I mean way back, no further than that, closer, closer, yes that's about it, I spent much time in the Elite universe.

Mostly this was via the Commodore 64/128 depending where I was, we had a 128 and a friend had the 64.  However a couple of times I visited somebody else who had a ZX Spectrum, and the copy protection was a bit weird.

I'd forgotten about it entirely until after hitting random on Wikipedia far too many times I stumbled across the article for Lenslok.

"Lenslok is a copy protection mechanism found in some computer games and other software on the 8bit Atari, Commodore 64, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Sinclair QL, MSX and Amstrad CPC. The most famous game to use it was Elite for the ZX Spectrum.

The Lenslok device was essentially a row of prisms arranged vertically in a plastic holder. Before the game started, a two-letter code was displayed on the screen, but it was corrupted by being split into vertical bands which were then rearranged on screen. By viewing these bands through the Lenslok they were restored to their correct order and the code could be read and entered allowing access to the game. The device was small enough when folded flat to fit next to an audio cassette in a standard case.

In order for the Lenslok to work correctly the displayed image has to be the correct size. This meant that before each use the software needed to be calibrated to take account of the size of the display. Users found this setup particularly annoying, at least in part due to the poor instructions that were initially shipped. Additionally, the device could not be calibrated at all for very large and very small televisions, and some games shipped with mismatched Lensloks that prevented the code from being correctly descrambled. The Lenslok system was not used in later releases of Elite."

From memory the copy protection scheme for the Commodore 64 version was an asked for word that was in the manual, often duplicated with a photocopier.

As Eve Online owes more than a bit to Elite this little piece of almost forgotten computing history seems interesting.

Well at least to me.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Optimise Function Needs Optimising!

Creating way points and then using the optimise (or optimize if you prefer) feature is awesome to gain the highest efficiency in your travels around New Eden.


When you have many way points, 72 for example.

Which then, before optimisation shows 289 jumps, hit that optimise button!

A word of caution.  This message is not just CCP being funny, I left my computer all night working this out after I pressed "Yes", it still hadn't finished.

It also pretty much locks the machine up as it's thinking quite hard.

Eventually I gave the machine the three fingered salute and told it to reset.

You've been warned!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Digging Up Newton

In Eve Online the physics are a bit strange.

For example, the space ships "fly" as if they're submarines and the surrounding space has mass.

Which it actually can in an almost not there way but in a more correct sense it doesn't.

Following on from this we have sound in space and shock waves.

When you destroy a ship the remaining wreck just stops like it deploys an invisible anchor into the dark matter.

How do you know Dark Matter is fast?  It's so fast it's already there before you are.


These are just some examples of the weird physics in Eve Online, I don't doubt their are others.

With the introduction of the DUST514 players into our server and therefore our universe something else strange has happened.

Some planets have stopped rotating.

You may, or indeed may not have, noticed the planets in Eve Online rotate upon their axis.  However they don't orbit the local gravity well, almost always a single sun.  The moons don't orbit the planets either.

The planets the DUST514 players are on do not rotate.  As the battles are in places called Districts and the pilots in Eve have to stay above those to provide bombardment support from above, CCP found it much easier to just stop the rotation so the capsuleers don't have to do anything hard, like navigate a tiny bit.

In the real universe, our universe, everything is moving!  Everything!

How cool would it be in Eve Online if the solar systems orbited around a central point, planets orbited stars (why are binary system under represented in Eve Online?), moons around planets, asteroids around suns or other solar systems gravity wells.  What about lagrange points?

The obvious response is the computing power this would require, to that I don't know the answer, outside of CCP I don't think anybody could provide an accurate one.

I'm not asking for accurate Newtonian Physics but a closer approach to reality would be appreciated.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fleet Woes

A fleet has been formed!

Great a fleet!  I can join up and go shoot some stuff with the blues.

Joined the fleet.

My message in fleet chat, "I've just joined fleet, what ships do you want?"

No Message Of The Day (MOTD) had been set.

"Bring a Nano ship.", was the reply.

Okay no worries I have my favourite Nano ship the Hurricane, several others also say they'll be bringing a Hurricane.

Then a couple of people in voice chat say the Hurricane, while they are an official doctrine ship for the Nano fit, are too slow and could we fly something else.

At the moment the market at our base in The Vale is rubbish, it is getting better so rubbish is an upgrade from shithouse, but with no time I don't have a ship for the fleet.


Also by this stage I'm quite pissed off with a blue on comms who seems to spend his whole time bitching and whining about this or that and belittling people and their fits.  I've heard him do it before.  Not sure of his name and not convinced it would help matters if I named him here.

Dropped fleet and disconnected from comms.

Now I need something else to do!

I wonder if I can obtain enough XP to buy the better Churchill IV...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Insertion of the Blue Helmets

The year is 2013.

With luck you've had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year holiday season.

CCP have introduced the ground dwelling expendable "humans" otherwise known as DUST514 players to our server.  They can be found in various system including Soshin should you wish to chat with them about who knows what.

While I've been ignoring this blog for the past, has it been that long, almost two weeks, I've been PVP'ing!

The usual run of the mill stuff generally except for last night when the Thorax's visited.

Two of them in fact, they approached me at the station in my Hurricane, pointed one and he died, the other ran away.

I suppose a pair of Thorax would hope to catch smaller stuff or haulers on gates but I cannot figure out what they thought could be achieved by attacking much more capable ships at a hostile station.

Good fights?

Not really.