1. Jurassic World Review

    The latest in the franchise doesn't quite capture the charm of the original, but with plenty of nods to the first film, eye-popping visuals and intense action scenes, you'll be thoroughly entertained to the end.

    I really liked the first Jurassic Park film, like so many others, and I'm an even bigger fan of the book. So when rumours started circulating a few years ago that another film was in the works, I was pretty excited. Naturally, Spielberg wanted to ensure that the screenplay would be great, no doubt wanting to avoid a repeat of Jurassic Park III, so for many years production of Jurassic World was held up by several rewrites.

    The film is set twenty-two years after the incident in the first film. InGen has been bought out by Masrani Global, which has achieved what the former never did: a theme park home to living dinosaurs.

    The filmmakers …

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    Tags: Movies, Reviews

  2. LEGO and Arduino: This Is the Droid You're Looking For

    Like any self-respecting geek, as soon as I heard about the Arduino, I wanted one. Admittedly I was pretty late to the party, way past what could pass for fashionably late, as I only found out about it a year and a half ago. But anyway, no sooner had I heard about it than I was adding an Arduino Uno to my basket and checking out on Amazon.

    I diligently worked my way through the first few projects in the book that came with the Uno, which provides a nice and gentle introduction to electronic circuits. Inevitably I started dreaming up grand designs for what I was going to do with my new toy. I had visions of some artificially intelligent robot that could rove amiably around my flat without smashing into anything, learning the layout as it went, and perhaps letting me know if it's going to rain later …

  3. Southampton Code Dojo - March 2015

    I went along to the most recent Southampton Code Dojo last week (12th March). I'd been meaning to go along for a while, and given how much I enjoyed the Game Jam in January (see here), I signed up earlier this month. The Dojo is basically a meet-up in the Southampton area for those interested in programming/coding, taking place on the second Thursday of each month. Unlike the Game Jam, which lasts all weekend, the Dojo takes place in two hours on one evening.

    I managed to get off to a good start by showing up a bit late, a result of me being under the strange notion that the event was being held in the Nuffield Theatre. The first twenty minutes were dedicated to mingling, getting to know people and having some free pizza and beer. During this time, we generated a list of potential projects for the …

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    Tags: Python

  4. Global Game Jam 2015 (Part II)

    Click here for part I.

    Much of Saturday was spent laying down the game code. I worked on some of the game backend, creating an object-orientated interface to the game world and levels. The world would be split into several rooms, and each room would contain a series of blocks, some of which the player could interact with. Inspired by Spelunky, we decided to store our level layouts in ASCII files to simplify level editing.

    At 6pm on Saturday a mini-showcase was held. This was supposed to be an intermediate deadline to work towards to try and get something playable that could be worked with over the next 21 hours. By this point we had code that compiled and a character that could be moved around the screen. But the rest of world and all the game physics were missing, so we still had some way to go. In actuality …

  5. Global Game Jam 2015 (Part I)

    It's 10pm on Friday night and I'm sat in the computer lab in ECS at the University of Southampton. My mind is racing, full of what needs to be done and what I have to do; it's hard not to feel a little overwhelmed. No, this isn't some desperate slog in the last chance saloon to make a university assignment deadline. Earlier this year I signed up to take part in the Global Game Jam 2015.

    I'd never written a computer game before, and the opportunity to get stuck in and work with others to produce something like a game really grabbed me. So, perhaps naively, I signed up. But still, I couldn't help but feel a little apprehensive. I wouldn't describe myself as a hardcore gamer. I play TF2, Minecraft and WoW on occasion, but I've never really got past the casual stage of gaming. Did I have enough …

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    Tags: Gaming, SDL, C++

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