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Thread: brotm #4 - the virtual world

  1. #1
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    Default brotm #4 - the virtual world

    1977. My Dad brought home a Commodore PET 2001 - the tiny keyboard version. I don't think he ever told my Mum how much it cost. I was 14, and started to program it.

    1987. I bought a Commodore A500 for £399. I later bought a 1MB upgrade for the RAM for £200. A shocking £1700 in today's money. For two megabytes.

    1994 - 2010. The mark-up and programming years. "Hey, does anyone write html?" asked my boss, one day, "we need a website on this Internet thing." I couldn't, at the time, but got the job. And picked up languages thereafter.

    2019. Today I have, amongst the tablets, smartphones and laptop dotted about the house, a desk PC. A beast of various ancestry, upgrades, new bits and worn fans. Do I program? Well, not much, any more.

    You see, a couple of years ago, my eldest son said 'You should look at this game.'

    So I did. It cost £30 downloaded from Steam. And 1500 hours of play later (a penny per thirty minutes!) I'm getting quite good.



    My most recent exploration vessel in orbit over Duna, Kerbal Space Program.

    My wife doesn't get it: "Do you play online with others?" "No. It's a stand-alone thing." "Are there goals or missions?" "Not in the Sandbox version I play. I just downloaded a pile of mods and do whatever I want. Seen my latest Munar refueling station?"

    XKCD gets it.



    I am Dr Rendezvous in this house. Shoot-em-ups? MMORPGs? You can keep 'em. Assembling and re-supplying distant stations without killing (too many) Kerbals is where it's at.

    Andy
    "We were schooner-rigged and rakish, with a long and lissome hull ..."

  2. #2
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    Default Re: brotm #4 - the virtual world

    i had to google it

    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: brotm #4 - the virtual world

    My first experience with computers was a Sinclair ZX81 around 1982. I borrowed it from a frustrated friend who couldn't get any sense out of it. It had 1k of memory, so I upgraded the memory a bit, although I can't remember how much. This was so I could get it to play chess. I also had to buy a cassette tape drive and the chess program. It used an old B&W TV for a monitor, and while it figured out the next chess move, which took about 15-20 minutes, the screen would go black.
    Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race. H. G. Wells

  4. #4
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    Default Re: brotm #4 - the virtual world

    Yes. "Tell the kids of today that, and they wouldn't believe you..."

    Andy
    "We were schooner-rigged and rakish, with a long and lissome hull ..."

  5. #5
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    Default Re: brotm #4 - the virtual world

    I still have the Commodore VIC20, as well as the slightly later Commodore 64, down in my basement. I bought these for my wife, who mostly just used them to play games. At the time, I was 'playing' (at work) with a small PDP-11 system... when the very first IBM PC's came out, I was the first in my company to get one, because I was designing a data acquisition card to fit inside. It was a 640K, 2 floppy disk drive, green screen monitor system... and still had the 'casette port' on the back

    As I recall, it cost around $3000
    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







  6. #6
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    Default Re: brotm #4 - the virtual world

    My first experience was, i think, on a library computer at Western Montana University, 1982. I was 10. Played Oregon Trail and the snake game.

    We also had access to the university swimming pool and would have the place to ourselves for hours, just me and my brother, with no adult supervision. Surreal, in retrospect.

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    Default Re: brotm #4 - the virtual world

    I've had the Oculus VR system for a couple of years now and still really enjoy it, especially the programs that allow you to explore the solar system and the International Space Station. My system is the Rift, which is still tethered to a desktop with a high end video card. But I'm envious of the new Oculus Quest which is totally untethered and wireless self contained in the headset and hand controllers. The Oculus Quest system is now below $500 all in, so if you haven't tried VR, there is no more excuse not to.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: brotm #4 - the virtual world

    I did'nt come into computing until the late 80's- having been subjected to the torture that was writing FORTRAN back in the mid-70's.
    My first computer/ word processor at work ran on MS.Dos which I just used. Windows when it arrived was a relevation. Been a 'user' ever since, excel is about as techie as I can get
    Yma o hyd

  9. #9
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    Default Re: brotm #4 - the virtual world

    Quote Originally Posted by obscured by clouds View Post
    I didn't come into computing until the late 80's- having been subjected to the torture that was writing FORTRAN back in the mid-70's.
    My first computer/ word processor at work ran on MS.Dos which I just used. Windows when it arrived was a relevation. Been a 'user' ever since, excel is about as techie as I can get
    FORTRAN still had it's uses, long after most of us thought it was dead and gone.

    I was a technical representative, for my company, to various startups that were being funded by my company's venture capital arm... and one of the companies was involved in early attempts to dramatically speed up computing via predictive threading.... something that is now commonplace, but at the time, was the cutting edge... and the software used in those machines was indeed FORTRAN. I remember being surprised, at the time, because the contemporary languages were Visual Basic, C, and Pascal. I was really a hardware designer, but ended up being captivated by Pascal... and never made the transition to C, because structurally, they seemed identical... but I preferred the more readable syntax provided by Pascal. I continued to use Pascal, in differing forms, until just a year and a half ago, when I essentially retired. Originally, it was Turbo Pascal, then Borland Pascal, then Borland Delphi, and then finally, Embarcadero Delphi... the same thing, just changing names and ownership over the years, as it became more and more enhanced.
    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







  10. #10
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    Cool Re: brotm #4 - the virtual world

    I miss my old Web TV unit.
    That thing was The Shiz back then.


    Keep calm, persistence beats resistance.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: brotm #4 - the virtual world

    I can vouch for this "game" 100%. If you have a PC that can run it, it's a must buy. I've enjoyed this game since the very early release. I'm not as good (read, patient) as you Andy but I sure do enjoy failing. Funnily, I just re-downloaded it off Steam on Sunday to try out the new content. I'm working on a comms array of geo-sync satellites in science mode. I put the word game in quots because this is eaisly the most powerful learning tool in terms of basic orbital mechanics ever made, not to mention the systems you have to learn and perfect, like fuel and electrical management.
    In the US this perverted idea of “blood and soil” over “constitutional principles” is the most radical and anti-democratic and anti-Conservative idea I have heard in my lifetime.

    ~C. Ross

  12. #12
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    Default Re: brotm #4 - the virtual world

    My next-door neighbour (who went on to found, in partnership with my younger brother, the first commercial ISP in this part of Canada) got himself a ZX81 around the time my dad got an H89; I used both before we got an Apple ][e clone at home. At school it was FORTRAN, APL, and various flavours of Basic, mostly; aside from the standard issue VAXEN and PDP-11s and such, Commodore micros like the VIC-20, PET, and C-64 were popular in schools, and I had a part-time job helping my computer science teacher run microcomputer classes for seniors on machines of that ilk.

    I haven't built a semi-serious gaming rig since my last foray into Skyrim, which ate a few thousand hours. I'm antsy as hell for (but also kind of dreading) the release of the sixth major installment in The Elder Scrolls; I'm almost certain to spend a few thousand more hours on that, and probably quite a few bucks on hardware to run it, too.

    What are you doing about it?




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    Default Re: brotm #4 - the virtual world

    My daughter asked me what kind of computer I had in high school -
    I laughed for a long time (I got out of high school in 1966).

  14. #14
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    Default Re: brotm #4 - the virtual world

    I went though college and got a BS degree, without owning a calculator. The company that I worked for bought us an IBM PC with dual floppies in probably 1982. I learned DOS and Basic from the manuals that came with the computer. The company taught us how to use the dBase II software for their use. It seems we also had a Leading Edge word processing program and sent the files to the company on a 300 baud modem.

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    Default Re: brotm #4 - the virtual world

    I had never heard of Kerbal, but it sounds like my kind of "game". I've got Steam, so I'll purchase it and go from there. Any newbie advice?

  16. #16
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    Default Re: brotm #4 - the virtual world

    First program I ever wrote - well the first that ran on actual hardware - was in Algol 60 - to run on an Elliott.

    That was a long time ago - I've since written in a huge variety of languages and sometimes on some very strange hardware - been a weird journey.
    Creationists aren't mad - they're possessed of demons.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: brotm #4 - the virtual world

    Quote Originally Posted by ron ll View Post
    I had never heard of Kerbal, but it sounds like my kind of "game". I've got Steam, so I'll purchase it and go from there. Any newbie advice?
    1. Go for the Sandbox option. No mods.
    2. Build a rocket. Almost any rocket.
    3. Redesign that rocket, if required (yeah, it will be !) to get a capsule into orbit - preferably with a docking port and manoeuvring thrusters. Don't forget the get-you-home additions of a deorbit-burn capability, heatshield and parachutes. Solar panels and batteries are a bonus.
    4. WHEN in orbit ... Launch another of the same type, in an attempt to rendezvous and (mega bonus Andy Points) dock with it. Meeting stuff in another orbit at slow speeds is the key to Doing Stuff. Meeting stuff in another orbit at high speeds is way too easy. So, learn the way the orbit mode works, setting burns, enabling you to fire thrusters 'just then' to get you 'just there' at 'just that'. Hint: to circularise differing orbits, the best approach is to:

    A/ reduce the inclination between the orbits to zero. Things are way easier once done.
    B/ apply a burn (using the manouevre node options) to create an intersection. A kilometre or two is ideal.
    C/ using the 'target' delta-v display, reduce the difference to under 10ms-1 at about a kilometre distance., using exactly the right burn at the right time.
    D/ Gently attempt to approach the target using the thrusters.
    E/ Switch between target and docker to ensure alignment.
    F/ Dock.
    G/ Do This In Daylight. Oh gawd yes,

    ...

    Z/ Land on Laythe to do science with enough fuel to return to Kerbin. Good luck.
    "We were schooner-rigged and rakish, with a long and lissome hull ..."

  18. #18
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    Default Re: brotm #4 - the virtual world

    Quote Originally Posted by ron ll View Post
    I had never heard of Kerbal, but it sounds like my kind of "game". I've got Steam, so I'll purchase it and go from there. Any newbie advice?
    This is one of the rare games where failing is almost as much fun as winning. Check out youtube, even some of the older videos are helpful to get your feet wet.
    In the US this perverted idea of “blood and soil” over “constitutional principles” is the most radical and anti-democratic and anti-Conservative idea I have heard in my lifetime.

    ~C. Ross

  19. #19
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    Default Re: brotm #4 - the virtual world

    PS ... Kerbin and KSP in youtube gets you kilohours of additional explanation.

    Cross post with McMike!
    "We were schooner-rigged and rakish, with a long and lissome hull ..."

  20. #20
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    Default Re: brotm #4 - the virtual world

    I'm having enough trouble commissioning a new laptop... last night and today.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

  21. #21
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    Default Re: brotm #4 - the virtual world

    Kerbal looks like fun, thanks for all the advice. Problem now is, it’s high summer here, 87 F and time to be on the boat, not in front of a computer. Kerbal might have to wait for Fall.

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