Nutopia: The Meeting

Posted Aug 5, 2020 at 12:00 am

New PC 2020

Posted Apr 30, 2020 at 4:15 pm

For me, the challenge of building a custom PC is finding someone to put it all together. I know what parts to get and how to put it all together, but I can’t physically do the work, so I have to talk someone else through the process. Troubleshooting the problems that inevitably come up is also hindered by my inability to physically manipulate the hardware.

This time, however, I decided to try my luck at ordering a fully assembled system. I ordered a custom PC from CyberPowerPC. Here are the specs:

  • MB: ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming
  • CPU: Intel Core i9 9900K @ 4.7GHz
  • RAM: 32GB (2x16GB) G.SKILL Ripjaws V DDR4 3200MHz
  • GPU: MSI Geforce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB
  • Storage: 1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe M.2 SSD
  • PSU: EVGA 850W GQ 80+ Gold
  • Case: Corsair Carbide Series 678C
  • CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro H115i PRO RGB 280mm Liquid CPU Cooler
  • OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Professional

It took about two weeks to arrive after placing the order. It was packaged very well (I ordered the enhanced packaging) and everything was in perfect condition. It worked right out of the box. They did a great job with cable management with most of the wires out of sight and neatly bundled with zip ties.

We had to transfer some drives and the capture card from my old system, so some of the zip ties had to be cut and cable management disturbed. The M.2 cards are secured to the motherboard by the heat sinks rather than mounting screws. I don’t know if that is how it’s supposed to be but that is how it came. That caused an issue where the main drive was not detected and we had to re-mount it. Other than that, everything went as planned.

I have a few minor complaints. The GPU I ordered was an Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti, but the one that I got was an MSI RTX 2080 Ti, but those are equivalent as far as I am concerned. I was also supposed to get a free 2TB 7200 RPM hard drive but I got a 5400 RPM drive, but I can’t really complain about a free hard drive. I also would have preferred that the boot drive be installed in the M.2 slot farther from the CPU, but that is a very minor complaint (in hindsight, we could have easily swapped the M.2 cards when we had it open).

In conclusion, the overall experience was good and I would use CyberPowerPC in the future. I also considered iBuyPower but I decided to go with CyberPowerPC because I was able to get a better GPU for the same price.

Anyway, please enjoy this photo of the inside of the case. The AVerMedia capture card and the Blu-ray drive were supplied by me. Also there are a few untamed SATA cables that were not there originally.

Streaming

Posted Mar 23, 2019 at 2:48 pm

I recently started streaming on my Twitch channel. I invested so much in quality audio recording equipment for my animation, so I thought I would put it to good use and do some broadcasting. That was actually my main inspiration.

I’ve been streaming several different games on different days of the week and it’s been pretty fun so far. I may decide to change this format in the future. I also need to work on the branding and graphics, but for now I am keeping it simple.

Come check it out if you are in to this kind of thing…

https://www.twitch.tv/stevotvr

Controlling Game Consoles From A PC

Posted Feb 25, 2019 at 4:25 pm

This post is a continuation of my previous post Playing Games With One Hand. The setup described in that post works great for PC games, but it is useless if you want to play console games. In order to do that, you need a way to connect the PC to the console and emulate a controller.

After searching for a bit, I found a product that can do that, called the Titan One. This little device allows you to use different controllers with different consoles, and most importantly, keyboard/mouse via the MaxAim DI plugin.

The MaxAim DI plugin maps keyboard and mouse (buttons and movement) input to buttons on a controller. When you plug the program cable into the PC, the virtual controller is able to send input to the console. It supports many controller types.

I am using this with a Nintendo Switch, which requires a little bit of setup. First, since this is a wired device, the System Settings > Controllers and Sensors > Pro Controller Wired Communication setting must be enabled. I am using the XBox 360 controller layout in the MaxAim DI plugin.

So far I have been playing Super Mario Odyssey fairly effectively. This device works very well. I also tried the Pokémon: Let’s Go Demo, but found out the game doesn’t support the Pro Controller, so that doesn’t work. I can’t comment on any other games or consoles yet, but maybe I will update this post after I try more of them.

Making Cartoons

Posted Jun 20, 2018 at 9:35 pm

I decided to try to learn how to create animated videos. So, I got a subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud and Skillshare to learn via video tutorials. I also bought a condenser microphone for recording dialog. After watching a few classes, I started working on the first video.

The first video is called Bob’s Robot. I drew the backgrounds and characters in Photoshop, recorded and edited dialogue in Audition, and animated everything in Character Animator. Here is the result:

The second video is called Good Advice Unicorn. This time I drew backgrounds in Photoshop, characters in Illustrator, and animated using After Effects. Here it is:

The third (and latest as of writing this) video is called Nutopia 2: Attack of the Legumes. I used the same workflow as the previous video, except I used an inverse kinematics plugin to rig and animate the characters. I also recruited some guest voices, which was tricky but worth the effort. This one is significantly longer than the previous videos, and I think the quality is significantly better. Here it is:

The YouTube channel is called VideoStove. You can find a link to it on the amazing website I created for it.

Anyway, that is what I have been spending my time on lately. Enjoy!

Nutopia

Posted at 10:00 am

Good Advice Unicorn

Posted Apr 2, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Bob’s Robot

Posted Mar 17, 2018 at 6:20 pm

Discontinuing Work On Some Projects

Posted Jun 26, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Due to lack of public interest and to make room for other projects, I decided to stop active development on Flavordex and Word64. The apps will still receive bug fixes and my other project, Elementary, will still continue.

These products never took off. They don’t have the number of users to justify the time and effort required to continue development. I would like to use that time to work on some other project, as soon as I figure out what that is.

What next?

Playing Games With One Hand

Posted Jun 22, 2017 at 3:34 pm

Over the past few years, my left hand has become pretty much useless for using the keyboard. This made playing most games impossible, or at least that’s what I thought. For a while I could only play games that only require a mouse.

I recently discovered that some people have been able to effectively play most games using face and head movements. The software uses a Microsoft Kinect sensor to recognize facial expressions and head orientations and translates them into keyboard and mouse inputs.

I ordered the Kinect and an adapter for the PC. I combined the KinesicMouse software with VAC System (software that triggers inputs based on voice phrases) for the less time sensitive inputs. With some practice I have been able to effectively play games like Minecraft, Battlefield, and Overwatch with just a mouse and my face.

But what about consoles?