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robertom2002
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105: November 30, 2016, 11:46:08 PM »
The interview was an awesome read, and it's very cool to see that we still have one of the original t2 developers still responding to tribes 2 related stuff. I hope they come back to play their own game once in a while.

Blakhart
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106: May 27, 2017, 06:27:59 PM »
A dev answers some burning Tribes questions;

Q; Always wondered what the file extensions in Tribes meant. Such as .cs, .dso, perhaps you could fill in the details?
A; I don't recall exactly what the extensions meant -- .cs was for script files, .dso might have been dynamix script object or something like that.


Q; Hi again and thanks for the reply on the file extensions. Another burning question for you; is it spoken "dynamics" or "dyna-mix"?
A; Dynamics
robertom2002
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107: May 28, 2017, 04:42:08 PM »
Do the same dynamix people who worked on T2 also work on Midair? Who was the game designer?

Blakhart
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108: May 28, 2017, 10:53:33 PM »
Do the same dynamix people who worked on T2 also work on Midair? Who was the game designer?

MA is made by a separate group of devs.
https://www.playmidair.com/press/
Blakhart
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109: June 12, 2017, 06:06:17 PM »
A word on keeping backup parts and/or systems;

The other day while trying to play T2, my gtx280 went into "split screen" mode, one side of the screen had a different camera view from that of the left. This wasn't the only time the card had farted, with obvious artifacting taking place under no load conditions making me suspect the end was near for my elderly 280. For those inexperienced with such, this is a example of artifacting;
https://mlambert890.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/8800gtx_video_artifact_02.jpg
  Sometimes a driver or other software issue can cause the hardware to seem corrupted but in this case a driver revision didn't help at all, the card was on its last pixel. Good thing I had kept the gtx260 the 280 had replaced, so the 260 was installed and driver replaced with little to no apparent performance hit at least in t1 and t2. Ta is another matter where the greater total memory on the card is a great asset but the 250 plays it well enough. Ta was where the first artifacts became apparent but at the time I was unsure if the lockup was vid card or network related, in ta if the net farts the system basically freezes for a time. I could have gone with a newer vid card but the rest of the gaming pc's parts are 2008 era, however a more power efficient vid card would be nice to have. The 260 series are power hogs.

  So, moral of the story; keep spare parts or a spare system on hand for when your pc breaks - because it will. Like cars, it's almost a rule that if you have one you need two for when the first breaks down and leaves you somewhere.
Blakhart
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110: October 18, 2017, 07:10:32 PM »
A word on mouse repair;

Lately my most recently purchased meece was starting to double click via the fire button, so I knew its days were numbered. This has happened often before, even to my fav mouse, the ms intellimouse. What happens is the return spring of the affected button loses tension, work hardens over repeated use, and sends double clicks when only one is intended. This gets to be realllllly aggravating. Anyway, I have a few meece around to loan spare parts and thought hey, why not try some of the repair ideas instead of spending more money first.

Here are some vids on the technique most used to repair mice with button malfunctions;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8o4conOjPI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDoXMJyimDU

The vids show you the source of the issue, the microswitches that actuate most button controls on any given meece. Some microswitches are better than others, some will be rated to withstand several million clicks, some are barely up to the job when new.

My issue with the above videos is the repair technicians are simply retensioning the spring inside the microswitch, and that spring has already failed. I didn't want to reuse a switch that had already fatigued as the primary fire button of my game meece so I tried another tack.

That tack was to unsolder the least used microswitch in that meece and use that one to replace the faulty fire switch. There are three solder spots to hit on a given microswitch to unsolder and solder, and you can't get placement wrong on the pcb (printed circuit board) as the switch dealy is marked on the pcb like as if the switch was there on the board. I didn't need another meece for spare parts after all.

The least used microswitch in any of my meece is always the scroll wheel button, so I nicked that (all the microswitches in my meece are identical) and put it in place of the left click button. Most meece come apart very easily with just a screwdriver, but to use the soldering method of repair you have to have a soldering iron and solder, some soldering experience helps. If you don't have the tools or skills you can still use the method as shown in the vids that don't require iron or solder. Make sure you note what parts go where, the scroll wheel dealy has an optical encoder that is triggered by the passing of a shutter wheel, and that wheel can only go in the mouse one way - might help to take pics before you do any repair work.

Anopther issue some meece have is the actual plastic of the fire button, where it contacts the microswitch, becomes worn and will actually dish out. Some people use epoxy to fill the dish/depression in the plastic and then smooth the contact surface with some fine sand paper. I checked my meece and the plastic bits were unworn, so it was just the switch being bad, at least I hoped.
So I soldered the scroll wheel button in place of the fire button and vice versa, and oddly enough the scroll wheel button works fine, I wonder if the heat from soldering it stiffened the return spring or something so it works as it should.

I acknowledge the ghettoness of this repair, but replacing meece every year or so is expensive, this one cost me $80, and if I can bring it back from the dead for the cost of a few blobs of solder I'm gonna do it.

Anyway, just played some t2 and so far testing shows the meece is working fine, no double clicking or anything. This meece was bought at Frys back in 2008, so I used it to kill a lot of you in the duration, and now it can kill once again! When it goes bad next time I'll get a new meece or order some hi dolla microswitches and repair it the right way.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2017, 07:33:40 PM by Blakhart »
Blakhart
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111: February 15, 2018, 08:19:45 PM »
A word on sound wrappers;

This sound wrapper has been touted as a possible fix for the sound glitches commonly heard on multi core systems, heard almost always when pressing the jet button.
http://www.indirectsound.com/

I noted that the jet sound issue remains, however what was formerly "2 dimensional" audio is now more like 3 dimensional audio, ie it now has depth. The miles fast sound in my t2 install seemed to be very flat, either left or right audio and no depth, the new wrapper allows for that missing depth to be noted. It also works with most of the ancient games I play.
Ragora
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112: February 17, 2018, 05:35:43 AM »
A word on sound wrappers;

This sound wrapper has been touted as a possible fix for the sound glitches commonly heard on multi core systems, heard almost always when pressing the jet button.
http://www.indirectsound.com/

I noted that the jet sound issue remains, however what was formerly "2 dimensional" audio is now more like 3 dimensional audio, ie it now has depth. The miles fast sound in my t2 install seemed to be very flat, either left or right audio and no depth, the new wrapper allows for that missing depth to be noted. It also works with most of the ancient games I play.

I'm not certain it's bound to multi-core processors (just that pretty much all modern machines are at least dual core). Though I have some ancient desktops here I can see about attempting to reproduce it on. My one laptop might also allow me to disable multi core processing to achieve the same effect on a modern operating system.

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - Supposedly Einstein
Blakhart
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113: October 11, 2018, 10:01:32 PM »
A word on benchmarking.

Benchmarking is computer drag racing. It's putting your pc to the test to see if it is indeed, of the hizzy, if it, for example, has moxie, if it's tough enough, leet enough, for you, a member of the glorious pc gaming master race. Seriously it just indicates relative performance of certain pc hardwares.

Here's some vid card benches I use;
https://benchmarks.ul.com/legacy-benchmarks

My most oft used bench is the 2001se as it is closest to T2 era hardware expectations. Anyway, the good thing is the legacy benchmark downloads come with the key to enable all testing options. These are great benchmarks even today, and the demos included with each are pretty cool.

This is the overall pc benchmark I use most;
https://www.passmark.com/

Passmark is nice because it comes with a set of benchmark results for comparable systems, if you want to compare your i9 build to your 1996 486 with math co processor build, you can! Last time I used it, it had a limited duration unless you buy it, I just test and uninstall.

This tool that everyone should have is a goldmine for pc service;
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

Also on this tool is a app called memtest, this is about the best tool to use when adjusting memory timing, it is absolutely consistent from one run to the next, unlike some memory benches that I've used in the past like sisoft sandra. In the past, this excellent tool came with an offline pw tool that would  search a ntfs drive for user names and pw so they could be deleted or edited, someone got them to stop including it in the iso.

Other benches that may be of interest;
https://www.guru3d.com/files-details/aquamark-3.html
https://www.sisoftware.co.uk/
https://www.atto.com/disk-benchmark/


Speaking of benchmarks, here's a ssd life test benchmark I thought interesting;
https://techreport.com/review/27909/the-ssd-endurance-experiment-theyre-all-dead





« Last Edit: October 11, 2018, 10:05:59 PM by Blakhart »
Blakhart
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114: October 27, 2018, 08:25:52 PM »
A word on system/disk maintenance;

If you run disks that have spinning metal platters inside, you can help ensure you get optimal performance and reliability out of them in a number of ways. One of these ways is to keep them cool. Don't mount them atop each other with no air gap of at least half an inch between disks. I try to mount them in the front of the case behind the vents most every case will have, often a drive cage is right behind the case vents and if you install the drives there, you can force airflow over the drives easily. Good cooling enhances drive reliability and life.

Most drives never get hot enough to corrupt data, but lack of use can promote data corruption. By use I mean data that sits on a drive for months or even years without ever being looked at. What happens is the magnetic "domain" that is the bubble of magnetism on the drive that denotes a portion of a 1 or a 0 can weaken from lack of refreshing, and once it becomes weak enough the drive logic can confuse the magnetic gender and flip their state.

There's two ways to keep this from happening. One is to actually look at the data, use the app, or whatever the data on the disk represents so the data is read off the disk, examined by the drive logic, and then replaced back on the disk with a fresh magnetic domain. This is what we want, to refresh the magnetic domains.

The other way to refresh the domains is to do a full disk scan, and I recommend this every few months. What this does is the drive reads every bit on the drive, checks it for validity, corrects if it needs in some cases, flags in others, and replaces the data back on the drive with that delicious fresh domain. This regimen also checks the drive for bad sectors, if it finds any, it attempts to lift any data from the suspect sectors and places the data elsewhere safe, and then flags the suspect sector as unusable. Every drive leaves the factory with bad sectors already flagged off, and a pool of spare sectors so the drive will maintain capacity for the expected life of the drive. This can take a hour or two in most cases, terabytes of data will of course take longer. I typically find that after doing this, the system often shows a slight but noticeable performance improvement.

Now we have the data secured on the disk and the disk checked for reliability, we can defrag it. If you use the typical built in app to defrag, note that it doesn't defragment files larger than 64mb. Yes, 64mb. So how cam we defrag those huge video files and so on?

Start a cmd prompt with admin privileges. Hit start, all programs, accessories, right click on command prompt and hit run as administrator. This will fire up cmd with admin privilege.

Type defrag and hit enter.
It will list switches available in the defrag routine;

    - A Display a fragmentation analysis report for the specified volume without defragmenting it.

    - C Defragment all local volumes on the computer

    - E Defragment all local volumes on the computer except those specified.

    - H Run the operation at normal priority instead of the default low priority. Specify this option if a computer is not otherwise in use.

    - M Run the operation on each volume in parallel. This is used primarily for SCSI or SATA type disks rather than the typical IDE.

    - T Track an operation already in progress on the specified volume.

    - U Print the progress of the operation on the screen.

    - V Verbose mode. Provides additional detail and statistics.

    - X Perform free-space consolidation. Free-space consolidation is useful if you need to shrink a volume, and it can reduce fragmentation of future files.

Since I have multiple drives, I enter defrag /c /w /m /h /u /x /t /v

The c switch tells the app to defrag all drives, the w switch tells the app to defrag files larger than 64mb, the m switch defrags the drives in parallel, the x switch tells the app to consolidate free space, and the w switch tells the app to reveal details in the report.

Defrags is actually best done under safe mode to reduce the files in system use that will not be defragged.
The above should keep your disks and system happy. Don't even bother doing any of this with ss drives, you'll just reduce their lives, also this is unnecessary with solid state drives.
Blakhart
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115: October 28, 2018, 07:37:40 PM »
A (further) word on HPET;

HPET is a system timer developed by Intel and M$ to replace most of the system timers in use up to around 2008. The idea was to develop a timer that had none of the issues of the legacy timers, of wich there are multiple. Win10 doesn't use HPET but it still may be present in a current mobo bios/uefi, and you can enable or disable it and see if it helps or hurts system performance. Reason I'm touching on this now is due to a recent vid cared upgrade.

This vid card upgrade played everything well but I noticed when side scrolling in T2 there was a definite stutter. This displeased me. I tried all the various vid card settings in the T2 profile, tried various in game settings, and still the stutter. Then I remembered I'd disabled HPET and so looked HPET up on innernets to see what the modern consensus was regarding HPET and found multiple opinions. So I enabled it in bios and the os and checked T2 and all was smooth and creamy now, no more stuttering at all. This is what was commonly mentioned in innernet threads about HPET, however keep in mind the results are very os and system hardware dependant, some users had smoother performance without HPET, others had better with HPET, so try it in your own system both ways to see if there's an improvement.

Here's a thread on testing HPET;
https://www.ghacks.net/2013/04/18/try-changing-hpet-settings-to-improve-your-pcs-performance/

Make sure you try all your other games to see if HPET hurts or helps them.

While on the subject, make sure you have this line somewhere in your scripts/autoexec folder;

"SetPerfCounterEnable(1);"

Most systems will run T2 smoother with it set to 0 rather than 1, mine runs best with it enabled aka 1. Try the game both ways to see if it makes a diff in your case. You can add it to any script inside the autoexec folder, just copy and paste it, or make a script with notepad, copy the line into notepad, save it as whatever you want to call it and then change the file extension to .cs. Pop it in the audoexec folder and away you go.
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