Category: Ramblings

Alex Grist’s Departure

A while ago Alex Grist wrote a blog post outlining his side of the story regarding his departure from Cloud Sixteen. Unfortunately Cloud Sixteen never got an official chance to respond, so I’m going to detail what happened here.

Since late 2004, early 2005, I have been working with Lua on GMod. For a good 6 years I released scripts for free to the community, and hosted plenty of communities to engage both sandbox and roleplaying playerbases with huge success.

Around 5-6 years ago I began working on a roleplaying script called Cider. It was heavily enjoyed by the light roleplay community and before I knew it my server was packed. I eventually released this for free to the community and began evolving it into something more serious; from playing it I had developed a taste for serious roleplay, and Taco’n’Banana inspired me heavily.

Through many iterations, and over many years, Cider went through various names in its transition to a framework: Cider, Cydar, Blueprint, (a few others), kuroScript, OpenAura, and Clockwork.

Clockwork was my greatest achievement. I had completely re-written the inventory and item system to support fully dynamic and persistent item types, it was awesome. I made a schema called Test Bed to demonstrate the new features Clockwork had to offer, and CW: Test Bed was hosted by Cloud Sixteen. People loved it!

As time went on and I continued to develop Clockwork in public beta, university began to take over a large portion of my life. I managed to keep working on Clockwork in my spare time on the back of OpenAura’s success. It was when GMod 13 was released that many things about Garry’s Mod changed. I simply didn’t have the week or so required to convert Clockwork to GMod 13’s new format, as university was getting particularly heavy on me.

I needed to hire somebody. Alex Grist was always good fun, me and him would banter with the authentication system in OpenAura and Clockwork, I would try to make it uncrackable and he would try to crack it – good fun! We’d even talk in Steam about this, and I held no grudge on him at all for what he was doing.

It was for this reason that I decided to hire him, and so I did. Alex was given the deal that he could take money for pre-orders for the duration of the time that he works on Clockwork, and he did. Alex Grist did a great job working on Clockwork in my absence, and I respect him greatly for the pressure he took on.

When Alex decided to leave Cloud Sixteen after I had refused to up the percentage of money he could take from regular (non pre-order) sales, I was a very disappointed; he was a valuable asset to me, but I just couldn’t give him more money at that time.

I wish Alex all the best. I hope in the future we could work together again, under different and renewed circumstances.

CyanogenMod vs MIUI

There’s hundreds (or at least tens) of custom Android ROMs out there, so many to choose from, so it can be a little daunting when trying to find one right for you. I’ve been using MIUI for a little over two years now and it has always suited my needs. There’s plenty of features I like about MIUI, but just to list a couple of the most important ones to me:

  • Has a very clean, customizable interface, with great theming capabilities.
  • Regularly updated, and has good support for older phones.
  • Private messaging system (you can access a hidden set of messages for specific contacts.)

A phone is something you’re looking at a lot, most of the time without even thinking about it: whether it’s just to check the time; to see what your friends are up to on Facebook, or whatever. So it’s important that it’s ergonomically and aesthetically pleasing.

I had my Samsung Galaxy S2 for a long time, it was my pride and joy, I customized it to no end. When it got stolen from me ~4 months ago I bought another one straight away, it wasn’t easy, but I managed to find somebody with one that was pretty much new. The reason I didn’t go for a newer model like the S3 or S4 is simply because I couldn’t justify the price, a bigger screen or the latest processor just didn’t appeal to me.

Over the past couple of weeks the battery has started to let me down, though, and I’ve found myself having to charge my phone way too often. The first thing I did was go and order a new extended battery on Amazon, but in the interim I wiped everything and downloaded CyanogenMod.

Why?

I remember using CyanogenMod in the early days way before I started using MIUI, and always found the interface to be ugly and unintuitive. When I switched to MIUI I found the interface to be sleek, and clean, and everything appeared to run faster and smoother. Here’s why I’ve decided to switch back to CyanogenMod:

  • No stable update has been released for SGS2 for at least 3 months, but the update that was released then is very stable and very fast.
  • CyanogenMod have expanded greatly since I first used the ROM years ago, the team is much wiser, and the development is far greater.
  • The community is great, the developers are friendly, and new features have since been added.
  • I find that CyanogenMod is always the first out of the two to release ROMs for the latest Android versions (KitKat, for example.)
  • You can hide applications from the drawer that don’t matter to you. This includes any stock applications you don’t like seeing.

Since switching I’ve found that my battery is going down at a much slower pace, but I was still heavily put-off by the interface design; that was until I found this:

Theme Chooser Themes

This is a great application that unlocks the true potential of CyanogenMod’s Theme Chooser, which is almost on par with MIUI’s theming system.

It allows you to download and install fully featured themes within the app, for practically no cost (unless you want to buy a premium theme, which always tend to a far greater magnitude of awesome.)There are plenty of free themes to choose from, however I came across a premium theme called Simplex Blue Theme that I instantly fell in love with. It’s simple. It’s sleek. It’s all kinds of grey, and best of all it’s only £1.22. I’d spend double that on a coffee.
Well, that’s all folks.

Git Version Control

For those of you living under a rock, and are unfamiliar with it; Git is a fast, powerful, and easy to use distributed revision control system. It was created by the face behind the open-source Linux initiative, Linus Torvalds.Once you’ve set up a Git repository for your project, the basic principle of Git is this:

  1. Programmer A edits a file from a local clone of the repository on his/her system.
  2. When Programmer A has finished implementing Feature A or fixing Bug A, they “Commit” to their changes; a note can be added describing what they’ve changed, added, or removed.
  3. It would be wise at this point for Programmer A to “Pull” any changes to the remote repository; any alterations made will be cleverly merged.
  4. When Programmer A so desires, he or she can then “Push” the changes to the remote repository.
  5. Programmer B will receive these changes when he or she makes a “Pull”.

There’s way more to it than that, but that’s the basic idea; Git is awesome and I much prefer it to Apache Subversion (SVN).

Linus Torvalds
“Intelligence is the ability to avoid doing work, yet getting the work done.”