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Yet another journal update that doesn't warrant a title

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Trapper Zoid

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It's been a little too long since I've posted an update here, mostly because I haven't really got anything cool to post. My game development has been hampered over the last week or so by a couple of factors. Firstly, I've been feeling exceptionally drained of energy of late - not sure if it's some sort of annoyingly mild yet persistant illness or it's just all in my head (psychological difficulties; worst ones to overcome [grin]) - which means it's hard to start focused on getting things done after I've spent a day working on research. Secondly, and much more importantly, a whole bunch of previously up-in-the-air factors to do with my Ph.D. research timetable over the next few months are being finalised, and it seems I'll be spending some time overseas visiting conferences and labs. This means I really need to concentrate on my research work as a much, much higher priority over game dev for a while, so my effective hours available to game dev have decreased dramatically.

I still think I can meet my goal of having an "easy to prototype and build with" 2D engine (with sample game) by around August/September, but I'll have to use a different strategy than naively relying on pure enthusiasm. Given the change in my timetable I'm going to have to switch to a more sensible plan earlier than I hoped for (darn shame; the silly plans are always more fun [grin]). With the reduction in available hours I think it's best to try to devote an hour before heading off to the office to doing targeted work towards building the engine. This seems to work well for a lot of people, and ties in really nicely to the end of daylight savings here next week. If I like I can devote any extra "hobby time" after work that I find that I have on all the fun stuff such as concept art and music without having a guilt trip that I'm not really making that much useful progress.

I'll post another journal entry when I've progressed a bit further than unexciting things such as background reading and top-level architecture stuff. Hopefully I'll also have shaken this feeling that my head is full of cotton wool.


One quick question though: I'll probably need to get a laptop of some kind in the near future, to act as a mobile work computer while I'm away from my desktop (so for word processing, presentations, programming etc.). I've been thinking about getting an iBook with a 12" screen, since they seem reasonably priced for an Apple (especially if I can get an educational discout) and could also give me a taste of cross-platform Mac OS development. However I'm pretty unexperienced with both Macs and laptops, so I was wondering if any of you have done the same thing or could offer me any advice about whether this is a good or bad computer to buy.
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Main problem with getting the 12" iBook right now is that Apple is in the middle of changing their systems to Intel-based instead of PowerPC-based. So if you want to look at doing cross-platform development in the future, you might be better served with the MacBook Pro, assuming it isn't out of your price range.

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It's not so much that the MacBook Pro is out of my price range (although it is too expensive for my taste really). But I'm not sure I see any reason in spending that much on a laptop unless it was a desktop replacement.

Would the change in chipset really make that much of a difference? I'm planning on doing most of my dev work on a desktop anyway; the laptop is just for when I'm away from my desk for an extended period of time.

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The iBook is a fantastic rig, but I can personally assure you there'll be a change to the iBook line up in the next month or so -- going to Intel and potentially flash memory basis (which would make it super thin).

At the very least, there'll be a clock bump and GPU improvement. It's fallen outside of Apple's upgrade cycle and there's supposed to be an announcement for their 30th anniversary on April 1.

I would recommend buying one, but make sure you have an external monitor -- the 12" is kind of a pain to manage multiple IDE windows on.

Also: If you can, use a student discount! I get 15% off a Macbook Pro. Most of the time, Apple doesn't even ask for proof of student identity.

I can go into a lot more depth about the various things Apple offers if you send me a message on any of my IM accounts.

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Hmmm, it's slightly annoying the upgrade is coming so soon. I'll need that laptop in May. However I was definitely planning on waiting until April anyway. It's a bit disconcerting that the announcement is rumoured to come out on April 1st though; I don't believe anything I read for the first three days of April [smile].

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Well, Apple was incorporated on April 1, and it's their 30 year anniversary this year. Ten years ago, they released a bunch of "boutique" products, including this:



The iBook to Intel transition has been pretty obvious for a long time, and even if they are more expensive you should be able to pick up old stock from almost any Apple store at a heavy discount. Also, the machine's lifecycle is almost twice what it usually is -- which means that it's getting long in the tooth and ready for a replacement.

Again, though, it is just a rumour -- they may not have a boutique event for the anniversary but you should be aware that the machine is definitely near the end of its lifecycle and may see upgrades within the next month or so.

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I'd just stumbled back on the Mac Rumors website myself [grin]. It's fairly annoying that it's so obvious the iBook is going to be upgraded soon, as it's a bit pointless waiting until after I really need it. I guess I'll just wait a bit longer to see if this April thing happens. If there's some heavily discounted old iBooks at my local Apple store then I'll definitely pick one up.

If not, maybe I'll think about getting a MacBook Pro instead (depending on how big the student discount is!). Or I might just borrow someone's broken down obsolete PC laptop for my trip like I always do...

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