Oppo R7s Android Phone Review

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Oppo. I’ve never heard of them before, but they’re a Chinese electronics manufacturer, if their Wikipedia page is to be believed. I was in the market for a cheap but decent Android phone, which doesn’t seem to be a common combination – you can either have cheap, or decent.

Luckily for me, I wandered into a Dick Smith store closing down and saw a few Oppo R7s’s in the cabinet:


20160421_144422Bargain!

After googling for a bit and seeing some positive reviews, I decided to go for it, at that bargain price of $317.40AU and I was impressed with the device contained within.

Opening up the box was a standard affair, with the handset itself, SIM card metal pokey device, USB cable and charger, headphones – and surprisingly, a clear soft plastic case. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a phone come with a case!

20160421_165143 20160421_165223Oppo R7s box contents

Specs

This is a pretty beefy phone. From Oppo’s website:

Dimensions/Weight
Height 151.8 mm
Width 75.4 mm
Thickness 6.95 mm
Weight 155g
Basic Parameters
Color Golden, Rose Gold
Operating System ColorOS 2.1, based on Android 5.1
GPU Adreno 405
RAM 4GB
Storage 32GB (Expandable up to 128GB)
Battery Typical Capacity: 3070 mAh (Non-removable)
Processor Qualcomm MSM8939 Octa-core
Display
Size 5.5 inches
Type AMOLED
Resolution Full HD (1920 by 1080 pixels)
Colors 16 million colors
Touchscreen Multi-touch, Capacitive Screen, Gorilla Glass 4
Support for Gloved and Wet Touch Input
Camera
Main Sensor 13-megapixel
Front Sensor 8-megapixel
Flash LED Flash
Aperture Rear: f/2.2
Sec: f/2.4
Other Features 720p/ 1080p videos
Connectivity
Frequencies International Version:
GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100MHz
LTE Bands 1/3/5/7/8/20/TD-40
Taiwan Version:
GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100MHz
LTE Bands 1/3/5/7/8/28/TD-38/39/40/41
US Version:
GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100MHz
LTE Bands 1/2/4/7/17
SIM Card Type Dual-SIM: Micro-SIM Card and Nano-SIM Card
GPS Supported
Bluetooth 4
Wi-Fi 2.4/5GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
OTG Supported
NFC No
Sensors
Distance sensor
Light sensor
G-sensor
E-compass
In The Box
OPPO R7s
In-ear type earphones
Micro USB cable
VOOC Flash Charger mini
SIM ejector tool
Documentation
Case

4GB of RAM and a nice Octa-core CPU make this a pretty high end phone. The screen is AMOLED which makes is very pretty to look at, and a 1080p resolution is enough for a 5.5″ screen in my opinion.

It’s running ‘ColorOS’ which is a modified version of Android. That normally is a bad thing, as manufacturers seem to bloat and slow down the user experience, but I found it really snappy to use.

20160421_165638ColorOS

The battery isn’t removable, but is easily big enough for a day’s usage.

There’s also VOOC Flash Charge – this gives you a really quick charging capability. If you use the charger and cable that comes with the phone, you can charge for 2 minutes to get 2 hours of talking mode power. 30 minutes of charge will give you 75% of your battery back, which is really impressive. You can still use a standard MicroUSB charger for slower charging times, so you don’t need to change over all your existing cables.

Another nifty feature of the R7s is the dual SIM option. You can either have two different SIMs in the device, or use one of the slots for added memory via a MicroSD card. A cool option I thought.

 
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Oppo R7s Main Screen

I *really* like this phone. Compared to my Samsung Galaxy S6, I like this MORE, and it cost almost 1/4 of the price on sale. Even not on sale, it’s half the price. It’s snappy to use, there’s no bloatware from Oppo that I can see – they have designed this as a lightweight, easy to use Android phone with some cool features. The camera is really good too. I’m not sure there’s anything better about my Samsung Galaxy S6 compared to this. It feels nice to hold, is light and thin.

If you want a bigger screen, there’s the almost identical Oppo R7 plus which has a 6″ screen rather than 5.5″ and only costs a little more.

I can’t fault it, so if you’re in the market for an Android phone, this is worth checking out!

Fitbit Blaze Review

download

Preface: I’m looking at this device from a smartwatch point of view, as I’m not a fitness buff in any sense. If you want to know about the FitBit Blaze from a non-fitness person’s point of view, please read on!

Smartwatches. I love the idea of them, a quicker way of seeing information you’d normally need to get by taking your phone out of your pocket. Yet, I dislike the general implementations of any smartwatch I’ve tried: their features, price point, lack of battery life and the annoyance of having them ‘in the way’ of being able to look at my wrist to tell the time.

I’ve reviewed the Samsung Gear 2 previously, and since then tried an original Microsoft Band. They fit into my above description, where I’m hoping the technology and design improves enough to meet my expectations.

While Smartwatches were adapting, so were fitness bands. They seemed to start out as ‘dumb’ devices where a digital watch with a heart rate monitor was considered high end. Those have come along way, with Fitbit and Garmin leading the pack.

Fitbit however (like Microsoft and others), seem to be blending the two devices together into one. Part fitness with step counts, heart rates, GPS and a bunch of other fitness junkie options, as well as phone notifications and music control.

One of Fitbit’s latest releases is the Fitbit Blaze, which seemed to tick a lot of boxes for me personally (aka ‘the stuff I care about’):

  • Battery life: lasts up to 5 days
  • Notifications: Text and call via Bluetooth 4.0
  • Syncs with Windows Vista and later, Mac OS X 10.6 and up, iPhone 4S and later, iPad 3 gen. and later, and leading Android and Windows devices (i.e. all the things)
  • Charge time: One to two hours
  • Fitbit Blaze is sweat, rain and splash proof
  • Sleep Tracking
  • Touch screen
  • Color LCD

This gives us a device that can last for days, charges relatively quickly (charging while getting ready in the morning daily would cover it), provides useful information I care about in a non-bulky form factor, and I can use it on whatever device I’m currently on.

First Setup

When you first power on the FitBit Blaze, you will see a single prompt asking you to set it up by going to a URL fitbit.com/setup. Somehow through black magic I assume, you can install the app on your mobile device of choice and it will detect your watch, ready to be configured. The black magic part is that you don’t configure any connections. Nothing, it just knows you’re near an unconfigured watch. I don’t know if it’s GPS or just seeing the watch broadcasting it’s Bluetooth availability, but whatever they’re doing, it works and is a well designed setup process.

That is, until I tried to do it on Windows Phone 8.1 care of a Lumia 640 XL. Please see my rant* at the bottom of this post for further details, it’s frustrating enough that on this issue alone I wouldn’t touch a FitBit again.

After using an Android phone instead, the above setup process was what I experienced, which was the great experience I’d hoped for. The setup process from the app side asks for your basic information, such as sex, age and weight to make calculations around step count and other nifty functions

Hardware

Technical specifications like CPU don’t matter when a product has it’s own OS – it’s how it works, and the experience that matters. I’ll cover function rather than under the hood here.

Firstly, they’ve designed the watch face so it pops out, by pushing it inward. I thought this would be a benefit due to not having to take the band off, but it’s too tricky to do. The watch itself is quite comfortable to wear and doesn’t feel like it sticks out or has weird lumps. It’s also very light, lighter than my metal analog watch, so there’s no weight concern.

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Fitbit Blaze on Wrist (Hairy arm not included)

The popped off watch face can then be inserted into the dock for charging:

20160429_090727Watch face docked

That system seems to work pretty well – I don’t know if the clipping in and out daily of the watch face will eventually wear the plastic that holds it in, but you’ll probably throw it in the bin due to being obsolete before that happens.

The back of the watch has the standard sensors for heart rate (apparently detecting the volume of blood) which emit green beams of light:

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Underside of FitBit Blaze

The band itself is upgradable, since it’s just a chassis for the watch face. The one that comes with it doesn’t feel premium, but also doesn’t feel cheap, so I see no reason to swap it out.

Buttons and Touch

There’s 3 buttons on the watch, one on the left and two on the right. The left is a ‘back’ button, while the top right is ‘action’ and the bottom right ‘select’. I haven’t really worked out what ‘action’ does, as normally I’m just using the touchscreen or the back button. Pressing it on several menus did nothing.

The touch interface is amply responsive, doesn’t feel laggy, and seems to accurately detect where you’re pressing.

Also, the screen goes off when you’re not using it. To bring it to life, you need the motion option enabled (which is annoying in bed at night when the room lights up because you turned over), or by pressing any button. I’d prefer a low energy constant output of the time, like the Microsoft Lumia phones have.. but then we wouldn’t have 5 days battery life. Still, I’d like the option.

Menu Options on Watch

There’s a few different watch interfaces you can choose from the Fitbit app, and when I say few, there was about 3 from memory. Not a huge choice. Beyond the default time screen there’s:

Today – shows you all your stats for the day such as steps, fat burn, distance walked, calories and floors (as in, how many floors you’ve walked up)

Exercise – A set of exercise options that will track what you do while running, biking, doing weights etc. Suffice to say I haven’t tested these.

Fitstar – Your watch will tell you what to do, and take you through a workout routine. Also untested, got as far as seeing this and quickly exited the menu option:

20160429_112450Cat and Cows?? The more I think about this, the worse it is.

Timer – Yep, both stopwatch and countdown options here.

Alarm – I like this one, setting an alarm which just vibrates your watch is less distruptive than a noise based alarm. You can’t set the alarm on the watch though, you’ll need to use the app for that.

Settings – 4 settings in there, not very customisable.

Overall, enough options for a basic smart watch. You can also get notifications such as SMS from your phone, and that’s configured from the app too.

Summary

Do I like this watch? I’m asking myself because I’m still not sure. It still has a few inherantly annoying things that smartwathes have, such as low battery life and a screen that doesn’t do the basic function of showing you the time without pressing a button, or enabling ‘light up at any movement’ which has other drawbacks. However. it’s very handy to glance at your watch to see an SMS rather than dragging your phone out of the pocket, and it’s still a step (rather than leap) forward from the smart watches of a year ago.

It’s also a hybrid fitness watch and smart watch – I do like to know the basics of step count and heart rate, but the other functions are lost on me personally. Along with my rant below, I can’t recommend the watch, but nor can I dismiss it. It’s one of the better ones out so far, and I don’t believe anyone would be disappointed in their purchase. If you don’t mind buying a new watch every year, then this is worth getting. If you don’t want to buy a new watch every year, then maybe wait for something newer… however, something better may take quite a while to show up.

 

*Rant time:

FitBit Blaze is not supported on Windows Phone 8.1, despite the box implying that it is, and the support site not indicating any issues against the Lumia 640XL phone I was setting it up against.

20160420_213758“Works with iPhone, Android and Windows devices.” – the word ‘some’ apparently left out.

I raised this with FitBit’s Support Twitter account and didn’t get any helpful answer:

Giving up on their lackluster Twitter support, I searched their forums and found this: https://community.fitbit.com/t5/Windows-10-App-Windows-Phone-App/Blaze-not-listed-on-Windows-phone-app/td-p/1213142

The ‘answer’ from that from 1st March 2016 (almost two months ago from time of writing) was this:

Hi everyone! Thanks for moving this to the Windows forum @PureEvil! 
I understand that some of you have already done this but, for those that haven’t tried it yet; if you’re not seeing Blaze appear in the app, please try uninstalling and reinstalling the app.
For users with Windows 8.1, the Blaze tracker is optimized for Windows 10. I highly suggest using a mobile device, tablet, or a computer with Windows 10 installed for Blaze to work properly.
There will be an app update coming later on this week to help with Blaze not appearing on the current app version. I’ll make sure to update you all here once it’s released and will be available to answer any questions.
Thanks for your patience!

There’s no further update, and somehow that’s an acceptable answer. There is no Blaze option appearing at the time of writing. Based on this crappy support experience, I want nothing further to do with the company’s products, which are highly successful and hardly cheap. If everything they had didn’t indicate that this combination of devices was supported, there wouldn’t have been an issue in the first place.

I ended up having to buy an Android phone at a similar cost to the FitBit itself, the Oppo R7s – which I’m really impressed with for it’s price, but money I shouldn’t have had to spend.

Intel Remote Keyboard App

When I was checking out the Intel Compute Stick, I noticed a pre-installed app called ‘Intel Remote Keyboard’.

I quickly googled it to find out what it was, and found Intel’s download page for the product. It sounded pretty good, so thought I’d test it out:

After seeing it in action and playing around with it, I went back and installed it on my NUC to use there too. It’s a very nice solution for using an Android or iOS device as both a mouse trackpad, and keyboard. This only works on Intel devices listed at the website, but pretty much any iOS or Android device as the keyboard and mouse.

It was easier to set up than I expected, with just pointing the phone at the screen to grab the QR code for pairing. If you have, or are thinking of having an Intel NUC or Intel Compute Stick as a media box in the lounge, this gives you a free fully functioning remote. You can have multiple devices paired too, so everyone in the house can have their personal remote in their pocket.

It also supports gestures which you’d normally see on a trackpad, such as pinch to zoom which is a nice touch.

It’s one of those little feature adds that you could probably find a free solution for and muck around with, but this just works, and has a well designed app as part of the free package.

 

Downloads:

Intel Remote Keyboard Host Download: Link

Android Download: Link

iOS Download: Link

Intel Compute Stick 2016 Review

Hi,

Today I’m presenting another review from Mason Baxter, who kindly reviewed and shared with me his writeup of the updated Intel Compute Stick, the older model I had personally reviewed in 2015. Mason’s started his own blog too, where he’s also posted this review. Intel have updated the stick for 2016, and here’s what Mason found out about it:

Intel Compute Stick Review

What is an Intel Compute Stick?

An Intel Compute Stick is a small portable computer that can fit into your pocket. It can change any regular television into a smart TV, giving it the abilities of any regular computer but in your lounge room.

ics1Overhead comparison of the Intel Compute Stick and a banana

Ports
With Intel’s small and sleek design, they still managed to give you options for storage and more USB ports compared to their previous design. The left hand side contains a micro SD card slot used mainly to add extra storage (up to 128GB) whilst the right side holds a micro USB port which is predominantly for charging, and two USB ports. One is USB 2.0 and the other is USB 3.0, unlike their previous version with only one USB 2.0 port.

 

ics2Right hand side – USB 3.0, USB 2.0, Micro USB and power button

ics3 Left Hand side – Micro SD slot and Lanyon hole

Design
In terms of design, the main portion is matte black. With two fan grills and a nice vibrant glossy finish around the logo and LED light. The design is very appealing to look at with the rounded off edges and clean plain finish. On the right hand side there is a small fan grill which has been placed next to a small glossy power button. Whilst the right side carries another small fan grill and a Lanyon hole so that this computer is easy to carry. I found this design very appealing due to the mainly matte finish with a small amount gloss. This gave it a bold look, compared to the previous design being covered in fingerprints within seconds.

Specs
CPU – 1.44GHz Intel Atom x5-Z8300

Graphics – 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics

Storage – 32GB eMMC SSD

Memory – 2048MB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz

Networking – 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0

Operating System – Windows 10 Home (32-bit)

 ics4

 

Setup & Performance
Installing the compute stick was easy. I just plugged power adapter into the wall port and then joined the other end (Micro USB) to the Compute stick, connected the PC to my TV by the small HDMI cord and plugged in my own wireless keyboard and mouse dongles. It then booted up immediately and ran me through the initial Windows 10 setup process. Five minutes later I was finished setting it up and all I needed was a quick reboot and it was ready to use.

Below is a table showing the performance of the Intel Compute stick using PC benchmarking software.

Intel Compute Stick
PCMark7 2,379
3DMark06 2,667


As soon as I signed in I wanted to see the quality when streaming videos. I opened Microsoft Edge and started streaming YouTube videos at 1080p. The results were impressive, there was no lag when watching YouTube. I did notice a bit of a slow rendering as I switched between windowed and full screen. I decided to put the Compute Stick to the test by streaming some 4K content from YouTube. It looked crisp but was the tiniest bit sluggish. What can you expect from a tiny computer using an Atom processor.

Use Cases

  • Home theatre
  • Media Centre PC
  • Portable productivity
  • Thin Client

 

Conclusion
Intel has brought together a stunning pc that is portable because of its small size yet still able to play 4K videos with ease for a home theatre. This PC Performs smoothly, has Windows 10 pre-installed and 32GB on-board storage whilst up to128GB storage using a Micro SD card. However, I wish that the pc did not lag when opening up a number of programs. Overall this PC has been put to the test and has come out with some great results, so if you are looking for an ultra-small, affordable device that can turn a monitor or TV into a basic PC then this product is worth considering.

 

ics5
Everything in the box – Small HDMI to HDMI cord, Power adaptor, Intel Compute Stick and 2 manuals


Thanks Mason for your review! The Intel Compute Stick was provided by Intel.

I took a few photos myself of the unit, so here they are:

 

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20160318_154209
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20160318_154113

Adding A Space Into Excel Cells

This took much more digging than I thought to find the answer so here it is:

Say you have a field in Excel with a value such as “123456”, but want to display it with a space in the middle – “123 456″… how do you add the space?

You can just add it in manually if the cell type allows it, but for a bunch of data, that’s a very time consuming solution.

There’s probably a bunch of ways it can be achieved, but here’s the easy way I eventually found:

if A1 contains “123456” put this into A2:

=TEXT(A1,”### ###”)

B2 will read “123 456”!

If you have a leading zero in your fields, it will drop the zero. For that, you’ll have to do this:

if A1 contains “012345” put this into A2:

=Text(A1,”0## ###”)

Pretty simple, the hash passes on each character from the referring field, and you can modify what happens between each passed character.

If you want to clean it up, then copy your results, and paste special > results. That will drop the code, and just have your newly formatted results.

Skype For Business 2016 Client Deployment Tricks

I’ve been mucking around with Skype for Business 2016 and wanted to document what I’ve found.

First, there’s two seperate installs. A standalone Skype for Business 2016, and then as part of the Office 2016 suite, it’s one of the components (just like Word or Excel).

This is important, because if you install the standalone version then try to install Office 2016, it won’t like that Skype for Business is installed already, and tell you to uninstall before continuing. I’m not sure what reason you’d install Skype for Business 2016 standalone if you can just install that single component of Office 2016, but it’s a gotcha that might affect someone down the track.

I’ve also seen a few screen nags after deploying the client. There’s the ‘First things first’ screen which you most likely don’t want users to see:

first things first

To turn this off, set this key to ‘1’:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\General
REG_DWORD: ShownFirstRunOptin
Value: 00000001

Next is the ‘Welcome – Skype for Business’ screen. Can be annoying, and you can just surpress it from running the first time too, but let people read it on demand instead.

welcome to skype

To stop this one showing at first launch, set this key to ‘1’:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Lync
REG_DWORD: IsBasicTutorialSeenByUser
Value: 00000001

The final one I saw was after making calls, asking “How was the call quality?”. Most users won’t want to be hassled by this unless there’s an actual problem, so you may want to disable it.

call quality

This setting is actually controlled at the sever end, and has a % chance of showing up after each call. By default, it’s 10%, so I suggest setting it to 0%.

To do so, launch the Skype for Business Server Management Shell and run the commend ‘Get-CSClientPolicy’. This will show you how many policies you have, and you may want to change the value for just some or all, depending which users are against which policy. The field for this setting is called “RateMyCallDisplayPercentage”.

Once you’ve worked out which policy you want to change, run this command: ‘Set-CSClientPolicy -identity “policyname” -RateMyCallDisplayPercentage 0’

If you find any other tricks, feel free to share and I’ll update the post.

 

 

Interview with Hacknet Creator Matt Trobbiani

Hacknet is available on Steam and the Humble Store

In a world where marketing is full of triple A games, with a budget that rivals many blockbuster movies, you may think there is very little room for people to create their own game and make a living off of it.

However, in recent years there has been a resurgence of ‘indie’ games – little to no budget, small teams of people, working together to create something that has their passion and dedication poured into. These games can be big adventures or tiny micro-games, often with the creators making little to to money and just enjoying a fun pastime.

Matt Trobbiani, sole creator and developer of Team Fractal Alligator is one of the less common success stories in the indie gaming world, with a game he released in 2015 called Hacknet. It was also released on Valve’s Steam platform, which helped bring a larger audience to his now highly rated game.

Developed and worked on as a passionate hobby over three years, Matt dedicated himself to creating a hacking simulation game that focuses on realism and immersion, with a story following a deceased, legendary Hacker “Bit”, through the files and programs he left behind. You, as the player, need to work through this puzzle and find out what really happened in this hacker/mystery hybrid.

Hacknet was so successful that Matt was able to leave his day job and become a full time games developer, which is the ultimate dream job of many gaming enthusiasts. How did he manage to reach this goal, and where is he headed next?

Origins

Matt isn’t too sure when it all started, as there was no clear cut time when he decided he was going to make games. Ten or so years ago In high school, he was already making games for fun. This followed him to Univerity where he continued to make games with friends just for fun. It took him a long time to realise that this passion for coding and design could be more than just a hobby, so he joined a club called the “Game Development Club”.

Being a part of a club with like minded individuals made him start thinking about taking on game development seriously, and making something bigger. One of the beliefs that Matt picked up from this process was that although Univeristy was important, he learnt much more by doing his own projects part time. This all helped him skill up, as he kept setting his sights onto bigger games. It was still being driven by his enjoyment of the process, rather than trying to make it big.

Enter Hacknet

A few of Matt’s projects were created during ‘Game Jams’ where developers have 48 hours to create a game from beginning to end, in friendly and fun competitions. It was in one of these Game Jams that Hacknet was born, albeit in a very long way from the final product now available to purchase. Immediate feedback was really positive, which made him consider there was more to this particular idea…

It was this start that lead to the next three years of part time development of Hacknet. It wasn’t even his “dream project” at the time, but the idea of working on Hacknet was calling him. Getting good feedback from conventions and the first public release helped drive him to continue building and refining the experience of playing his creation.

Hacknet had it’s official release last year with huge critical acclaim. The game has now sold over 100,000 copies, a huge achievement for any game, let alone a game created by a single person.

12443414_10153607909563737_798022593_o (1)Matt Trobbiani’s home rig

What next?

The release of Hacknet hasn’t stopped Matt’s passion or development work – he’s currently working on translations, multiplayer and modifications for training purposes. He’s even had the US Department of Defense ask for changes to his game, for staff training!

Matt isn’t looking too far beyond Hacknet yet, but he knows he’d like to try something more in the education and training areas after seeing the impact of his game. Currently he’s looking to build specialised education versions for schools and universities, with the idea of introducing students to terminals, computer security and introductory computer science.

He believes that using well designed games have a much stronger ability to teach people of different skill levels, compared to lessons that work at a single pace which won’t suit many people.

Other ideas rattling around in his head include a game that looks at your diet and how you can optimize what you take in, to get the results you want from your body – but that’s just one of many ideas at the moment.

Hacknet is going to still take up a lot of Matt’s time and energy, which he’s more than happy to give – and if you’re in the education sector and interested in talking to Matt about adapting his creation to other possibilities, contact him at matt@hacknet-os.com

Note: If you’re new to Linux and have heard about Bash on Windows, this game is a nice basic introduction to what Bash is (albeit modified for fun!).

Advice

We asked Matt for some advice to pass on to others looking to start or continue their journey into game development, and this is what he had to say.

If someone has a good game idea, where should they start?

“Start smaller than your idea, and build up to it. In lots of things, but especially code, there are certain walls that you’ll hit. Once you hit those points, you’ll need to start again, or do a major reword to design the project in a way that makes it work”

“This happens in a really obvious way as you’re learning to program – you’ll write something that’s 200 lines, but the strategies you used for that make it crazy and unreadable once it’s 1000 lines,

and those strategies don’t work at 10,000 lines, etc etc.”

“If you’ve never made a project as big as what you’re dreaming, you’re going to run into a lot of these barriers, and they’re really hard to break through. The best way past them is with experience – working with people who are really good, working on projects bigger than just yourself, working on other people’s projects, getting an industry job – all of those things help you get the skills you need to make bigger projects work”

“You can get there on your own, but it’ll take a long time, and a lot of projects that might feel like failures – that’s ok, It’s normal to not be able to pull it off first time, no matter how confident you are.”

“If you really have great ideas, and you’re driven to make them a reality – the tools, training and people are out there to make that happen. It’s not always easy, and if you don’t love what you do, it’s going to be hard going, but it’s absolutely possible. Pick a small project – probably a game jam, get a team together, and get to work. You’ll get there.”

What hardware setup would you recommend for game developers?

“Two screens, and a computer fast enough to not hold you back. An important part of game and level design is iteration – trying out lots of variations on an idea, or the same idea with lots of small changes. To do this well, you need to not have to spend a full minute waiting for your code to compile between changes. That sort of delay becomes so frustrating that it inevitably leads to compromises.”

“Having a setup fast enough to let you make changes and see them in action without any real appreciable delay is worth so much – almost all of the effects in Hacknet were tuned over hundreds of compilations that all took seconds at most – i’d never have refined them so much if I was always waiting for things.”

What about your keyboard, is that the most important component for your experience?

“It’s not the most important – having a good machine that doesn’t lag on compile so you can iterate quickly is the most important, but having really nice input and output devices is really nice. If you’re serious about code or game development, you’re going to be spending a *lot* of time at your workstation, so it’s really useful for that to be a really nice environment.”

Hardware

You don’t need fancy hardware to create a hit game. Matt’s home setup is:

Screens: 2 x 1080p Dell Monitors, arm mounted
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970
CPU: Intel Core i5 4460
HDD: 3 x 1TB Western Digital
SSD: 1 x 250GB Samsung
RAM: 8GB DDR3
Keyboard: Topre Realforce 87U with Custom PBT spacebar

 

Winners of a Hacknet Key:
HackNet Key Giveaway