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C.S. Media

The official portfolio and blog of Conner Starkel

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Computers and More Mod – Version 1.6.1 Released

Version 1.6.1 of CAMM has been released! This update is a smaller update that expands on the previous updates that added animated items.

Animated TVs

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The vanilla TVs in game now have animated variants. Because animated sprites don’t work with the broadcast effect of the TVs, the new animated versions are separate objects and don’t replace the vanilla versions. Additionally, the animated versions cannot rotate.

Flat-Screen TV

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A new TV, the Flat-Screen TV, has been added to the game. This TV only comes in an animated variant and resolves the needs of a prisoner at double the rate of the Large TV.

Computers and More Mod – Version 1.6 Released

Version 1.6 of the Computers and More Mod has been released. See below for the major changes. A full detailed change log is available on our Steam Workshop page here.

Animated Sprites

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All the computers now feature animated sprites. The screens of the computers will now turn on when a prisoner uses any computer or laptop.

Deluxe Computer

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A new tier of computers has been added to the game! The new Deluxe Computer offers family and recreation need satisifying at double the rate of the Standard Computer.

Balancing and Research Changes

Some changes have been made to better balance the game. The first of these is in the file room. Workman can no longer collect documents requiring the prisoners to take up the task. Additionally, each new tier of computers will need to be researched before they can be purchased.

State of the Desk – Q4 2016 and some news

Hello all,

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here so I though I would give some updates on the state of Project PowerHack and its surrounding desk. Many changes have occurred since the initial construction of Porject PowerHack and many more are to come!

During the construction of Project PowerHack, an acquisition took place that was not shown in the build pictures. A HP ProLiant DL360 G3 from around 2003 now sits beside the desktop, it’s quite noisy so I don’t use it too often but it definitely has been helpful with some experiments. The system currently runs Windows Server 2003. One little fun fact about the server is that it appears to have been owned by Amazon at one point during its lifetime.

Some additional expansions and repairs to Project PowerHack occurred in the months following its constructions. Six additonal USB 2.0 ports were added to the back of the machine using the internal USB connectors. This brings the total number of (functioning) USB ports to 14 (2x USB 3.0, 12x USB 2.0). An ATSC TV tuner card was also added to the system and the DVD drive which was not functioning properly was replaced. The two 160 GB hard drives that were mentioned in the build post were also added to the system.

 

 

 

 

 

During the months of August and September, a sub-project of Project PowerHack, which was known as Project Refresh 2016, took place. This network restructure and upgrade project added Wi-Fi to PowerHack and the existing DELL 15″ monitor was upgraded to a 720p Westinghouse monitor as part of a equipment decommissioning project at a different site. Additionally, a custom-built Pentium 4 desktop was acquired. It was re-imaged and sent off to a friends home where it is now in service. The audio system on my desk was rewired and a KVM was added. Additionally, the surge suppression system was upgraded.

With the state of the desk out of the way, let’s get to some news:

The next sub-project for PowerHack is Project Toughbox 2017. This project began ahead of schedule last week when drive 3 (one of the 160 GB HDDs) failed. It has since been replaced with a 2 TB drive. Project ToughBox will bring much needed safety and stability upgrades to the system such as a better drive mounting solution and the replacement of the front panel wiring with a safer alternative.

The next version of the Computers and More Mod is slated to be released by the end of December 2016. Version 1.5.2 will bring some enhancements and fixes such as animated sprites.

A new project has begun called OpenSWGB. This project aims to recreate the engine of Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds in an open-source form. More information on this project will be provided soon.

Work on the American Traffic Props for LEGO Worlds project has been suspended until December 2016. In December, I will review the state of the project and of LEGO Worlds itself to determine a course of action.

I also am considering developing an OS utilizing the COSMOS OS tools. More information on that will be released as it becomes available.

That’s all for now!

Project PowerHack Completed!

I have completed Project PowerHack! My new desktop is running quite smoothly and its performance is quite surprising considering its age. Below are some pictures of the build.

The build process took quite a long time. I had a very busy schedule and this build required more time for the cutting of the back and for the front panel wiring so the process spanned over several days. The most difficult part was probably the front panel wiring because I didn’t buy a prefabricated cable due to the budget so I had to manually wire the cable. That being said, I many of the pins had to be bent to fit into the cable so I had to be very careful to make sure that none of them would touch each other and that they would be at no risk of doing so.

Everything is running quite well now! Currently I only have Windows 10 Home installed and will add Mac OS X to the second hard drive later this week. Most games I have played so far (GTA V and IV, LEGO Worlds, Homeworld Remastered Collection) have run perfectly at 60 FPS. I’m going to wait on installing Ubuntu as for I may be adding more hard drives and I would like to use all of the 500 GB drive for Windows.

Despite all these achievements, there are a few issues. The most minor of these is the front USB port. I have not been able to use any USB 3.0 drive with it and I have had issues where the port will stop functioning in the middle of large file transfers. I plan on adding a USB 3.0 hub to the top of the case so this is only a small annoyance for me.

The most major issue at the moment is the DVD drive. I reused the original DVD drive that came with the G5 and I am starting to think that was a mistake. I have been unable to get the drive to function properly in Windows. I can put a disc in and Windows does detect it and shows the name of the disc, but I can’t do anything with the drive. The drive however works fine if I boot from it in the BIOS. If anyone knows how to resolve this please let me know!

My next plan for this machine is to make some upgrades. I have some USB PCI headers ordered so I can add 8 USB 2.0 ports to the back of the machine. After that, I plan on adding two 160 GB hard drives I have and buying an IDE controller for them. I will detail more about those plans later.

Computers and More Mod – Version 1.5.1 Released

Version 1.5.1 (Service Release 2) is now available. This update contains solely compatibility fixes and bug fixes. Below is a change log.

  • Resized sprite.png to improve compatibility
  • Updated materials.txt to reflect new sprite file
  • Resolved compatibility issue with Recycling by murgh
  • Resolved an issue where the Computer Classroom was recognized as a workplace
  • Resolved an issue where prisoners were not working in the File Room
  • Resolved an issue where research was not displayed properly on non-widescreen resolutions (thanks to Monkey for finding this bug and providing a solution)

Stay tuned for more information on future CAMM updates!

Computers and More Mod – Version 1.5 Released

Hello all, the next update of CAMM is here! Here is some info regarding version 1.5.

New Contraband

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Lots of new contraband has been added to the computer lab. While this contraband may not help prisoners escape, it still needs to be dealt with! Make sure your computer labs have proper security measures!

New Feedback Hub

CAMM now has a new feedback hub where all the forms can be accessed. If you would like to request features, report bugs, or even help make CAMM, you can now access all the forms at http://blog.csmedia.x10host.com/computers-and-more-mod/feedback/. Also thank you for all your responses to our expansions concept feedback form! If you haven’t yet filled it out, you have until June 15th at 11:59 PM to do so! We will be sharing the results of that shortly after it ends.

What’s Next?

The next step for CAMM is to release a second service update to address maniny compatibility issues and bug fixes (if there are any bugs). After that I am not quite sure, I may go with adding servers next since that was one of the early planned features.

Project PowerHack Parts Acquired Ahead of Schedule


The core parts needed to complete Project PowerHack were acquired ahead of schedule on May 16th. Furthermore, the remaining needed parts to complete the project such as the motherboard tray were ordered. This puts my project far ahead of schedule. Hopefully the remaining parts arrive in a decent amount of time in order to complete the project by early to mid-June.

PowerMac G5 Hackintosh Project Slated to Start May 23rd

Hello all,

On May 23rd (or perhaps earlier), I will start gathering parts and assembling a new (well used parts) computer. This is quite exciting for me since the last time I had a desktop computer was in 2011 and that was an old 1998 Compaq Presario.  Ever since then, I’ve been living off laptops and my families upgraded DELL Inspiron E310. Under my desk, I’ve had a broken PowerMac G5 that I acquired a couple years back and now I have the opportunity to gut the case and build a hackintosh setup inside it. The design process for this project started in late February and now it’s time to execute the plan. This computer will be the most powerful computer I’ve ever possessed and I will only have to pay for the parts to modify the case as well as a heat sink and a power supply as for my robotics team is rebuilding their Intel computer that was used for CAD and I am going to use the old parts from it. For information on things like the build specs and the software configuration, please see the Project PowerHack page.

The project is slated to start on May 23rd but could start as early as May 16th. Stay tuned for more updates!

LEGO Case for Arduino Ethernet

Recently, I have been working with an Arduino Ethernet (well, not an official Arduino. It’s an Andymark clone that’s just as good) that I found buried in my robotics teams many boxes of electrical components. We had never used it before and it wasn’t surprising considering we don’t have any means of programming it (unlike the Uno, this device requires an FTDI cable or ISP programmer). Currently I am working to find an alternate method to loading sketches onto the board.

That aside, I felt that the Arduino ought to be out in some sort of case while I work on it. I attempted to 3D print a case for it that was provided by the manufacturer but the results were sub-par (a case means the whole thing not just a bottom plate). Not currently willing to take the time to CAD a new case, I continued to search for a cheep and quick solution. Then I remembered that there were things called LEGOs! After digging through my part box to find any useful spare parts. Eventually I came up with this prototype.

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Top View:

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Front View (Ethernet on the left, Power on the right):

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Rear View (MicroSD on left, FTDI on right):
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In its current form, the case works pretty good. However, there are some issues with the design. In order to have some form of access to the MicroSD without opening the case, the board had to be pushed as far back as possible. By doing so though, it becomes harder to access the Ethernet and power ports and some of the analog and digital pins become no longer accessible when the case is open. The hole for the FTDI cable is quite tight as well and may not fit the cables plastic housing. Lastly, the top cover does not feature any holes to give access to the pins on the board. Seeing the issues that this board had, I have designed the following case in LDD.

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The new design resolves the issues with access to the pins as well as access to the Ethernet and power ports. The FTDI hole has also been widened to resolve any spacing issues. The estimated cost for the parts needed to build this case from Pick A Brick is $10.85 USD.

The LDD file for the case is also downloadable at the link below.

Download LXF
Back to work I go!