Game Making & Editing FAQ/Q&A

Below are answers to common questions and problems, or Frequently Asked Questions, that often go unanswered that User Generated Content creators or game developers need answering that haven't been elsewhere. For a full list click here »

Gmax, Windows 10 & 11 compatibility (crash on startup)

April 07, 2022, 02:15:58 PM by kat
Although quite long in the tooth now Gmax can still be used to mesh content for various games (in particular Flight Simulator 2002 and Flight Simulator 2020), although a few additional steps may necessary in between. With that said, for Windows 10 and Windows 11 there may be some compatibility issues to contend with that crash the application on startup. The likely cause of this is the Gmax using the wrong viewport driver to render content, that's the HEIDI (software), OpenGL and Direct3D (hardware) selections typically accessed from Customize » Preferences » Viewports - Display Drivers, which can't then be accessed and changed. When this happens a workaround can be used to add a 'flag' to the Gmax shortcut forcing the gmax Display Setup dialogue to appear so the correct option can be set.

To set the flag, right-click the Gmax Desktop icon and select Properties. In the Shortcut tab, append " -h" (note the space before '-h') to the Target: file path e.g.;
Code: [Select]
"D:\Program Files\gmax\gmax.exe"
Becomes
Code: [Select]
"D:\Program Files\gmax\gmax.exe" -h
Optionally, for Windows 10 and Windows 11 set the Run this program as an Administrator checkbox in Compatibility options.

Click Apply then OK to close, then restart Gmax. The gmax Driver Setup dialogue will appear. Set an option; HEIDI, OpenGL or Direct3D (HEIDI is initially the safest to verify the application starts and no other issues are in affect). Once the application starts up correctly the driver can be changed if needed in Customize » Preferences » Viewports - Display Drivers and the shortcut flag removed.

Quote
IMPORANT: the likely cause of the issue is the version of OpenGL Gmax uses to drive the viewports, which is obsolete or incompatible with the latest versions of the API. This is especially so for AMD powered graphics systems - setting OpenGL as the driver typically won't work so the driver should be Direct3D (hardware) or HEIDI (software).

Setting the Desktop shortcut flag to force gmax to start in 'safe mode'.

With the Desktop shortcut flag set the gmax Driver Setup dialogue appears with three options; HEIDI, OpenGL and Direct3D - HEIDI is the safest.

Gmax open and running on Windows 10 once driver is correctly set

Blackberry Playbook Setup Stuck

April 02, 2022, 09:09:05 AM by kat
Notwithstanding 'bricked' devices, with the termination of ALL Blackberry OS10 and Playbook OS related services in January of 2022, attempts to setup devices AFTER this date will likely fail at the Network Connection stage or during User Agreement as a direct consequence of failed attempts to connect to services that no longer exist in order to complete the setup process.

For the Agreement in particular, as this document changes from time-to-time it was hosted and updated remotely and now that its no longer available, nothing loads onto the device and nothing can be agreed with or declined, essentially 'bricking' the device despite being powered on and progressing though setup (working).

At time of writing there is no fix or workaround for Playbook devices being stuck during setup as it's unlikely RIM will re-enable services to grant access to legal documents that may hold them liable for services no longer provided.

Is it Worth Mining Bitcoin

May 08, 2021, 04:36:38 PM by kat
Given the buzz surrounding bitcoin and cryptocurrencies generally it's only natural to ask "is it really worth mining for bitcoin" and just what is "the truth about bitcoin mining". Well, TL:DR; it's not really worth doing except for the fun of it, the experience, or as an exercise in it's own right [00], largely because mining is now done at such a colossally industrial process, all that remains for the individual are the metaphorical scraps that go unnoticed, largely because they're not worth picking up.

So, is it really worth mining for bitcoin using a personal computer?

Short answer is "no".

Long answer is "not really".

Assuming the question is being asked from the average normies point of view, a person just wanting to use their computer, laptop or mobile device to mine rather than hardcore miners using dedicated ASIC hardware designed specifically for the job, before mining for bitcoin the digital prospector has to consider the following;
  • The cost of electricity needed to run the equipment.
  • The (current & future) price of bitcoin (or whatever hash is being mined, the 'coin' herein).
While both concerns are important for figuring out whether it's worth mining for bitcoin, the first, the cost of electricity, has greater influence over a decision to mine than the latter, the price of bitcoin, because power prices determine running costs of mining equipment, which in turn defines the break-even point for resulting return of investment/value (RoI/RoV).

Simply put, if it costs more to run the hardware used to mine coins than current rewards from mining then it's simply not worth doing, except as an exercise in its own right, because the prospector is more-or-less always then running at a loss.

In other words then, as of writing the only way it would be cost effective, even 'profitable', to mine bitcoin is through use of 'free' electricity, not in the ‘someone else is paying for it’ sense, but rather power that is supplied locally, perhaps as self-owned solar, wind, water etc., anything otherwise generated 'off-grid' or in the proverbial backyard. If this is the case then there is no 'cost' against which mining needs to be leveraged (notwithstanding costs associated with maintenance and upkeep of all the hardware used in the process, from solar panels to graphics card et al) so bitcoin mining can be done full steam ahead.

With that said, in terms of profitability/RoI/RoV, the aforementioned is compounded further by;
  • The rate at which mining occurs [1].
  • How much reward there is for doing said mining [2].
  • If there even is a reward for doing so [3].
What this all means in practice is this; coins are generally highly divisible by nature, some by as many as twelve decimal places e.g. 0.000000000000 or to the trillionth decimal. So whist their availability may be exponentially greater than other (fiat) physical currencies like the US Dollar, it means the potential share per mining session is going to be relatively small, even accounting for inbuilt scarcity that underwrites the value of cryptocurrency as a whole. In other words, whilst a successfully mining session might return 35,000 'points', if the sessions results are even accepted on the network, that might translate to earning 0.000000035000’s (35 ten-millionth’s) of a coin. If said coin has a market value of $100.00, the 35,000 rewarded 'points' would be worth fractions of a fraction of a cent (tens or hundreds-of-millionth’s or billionth’s) – the coin itself would have to be worth high millions, even billions or trillions for any mined points to be reasonably convertible to cash of any value for the costs and effort used to mine it.

And this is where the dilemma occurs for ordinary people wanting to mine bitcoins with their computers or devices, it’s simply no longer economically feasible if power is being fed in from the grid and has to be paid for; it will cost more to mine than can be earned from mining [4].

The bottom line on mining for bitcoin these days is this; it’s potentially more profitable to simply buy and trade bitcoin or hold on to it to capitalise on potential gains from exchange/commodity increases, especially as Governments the globe over are turning to digital currencies knowing their cash reserves are falling well short of their debt obligations.


Footnotes:
[00] There is another reason for mining and that's to acquire coins in the present as a bet against a future price rise of the coin mined. In many ways mining cryptocurrencies with this in mind is akin to purchasing stocks or shares, owning gold, silver etc., or owning other price-based commodities where gains can be had if the price of the item held increases. For crypto this essentially means betting the current costs of mining against future price increases. Cryptocurrency mining with this in mind generally means being more selective with coin choice as not all crypto is equal, the more popular a coin is now the less profitable it is in the present.

[1] Mining bitcoins tends to cycle hardware to its limit – looking at Device Manager in Windows for example, will typically show mining software running at between 70% and 95% CPU use depending on where the calculations are in the process and/or whether the computer is doing something else at the time (like opening and viewing Device Manager). It should be noted that mining bitcoin using a CPU tends to be more energy intensive than mining using a discrete graphics card (CPU vs GPU mining). It also producing more heat, uses more power typically have a lower session throughput.

[2] The reward for mining sessions depends on what’s being mined, it isn’t fixed in the sense that ‘X’ outcome occurs with ‘Y’ input.

[3] Depending on the mining software, pool network and other factors, mining is typically 'sessions' based that can last from a few minutes to a number of hours. Each session has to be completed in full for the miner to have any change of earning a return (hence mining often being compared to entering or participating in a lottery - there is a high degree of chance involved, especially when working as a solo miner). This is also conditional on the results of the session being accepted. If not, and sessions are rejected, no earnings occur so all the costs incurred for that sessions, the electricity used etc., is essentially lost.

[4] Most bitcoin mining now is done in locations where electricity is cheap enough that none of the above matters, by institutions that supply their own power, or those that are heavily subsidised.

Carrier Services is having trouble with Google Play Services

September 01, 2019, 07:53:00 AM by kat

There's a persistent synchronisation error on Android devices (Android Pie [9] in particular) that prevents, interrupts or interferes with applications or services ability to automatically or self update; email apps (Outlook, Gmail, Blackberry Hub+ Inbox etc.), calendar apps, tasks etc. and other scheduled or time sensitive apps seem to be particularly affected. The error seems especially prevalent with POP (POP3) services associated with privately held domain names (non Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo etc. email).

Quote
Google Play Services
Carrier Services is having trouble with Google Play Services...

It seems that disabling access permissions for any item under Google Play services, specifically those relating to Carrier Services component, interferes with dependent apps ability to properly function. However, although further error states;

Quote
This app won't work properly unless you allow Google Plage services' request to access the follow:
● [disabled items list
● Body sensors
● Camera
● Location
● SMS
● etc.]
To continue, open Settings, then Permissions, and allow all listed items.
Unfortunately even with all items enabled as requested (which may cause privacy concerns), the error still occurs intermittently suggesting there may be issues with various apps and services connecting and/or using Android 9 rather than there necessarily being an access or permissions issue.

The upshot: there doesn't appear to be a single fix for the email synchronisation issue, which may require Carrier services options and/or Account Sync to be enabled/disabled occasionally to kick the system into action.

Delete *.asf files

April 11, 2019, 12:10:10 PM by kat
ASF files are data containers a little like MP3 files, that can contain video and audio information but for some reason Windows, particularly Windows 7, has trouble deleting or moving them once created (typically this might be done converting or exporting a video in another format to *.asf using VLC or similar software), which can cause Windows Explorer, or the PC being used, to hang or become unresponsive.

To delete *.asf files try the following;

1) open the Command prompt with administrative privileges (right click cmd.exe and select "Run as administrator").

2) browse to the containing folder, either 'cd' up ('cd..' down) the directory structure;
Code: [Select]
C:\>cd social
C:\social>cd IMVU
C:\social\IMVU>cd furniture
C:\social\IMVU\furniture>

or 'cd' the full system path to containing folder;
Code: [Select]
C:\>cd social\IMVU\furniture
C:\social\IMVU\furniture>

3) type; "del /f [filename.asf]" (where 'filename.asf' is the name of the asf file to be deleted - exclude '[' & ']') then hit Enter;
Code: [Select]
C:\social\IMVU\furniture>del /f filename.asf
If the system appears to hang open Task Manager (right-click the Task Bar, select "Task Manager") and see if "dllhost.exe" is running (the exe is invoked into high usage state when dealing with .asf files and the removal process). If it is (it should be using high resources), select it and click the "End Process" button bottom-right. This kills the process and frees the system to delete the file (it should be deleted outright, bypassing the Recycle Bin).

4) (optional) reboot to make sure the processes that should be running, are.

The above avoids the need to download and install other unknown applications and software that may themselves present issues.
^