Team Fortress 2 – The World’s Greatest Multiplayer Video Game

Although I don’t play video games very much these days, my current favorite game is still Team Fortress 2, and it has been ever since its release. Seeing Team Fortress 2 come to the Mac last Thursday was truly awesome. Finally the Mac was starting to plug its last gap; video game support. I’d never played the original Team Fortress Classic game, perhaps having been too young to appreciate it at its pinnacle, however, after loading the hugely anticipated Team Fortress 2 (the game that had spent nine years in development) for the first time, I was immediately plunged into something very new and exciting.

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Steam for Mac, and Altitude

Because I haven’t been gaming for a while now, I decided a couple of months ago that I should sell my Windows desktop computer. A year previously I’d fully switched to Mac OS X, and I was only using my desktop for the odd few games – of which Team Fortress 2 presided. What’s now awesome is that a couple of months later, Valve have released their content distribution system to the Mac. Steam. Continue reading

Apple Inc.

Unbelievably, this is my first post related to the technology legend, Apple. Here goes…

I’d never used a single Apple product up until the age of 18. For my 18th birthday I was gifted with an Apple MacBook. I’d used Windows since Windows 95, and I’d wanted a change, besides, the Apple product looked charming and inviting, and the Mac “find out how” website provided some really well-produced and captivating demo videos. I wanted to find out more, and so I asked for a MacBook.

When I first starting using the MacBook things seemed very alien to a long-time Windows user, and at the time I was the crazy sort of person who enjoyed not knowing what to do to use a computer – it made a change for me! So over the first few months, I didn’t really know too much about how to use a Mac computer, compared to using Windows, and I was still using my Windows desktop as my main computer. In fact, one of the first things I did was install Windows on my MacBook using bootcamp! But whenever I used the MacBook I’d find some new cool feature. I can install any printer at any time after merely plugging it in. Spaces allows me to organise the layout of my desktop. Spotlight allows me to find anything on my computer, from files to calender events, to emails using a simple shortcut and search box. I can beautifully arrange, edit and keep my photos organised using iPhoto. I’m able to scroll pages merely by hovering my cursor over the page and smoothly swiping two fingers across the trackpad. Just a few of my favourite features. So over time, gradually and slowly

I’d say it took me a year before I would say that the operating system, Mac OS X is better than Windows. That’s probably a quite long time for a Mac user (I’ve never met a Mac user that prefers Windows). After a year I realised I could do everything I’d ever want to do on Windows on Mac, and doing it on Mac was always more fun, elegant, reliable and secure. Once I realised Mac was better, I’ve never gone back, and only realised it more and more every day. Every few days I find a cool new thing I can do with Mac that I can’t do in the same way on Windows. These are most often little things, and hard to account for, but when these 100s of little things add up, they equate to me to be the superior system. Everything is so immaculately designed to be user-friendly and provide the most rich computing experience. Mac OS X has so much depth that could only have the surface scraped by an entire book. On the outside the system is warm and inviting, and on the inside is a deep masterpiece of functionality. There is literally nothing you can’t do on a Mac.

Nothing you can’t do I say? Well… perhaps this isn’t quite true. There is still one area of computing that Windows systems are better for… Video gaming. Game developers are still using Microsoft’s Direct X to build their video games, a framework locked to the Windows operating system, meaning that the games have to be ported in order to work on either the Mac OS X or Linux operating systems. So for now, Windows still holds one card high in the air. But with companies such as Valve announcing their up-coming port of their entire catalog of games, will it be long before other game developers follow? Will OpenGL (a graphics framework supported by around 100 of the top technology companies of the world) become the new platform for gaming graphics, allowing development across all operating systems? I hope so.

As a computer scientist, and having studied Apple Development for a short period of time, I can also see the design and attention put into the software development side of things – even underneath the hood, the Mac OS environment and design principles look incredible! Then the Mac system extends to other products such as the phone with the iPhone, and the mp3 player with the iPod, where the company has revolutionised and led the way in these fields, bringing new technological advancements and creating an all-round, synchronised consumer electronic experience.

Apple creates products with incredible care and attention to the tiniest of details. They’re a company constantly striving to improve and rescale existing products to all-new levels of “perfection”, whilst continuously contemplating the next big feature, or brand new idea, concept or product. Apple is a company that, in my opinion, and as far as technology is concerned, they are “doing the right thing“, and they’re “doing the thing right” – and that is why I’d love to get involved.

I’m now also writing for ‘Computer Science: Source’.

I’ve joined a team of Manchester computer science students and will be writing for Computer Science: Source, a blog that aims to provide computer science related information, with a particular emphasis towards clarifying and revising topics from the University of Manchester computer science course.

My first post attempts to begin summarising the Objective-C programming language, a language used to write applications for the Apple Mac and iPhone.

Do check it out if you’re interested. Particularly interesting posts by myself will also be available here. 🙂