Hack of the Whenever I Get Around to It

February 18, 2007

Virtual Cathedral in Half Life 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chris Merck @ 5:54 am

For an Art History project I was required to build a detailed model of a cathedral. Instead of making a lame clay model I opened up Hammer (for the first time) and started putting together a Half-Life 2 map of Durham Cathedral, complete with the Ravenholm priest standing at the alter. Here is a link to the map file so you can try it out. The idea is that a video game provides an interactive environment that immerses the viewer in this gigantic Romanesque masterpiece. Subtle touches like AI birds you can chase around and the movable, breakable pew benches really add to the reality of it all. I had intended on presenting the project by letting my peers (who were to view and review the project) sit in a room with a wireless keyboard and mouse at a table centered in front of a large projector screen with good sound. Unfortunately the project was canceled and I never bothered to put the finishing touches on the church. So for better or for worse, here are some screenshots:

(in-game (or rather, in-church) screenshots)

(floor plan of the actual cathedral)

(screenshots of editing the map in Hammer)

(idea sketches)

The effect I was really after was captured by Valve in their tech-demo “Lost Coast”, see more screenshots here.

(screenshot from “Lost Coast”)


February 16, 2007

Shards of Microcontrollers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chris Merck @ 12:36 am

I work with PIC microcontrollers quite often and occasionally burn out the chips due to overvoltaging or general stupidity. I burnt one out a while ago and decided to crack it open to see what is inside. Here are two photos of a shard of a PIC16F870 I opened with a hammer and screwdriver, taken with a Sony Cybershot 5.1MP camera through a 10x magnifying glass. I tried to use multiple lenses to increase the magnification, but it did not work well.

(about the size of a fine grain of sand)

Here is what the IC looks like before it is smashed to bits:

This was the first IC I have opened, and I haven’t found any easter eggs yet.

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