Pioneer DDJ-SX

Posted by on Jun 7, 2014 in Blog | 1 comment

It’s been almost three years since I last upgraded my DJ equipment. The last piece of kit I got was my Xone 4D. It’s a great piece of gear but I craved a change as controllers have come a long way since I purchased it. Introducing my latest piece; the Pioneer DDJ-SX.

The unit itself. If you leave it idle for a little while it starts up a light show.

The unit itself. If you leave it idle for a little while it starts up a light show.

After playing around with the SX for just over a month I have to say I’m very impressed. The overall build quality of the device and the sheer number of options make it a worthy investment piece. I’m already finding myself doing more with the SX than I ever did with the Xone 4D. I’m now incorporating a lot more samples and effects into my sets.

The device also has an optional carrying bag. Which is ultra useful I'll have you know.

The device also has an optional carrying bag. Which is ultra useful I’ll have you know.

The only part of the device which has me jaded is the software. I’ve used Native Instruments’ Traktor Pro 2 for many years now and I can’t justify making the switch to Serato. Even though Serato has improved over the years I still feel Traktor out performs it in usability and features. Fortunately Pioneer has an official Traktor TSI file making the device compatible despite it being a Serato branded unit.

Overall I’m very pleased with the SX and I look forward to putting it to good use.

Native Controller Support

Posted by on May 18, 2014 in Blog, Steam Hardware Beta | 0 comments

Recently I’ve been playing Portal 2 on the Steam Machine. Portal 2 is one of the first games to include native support for the Steam Controller. Every game I’ve played previously was running in legacy mode, a way for the Steam Controller to be compatible with all games.

I really enjoy taking photographs of the TV.

I really enjoy taking photographs of the TV.

I was slightly confused at first because I had no idea it included native support until I tried to edit the in-game binds. The regular bind screen told me native support was included and everything had to be done through the in-game menus.  After finally finding my way to the key map it showed a diagram of the new prototype controller with a number of predefined bindings similar to the legacy mode configuration screen.

Selecting custom will allow you to adjust the buttons yourself.

Selecting custom will allow you to adjust the buttons yourself.

The controller behaves very nicely. In the example of Portal 2 the left controller pad has directional acceleration, allowing you to directly effect how fast you move around based on your position on the pad, without using modifier keys. There are a number of additional setting adjustments you can make within Portal 2 such as sensitivity, trackpad layouts and more.

You can reverse the trackpads if you choose to do so within the Stick Layout settings.

You can reverse the trackpads if you choose to do so within the Stick Layout settings.

In general with native support the game plays better overall. I feel as if the success of the Steam Controller is heavily dependent on developers embracing it. While it works well without native support, the experience is just so much better with it that it makes me wish every game has it.

Several Months with the Steam Machine

Posted by on May 7, 2014 in Blog, Steam Hardware Beta | 2 comments

It’s been five months since I received the prototype Steam Machine from Valve. I’ve had a lot of time to make up my mind about how I feel about the console in its current state. I think the Steam Machine overall is a great idea and can really be a success. However it’s not flawless. There are many areas of improvements which I really hope Valve touches on before they send these systems to market.

Looks good as new after several months.

Looks good as new after several months.

I’m very happy with Valve’s recent decision to incorporate more community based features into SteamOS. Recently the community tab of Big Picture and SteamOS was replaced with your player name, allowing you to view your Steam profile and your friend activity feed. It’s a step in the right direction but I really feel that Valve needs to focus on more social features such as voice chat in order to make SteamOS triumph. I discussed this issue in a previous blog post which talked about SteamOS, voice chat and installing third party software. Voice chat is one of the most used features on the Xbox and I think players will miss that type of easy interaction if they make the move over to a Steam Machine.

The brand new Steam profile screen.

The brand new Steam profile screen.

Another area that needs improvement is Steam Music. It’s been something I’ve been waiting years for and I really enjoy it. The only problem I’ve had with it is getting music from my other system to SteamOS. It makes for quite an awkward experience when you need to exit SteamOS and enter the linux desktop to store your MP3s locally on the machine. I think Valve should focus on eliminating the need for the linux desktop entirely to make the experience more seamless for beginners. I would also like to see more integration with popular music streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, iTunes and online radio stations such as Digitally Imported and BBC Radio 1.

Library setup screen for Steam Music.

Library setup screen for Steam Music.

In general the Steam Machine has a great foundation. Valve have been very attentive with their beta program. They are quick to respond and they fix major issues very quickly. If this type of attention to detail follows the system into retail I feel the system has a great chance of success. Testing continues and I look forward to seeing what the future holds.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. I’ll do my best to answer them.

Mini Cooper

Posted by on Apr 17, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

I’ve always wanted a Mini Cooper. When I was little, I played with miniature Corgi models of the car hoping I would eventually own a real one myself one day.

Today I made the purchase of a 2011 Mini Cooper Hardtop. Even though it’s the BMW version I couldn’t be happier.

I'm getting the sides of the car fit with a Union Jack decal.

I’m getting the sides of the car fit with a Union Jack decal.

The Interior. The car makes cute noises.

The Interior. The car makes cute noises.

Vote for Omij

Posted by on Mar 18, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

UPBOATSOmij is now on the Steam Workshop and ready for your votes. If you’d like to see the official Jimo ward added to the Dota 2 store login to Steam and select the rate button. If accepted the revenue earned will go towards improving my guides.

A OWL

Collaborating with Red Moon Workshop has been an incredibly fun experience and I look forward to working with them in the future on some guides. Big thanks to Bounch, Helenek and Oroboros for creating such a fantastic ward and making my vision come to life. I owe each of you multiple beers the next time we meet up.

I also wanted to thank everyone who has supported my writing. I’m looking to the future and I can’t wait to see what it brings.

Omij, Sentinel of Knowledge

Posted by on Mar 14, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Introducing Omij, the Sentinel of Knowledge, a Dota 2 ward created by Red Moon Workshop and myself inspired by my guides. We began collaborating on this project earlier in the year and now that development is in full swing I’m happy to share more information and the thought process behind the design.

This is the first concept. We decided on design B as we felt the silhouette was better suited for a ward.

This is the first concept. We decided on design B as we felt the silhouette was better suited for a ward.

We set out to create a ward that symbolizes wisdom. Wards are static objects which are placed in the game to provide vision to team members in otherwise obstructed areas of the map. Owls are observers and are commonly associated with knowledge in many fantasy novels. Keeping with the theme of wisdom, we included books to the base of the owls pedestal  which represent guides, the main inspiration for the item.

The finalized concept.

The finalized concept.

The ward is still a work in progress and will be ready for the Steam Workshop soon. Be sure to follow RedMoon Workshop on Twitter and Facebook for more updates from Oroboros, BounchFX and Andrew Helenek. You can also join my Steam Group for more updates from myself.