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Review: The Complete Guide to Blender Graphics, Second Edition: Computer Modeling and Animation (2014)

The following is a review of The Complete Guide to Blender Graphics, Second Edition: Computer Modeling and Animation, published in 2014, and written by John M. Blain.

So much information

Many many years ago I did quite a bit with POV-Ray and Rhino3D, but as I got older focused more and more on the web.

While I'd heard of Blender many times in the past, I had also heard that the GUI wasn't exactly friendly for new users. But now, thanks to this book, I've been able to successfully start digging into Blender, and may be on the path to being more than just a beginner in 3D modeling.

This book focuses on a fairly current version of Blender (only 1 release back at the time of writing this), which resulted in absolutely no issues translating what the book tells you to do with what the application actually presents for options.

Starting at the beginning, the book starts slowly building up your knowledge of the software, starting with how to select and add objects, as well as work with the basic tools, before adding on top of that more advanced topics.

The tutorials during this are fairly simple, and generally have you create a new 'empty' file, instead of building upon a single file (although this does change slightly as the book progresses).

While I wasn't able to finish all 500+ pages during my initial review period, this is definitely a book that I'll be continuing through, and will undoubtedly revisited chapters as I continue to work within Blender.

The Complete Guide to Blender Graphics, Second Edition, is highly recommend for beginners to Blender, and seems like it would be useful for more advanced users as well. For this reason I give the book a full five of five stars.

Tags: blender, book, review

Categories: review

(All original content on this site is licensed under the Creative Commons License Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0.)

Review: Devil Kings (2005)

The following is a review of Devil Kings, released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2.

Perfectly acceptable example of the genre

There's something satisfying about games of this particular genre. You play a kind of super-powered individual, able to wade your way through groups of the enemies armies, fighting your way to their lord(s), and taking them down.

It can certainly be repetitive, yet despite that ... the simple controls, basic story lines, multiple characters, and excited announcer, drives you play each character, and at increasing levels of difficulty.

If you're not a fan of the genre, or are a fan of the Sengoku Basara series, you won't find anything here that will win you over. I knew enough about the 'universe' after playing Sengoku Basara Samurai Heroes to know a bit more about each of the characters, but names have been changed, and the historical background has been almost completely removed.

But if you like Dynasty Warriors, or enjoyed Sengoku Basara Samurai Heroes and want to play as some of those characters again, you can probably find this game cheap, and will have an enjoyable time.

Playing through all 12 characters I got somewhere over 15 hours of play. However, I still have many weapons and items to find, and still have a ways to go before my characters reach level 20.

The cutscenes look pretty dang good (as expected from the PlayStation 2). The camera ends up being a little tight on your character, especially with 'Iron OX,' and the map always in the corner, but you'll stop noticing it after a while.

While I enjoy the genre I'm pretty average when playing it, so I did feel as though I had to start at easy, but leveling up some items (which carryover to all your characters) certainly gives your other characters a better start.

It would be nice to be able to back out to the menu after getting into Conquest mode, without having to start the mission and then exit out, but it's not horribly inconvenient.

Ultimate I give Devil Kings 4 of 5 stars.

Tags: playstation 2, review

Categories: review

(All original content on this site is licensed under the Creative Commons License Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0.)

Review: Linksys AC1200 Wi-Fi Wireless Dual-Band+ Router with Gigabit & USB Ports (EA6350)

The following is a review of a Linksys AC1200 Wi-Fi Wireless Dual-Band+ Router with Gigabit & USB Ports (EA6350), which I received as part of the Amazone Vine program.

Runs hot, but nice interface and speeds

I have a couple routers around the house, but I've always been a fan of Linksys, so when I saw the opportunity to review the Linksys AC1200+ I snapped it up. Unfortunately, while it has a number of good points, I'll ultimately be unplugging it and using an existing device instead.

First, the good. The setup (ignoring the Smart Wi-Fi application for a moment) was pretty painless. Once the router came back up I was able to connect to both bands of the device without issue.

Compared to a D-Link and Medialink router, as well as past Linksys models (WRT54G/L), I actually rather liked the web interface that they provided. The single light on the top of the device isn't ultra-bright, so I didn't have to keep the light in mind for placement. Speeds and signal strength seemed comparable to my other routers, which is to say perfectly sufficient.

Going back to the Smart Wi-Fi functionality, I ultimately have no need for such an application, but it was easy enough to skip during the setup. It also has functionality to check for updates automatically, but since I don't trust devices not to brick themselves during an auto-update, I opted to turn this off.

Now, the bad. This thing runs extremely hot. Within a few minutes. That combined with the size of the box requires a certain amount of planning on where the device can be placed. Having a number of other devices, this is by far the hottest one I have. And yes, I mean hot, not warm.

So is the Linksys AC1200 Wi-Fi Wireless Dual-Band+ Router with Gigabit & USB Ports (EA6350) worth the more than $100 it's currently selling at? I'm not sure. My D-Link dual-band router (DIR-855L) has served me extremely well, with a smaller footprint and heat signature. I really like the interface, but realistically I'll use it about once a year or so.

So ultimately I'd say it's four of five stars. If you're okay with the price, it does what it says it's going to do, but you'll need to make room for the device. If you're not okay with the price, then you can find alternatives without compromising.

Tags: linksys, review

Categories: review

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