Stolen Pixels #238: After After Curfew, Pt. 2

By Shamus
on Oct 26, 2010
Filed under:
Column

Part two of our Halloween special!

This is probably the most I’ve ever shown of the studio within a comic. Funny story about the studio…

For the last few years I’ve been making due with all of these old hard drives in my machine, which added together came to just 700GB. Given that this one machine holds all my games, all my (at the time) day job work, all my programming projects, all the stuff for this website, all my comic stuff and the source screenshots…. whew. It was a really tight fit. I’d needed the upgrade for a couple of years, but wasn’t eager for the work disruption and expense involved with an upgrade. A couple of months a go I bit the bullet and got myself a proper 2TB SATA drive. (The old ones were IDE.)

On Sunday I discovered that I’d missed something in the migration. The source file for Studio 17 (where the Dr. Breen’s show takes place) is gone. I’ve searched all drives, likely and unlikely, and the file is nowhere to be found. I still have the level, which means I can still load it up in GMod and take my screenshots, but I’ll never be able to edit it again. If I wanted to change the level in any way – add a hallway, change some lights, add some more detail – I’d have to rebuild the whole place from scratch.

I can’t believe I lost that file.

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20201959 comments. It's getting crowded in here.

From the Archives:

  1. Jordan says:

    There’s a program called VMEX which can decompile Source maps, assuming you havent added any decompilation protection you should be able to get the editable file back (although they might be a few bits that need fixing, the process isn’t entirely perfect but damn near).

  2. krellen says:

    Could be worse. I lost my wallet yesterday.

  3. Matthew Allen says:

    Shamus, you should see “There is something out there.” Or at least that’s close enough to the name that google will fix the rest. It’s an excellent parody/homage from the 80s. Very nicely done.

  4. Teldurn says:

    Instead of searching for file name, have you tried searching by file extension instead? Maybe you named it something different than you remember? That happens to my old files unnervingly frequently. I don’t know what file type the models are, but suppose I were searching for an old Word doc. Instead of searching for what I think the filename would have been named (and since the search is coming up blank), instead I’ll search for “*.doc” and sift through the results.

    This is considering, of course, that you still have access to your old hard drives.

  5. Gandaug says:

    Ouch. I just recently reformatted my hard drive. Every single time I’ve ever done that something gets lost.

  6. Taelus says:

    Sorry to hear that Shamus. It’s always an ugly blow to realize something that took a bunch of work is gone and not coming back :-(

  7. merle says:

    I am very sad that no-one has yet mentioned John Carpenter’s “The Thing” as an example of a good horror movie. The John Campbell novella it was based on was even more disturbing.

  8. MichaelG says:

    Yeah, NewEgg sent me a promotion too — 2 TB for $90. I mean, how can you resist? Especially if you are as old as me and your first Apple II didn’t even have floppy disks.

    Terabytes… what am I going to do with terabytes! Oh, I know… 400 ripped movies?

  9. Sander says:

    You should really have offsite backups of the stuff you do, this is just asking for problems.

    • Shamus says:

      It’s true.

      I tried a few offsite backup services a few months ago. Some were too expensive (obviously intended for companies, not individuals) and some were too small (2GB of backup ain’t gonna do much for me. ) And some were saddled with a horrible, piggish, pushy client.

      I do need to sort this out though, even if it means running some arrogant Norton-esque application. Got all my eggs in one basket right now.

      • bbot says:

        I just store all my crap on a cheap dedicated server with a big hard drive. If you use the entire drive it’s very cheap on a dollar/gigabyte basis.

        I then double backup the important stuff to a numbered rsync.net account, through nearlyfreespeech.net.

      • eri says:

        Have you tried Dropbox? It’s not great for large files, but for smaller things (text documents, probably code, photos) it’s extremely useful. No bloated client either – it pretty much just gives you a folder on your computer that you drag things into, and it automatically syncs with their servers and all other computers you have logged in. I can send you a referral link if you want, which will give you some extra space.

        • Jarenth says:

          I second this notion. I can’t even remember how I kept project files synchronized on my two computers before Dropbox got involved.

          It’ll also allow you to share folders with other Dropbox users, which is ideal for (for instance) sharing articles and images without the hassle of email.

          It’s 2 GB initially (I think), but you can get extra space by either completing some chores (don’t ask me why) or by referring more friends to Dropbox.

      • Volatar says:

        Carbonite works for my family.

      • Chris Robertson says:

        Yikes. No backups?

        Let me seed the remedy list:

        http://www.maluke.com/software/s3-backup
        http://www.dragondisk.com/
        http://rsync.net/
        http://carbonite.com/

        Personally, I put all my “important” stuff on my storage brick (a Synology something or other) and use it’s backup client to push the data nightly to Amazon’s S3. I put my mom on Carbonite, as it’s a simpler solution.

      • Lisa says:

        I ended up getting a couple of external drives (i.e. USB) and using Cobian Backup to backup to them regularly. Though it did mean making sure said drives were at least twice the size of what’s currently inside my box.

      • Mark says:

        Very happy with Backblaze, myself.

        • Jarenth says:

          Heard about that, yeah. Is it any good? Ever since I lost my 1 TB external harddisk to (essentially) bad luck, I’ve been looking into good online backup services, and this one sort of jumped out.

      • Sem says:

        I use raid 1 (mirroring) for all my drives in my system. It saved me a couple of times.

        Admittedly, it’s hybrid raid (i.e. both hardware and software. It’s implemented on the motherboard but also needs the correct drivers in Windows) and not ‘true’ hardware-only raid. That’s a bit less safe but because I only use raid 1 it’s not problem if a raid array breaks. I just end up with two identical disks (in case of other raid systems, you end up with unreadable disks).

        Unfortunately, I’m still neglecting to make off-site backups for the really important stuff but one of these days I’ll get to it. Probably right after my whole system crashes and wipes all my data into oblivion.

        • Simon Buchan says:

          For a long time, software only RAID was significantly safer than hardware RAID, the early controllers had very buggy microcode/ROMs. I’m not sure how accurate this is for the last year or two though.

          • Sem says:

            I was under the impression that hardware raid was preferred because software raid has a dependency on the OS (and harddisk drivers ?) which has a higher chance on corruption.

            I looked into the matter when I bought my motherboard which was about 4 years ago. Admittedly, I didn’t went all that deep. Just did some Google searches and read some articles about it. The only reason I choose the hybrid raid was because of the higher price of hardware raid.

  10. RTBones says:

    Losing data is never fun. Went through a machine upgrade relatively recently. I had an external 500GB USB hard drive I had been using for a little while as a shared storehouse since the drive on my old machine was close to full. Plugged it into the new box once I had it set up – no worky. Much consternation, troubleshooting, and online research later, I disassembled the external drive, only to find out it was actually a SATA drive that was being driven through a USB “hub” connector. Not really wanting to lose all that data, I took a chance and mounted the now disassembled drive into the new box as an internal SATA drive. Worked like a charm and I breathed a huge sigh of relief – and got an additional 500GB of space on the new box.

  11. Daemian lucifer says:

    If you like shaun of the dead,try zombieland,its just as funny.

    I prefer having multiple hard drives.Sure,it is slower at certain times than having a single one,and sometimes juggling them around can get tedious,but I had a bad hard drive malfunction once and am so glad I didnt have everything on it.Plus its much easier to replace them one at the time.

  12. Hal says:

    Why is there an audience member in the seats in panel 3? Or is he supposed to be there?

  13. kikito says:

    Funny that you didn’t say “bah, I’ll redo the set in minecraft”!

    :)

  14. Dazdya says:

    According to some people it’s not a horror movie, but I consider ‘Frailty’ one of the scariest movies ever.

  15. Haidutin says:

    About the horror movies, I usually watch them with a friend of mine and we do a little commentary ( MST3K style). But I do that only for the funny ones. Some of the best horror movies I have seen are “Blair witch”, “Rec” and “Paranormal activity”, check them out.

  16. Mari says:

    It really depends on what you’re looking for in horror movies. Being somewhat of a fan of the genre, I can guarantee that there are horror movies out there for you no matter what you like. Even if you want to NOT BE SCARED. Actually, those are probably the easiest to find.

    Personally my preference is for moody, atmospheric horror movies that rely on tension-building with little to no “reveal” because I find that more often than not once I can get a good look at whatever it is that’s supposed to be scary I’m just let down or wildly amused. “Darkness Falls” almost succeeded at being my kind of horror. “The Others” is a top contender. The original “The Haunting” is right up there and so is “The Changeling.” I liked “Dark Remains” except for the ghost reveals. They were just…silly. The original Thai “Shutter” is pretty awesome as well.

    Oh, and speaking of Asian horror, for the creepiest kid in all of movie history check out “Phone” from South Korea. The actual movie was only marginally scary but that kid made me want to crawl in a closet and hide – for the rest of my life. I’ve had nightmares about her since seeing it. No joke.

    • Two words: Event Horizon. That movie is absolutely terrifying, and it is one of the few movies I’ve seen that has managed to keep the tension going.

      The original John Carpenter’s The Fog is also a really atmospheric and scary movie, and it keeps things nice and tense from beginning to end.

    • Nick says:

      “Ring”/”Ringu” is damn creepy too (the original Japanese, not the sucky US remake, which is called “The Ring”), watch it in the dark for the best experience.

      • Mari says:

        I made the mistake of seeing “The Ring” first. It was disjointed and not really scary aside from a little creepy imagery. But a while back I got the urge to check out some Asian cinema which led me to “Ringu.” It made sense! And it was scary because the creepy imagery wasn’t just random pictures for no reason. It made me so happy.

        I’ve become quite addicted to Asian horror flicks, actually. It seems like my odds of finding terror improves from about 1 in 10 for American horror to 1 in 3 for Asian horror.

    • Deoxy says:

      Personally my preference is for moody, atmospheric horror movies that rely on tension-building with little to no “reveal” because I find that more often than not once I can get a good look at whatever it is that’s supposed to be scary I’m just let down or wildly amused.

      I think the mind generally fills in “something terrifying, but we don’t know what” with something you find terrifying (even if you don’t consciously realize what it chooses). Almost any reveal will be less terrifying to you than what your mind can choose for you.

      That said, the ones I find most scary are the ones that are the most plausible. Zombies just really don’t do much for me, for instance, especially the “sciency” ones (virus usually, but whatever “sciency” reason).

      Edit: not to say that zombie movies can’t be good, but the zombies themselves just aren’t scary to me because they are almost always just too unbelievable. The ones where the bodies claw their way out of the graves, for example, are just silly.

  17. eri says:

    I know your pain. One time I spent about three weeks, 5+ hours a day working on a huge single-player level for Crysis, complete with lots of scripting, mission objectives, voice over, etc… some bugs caused me to reinstall the game, and I forgot to tell it to keep my map files. After I realised what I’d done, I punched myself in the head a few times.

  18. Geoff says:

    I dread any time I have to migrate hard drives… which probably explains why I have so many old harddrives in my rig.

    Early in college I had two hard drives in my computer and backed everything up to one while I reformatted Windows on the other. Being the elite, computer Guru that I am, I didn’t think much of starting the reformat on the Windows drive to do a clean install with both drives still plugged in. One incorrectly chosen partition reformat later…

    I didn’t lose anything too detrimental to my life, but all my save games (at the time I liked to install games on drives other than my Windows disk), school work, music, etc was gone in one fell swoop with the exception of those files I had on my Windows drive.

    Now, whenever I reformat I always physically disconnect drives I don’t want to reformat, then boot to verify I unplugged the right disks. When I do upgrade harddrives, I copy the data and then usually migrate the old harddrive to a second computer I own to serve as a backup location until years have passed and I’m sure I won’t need data off it again.

  19. Joshua says:

    I thought Shaun of the Dead was….alright. However, I thought Hot Fuzz was much better, although not horror.

    As far as Silent Hill goes, I’ve said it before, but as creepy as the movie got, it made a big mistake off the bat by establishing the protagonist as an irritating moron in the first scene, and things don’t really improve from there. Made it really hard to care about the character for me.

  20. Nick says:

    That comic was toally great.

  21. Gravebound says:

    Grammar Nazi:

    the term is “make do” not “make due”

    …sorry, I HAD to point that out.

  22. Amstrad says:

    You could view this as an opportunity in disguise. Plenty of late night shows go through set redesigns and upgrades. You could even wring a few strips out of the premise of the old set getting ruined in some grandiose fashion and the rebuilding process.

    TL;DR – clouds, silver lining, etc

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