Gigabyte BRIX (Intel NUC) GB-XM12-3227 Review

So… the other day I bought this Gigabyte BRIX barebone which is basically an Intel NUC system, but manufactured by Gigabyte. I’ve tried the vanilla Intel NUC systems before and it worked great, except the older generation which had over-heating issue but resolved after adding a thermal pad to it as well as a firmware upgrade, but overall still pretty okay I guess.

Now, back to Gigabyte BRIX, specifically the GB-XM12-3227 model. I can’t talk about the other models as I have never used it before, so let’s just stick to this one.

All-and-all, it worked fine at first. It booted up Windows 10 without any problem, HDMI connected to the monitor without any problem, great resolution, etc. UNTIL I tried to use the web browser. Even though the internet status is “connected”, I still couldn’t use the damn internet on my browser.

After hours and hours of research and trials, I realized that the issue is the firmware. Not only it’s old (from 2013), but it’s supposedly for Windows 8.1, and not Windows 10. Went to Gibabyte’s website to look for the latest drivers, and guess what, they only have firmware updates up to 2014, so still, no Windows 10 support.

Further more, I downloaded the latest BIOS and tried to flash it, only to realize the BIOS utility doesn’t support 64-bit Windows, because it is a god-damn Windows XP Service Pack 2 executable file!

Then, I went to Windows 10’s Device Manager and check out my wireless network adapter’s properties. This is when I realized the WiFi adapter only supports up to IEEE 802.11b/g and not the newer IEEE 802.11b/g/n, which unfortunately is what I set on my router. So then I moved over to my router’s admin page and changed the Transmission Mode to the appropriate setting.

I have no idea what’s causing this. Outdated BIOS? Outdated drivers? I have no idea.

However, despite able to connect to the internet now, the speed is still very limited. Often time it took roughly 20 seconds or more just to load a web page.

Then, I used a Chinese software called 360安全卫士 (translated as “360 Safety Guard”) and went to the “Optimization and Speed-up” page. That particular page contains an automated scan-and-fix feature which includes “network speed-up” option.

After running the optimization process, my wireless network is finally back to usable state! What sorcery is that?? (However, IEEE 802.11b/g/n is still not supported).

Overall, the Gigabyte BRIX works okay except the BIOS and drivers are really outdated and urgently need an update. That’s all for today, have a nice day folks.

Easter Egg

If you have bought my book “Building a Game with Unity and Blender“, you may have realized the sword model shown in Chapter 2 “Creating Characters” is no where to be found in the source files.

Fear not! The sword is actually hidden in Player.blend, which you can unhide by press alt-H in Blender.

Initially I wanted to use the sword model in the game demo. However, eventually I ended up doing punching animation instead of sword-wielding, which is why I hide the sword (instead of deleting it) before moving on to do the animations for Chapter 3.

You can try and unhide the sword, then import it to Unity and parent the sword model to one of the hand bones of the game character. It might even look like sword-wielding when playing the punching animation!

Game Dev Week Half Price Promotion

It’s time for goodies again!

In conjunction with Game Dev Week 2016, some of books at Packt Publishing that are related to game development are now half of the original price, including the book I wrote, “Building a Game with Unity and Blender“! Click on the banner below to check out the promotion.

You can also check out some other offers here.

Also, Packt Pub is giving out an ebook every day for FREE till the 8th of March. Grab yours now!

Reviving an old project?

There’s an old hobby project which has been in hiatus for several months now. The idea started as a series of character concept art I did back in 2010 for my final year project but for some reason it didn’t get chosen, so I decided maybe I could use it for my own game.

Few months ago, I created the character model in Blender and a friend of mine did the environment props in 3D Studio Max. I put them together in Unity and wrote some scripts to make the character move (run, jump, double jump, climb ladder, etc.) and even did a simple NPC dialog system. But that’s all, it’s been staying the same since then, as both of us were very busy with jobs and other stuff. Now I’m thinking maybe it’s a good idea to post it out on my blog so that I can remind myself from time to time that there is a hobby project awaiting for completion.

The game is a story-based, character-oriented adventure game with puzzle elements in its gameplay. Player will be going through the game levels to solve certain puzzles and achieve certain objectives, which slowly revealing the story and the relationship between the characters in the game. There will be several characters who are teenagers but look really weird with their costumes and behaviors. They live in an alternate universe which is very different from ours and player will be learning more about their world throughout the game. However, I have not settled with the details yet so there are much more works to be done.

Ignore the scaling in the last screenshot. The scaling wasn’t correct, I was merely showing my friend how the models looked like in Unity compare to what he saw in 3D Studio Max.

Need to squish out some time for this hobby project so that I can keep my passion in game development, as my current job is more toward software engineering rather than games.