Darke blog

A look into my personal interactions with technology, by Jon Lewis-Darke; Design Director @mybuilder, founder @EveryInteract, podcaster @_PerspectiveFM

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How well does Minecraft run on an M1 Max?

I love to play Minecraft on Macs. I previously posted videos on the performance of Minecraft on the M1 chips for both vanilla and Optifine.

Now I’ve done similar performance tests for the M1 Max.

The M1 Max is available in a number of configurations. The one I have to test is a maxed-out Max. It has the 10 Core CPU, 64gb of unified memory, but most importantly for these tests it has the 32 core GPU. I also still have the M1 (nothing) which I also retested under the same conditions for comparison.

These chips are in a variety of machines, but whether you’re running it on a Macbook Pro or a Mac studio, the results should be identical. What affects your performance the most in Minecraft is the resolution you play at, and the graphics settings you choose in game.

I tested a number of resolutions (1080, 2k, and 4k), and also both in vanilla and then with Optifine, all in a number of...

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Using Optifine with Minecraft on an M1 Mac

I had a good reaction to my post testing vanilla Minecraft on the M1 Mac at various resolutions, and people have been asking in the comments about the performance when using Optifine.

Optifine is a mod that is designed to make Minecraft run better, and also provides a bunch of additional graphics related settings, giving you more control over your Minecraft experience. I always use it when playing as I find the experience to be better. But just how much better does it perform on the M1 Macs?

I ran the same series of tests, but the same caveats apply here about Minecraft still running in Rosetta, and everything else I mentioned in my last video along with details about my setup and how I ran these test. Go read that post for more details.

I had almost all settings set as high as they go in Optifine, with render distance set at 16 chunks. I tested the FPS both inside the village where...

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How well does Minecraft run on an M1 Mac?

I’ve been playing Minecraft on my M1 Mac mini now for a few months, and the good news is it works great.

Many people have been asking me in the comments on my Let’s Play YouTube series - how does Minecraft perform on M1 Macs? Specifically, people are interested in the FPS I’m able to get.

That’s not a simple question to answer as it depends on your setup. So I’ll do my best to test the most common scenarios people will have and give you an idea of the kind of numbers you should expect to see.

The simple answer is: it plenty good enough to play vanilla Minecraft at high enough FPS, and for the most part, you shouldn’t notice any lack of smoothness in your gameplay.

First, a little about my setup that I used to perform these tests.
I have the M1 Mac mini with 16gb of Ram. It’s connected to an LG Ultrafine 5k display that the Mac is obviously driving continuously, regardless of the...

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Workouts & fitness in 2020

I once again set myself a target to improve my state of fitness in 2020, and I feel I did achieve that, but not in the way I intended at the beginning of the year. My workouts previously have been calorie focused, mostly driven by running and cycling. As such the number of runs and distance travelled were my primary metrics. I’ve always done some weights and strength training in the gym, but this has always been secondary.

This changed at the beginning of the year when I decided to shift my focus in order to increase my strength in 2020, which I kickstarted by subscribing to an app called Fitbod. This app has been instrumental in helping me achieve my goals this year and changing to a strength training focussed year of workouts.

My back and neck have suffered more than they have in several years, mostly due (I believe) to the reduction in mobility from isolating at home. I’ve tried...

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Mac upgrade - 7 years in the waiting

Until 2020 I’d not had much of a need for a home Mac. I’ve always had one, but the majority of my home computing needs are met by my iPad and iPhone. But I’ve always had a computer for those few things only a Mac can do, or to work from home in a pinch.

When I was a self-employed contractor (2006-09) my work Mac was also my personal Mac, and in constant use as the abilities of that Mac were intricately linked to my income. I’d been through a lot of Macs over the years, upgrading regularly as the technology improved and my needs evolved. I had desktops first, then moved to Laptops when they went Intel. Once I started my own agency, those needs changed to being desk-bound, laptops only served a purpose for meetings. This was the dawn of the iMac being a competent all-in-one option and so as my business grew we invested mostly in iMacs. From about 2009 onwards I almost exclusively used...

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Get with the programme Nintendo

A personal experience of mine this year.

During lockdown my wife and I have been playing more games together, and I bought Mario Party to see if we’d enjoy paying this on the Switch.

My wife is Black, and immediately on getting into the game we were hit with a problem of representation - no character choice represents who she is in a way she can relate to. The disappointment in her voice was palpable.

Nintendo characters in these games have a set of ‘human’ avatars, every single one of which is white. The rest are animals or fantasy creatures, which, fair enough, are neither.

The point is I can select a white character I feel I have some association with, and my wife felt her only real choice in this game, which she was not happy with, was a mole.

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This is a problem at the system level too, when selecting a profile character. Even with games like Smash which has an enormous...

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The most ‘realistic’ game I’ve played

I was watching JackSepticeye play through The Last of US 2 recently and was blown away by how great the game seemed. After his first few hours of gameplay I realised I had a copy of Last of Us (1) a friend gave me a while back and I’d not yet played. And so I began.

It’s very much a Naughty Dog game, a lot like Uncharted; it’s more of a playable movie. Set in a post-apocalyptic world following a zombie-like pandemic (topical!) that infected the majority of the worlds population and put the survivors into a dog-eat-dog culture.

The story follows a guy who ends up with a young girl called Ellie who turns out to be immune, and they go on a year long quest to get her to a resistance force who might be able to do something with her ability. A few sections are played as Ellie in moments where they are separated, which acts as a nice break and fills in the other half of the story nicely.

...

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WWDC 2020 keynote

I am super interested in new features, UX and Design changes to the operating systems I use every day, and so it’s becoming somewhat of a tradition for me to share my WWDC impressions.

I think the majority of the Apple community weren’t expecting much due to the effects of Covid-19 this year, but we got a fair amount of exciting features, and I’d like to discuss my highlights here.

iOS
Widgets are the big storey here. The home screen has remained largely unchanged (except for folders) since the launch of the iPhone. With iOS 14 we can now add widgets of varying sizes into springboard, intermixed amongst our apps. The widget is in-effect a rich version of the app icon itself. They are kind of like watch complications - displays of data without any interactivity other than to launch the connected app, larger widgets can have multiple deep links. It appears as if they can be 4, 6, 8 or...

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Tracking what I drink

As I mentioned in my 2019 year in review I began tracking a few things that I drink. There were a few metrics I was interested in:

  • Water: I was concerned I was not drinking enough
  • Caffeine: I was curious how much I drank
  • Alcohol: I have always drunk more than average and was keen to reduce my intake

The big one was water. I wanted to ensure I was drinking enough water, as I felt I was not at the time. My first point of call in 2018 was Water Minder - a helpful little app to do just this, with healthKit integration and a watch app.

For caffeine I started with an app called RECaff, which was essentially Water Minder for caffeine.

What I found with both these apps is despite how easy they have tried to make it, the barrier of being an app made it difficult at times to remember to use them. They had watch complications that launched predictably slow apps, widgets and reminders. But I...

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My re-found level of gaming

I always loved games and as kids my friends and I would play a lot. In the 90’s it was mostly video games as the only board games I was exposed to regularly back then consisted of Monopoly, Go For Broke, and Game of Life.

In the past year or two I’ve rediscovered my love for both, and I’d like to share why. So this post has two halves;

  1. Board games
  2. Video gaming

Board games

My friend Dave can take all the credit for getting me into boardgames. He’d been getting into it himself with local groups, then started buying games of his own. Soon we were being invited over for sessions at his house, and now have a regular group who meet about once a fortnight in town after work one evening.

Board games have gone through a renaissance in recent years. The increased popularity has led to the market being flooded with interesting titles, largely spurred on by kickstarter which de-risks...

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