Development

Yay, OgreSpeedTree 2.0b is done

I’ve been pushing quite hard to get this done before I head off to Qt DevDays next week, and luckily it all came together in the last few days: Some of the notable back-of-the-box (if there was a box) items: Upgrade to SpeedTree v5 - supporting all the great new features. See the SpeedTree site for more details on this release. More lighting options - Ambient Occlusion, Ambient Contrast, Specular Lighting, Transmission Lighting, Global Light Scalar, HDR.

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Early-stage Git/Mercurial/Bazaar evaluation thoughts

bazaar DVCS Git Mercurial

A few weeks ago I decided to start seriously investigating switching to a DVCS. I’m currently up to my eyes in work and haven’t really had time to progress that in the last few weeks; however some absolutely abhorrent performance / reliability problems with Sourceforge’s Subversion server made a large merge process so costly to me (in the end I had to commit in small chunks, breaking transactional consistency, and it needed so much babysitting because of the speed / reliability it took me 4 bloody hours just to commit!

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My favourite error message for a while

It’s nice when software reflects a programmer’s sense of humour and humility. This message appeared when I restarted Firefox 3.5.3 after an XP crash: Bravo - thanks for making me chuckle, and thus forgive you instantly for any error (and it might not even have been yours). Bless.

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Getting more structured with my DVCS tests

Ok, so I’ve posted my initial feelings about tinkering with Mercurial and Git, and that seems to have generated some interest. It’s time to get a bit more formal about how I’m going to evaluate them against each other, to decide which one I like to use most in real, practical scenarios. So, I decided to come up with a list of use cases for the things that I typically have to deal with when managing the repositories for a software project (open source and otherwise), so that I can methodically test them out and see how I feel about each system.

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Playing with Mercurial

I’ve been interested in DVCS for a while; having done my fair share of branch management, something which makes that process easier and more transparent is definitely very attractive. I particularly like the way a DVCS makes it easier for people to collaborate in pockets of their own, away from the centralised environment, and track other repositories and keep their local mods up to date more easily - public-branch-on-demand if you will.

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Open source - the next challenge

Open Source users

So, after much initial confusion, sabre-rattling, dispair and finally acceptance (sometimes grudging), the world now pretty much groks open source. In addition, we’re all getting better at doing open source - it’s increasingly obvious what the best practices are in terms of growing and developing an open source project, and of how businesses as well as hippie coders can use and produce it effectively. Increasingly, open source is a known beast, and those that don’t embrace it in some fashion are increasingly looking hopelessly luddite.

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It's all in the small print

There have been cries of joy on the intertubes recently from people who like .Net but who like using it on non-Windows platforms (or believing they have the option to do so), in that Microsoft has extended their Community Promise to Mono, meaning they won’t sue over uses of it. Or so it’s been rather shallowly reported in some circles, more on this below. Firstly I’ll just say that no matter what, this is a positive step.

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svnmerge and svn 1.6 don't play nice?

1.6 subversion svn svnmerge

Bah. I’ve used svnmerge for ages to meet my Subversion merging needs, but a change around property management in Subversion 1.6 makes it no longer work anymore. Yes, I know Subversion has had its own merging features since 1.5, but I still use svnmerge because it works well, it generates me detailed merge commit messages, and it doesn’t require me to upgrade all my repositories to use it. Sourceforge was on Subversion 1.

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Circular dependencies

I can’t remember who made the assertion / joke that if you looked through an infinitely powerful telescope you’d end up seeing the back of of your own head, but I was reminded of that by a certain event today. In the last couple of years I’ve often Googled for a particular subject and ended up with the top hits pointing me back at one of my own posts in the OGRE Forum or on my blog, in a weird self-citing manner.

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CrazyBump or ShaderMap Pro

I posted about this in the artist’s section of the Ogre forums already, but I figured I’d post it in my blog too. I’m looking for a content pipeline to generate normal, displacement and specular maps from reference photos, and I’ve been playing with the demos of both CrazyBump ($299) and ShaderMap Pro ($19.99). In my tests, CrazyBump seems to give me the superior results very quickly, and I’ve been impressed by both the default setup and the amount of tweakables it has.

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