It’s always gratifying, and a little weird, when I see books being written about OGRE - it just serves to illustrate (if any more evidence was needed) how far the project has come since I created that first ‘vertex coloured triangle’ rendering test on my home computer 12 years ago. I’ve been retired from the project for a while now, but I still get asked my opinion about things sometimes, and Packt were nice enough to send me a copy of this new book by Ilya Grinblat and Alex Peterson, OGRE 3D 1.
Well as planned and as discussed in my previous post, last weekend we switched ogre3d.org from a dedicated server running Apache, to a virtual private server running Nginx. How did it go? Well, surprisingly well in fact. I say ‘surprisingly’ not because it was a casual throw-of-the-dice affair - I did a lot of preparation and testing - but because I’m old enough to know that nothing ever goes completely to plan, and we didn’t have any (cost effective) way to test the full server load ahead of turning it on.
The Ogre3D website has been running on a dedicated server for about 7 years now; this is relatively expensive, but when we moved away from the shared hosting that Sourceforge generously provided, but which we had outgrown, our initial foray with a VPS (at the time lighttpd on Linode) proved inadequate for our needs, so after a month of futile tuning we gave up and went fully dedicated.
Time has moved on of course, and virtualisation technology is considerably better than it was in 2005. I’d intended to try again soon anyway to reduce Ogre’s overheads but our Adsense revenue was still covering the cost and I hadn’t got around to it yet. Then suddenly, Google pulled our ads after a mistaken (I believe automated) conclusion that we were hosting copyrighted material - a few users had posed test binaries of their own work on MediaFire and similar ‘red flag’ download sites - and all of a sudden we were leaking money. The misunderstanding was sorted out with Google within a few days, but even so it illustrated that we should probably look to move to a cheaper solution if we can so we have less exposure.
The Ogre site’s main issue with performance is Apache’s memory usage under load, so given a VPS is more constrained I wanted to address that. Enter Nginx, stage right.
I don’t blog as much as I used to, for reasons which are somewhat relevant to this post - rather you can usually find fragments of my consciousness floating around the Twittersphere instead, since its enforced brevity requires considerably less of my time to populate. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I believe that if you’re going to write a blog post about something, you should probably make sure it’s written in a half-decent way, and that’s fairly time consuming, particularly when you’re ever so slightly anal about language as I am.
I’m still getting the odd comment on my post in April about my back & why I was retiring from Ogre - thanks again to everyone for the best wishes. I haven’t posted any updates since then, both because I don’t want to ‘count my chickens’ too early, because I’ve been busy, and because I don’t want to be too self-indulgent; but it’s been 6 months now, and I figure some people might like to know my status, because it really has changed a lot.
Wow, talk about a ‘bolt from the blue’ here: I woke up this morning to find that I’d been included on the ‘Game Developer 50’ in the November 2010 issue of the long established Game Developer Magazine. It’s entirely, completely bonkers to see my name included in the same list as the likes of Sid Meier and Gabe Newell. Just, wow. 😮 Obviously my inclusion was based on my 10 years working on Ogre - it’s somewhat ironic that I was a GDMag subscriber when I started Ogre originally, and did so with the intention of creating my own games with it, inspired by what I read in those pages.
In a complete and total surprise, my cousin presented to me yesterday the result of a grand conspiracy in the Ogre community to commemorate my time as project lead - a specially designed, unique Ogre statuette! Thumbnails below, click for more detail… I literally had no idea this was going on, or that my cousin had been asked to make the delivery that day (I thought we were just meeting for a social).
Yesterday saw a triple-whammy of sugary Apple gaming goodness: Steam for Mac was released, meaning all the games you own on Steam that are ported to the Mac can also be played there, free. Torchlight was a day-1 release on the service, meaning Ogre (and therefore code written by me) was among the very first on the service. Portal became free (for Mac and PC) Wow. A great day for Mac gaming.
For 18 months I’ve been told by a succession of doctors and physios that I didn’t have anything structurally wrong with my spine and that my bouts of back pain were simply ‘standard non-specific back pain’ - ie muscle problems that I should just take NSAIDs for and exercise more. I’d been a bit skeptical because the problems were occasionally quite extreme and seemed to be always centred on one particular location (the joint just at the bottom of my ribcage), but after getting many opinions and one set of x-rays I went along with it.
When I was evaluating Mercurial, I touched briefly on Mercurial Queues (MQ), but at the time felt that they were probably a little more complicated than I needed. After all, one of the things I liked about Mercurial was that it all felt rather straightforward and intuitive, while MQ seemed downright confusing. However, I’ve just discovered a really powerful use case that has meant I’m now committed to using MQ for my every day workflow.