Ogre

Custom render queues in Dagon

I’m just about to commit the final part of the implementation of another one of my TODO items in Dagon, ‘Custom Render Queues’. OGRE has always used the concept of a render queue to build up a list of things to be rendered in the frame, partitioned by ‘queue group’ to enable separation of things like skies, overlays and custom effects where ordering is important, groups the ‘solids’ by pass state to minimise render state changes, and orders transparent items by descending view depth.

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OGRE download demographics

After a week and a half of 1.0.6 being available, there have been roughly 16000 total downloads, and 8000 downloads of the source / SDK releases (and that’s about 20Gb per day including other downloads like tools, fact fans). Breaking down the numbers is interesting - it doesn’t reflect the whole OGRE community since the more adept users tend to get it directly from CVS, but it’s indicative of the more mainstream use perhaps.

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CGeometryAccessor in XSI v5.0

I was looking into how I might optimise the XSI exporter some more, since it’s a little slow on large data sets. In the end, whilst I managed to get some small speedups, the vast majority of the work is genuinely needed, and is mostly because, like in most modelling tools, you have to jump through some hoops in order to translate the very flexible and highly normalised data structures used in a modelling tool, to the compressed, runtime efficient formats needed for realtime.

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Kadath portal aggregation / selection working

I’ve had a little more time this week to get back into Kadath, and I have achieved one of the milestones I set myself - that of establishing ‘good’ portals from the many low-level portals I’d derived from the polygon soup. Here’s a couple of shots: Now, I realise this isn’t exactly very exciting or sexy looking. “What, no per-pixel lighting?” I hear you cry - well, that’s not the point of this exercise; those screenshots subtly demonstrate some very important points:

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Visual Studio 2006, MSDN

Well, it turns out that Visual Studio 2005 Pro isn’t going to make it to me in time for Xmas after all, the latest update from Microsoft is that the boxed product won’t be shipped until the second week of January, thereby missing (for me) the year of it’s moniker. If I was willing to pony up for an MSDN subscription, however, I could get it much faster, since it’s just basic media rather than the full retail box.

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Another release out the door…

Well, that’s another OGRE release out the door, this time it’s 1.0.6, another maintenance release for Azathoth. Once again it’s packed full of bugfixes, which always gives me pause for thought - every time we do a maintenance release I think ‘right, there’s no way we’re going to build up that many fixes again in another 6 weeks’, but still we manage to. It sort of makes me uncomfortable that this many things still turn up, but it’s fair to say that the majority of the fixes this time were the less serious ones, such as safer behaviour when the user screws up, or memory leak removal in more unusual circumstances.

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Apparantly I'm a communist - who knew?

It looks like SAP has thrown it’s hat in with Microsoft by viewing open source as akin to socialism (Gates went even further and suggested it was communism, I’m sure McCarthy would have liked to have him on his side back in the 50s). There argument is that if there is no financial incentive to invent, ie strong IP laws, then nobody will. On a very simplistic level they have a point.

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I love free stuff

Yesterday couriers delivered some more free stuff from those very nice chaps at Softimage; this time it came from the Avid UK office rather than Montreal where the developer relations guys are. In today’s package I had a promo T-Shirt for their ‘3D Love’ tour where they’re showing off the considerable capabilities of XSI v5.0 on 64-bit platforms in various cities (and yes, I’m feeling the love, thanks), and a double-sided training DVD, hot off the presses for the new version, which may hopefully improve my frankly shocking modelling skills.

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Portals, superportals and pencil power

After 2 weeks of constant distractions ranging from security updates, through a couple of major OGRE issue reports that needed investigation, and learning how VS2005’s release affects us, I finally managed to spend some time on Kadath today. Most of that time was spent with a pencil and paper, chewing the former in between trying to draw something sensible on the latter. Basically I was planning how I take what I have now, and perform yet more automated magic to turn it into something more useful.

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Ordered Visual Studio 2005 Pro

After some initial double-takes and discomfort over some of the things that were changed in VS 2005, I’ve become convinced enough of the benefits of the new version to cough up for the Professional upgrade. The free Express edition is an extremely good deal, but there are definitely things that I miss from the Pro version of Visual Studio, and given that I spend a very large part of my time indeed in this environment it’s worth spending the money.

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