This article made me initially have a double-take. Nintendo in a Saga magazine? The whole idea sounded bonkers, half their readership would probably have no idea what the DS was, never mind what you did with it (“it sort of looks like a spectacle case, dear”). Then I thought about it a little more. I had an eye-opening experience last year - my parents have now retired to a sleepy village in Cornwall, and I gave them my old Sega Dreamcast to play with since my Dad showed an interest in games but wasn’t sure if he’d really get into them so didn’t want to spend any major cash without knowing.

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I often want to kill web designers. Ok, perhaps not kill. More like, strap them to a chair, lock their head in a vice, prop their eyelids open and then make them watch one of their poxy flash animations over, and over, and over again until it is burned deep into their visual cortex. Flash animations have always been the anathema of a pleasant web experience. From incredibly irritating flashing / scrolling, pulsing adverts that make you susceptible to frequent seizures, to ‘cool’ popping-out, sliding about, fading / sparkling user interfaces that only an art graduate with his head firmly wedged up his own arse could love.

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Well, it appears that Ninty were fibbing to everyone when they denied the rumours over the last few weeks, and they do in fact have a new version of the DS in the wings, called the DS Lite, so named not because it has less features than the regular DS (as the misspelling of ‘Light’ would usually imply), but because it’s, well, lighter. Both in hue and mass - it’s ‘iPod white’ and 21% lighter at 215g.

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Good news, I’ve had permission from Avid / Softimage to use content from the XSI tutorials, so I’ll be able to distribute the facial animation demo with Dagon. This is great, since I’m truly rubbish at modelling anyway, and my attempt would have no doubt resulted in a supremely disfigured face contorting in some freakish way, which rather than suggesting speech, would have hinted at some sort of high-voltage genital torture.

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Four things…

Darn, Damien tagged me with another chain-letter meme so I guess I’d better do it, otherwise he’ll think no-one reads his blog anymore, the poor chap 😉 Four jobs I’ve had in my life Supermarket drone (age 15) Tax man / accountant Software engineer / team lead Company director Four movies I can watch over and over Shawshank Redemption Aliens Fellowship of the Ring The Matrix (the first one of course, I don’t acknowledge the existence of any others) Four places I have lived

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It speaks!

Well, I managed to hit my self-imposed deadline - the XSI pose / facial animation exporter is working! It works beautifully, and here’s a small video to show it off. Yes, I know his smiling is a little extreme at the end, that’s how it was in XSI. They were doing that in a rather exaggerated fashion to show how you would combine ‘emotion’ poses with lip sync poses, and that’s exactly how OGRE is playing it back.

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OK, here’s something I like a lot about VC8. It’s a very small change, but it makes a lot of difference to me. The default behaviour of the ‘Stop Debugging’ button is now to detach from the external process rather than terminating it. That might not sound like a big deal, but you’ve no idea how frustrating it was in previous versions, to be debugging a plugin to a 3rd-party application, e.

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The comparative sales figures of the DS and PSP so far make for some interesting reading: Nintendo DS US: 4 Million Japan: 5 Million Europe: 3.5 Million Worldwide Total: 13 Million Sony PSP US: 4.5 Million Japan: 3 Million Europe: 2.5 Million Worldwide Total: 10 Million I must admit, I didn’t expect things to be like this, despite personally choosing the DS. I figured that more people (especially teenagers) would be overwhelmed by the looks and graphical power of the PSP, and the (IMO) gimmicky MP3 and movie playing capabilities, and see it as a no-brainer decision to buy the slicker looking one, but that hasn’t happened.

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Based on my discoveries & decisions last weekend about how to go about including pose animation support in XSI, I finished ripping out the old animation detection code in the XSI exporter and replacing it with the new, entirely mixer-based version. I also took the opportunity to ruthlessly excise a whole bunch of code which used to export skeletal animation directly by reading the animation fcurves on the various deformers, in favour of the alternative IK sampling routine I’d added afterwards.

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Musical Rediscoveries

Digital music players are wonderful things. They encourage you to dig out old albums you haven’t listened to in years just so you can try (in vain) to fill up that iPod or whatever hip-mounted device of your choice. In the process you often rediscover some forgotten gems. Music is very emotive, you tend to associate it with events that were happening at that time. There are a couple of albums I bought close to 10 years ago that I remember not really liking that much at the time, but I wonder now whether I haven’t listened to them much because they reminded me of a pretty stressful period, around when I was buying my first house and had all kinds of hassle with it (like water not staying on the outside as much as it should).

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