Better late than never

Today I finally got through the post an author’s agreement from Software 2.0, a magazine I wrote an OGRE article for over a year ago now. I also got copies of the magazines the article was published in (in February 2005), both the French and German versions. It’s kind of weird to see your own words translated into 2 foreign languages; it’s a shame there was no English version of that issue (even though that was the original language of the article, obviously).

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I like walking. It helps you think, clears out the cobwebs in the morning, burns a bit of the xmas flab (it’s got its work cut out on that one though), and works out the kinks and stresses of the day. People rush around far too much, generally. Especially to and from work, it’s all start - stop in the traffic jams into work, angry faces crushed behind steering wheels, feet jabbing at the pedals in a vain attempt to somehow shave some time off the journey but in the end just increasing their blood pressure and getting nowhere any faster.

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I'm a sad, sad man

I just caught myself getting really excited over a PSU. Not any PSU, mind, this is the worlds smallest, fanless 12V ATX PSU. It’s absolutely tiny and can power a low-power motherboard as well as an optical drive and 2 hard drives, completely silently and taking up the space of 2 AA batteries. Wonderful. It does require a separate external AC-DC converter of the type you’re likely to see attached to your printer or laptop, but those don’t have active cooling either.

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Feisty old XSI

I’ve been wrestling with XSI over the weekend trying to figure out how to do the last part of the pose animation support, and I’ve made far less progress than I’d hoped because I have been having problems figuring out how to extract the information I need. XSI’s API is actually quite pleasant to use, and I generally mess about in the embedded script to feel my way to the data I need, then write it properly in C++ for which the interface is anagolous, which is nice.

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Did anyone else slap their forehead when they saw the stats on Gamasutra for the top selling games in the US in 2005? Here they are for those who missed them: Madden NFL 06 on PS2, Pokémon Emerald on GBA, Gran Turismo 4 on PS2, Madden NFL 06 on Xbox, NCAA Football 06 on PS2, Star Wars Battlefront II on PS2, MVP Baseball 2005 on PS2, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith on PS2, NBA Live 06 on PS2, and Lego Star Wars on PS2

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about open source and funding arrangements. The vast, vast majority of the top open source projects have funded members at their core. This is true with Linux, Eclipse, Apache, JBoss, MySQL, Qt etc. There are pretty large variations on where this funding comes from; some are simply employed by organisations which favour open source because it helps them sell their own products (IBM), some because their products are used by enough big businesses that will readily pay for support (Red Hat, JBoss) , some because they dual license and can thus pay their core developers directly (MySQL, Qt).

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I’m getting close to finishing the pose animation support in XSI, for example here’s some data exported from the XSI facial animation tutorial: Poses can be blended together at different weights using your animation tracks in order to give the scripted expressions required to play back pre-scripted sequences, such as speech or just a cutscene. Or you can dynamically alter the blending basically by dynamically tweaking custom active tracks. It all adds up to a very flexible vertex animation system, perfect for the sorts of things you’ll use vertex animation for these days (and of course it can be vertex shader powered easily, an important issue for OGRE’s design goal of moving as much as possible to the GPU).

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Damnable beauty

How dare the new MacBook Pro be so darn beautiful. Not only does it have looks to die for, it has a decent CPU, dreamy GPU, and a wad of RAM under that gorgeous brushed metal hood. I’ve always quite fancied a PowerBook, but the price / performance ratio always gave me the reason I needed not to shell out. But this… it may still be very pricey, but the beef underneath is so much better than before.

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Good news, MS have resolved the iostream memory leak in VS 2005. The question is now when they’re going to release it as a service pack. The last information I have is ‘first half of 2006’ which is rather uncomfortably vague. 😕 My one hope is that, judging by the number of people bitching around the net about problems with the .Net 2.0 elements of VS 2005 it (which I don’t use at the moment), that MS will make this earlier rather than later.

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Well, we’ve had a good starting response to the OGRE on consoles survey, close to 100 respondents already, most of which have been quite positive. Hopefully that will continue and we can see really what the community thinks of the idea and whether it’s financially viable. There have been a few negative comments, which I was braced for, and I’d like to deal with the most common ones here now.

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