VC++ 2005 Express

Well, the OGRE community has been taking it’s first look at VC8 (2005) Express Edition, which on the face of it seems like quite an incredible deal - a free copy of a great IDE with an optimising compiler and all the tools you need to make most native applications with C++ (among other things, but that’s what we’re most interested in). Besides a few minor missing features, such as a resource editor, 64-bit support and profile-specific optimisations, this seemed like the perfect tool for a budding native application writer.

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I’ve been catching up on a few of my TODO items, one of which is addressing a few remaining stability issues with the OGRE DirectX7 render system, a plugin which allows you to run OGRE on older computers running Win98 (which can’t run DirectX9) and with perhaps pretty dodgy drivers. It’s not been a priority for a while, since to attract new users it’s generally the newer tech that interests people, but at the same time having a solid solution for older computers makes it more useful for those targetting the shareware market.

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A web admin evening

Well, I spent the whole of this evening testing security updates to various bits of software that the OGRE website uses and applying them rather carefully to the real thing. I intend to script a sync from the main site to my local copy on a regular basis (I already transfer database dumps) so it’ll take less time to get the test setup running in future. Once again my tiny multi-purpose Gentoo box bore the brunt of the work, being as it is a mail server, database server, proxy server, web server, file server, router, OGRE release builder and probably a few other things too (it used to be a print server until I got my standalone wireless printer earlier in the year).

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An Ouroboros moment

It’s both flattering an damn annoying at the same time - I fire a query at Google looking for info on a 3D subject, for example ‘ps_3_x’ or ‘hardware skinning’, and frequently, there in the top handful of results is a section from the OGRE manual, the API spec, a post on our forums, the wiki, or something like that. Whilst it’s good to think Google thinks we’re an authority on this subject, I’d really like to get someone else’s opinion too 😉

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Well, I managed to get the morph / pose animation enhancements I talked about last week in at the weekend, plus a few other tweaks such as targetting individual vertex data sections in submeshes for performance with combined skeletal / facial setups. I need to do a little more testing on the combos and then think about adding export support for it to XSI. I also managed to bash through a chunk of patches, so the OGRE patch list is a little more manageable now.

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XSI shenanigans

I spent some time today with XSI, because I had a bug report queued up from earlier this week that needed some attention, and I wanted to build an OGRE exporter for my fresh copy of XSI v5. Well, the former went well, apart from taking a lot of time to figure out what the issue was. I like XSI’s API, it’s generally very consistent and stable, but it the amount of cross-referencing and re-indexing of data can get very confusing sometimes, especially since the exporter does it’s own set of reorganisations too (to create the best mesh for runtime performance, rather than flexibility like the originating data).

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Bits and bobs

It’s a bit of a ‘family week’ this week since the funeral was yesterday and extra family are in the island, so we’re having a few get togethers and thus there won’t be too many code commits this week. Over the weekend I made a little progress on the animation enhancements I mentioned a few days ago, hopefully I should get those in over the weekend. I might even get chance to play with XSI v5 a little more and start planning morph / facial animation export support for that (I’ll backport it to 4.

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Wow, just checked the logs for this site for the first time in a while, and it seems I have around 1,000 unique visitors here every month. Not quite in the same league as the 60,000 the OGRE site gets, but pretty respectable. I guess I should write something more interesting 😉 While doing that, I noticed from the logs that there are still quite a few people trying to pull down the RSS feed from the old site (http://www.

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Open Office 2.0

I’ve been a user and promoter to friends / family of Open Office for some time, simply because as a tool for writing personal documents and keeping simple accounts etc it’s ideal. In my experience too many people use MS Office at work and assume it’s the only option, so either waste a lot of money on MS Office for home, pirate it, or use MS Works, which is frankly rubbish.

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I added morph animation to Dagon a little while back, but I’ve recently been pondering some further enhancements, mainly following a few experiments with XSI v5.0’s shape animation. The problem with animation is that there are so many variables. Firstly you can have morph animation, skeletal animation, or a combination of both. Then, either one can be powered by the CPU or by shaders. Finally, you have stencil shadows (potentially hardware extruded) adding their extra little complications.

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