I posted about this in the artist’s section of the Ogre forums already, but I figured I’d post it in my blog too. I’m looking for a content pipeline to generate normal, displacement and specular maps from reference photos, and I’ve been playing with the demos of both CrazyBump ($299) and ShaderMap Pro ($19.99). In my tests, CrazyBump seems to give me the superior results very quickly, and I’ve been impressed by both the default setup and the amount of tweakables it has.
Now that I’ve had my 360 fixed & returned, I’m being pestered with requests to fill in a survey about my experience. Ignored the first two, since I was neither ecstatic nor furious about my support experience, so it would make a particularly tedious ‘ok I guess’ response. But, they’re insistent with their damnable reminder emails, so I tried to do it. I got right to the end screen, and then got this:
Ahem. Yeah, that means my 360 came back today, fixed and happy. MS tech support have put a smiley-faced band-aid over its owwies, and now it’s all better. I took a long coffee break to hook it up and test that it works, and whether my DLC still works or needs re-downloading (answer, it does, and it doesn’t, respectively). Muchos gracias, señor Microsoft. Total turnaround time: 33 days, although it would have been 10 days less had it not been for the first support request disappearing down a virtual plughole while I was away for a week (and 2 bank holidays didn’t help).
I’m glad that E3 is back - it adds a little excitement and pizzazz to the gaming calendar, and luckily this year it seemed to be pitched at about the right level - not the crazy-bonkers E3 of old, but big enough to be interesting. Whilst I think there’s a lot of other interesting stuff going, inevitably the ‘big 3’ console manufacturers are the shows that people pay most attention to, at least initially.
Oh hell yes. My favourite co-op zombie apocalypse sim is getting a sequel! " Video Games | Left 4 Dead 2 | E3 09: Debut Teaser <div style="padding-top: 3px;"> <a style="color:#FFFFFF;" title="XBox 360" href="http://www.gametrailers.com/platformlist/xb360/index.html">XBox 360</a> | <a style="color:#FFFFFF;" title="PS3" href="http://www.gametrailers.com/platformlist/ps3/index.html">Playstation 3</a> | <a style="color:#FFFFFF;" title="Wii" href="http://www.gametrailers.com/platformlist/wii/index.html">Nintendo Wii</a> </div> <div style="padding-top: 3px;"> I'll </div> <p> I'll miss playing Francis though, with his vans/hospitals/small towns hates. </p> <p> Inevitably some people are whining that Valve should have done some new campaigns as DLC for the original instead, but given the choice between new DLC levels, and a sequel with new levels plus new special infected, new features (dynamic weather & level structure, comedy melee weapons) and other refinements, I'll take the sequel any day of the week.
Many people have declared email to be dead in the past, and they’ve all been wrong. The typical play has been from instant messenger advocates, and most recently from Facebook. But, while these options have been a valid all-encompassing solution for teenagers and students, I haven’t met a single serious modern IT user whose life isn’t still driven primarily by email. There’s a reason that Outlook and Exchange are such consistent cash cows for Microsoft, and so many business people own Blackberrys.
I, like many people, viewed the Bing marketing video last week, which promised not to create a search engine, but to create a ‘decision engine’ - if you winced at this blatant attempt at the ‘game changing switcheroo’, congratulations, you can join me on the ‘jaded technology observer’ bench. Despite my distaste at having to swim through the murky waters of marketing blurb in this video, the demonstration looked pretty nice - showing how the ‘decision engine’ picks out flight details, product reviews and other things out of your search terms and provides context-sensitive recategorisations such as price and specifications of digital cameras if that’s what you were searching for etc.
I’m still waiting to get my 360 back after it fell on its own sword, but luckily late last week I got confirmation that it’s making its way back to me (or at least, a doppleganger with a service label on it is). It’s now languishing somewhere in Belgium as it meanders through UPS’s various relay stations like some signal trying to evade detection. All in all it will have taken about a month for the repair to go through, with a week of that just being lost by nothing happening with the initial web-registered fault report, and the rest just being dreadfully slow UPS shuttling of boxes (a courier that takes a week to go from Germany to here isn’t really ‘express’ if you ask me - I made it in a day, and FedEx is always much faster than this).
I reported a few months ago on how pleased I was that Qt was changing license to the LGPL, something I saw as a watershed for Qt adoption. I already had an awful lot of respect for Qt, but the previous GPL/commercial license did mean that adoption was in two quite widely separated camps - those who were already making GPL software, and those that could afford to license it for other cases.
It seems that symbolic release dates are all the rage right now. Beatles: Rock Band is due to be released on 09/09/09, which besides being easy to remember and aesthetically pleasing, I’ve since learned refers to one of their freakier experimental tracks (I hadn’t heard this before being tipped off to it, and afterwards concluded that I hadn’t been missing anything). Modern Warfare 2 has tried to get in on the act too, releasing on 10th November 2009, which in US date format translates to 11/10/09 - so almost a nice countdown idiom, although who starts counting down from 11?