As I just announced on the OGRE site, I was really pleased to find out today that we’ll be participating in Google Summer of Code 2009. This will be the 4th year running for us, and it wasn’t at all a given that we’d be accepted again this year - even though I think we’ve been a good mentoring organisation for the past 3 years, there are always new organisations wanting to get onboard and there are a finite number of places, so I wouldn’t have gotten my panties in a bunch if we’d been passed over in favour of letting someone else have a go this year.

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Since I keep getting asked this question by friends, existing business partners and prospects, I figured I’d just confirm it here - I won’t be attending GDC this year. It’s a shame, because I’d love to meet up with all the people I know who are going, but the primary reason is the 5,000 miles between here and there. Given the issues I’ve had with my back over the last few months (the worst episode of which emerged just after I made it back from California last time), I decided to have a break from long-haul travel to allow it time to recover.

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It seems that more and more these days I find articles cropping up in publications like the Economist or WSJ about open source projects, and it occurred to me how ‘normal’ it had now become for such business-oriented publications to recognise what a driver open source has become in the modern world. It’s expected now, but it made me think back to my personal journey with open source, and how much resistance I’ve encountered to it over the years.

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RB: Funk Pack 1

You’ve got to hand it to Harmonix - not many music games put in the effort to represent the breadth of the (popular) music spectrum quite like they do; whether it’s metal, pop-rock, indie (alternative for our US cousins), punk, classic rock, glam - they try to cover it. Funk, jazz and soul have been a tiny bit underrepresented, mostly turning up in bands that are really rock setups who wove some of these elements into their music (such as Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rage Against the Machine) but it looks like they’re trying to go someway to addressing the situation next week:

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My name’s Steve, and I’m here to admit I have a Peggle problem. Don’t let Popcap’s family-friendly, cuddly surface fool you. These guys are peddling gaming narcotics in their most concentrated form, throwing the authorities off the scent with unicorn/squirrel characters, smiley faces, jingles and rainbows - but I know their true forms; they are a menace I say, a menace! My wife has had Peggle for ages on the PC, and I would often make a jokey comment about how often I’d find her playing it.

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Last night was probably the biggest awards event in the British video games industry, the BAFTA Video Games Awards. There wasn’t one in 2008 for some reason, so this one had an odd amalgam of 2007 and 2008 games in it’s shortlists, which was slightly unfair to more recent games I think - I mean, who really has much of a chance against Super Mario Galaxy (which is one of the very few games it’s worth owning a Wii for)?

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The trouble with developing a project which is not only cross-platform, but is old mature & wizened enough to have users dotted across a whole history of incompatible versions of the same tool, is that you end up having to maintain a ton of project files. Linux makefiles, 3+ versions of Visual Studio, Code::Blocks, XCode, Eclipse - it all gets a little unmanageable. I’ve been meaning to look at cross-environment build managers like CMake for a long time, but the time investment required to port & test, let alone learning how to do it, was daunting enough that it never seemed to make it to the top of my TODO.

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I was already starting to get a little tired of having vanity products targetted at me all the time when I watched TV - seems you just can’t sit down and watch a little bit of sci-fi shlock without having to endure male sports stars and B-list celebrities gurning at you from the screen while they either whisk a razor across their chin at frightening speed, or smear some overpriced goop into their chiseled mugs.

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I’ve always been a fan of staying flexible as regards to platform, but it’s especially true these days, since my desktop environment is heterogeneous - I still tend to use Windows most for work, but for personal use I’m most comfy in Mac OS X now. I do have Ubuntu around too although I generally only use it when I have to on the desktop (although I love it to death as a server OS since it takes everything that is great about Debian and updates it a bit).

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So, after putting my spleen very much on ‘vent’ mode (what else are blogs for?) following my initial experience with Street Fighter IV, I nevertheless stuck with it and have been playing on and off all week - which for me means about 6 hours total, admittedly what hardcore players would have got through in one evening. Despite being absolutely impenetrable and damningly frustrating to begin with, it’s actually a very good game.

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