I’m on the Qt (owned by Nokia now) mailing list since I have a commercial license for a client project, and I got a very interesting email today, telling me that on its release in March 2009, Qt 4.5 will be available under the LGPL. This is really big news. Up until the current Qt 4.4, your only licensing options are a per-seat and per-platform commercial license (which adds up if you have multiple developers and multiple target platforms, which you will do if you’re using Qt anyway), or alternatively the free option which means you use it under the GPL - meaning all your own code has to also be GPL, with an exception that allows you to publish / use software under other open source licenses too, but nevertheless it all has to be public.

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NimbleBit, those cheeky purveyors of nimble bits, recently released a new teaser-style video of their Mario Kart-esque game ZeroGear (based on Ogre of course), which I thought I’d share with you in case you hadn’t already seen it on the forums. I think you’ll agree it’s looking very slick. 😀 They’re currently in beta and are looking to get a little more publicity as they line up for their next beta drop, so if you like what you see, be sure to spread the word!

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I read in the news today that Motown is 50 years old this week. They have plenty to celebrate, being (of course) the label that launched Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye. It was also the spiritual centre of the soul & funk movement in the 60’s and 70’s (as well as having a political civil rights angle), that produced so many classics that I remember hearing a lot while I was growing up - even though that was at the tail-end of the golden years.

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Yeah, it’s another personal / health post. Tsk. It’s been a month since I started a new, more informed regime designed to address my back problems - regular walks, stretching & strengthening exercises and so forth. Generally, it’s gone well, although I did have a couple of ‘blips’ around Christmas and New Year. I’ve discovered some interesting facts from analysing what I’ve been doing and the results. Variety is hugely important.

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Via CrispyGamer, Harmonix have confirmed what I pretty much suspected, that there will be no Rock Band 3 in 2009. I’m not surprised, they already have the Beatles game in the making for 2009, and unlike Activision, Harmonix aren’t in the business of spamming the world with as many rushed sequels as they can manage before the general public gets bored. To be honest, I don’t think there’s much they could do to improve Rock Band 2 anyway, it’s a highly polished game and DLC keeps it fresh (and to be honest, I have so many tracks that we already have almost too much choice when we play - not that it will stop me buying more).

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The MacWorld Expo 2009 is on at the moment, and yesterday was the keynote, which was interesting despite the absence of the turtle-necked wonder (get well soon Steve). By far the best news was that the entire iTunes library is going DRM-free by the end of March 09. As of yesterday, 80% of the songs are DRM-free, and the remaining 20% will have their DRM removed in the next 3 months.

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I was a happy bunny in 2008, because it was the year when designing games specifically for co-op play finally entered mainstream thinking. Sure, games have had co-op modes for a while, but they’d usually been a bolt-on extra - at best you could add maybe one extra player who would be ‘along for the ride’; disposable, an afterthought. At worst, it might actually undermine the play experience, because the game wasn’t deliberately balanced for 2 players, or maybe you’d be limited to a small section of the content in co-op specific play modes.

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I was quite gratified to read this post on Wolfgang Engel’s blog, in which he refers to some other posts discussing the recommended categorisation & nomenclature for the various stages / structures of scene rendering. If you read it and you’re an OGRE user, you’ll find them all rather familiar concepts, because OGRE has been based around these principles for years 😀 “SpatialGraph: used for finding out what is visible and should be drawn.

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Pretty much everyone wants to use texture shadows in their real-time scenes these days; since they are calculated entirely on the GPU they scale well with modern chipsets, they are capable of shadowing alpha-rejected materials correctly (both as casters and receivers), they can be extended relatively simply to have soft edges, a variable penumbra and opacity with distance, and all kinds of other nice features. Depth-shadowmapping is the approach whereby you render the light-space depth (or some derivative thereof) of the shadow caster into a (typically floating point) shadow texture, then when rendering the main scene perform comparisons of the light-space depth of the pixel being rendered versus what is stored in that shadow texture.

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Yay, I can tick another artist off my wish list for Rock Band DLC, since it’s been leaked that during January Lenny Kravitz will finally be appearing. Despite petering out a bit around the ‘Baptism’ album (which I thought was a bit weak and self-indulgent), and something of a bounce back with last year’s ‘It Is Time For A Love Revolution’, his 90’s classics are still the best, and that’s where the upcoming RB tracks are picked from.

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