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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Starting a brand new year with a rant post? Well, they do say to start as you mean to go on 😀 I’ve been a gamer for, rather disconcertingly, just about 30 years now. The first game I really remember playing was a Midway coin-op called ‘Blue Shark’, which used to sit just off the cafeteria of a butterfly farm / mini-golf establishment near my home, where we used to go for days out sometimes.

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2008 has been a hell of mixed year - ups, downs, odd shimmying movements, it’s had it all. In the grand spirit of catharsis, I decided to pick out a few of the moments that stick in my memory about the year that zipped by when we weren’t looking. Most Inspirational Moment : Obama winning the US Election The moment I honestly didn’t think would actually happen for most of 2008.

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So, 2008 is almost done and 2009 rapidly hoves into view. I thought I’d share a few of my predictions for the next 12 months, on the frankly dubious assumption that anyone on the Internet actually cares what I think. Specifically, I thought I’d talk about some IT business topics, since that’s what my mind is largely focused on when it comes to trying to figure out what’s going to happen next.

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I had a nice surprise from my wife this Christmas, a spangly red kidney-shaped surprise in fact - a POD 2.0. I’d been recommended one of these some time ago, but had put it on my ‘future purchases’ list since I didn’t think I was really good enough to justify buying myself one yet. I wasn’t expecting anyone to buy it for me, so it was a pleasant surprise to unwrap it.

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From the presentable version of us… and from the less presentable version: Yes, our 2-person band Indigo Alert is going through a Goth phase for no particular reason except that we’d already been through punk & glam rock. 😀Our 4-person band Über Syrup doesn’t really have a cohesive theme yet so was unavailable for a photo op. Online avatar toys are fun! I hope everyone has a great Christmas and new year.

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Yay, almost as if they read my last post on the subject, Harmonix have stopped overlooking Snow Patrol! Next week on DLC we’ll get ‘Take Back The City’ from their new album, A Hundred Million Suns. I’d post a video of it here, except that YouTube says that it’s ‘not available in your country’. You know, that same country the damn thing originated from. Grr, getting really irritated by that message these days.

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Here’s a quick tip - if you run a technical site and have decided to use MySQL’s full-text indexing feature to make searches faster, you will want to change something out of the box. I’m upgrading the Ogre forum over xmas to phpBB3, and I’d found that the default ‘native’ search index took over 18 hours to build, simply because the forum is so large (and has in fact been ‘pruned’ back to the last 3-4 years now), plus my test server here is a more modest spec.

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So, Eurogamer has posted the results of their reader survey on the best games of 2008. I don’t really ‘do’ lists, since I consider the process of attempting to place a definitive order on an array of essentially different experiences as futile as putting sparkly costumes on mice and expecting a rendition of Strictly Come Dancing to naturally ensue. Nevertheless, the list did serve to remind me that we’ve been quite spoiled for games in 2008 again.

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