One of the problems with doing most of your business internationally is that you’re at the mercy of currency exchange rates, with the ever-present possibility of losing money just because the market changed. In the last couple of years the Pound has steadily got stronger against the Dollar, meaning it’s not a case of whether I lose, but rather how much. It has also meant that for new work I either have to stick to my Pound rates and risk being less competitive, or just accept a lower & ever-depreciating Dollar rate in order to secure the work.

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I’ve had a long-running back injury (a twisted vertebra in my lower back) which I’ve figured out how to manage through experience - a bit of stretching here, avoid certain types of activity etc. It’s a bit inconvenient but after a while you get used to living with it, and it’s not that painful most of the time provided I don’t go nuts. However about 2 weeks ago, not long after getting back from LA, I was doing something quite simple (moving a coffee table back after a Rock Band session), when something in a completely different part of my back suddenly hurt really badly.

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My wife mentioned to me a week or so ago that one of her work colleagues had recently had a hard drive crash on her laptop. Having replaced it, she wanted to try to get some of the data back from the disk, because she had a lot of family photos on there which were not backed up (I’m sure this experience has informed her future back-up plans). However she had taken it to a local store, which I won’t name, who quoted her £600 to recover the photos.

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Ok, soapbox time. I’m going to alienate a lot of people and say that ubiquitous voice acting in many games, particularly roleplaying games, is a bad thing. The reason is that it’s constraining the ability of script writers, particularly in conversations. It’s obvious really - recording voice is more expensive than text, both in terms of the time required to produce it, and the space it consumes on the final media.

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Today has been totally bonkers, but I finally got at least a large part of the Ogre 1.6.0 RC1 release done. I finished all the straggling documentation updates, the source releases are up and the prebuilt SDK for VC8 is there too. I have to do the VC7.1 SDK, the Mac OS X SDK and perhaps the VC9 SDK too (since I have a build of that locally now) yet. Florian was having a few odd linker problems with MinGW which didn’t occur on Linux or OS X so that one might take a while longer to resolve, perhaps until RC2.

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Bruce Byfield wrote an interesting article (discovered via Matt ‘Alfresco’ Asay’s blog, which should be required reading for anyone in this field) about the sometimes unsteady alliance between open source and business that, on the whole, I agreed with - within a given context. I do think, however, that his context was weighted towards the larger players in market that are fusing open source with business opportunities though, and wanted to share some of my experiences and conclusions from the perspective of a more individual player in the business.

Apologies for the length of this article, I had a lot to say 😀

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Oo, EW.com has just revealed (picked up via RockBandContent.com) that there are more full albums on the way for Rock Band after the release of Rock Band 2: **Foo Fighters (The Colour and the Shape) Red Hot Chili Peppers (Blood Sugar Sex Magik) ** Jane’s Addiction (Nothing’s Shocking) Megadeth (Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying) Stevie Ray Vaughn (Texas Flood) No Doubt (‘Best Of’ Collection) I don’t know about anyone else, but the top 2 are instant purchases for me, since both are regulars on my iTunes playlists.

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I’ve copied this message from ogre3d.org just in case there are those that track my blog more often than the main site: 2008 OGRE User Survey One of the questions I always get asked when talking to other people in the industry is ‘How many people are using OGRE then?’. Compared to regular closed-source software where people can’t use it unless they pay, it’s hard for us to answer this question accurately, apart from pointing at download statistics (approximate 40,000 per month, if you were wondering).

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With only a couple of days to go before the feature lock-down of Ogre 1.6, in time for a release candidate next week, I decided to squeeze in one more feature of my own - Alpha to Coverage support. This allows the use of Multi-sample Anti-aliasing (MSAA) on transparent texture edges as well as the more usual polygon edges. It headlines as a Dx10 feature, but in fact both ATI and NVIDIA have exposed it on GL and on Dx9, the latter via some nasty ‘magic’ state hacks since Dx9’s API doesn’t include it.

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More patent silliness from those idiots in the US Patent Office, as they get exploited by soulless corporate types again: US Patent 7415666: Method and system for navigating paginated content in page-based increments I really can’t imagine how messrs. Sellers, Grantham and Dersch can sleep at night, having officially claimed that calculating how far to advance down a document when you hit the PageDn is a significant innovation that warrants the protection of 20-year exclusivity that a patent brings.

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