Pop goes the vertebrae

Dammit. I had (perhaps foolishly) begun to think that I’d put most of my back problems behind me now - it has after all been over a year since I had any significant pain from it; just a few aches / cricks / stiffness occasionally but nothing major. However, while taking a shower Sunday morning I reached down and ‘whallop’ - something popped out (or in my case, rotated since my recurring problem is a twisted rather than slipped disc).

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I mentioned a few days ago that I picked up Skate for the 360, a game I had my eye on because I loved THPS2 (PC) & THPS3 (Gamecube) several years ago and haven’t really played a game like that since, especially given the THPS franchise has gone downhill in recent years. For those who don’t know, the difference in Skate is that while in THPS you had buttons and directional controls to do things like grinds, kickflips etc, in Skate you have one stick to control your board, and one for your body, and all tricks are pulled off by simply moving those in fairly representative ways - so grinding is now a case of positioning your board in the right place, for example by rotating your body 90 degrees in flight to land with the board astride a rail (a boardslide) - no tapping a button to miraculously attach yourself to the grind point or anything.

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Nooooooooooooooo! Pandora have finally clamped down their ‘you can only listen from the US’ rule - previously they’d, ahem, ‘enforced’ it by asking you to enter a US Zip code, a field ‘creatively’ used by pretty much everybody outside the US who loved their service. I’m sure the population of the 90210 zip code is about 1000 times what it should be according to Pandora’s records 😀However, now they’ve finally started using the technology at their disposal to filter more aggressively, via geolocation software.

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Retarded

Saw this linked on Penny Arcade - some guy called Kevin McCullough appears to be trying to compete with Jack Thomson for the heady heights of so-inaccurate-as-to-be-almost-laughable, uninformed game sniping - according to him Mass Effect is a ‘tailor made porn’ game. News to me Kev, I’ve been playing it for about 15 hours now and the nipple count is still stuck at exactly zero. Maybe you got hold of a super-hardcore special edition that the rest of us didn’t?

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I experienced XBox Live for the first time last month, and despite the frustrating downtime I have been impressed - when it’s working correctly it’s certainly very slick and well integrated across the entire library of games. I like that you can pop out to the dashboard in any game at all to respond to IMs or whatever without having to exit, and that everything works the same way and integrates with your gamertag.

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I did an interview recently for French 3D-oriented website 3d-test.com recently, and it’s just been posted. Despite being rather busy recently I always try to make time for these when they come up, since I know an important part of my job on OGRE is being the ‘front man’ - the last one I did was for Gamasutra. This one seems to have turned out ok despite my bashing out responses rather hurriedly during build / SCC update windows.

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It’s been a seriously busy week - I had Monday to work on some Ogre features (tangents) but really since then I’ve been mostly limited to breezing through the forums at only slightly more than a superficial level. The reason is that the principal customer project I’ve been on the past 2-3 months hits a major milestone next week - a presentation to ‘the brass’ in Tokyo (it’s a Japanese company, although the project members are scattered around the globe - and no, I can’t tell you any more than that).

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There’s no denying that a Yoda vs Vader fight is a rather cool prospect - although I think Darth Maul might actually be more interesting, given how Vader is mostly a cripple and has to do most things by just waving his hand. I’m just not sure it feels right in a Soul Calibur game; I found even the inclusion of Link a little weird and jarring in the last one (on GameCube), but such titanic icons as Yoda and Vader?

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Microsoft vs Becta

If you’re not familiar, Becta (British Educational Communications and Technology Agency) is an arm of the UK government that is dedicated to setting IT strategy for UK schools. Recently, they advised schools in a report not to upgrade to Vista or Office 2007, for several reasons: “…there remains a perceived lack of significant business benefit delivered by the new features in Vista to balance out the costs associated with its deployment…“ “…only an estimated 22 per cent of [existing] machines meet the specification necessary to run Vista effectively…“ “Our interim report recommended that Microsoft should develop a compelling business case to underpin any rationale for deploying Office 2007 in UK education.

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I’ve posted about this in the forum, but thought I’d cover my bases and mention it here too. If you write tools which export data to Ogre, you should know about some improvements in the tangent space calculation process in the next major version of OGRE (Shoggoth, CVS HEAD). You can now calculate tangents on any geometry, not just Mesh The TangentSpaceCalc class will generate tangents for any input geometry, so if you use custom geometry classes you can use the same functionality easily

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