One of the unfortunate things about Mac OS X is that graphics driver support lags behind other platforms. Drivers are bundled with OS X system updates rather than being updated separately and occasionally there are bugs which take longer to get resolved on OS X than on other platforms as a result. We’ve had this problem before, and we appear to have got it again now. In our example media, we have some hardware skinning shaders written in GLSL; we also have Cg and HLSL versions, but the GLSL version is there to prove certain features such as passing arrays of uniforms - bone matrices - to GLSL.
My torrent finished overnight and I couldn’t resist having a go. In a word: “Wow”. On the surface the core gameplay is unashamedly FPS, but even the demo introduces you to subtleties of combining powers and using the environment to your advantage. But by far the best thing is the sheer quality of the entire package - not just the fact that their shaders are very nice (although with my graphical guy hat on, the techniques they’ve used have a lot in common with what Half Life 2 did, albeit cranked up a notch), and that the sound landscape is probably the best I’ve ever heard, but the creative direction and style is absolutely top quality.
This has been on the cards for months, but I wasn’t able to talk about it until the book was actually out. Consummate software writers the Dietels have just released a new edition of C++ How To Program, published by Prentice Hall, and this time one of the additions is a sizeable chapter on using OGRE and CaseyB’s OgreAL to make a simple game. The C++ How To Program series is very popular, selling over a quarter of a million copies, which is reflected in the fact that this is the sixth edition of the book.
As I’ve blogged before, I’ve spent a fair amount of my spare time recently getting to know OS X development, and one thing I’ve wanted to do is get an automated SDK build going for before the next release goes out. Annoyances with the organisation of framework versions, and issues with driving PackageManager from the command line have all frustrated those efforts, but nevertheless I’ve made progress. Today, however, despite having a mostly working installer I decided to change tack completely and drop PackageManager in favour of a disk image (dmg) instead:
I’d had a bit of a trying week, fairly fragmented and with the irritation of running the nvidia instrumented drivers that, in combination with the use of PerfHUD 5, brought me more blue screens and hard system locks than I’ve experienced in a fair while. Great tool though, in between the reboots & inevitable disk consistency checks. So, I was feeling like a bit of R&R for a couple of hours, and for a laugh I tried Dungeon Runners.
I’ve always had a nervous apprehension about Bioshock, simply because I’ve adored pretty much everything this particular team produced, which is to say Irrational (yeah, I know they’re “2K Boston” now, but that’s a crap name, sorry), who were the legendary Looking Glass before that. These guys are in a pretty elite club when it comes to my rather cynical view of the modern game industry - one of the few teams that I can say I’m pretty confident won’t stoop to producing lazy ‘War Shooter 12’ or ‘Licensed Property Tie In 8’.
Or rather, my wife’s GPU. Updates resulting from good/bad old Patch Tuesday kicked in yesterday, and for some reason my wife’s machine never recovered. It did the usual “I’m going to reboot your machine now” thing, (with that incredibly irritating habit of popping into the foreground and making the ‘Restart Now’ button the default, so that if you’re typing and hit space just as it pops up you don’t get to avoid it; plus it continues to pop up forever until you do it so you’re bound to get caught out eventually - ugh), but after rebooting the GPU was so dead as to not even display a boot screen.
I used to be a big consumer of that revitalising nectar Red Bull, particularly when I was pulling long hours at work and then long evenings & weekends on Ogre. At least one a day, often 2 and 3 was not that unusual - although after setting myself a record one evening (5 in 3 hours), I learned the meaning of the word ‘moderation’ (is the world supposed to oscillate in time with the pulse in my head?
Much as I love using OSX now, I still miss my Windows development tools. Even though I’ve gotten used to using XCode and related tools now, they still have multiple limitations that really annoy me when I’m trying to get things done. I mentioned a little while back that I’ve wrestled with Framework versioning and debug / release configurations. I’m not much closer to solving those in any way I feel is elegant, or even adequate.
Well, yesterday was an absolutely glorious day here in Guernsey, I don’t think we saw a cloud all day and there was just the lightest of sea breezes. We’d already booked to watch some outdoor theatre up at the castle so we made a day of it, echewing the car and taking a stroll down to our picturesque seafront town, grabbing a spot of lunch at a terrace restaurant and generally kicking back.