ZDNet Reports Who woulda thought it? Suggesting Microsoft might stoop to skewing a standards process to their own ends? Come now… ** **
A lot of people have been ranting online recently about the copy protection the PC version of Bioshock comes with. Now, I’ve done my fair share of ranting about dodgy copy protection before on this blog, but I now find myself in the rather surprising position of being on the opposite side of the argument on this occasion, to a certain degree anyway. Let’s get the hard, unpaletable facts out of the way - Bioshock has copy protection on it.
I’ve been thinking about upgrading my main desktop machine for a while, and two things finally pushed me over the edge and levered the requisite cash out of my wallet (or rather, my long-suffering credit card) to do it; getting a new MacBook Pro, which was making my main machine feel decidedly sluggish when doing major builds, and the release of Bioshock. Motherboard & CPU The last time I upgraded my main machine was about 18 months ago, just before dual-core became really mainstream, and as sods law dictates even though I bought a motherboard which supposedly could handle the new chips, Intel of course changed them again and it couldn’t take the new Core 2 Duos - so once again, it was motherboard upgrade time.
Ok, so despite not getting a great deal of useful advice on the Apple developer forums about the framework issues I’d encountered, through reading, thinking and discussions with Justin I’ve now changed the Ogre build setup so that it copes with both multiple versions, debug and release configurations and eliminates the issues surrounding where to install frameworks. The answer was basically pretty simple. Whilst frameworks would lead you to think of Linux centrally located shared libraries on steroids, what with the ability to be Universal (PPC and x86 compatible), in fact in practice they are much better used like the local shared libraries you would use on Windows apps.
I should have known better than to ask my wife ‘What would you like to do today?’. Like any self-respecting tech who has a lot of PCs, and is often called upon to sort friends & relatives PC’s out when they decide to throw a wobbler, I’ve been known to keep a fair number of spares around. Ok, so maybe a lot of spares. It’s something my wife ‘suggests’ we do something about fairly regularly, but I’m not a naturally spatially organised person and the thought of sorting through all of it triggered almost instant catatonia.
It would seem to the casual observer that in terms of pop-culture, much of Japan never left the 80’s in the first place, but economically and popularly anyway, Nintendo appears to be re-living those glorious years of big hair and colour blindness. I’m half expecting Miyamoto to turn up to the next game convention in a spiky, bleached two-tone mullet, because Nintendo has never had it so good since 1984.
I saw this linked on Raphs blog and just had to post it here too, it’s inspired. It’s a custom level for Super Mario World on the SNES (perhaps the best platform game, ever), where the only way to win is to do absolutely nothing at all: I dread to think how long this took to set up! It’s the video game equivalent of domino toppling…
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.