Ok, so I’ve had a Wii for a week now (insert childish snigger here) and thought I’d post my initial impression. It’s difficult because due to the continuing extreme stock shortages, I’m still missing an extra controller and Zelda, but here’s my view on what I have, ie Wii Sports, Super Monkey Ball - Banana Blitz, and the online services so far. Firstly, it’s really quite incredible just how accurate and sensitive the controllers are.

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I’ve been going nuts on C++ for the last week so I took a break tonight to do a couple of things I’ve been meaning to do for ages. Firstly, to make our Pro Ogre 3D Programming book link in the sidebar of ogre3d.org country-sensistive, so that instead of only getting the link & price from Amazon.co.uk, it behaves differently depending on your country. Secondly, since people are always asking about books I recommend on 3D / C++, I’ve embedded a country-sensitive Amazon store in the Ogre site via a new Books link, containing the books I personally recommend most at the moment.

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Eihort Slippage

Well, I’ve been busting a gut trying to get everything sorted for Eihort but it’s still slipping. I spent almost all of last week processing patches that had been queued up for it, and in some cases ended up either rewriting or making significant changes or extensions to them. My current work item is to do with GLSL - whilst I’d already improved things for GLSL recently, what with the unified program definitions and some array work, there are still some issues with supporting auto-bound arrays due to the fact that in GLSL, vertex and fragment programs require linking together before you can grab parameters out of them.

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I’ve never liked 3D platform games. Ok, I’ve never properly played the crowning title in this genre, Super Mario 64, so perhaps I can’t really pass judgement - although I might grab it on the Wii virtual console to see. Every 3D platformer I have tried, including the more recent Super Mario Sunshine, have always felt too imprecise, and too subject to variation caused by the positioning of the camera. As I mentioned a while back, the only thing wrong with Psychonauts, which was one of my favorite games of last year, was that it was a 3D platformer at its core.

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So, it was finally my own personal Wii-E day today. When I got back from a doctors appointment this morning, the green light on my answering machine blinking excitedly at me, as if it shouting ‘guess what, guess what?’. The local specialist non-chain games shop had let me down with my original pre-order so I’d placed another one with Woolies, where a friend had pre-ordered a couple of weeks after me originally and still got one before xmas, much to my annoyance.

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I’ve been watching the new Battlestar Galactica series since it started and whilst it started off a little weak, it has more than made up for it throughout the first two series, ignoring the odd blip where they get away from the main storyline. I had missed the last 3 episodes of season two because of a video recorder breakdown, and hadn’t managed to get them from friends initially - in the end I got them on a home-burned VCD from a friend but initially had problems getting my DVD player to read it.

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Brains vs graphics

When it comes to game graphics, I’ve always had something of a mental dichotomy. Despite being obviously really keen on real time graphics (you might have noticed a hint or two to that end over the life of this blog), I’m also a very strong believer that in good games, graphics are far from the most important element. It doesn’t stop me from wanting to make better and better graphical subsystems, because as a graphics geek I love to do it, but at the same time I have my feet firmly on the ground as to the place of these results in the grand scheme of things when it actually comes to enjoyment.

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Ok, I’ve ended up slip-sliding into doing more work this week than I was really supposed to. Hmm - I guess I love my work far too much than is healthy. 😉 My excuse (which makes my wife roll her eyes) is that I’ve been picking off stuff that’s not that demanding, and it’s stuff I’ve wanted to add anyway. Well, here’s what you get from today’s commit: unified program definitions.

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"Freebie" phones

My wife was in need of a new mobile phone recently due to hers starting to become unreliable so we took a trip into town yesterday to sort one out. We’re both on contract (rather than pay-as-you-go) but they’d expired so we figured we might as well just arrange extended contracts and get new phones at the same time. Mine was getting a bit crusty too - I bought the cheapest tri-band phone there was in a hurry 3 years ago so I could use it on a short-notice trip to the US and haven’t changed it since - so I thought I’d take a look too.

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Although it’s still the holidays, I decided to do a bit of tinkering today since there were a few things about the depth shadowmapping that had been bugging me. I’ve still yet to find a totally satisfactory biasing solution - this is of course a common factor in all depth shadowmapping algorithms, but I’d hoped to have some better results than I have, having implemented quite a few options including rendering back faces into the shadow texture instead of front faces, fixed and gradient-based biases, fuzzy depth comparisons, and a choice of either scaled linear or projective space depths.

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