Xmas Books

See that? That was Christmas 2006. Whizzed by again, if you blinked you might have missed it and pondered quizzically where the extra inches around your waist came from. 😀Hope everyone had a good one - I certainly did, filled as it was with food, family and festive gifts. I received a couple of books that might interest the OGRE users out there, namely Modern C++ Design, which looks like it has some great patterns utilising C++ templates in interesting ways in it, and Texturing and Modeling: A Procedural Approach which covers a lot of theory on generating content procedurally which is a subject I’m quite interested in exploring over the next 12 months.

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Ok, so the lighting and shadowing enhancements in Eihort are taking me a lot longer than I anticipated, due to a number of factors, including distractions from a number of areas including the OGRE web server, VS2005 SP1 issues, Xmas shopping and the like, but also due to things never being as simple as they should be 😉 Whilst you can see from the screenshot that self-shadowing with texture shadows is clearly working, there are all sorts of aspects that I’ve been considering which are often overlooked in the proof-of-concept demos of these sorts of things.

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It seems this month that I’ve spent more time doing non-coding tasks than, well, coding tasks, which has been a little disappointing considering I wanted to progress much faster with the remaining Eihort features than I have. Well, such is life I suppose. One of the things that’s been yanking my proverbial chain lately has been reliability issues with our current dedicated host. Almost 2 years ago now (wow, has it been that long?

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I switched the Ogre DNS to ZoneEdit a while ago because I’d been getting some resilience problems with the servers provided by my registrar. I also paid (ZoneEdit is free for the basic service) to have an extra server so that we had 3 DNS servers pointing at ogre3d.org, all in different continents. I thought that would be enough. Today, however, ns2.zoneedit.com ns3.zoneedit.com and ns17.zoneedit.com all went offline at the same time.

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VS2005 SP1 nightmares

Argh. I downloaded and installed VS2005 SP1 yesterday, and all appeared to go well. I performed a bunch of builds yesterday (crucially, all release builds) and all was fine. Today, however, after making a lot of changes for better ANSI compliance and warning fixing, I wanted to test a debug version. And this is where the nightmares started. I now have a seemingly totally random case of debug builds refusing to locate the side-by-side assemblies for the debug C++ runtime library - it moans about a missing MSVCR80D.

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I realise this has been reported by a lot of people already, but I had to link it here as a paragon of corporate cynicism. I can’t believe Sony actually thought they’d get away with trying to engineer a viral marketing campaign for the PSP using fake blogs and YouTube postings. They tried to wipe all trace of it from the net after it was exposed but of course someone has posted a copy.

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1001 shadows (almost)

I just finished integrating some new texture shadow projection types into Eihort. New this time are Uniform Focused and LiSPSM shadow projections, adapted from LordSteiner’s great patch. Most of the work was done early last week in fact, but I’ve been doing some refinement to make sure it was really ready for wider adoption. I changed the interfaces around a bit and made them a bit more configurable from the outside, and I also attacked some performance issues - I had also found that these two techniques were performing considerably worse than uniform and plane optimal shadows initially, more so than I would have expected.

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So there we were last night, letting Auntie fill us in on the pressing news of the day, when our admittedly rather ‘mature’ TV decided that the colour scheme just wasn’t, well, camp enough. You know how most TVs / displays have that colour temperature setting you can play with - warm, cool etc - well, our TV decided to switch to an altogether new one that, if it had a name, would undoubtedly be called ‘Austin Powers’ - very, very pink, and pulsating slowly in a rather suggestive fashion.

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Forum spam prevention

As anyone who runs an online community knows, spammers are getting more and more sphisticated at spamming forum systems. Seems that ruining our email enjoyment isn’t enough for these people, they have to try to peddle their cheap watches, drugs, porn and instant diplomas on our forums too. At one time, just disabling anonymous posting and requiring email activation was enough to get rid of most of them, but now they of course automate the process using fly-by-night free email accounts - the current favorite is web.

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Yes, today saw the long-awaited launch of the Nintendo Wii in Europe - once again we’re last on the launch list, despite Europe having a population larger than Japan and now equal to the USA, we’re always the afterthought. I guess we don’t spend as much money as those super-consumer societies, and all those languages - tsk. 😀Still, things are better than in previous years when we’d have to wait months or even years - PS3 excepted of course.

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