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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As many people are already aware, the Pandora Internet Radio service rocks. For those who are not familiar with it, it’s the friendly end of some quite serious research called the Music Genome Project, allowing them to quite uncannily figure out what kind of music you might like, based on an initial starting point and some iterative guidance from you on which tracks you do and don’t like. It’s executed with some flair too, with a really nice interface, a streaming system that I’ve yet to get any lag on, and a much better selection than some others I’ve tried like Last.

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Ok, so now you finally get to see what I’ve been working on during the last few weeks and being so obtuse about. I’ve been working for Windward Mark Interactive to create a brand new, totally volumetric cloud system called Nimble. Here are some shots for you (click for full size versions): Clearly there have been cloud systems before, so what’s special about Nimble? Well, for a start it’s completely volumetric - it’s not a prerendered skybox or 2.

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nfz brought to our attention in the OGRE forums a really interesting analysis of the OGRE codebase, much more detailed than the one on Koders that I mentioned earlier in the week. Looks like they’ve been gathering stats on the project since 2002, which is really cool to look back on. It’s interesting to see the timeline of developer involvement too. I’ve aparrently put 4.3 man years into the project so far 😀You know, I probably can’t argue with that - it might be a little high but if I average my hours over the 5-6 years, it’s probably close.

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Had some worrying news yesterday, my cousin who lives on the mainland right now has been taken very suddenly to hospital in what sounds like quite serious circumstances. The doctors don’t know what it is yet, he’s just been unconscious and on a ventilator for over 24 hours, Meningitus is a possibility which obviously isn’t good. It’s weird because I only ‘spoke’ to him (on IM) on Friday afternoon and he didn’t seem any different to usual - I feel kind of guilty now for not talking to him for very long since I was flat out trying to hit my deadline.

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Woohoo! Despite all my apprehensions about the doability of this one at the start of the month and a pretty hectic schedule, particularly in the last 2 weeks, the contract work I’ve been involved in has reached a successful conclusion, just in time (deadline was today). I can’t say much more today, but what I can say is that I’ll be allowed to post some more news on Monday, and yes - screenshots of what I’ve been working on.

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Wow, I’m feeling really mentally tired this evening. I’ve been troubleshooting a number of spatial transforms and lighting calculations the last few days and my head is still buzzing. I’m pretty spatially aware, but for some reason when I try to visualise some (particularly non-affine) combination transforms which include things like handedness switches and axis inversions I start to overheat. I spent almost 3 hours this morning trying to diagnose why a worldspace to volume image space to realigned volume image space transform blows up with certain combinations of settings, and although I eliminated quite a few things and clarified the precise situation in which it occurred, I don’t feel much closer to explaining it yet.

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