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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.