Light and shadow

Well, this week is the start of my new working life proper, and whilst I’ve had to spend a bit of time sorting out admin type things, I’ve been trying to polish off a feature I’ve had in my head for a couple of weeks before I get stuck into a client project tomorrow. Ogre’s always had some pretty cool real time lighting and shadowing features, not least of which was 4 dynamic shadow techniques (2 stencil and 2 texture based), with a ton of configuration options and, in particular with texture shadows, lots of opportunity to do funky shader-type things.

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A weird feeling

Well, yesterday was my last day at work. Officially I’m still employed until the 31st, but I had some holiday I hadn’t taken so yesterday marked the occasion of my leaving. It was a whirlwind of mixed feelings - excitement at cutting loose to do something new, relief at being able to leave at a good time on a postive note (project wise), sadness at leaving behind people whom I’ve very much enjoyed working with, trepidation as it sinks in that I have no regular paycheck to rely on any more.

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Sony, the tyrant

As a friend of mine has just posted, Lik-Sang, a very, very popular importer of games hardware and software in the UK, has just been put out of business by Sony. For the heinous crime of actually meeting a demand that Sony themselves didn’t fill - PSP’s in Europe. I’ve been a customer of Lik-Sang too (a trait I allegedly share with many Sony employees in Europe too, laughably), although in my case it was for DS accessories - the range you get in the UK is pathetic and there was much more variety on Japanese import.

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I’ve just finished reading Raph Koster’s book “A Theory of Fun”, and I have to say I found it very thought provoking, and not exactly what I had expected (in a good way). I’d previously read Chris Crawford on Game Design and sort of expected something similar, but from a different perspective, but in fact the books are very different. Chris’ book is a pretty technical volume, with extensive case studies and lots of detail, especially on the types of games that the author wrote (which is mostly strategy games).

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GL thread taming

Well, I finished fighting with GL over creating GPU resources in the background last night (edit: note that D3D9 was already working some time ago). Contexts in GL are local to the thread, and although you can exchange them between threads you can only activate a context on one thread at a time. This of course meant I needed an additional context for the background loading thread, and so to make that as clean as possible across platforms (since Win32 and GLX have different context creating schemes) I enhanced the context abstraction classes and their use in Ogre to allow them to be simply cloned.

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I’m often critical of Microsoft on this blog but I do also acknowledge things I like, so hopefully I’m always relatively fair. I’ve noticed that news coming out of Redmond these days seems to be pretty evenly spread between good an bad, and thought I’d pull out the things that had most resonance with me personally: Good News: Vista release dates Now, this comes with a caveat that it’s mostly good news for Microsoft themselves (I’m fairly ambivalent and will probably wait until sometime in 2007 to upgrade), since delivering this sucker has been a rather slippery fish.

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Shame it’s not summer anymore of course 😉 But it’s nice to have a momento of the Summer of Code anyway. Over the weekend a mentor summit was held at Google HQ, which I unfortunately couldn’t attend because of my existing bookings and the fact that it takes in excess of 14 hours each way. Still, 2 representatives from the Ogre project were due to go (reimpell and xavier), hope to hear from them how it went soon.

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I have pretty varied musical tastes but if there’s one thing I can never resist, it’s a funky bass guitar line and a soul / jazz riff. Perhaps it’s influenced by what I grew up with (and as a 70’s kid, I couldn’t help but be exposed to it), but there’s always been something about that kind of music that makes me grin broadly. I’m just a total sucker for the whole sound - the lyrics don’t have to be insightful, the songs don’t have to be that original, just get that magical bass twang and counter riffs going and I’m sold.

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The Joy Of Travelling

I’ve just got back after a couple of days in Manchester’s shadow, training people who will be responsible for the maintenance of the main system I’ll be leaving behind at the end of the month. I think I may have fried their brains somewhat due to the accelerated knowledge transfer process but hopefully they’ll recover 😉 Travelling was an absolute nightmare though. It’s the first time I’ve flown since the ‘great liquid bomb scare’ a couple of months ago and security, whilst reduced since that incident, is still crazy.

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News, potpourri style

It’s been a bit of a mixed bag of a week so far. I heard that Pacific Storm has hit the shelves in North America and Ankh - Heart of Osiris has gone gold, adding to the list of real, tangible commercial products out there using OGRE. That’s definitely a good thing. On the negative side the professional insurance quotes came back in a form that can only be described as ‘stratospheric’.

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