Circular dependencies

· by Steve · Read in about 2 min · (406 Words)

I can’t remember who made the assertion / joke that if you looked through an infinitely powerful telescope you’d end up seeing the back of of your own head, but I was reminded of that by a certain event today. In the last couple of years I’ve often Googled for a particular subject and ended up with the top hits pointing me back at one of my own posts in the OGRE Forum or on my blog, in a weird self-citing manner. In the worst cases, these posts answer or clarify my own current question, because a thought process I’d had a few years before, and then forgotten about, can often be useful. It’s like having a stack of your old notebooks in the cloud! Or an archived clone of yourself pointing out how age is making you stupid.

The other weird experience is when you download or otherwise get hold of a piece of software, and unexpectedly find that it uses your own code. I’m sure this is common in open source circles, because users of open source don’t have to tell you when they use your code, but nevertheless it’s still an odd experience. It’s especially nice when you like that piece of software - this happened to me today with PixPlant 2.

As I mentioned yesterday, I was reviewing tools for normal/displacement/specular map generation from reference sources, and I’d been evaluating CrazyBump and ShaderMap Pro. Evak in the OGRE Forums suggested I try PixPlant2 because he liked it. So I did, and I was impressed - the texture generation seemed as good as CrazyBump, but it’s cheaper ($175 rather than $299), and it also includes tools for creating tileable textures from original sources, detecting repeating patterns, straightening things, and blending the edges for you.

So, I was already leaning towards this purchasing PixPlant2, but then as I was browsing for textures, I noticed that the PixPlant2 application folder had some familiar files in it - such as OgreMain.dll, and rather familiar material files in the media folders! Checking the docs, sure enough OGRE was credited as a dependency. The application I ended up gravitating towards included software that I wrote! 😀

To cap it all off, they’ve been very nice and offered me a free copy, so my normal map generation needs are entirely satisfied, for far less than I was expecting to pay. It’s not often things work out quite so well!