Mario Kart DS arrived yesterday and I spent a fair portion of the evening playing it - this in itself bodes well since it’s rare these days that I’ll play a game for a long time. First impressions are very good - most of the tracks ‘feel’ very appropriate for what I would consider to be a good MK game - tight courses with lots going on, and plenty of opportunity for gaining advantage through power sliding and other little tricks.
Wow, Valve are somewhat economical with the truth when it comes to defining system requirements for a HDR demo. I haven’t accessed Steam in ages, since I reinstalled my machine last January in fact, but I decided to boot it up again just so I could take a look at the Lost Coast demo. But, on booting it up, I’m told that Valve have decided that my card can’t do HDR.
I was looking into how I might optimise the XSI exporter some more, since it’s a little slow on large data sets. In the end, whilst I managed to get some small speedups, the vast majority of the work is genuinely needed, and is mostly because, like in most modelling tools, you have to jump through some hoops in order to translate the very flexible and highly normalised data structures used in a modelling tool, to the compressed, runtime efficient formats needed for realtime.
Even though I have little time for games these days, I’ve been looking forward to playing Mario Kart DS, mainly because I’m hoping it will recapture the joy of the SNES version I used to play endlessly many years ago, which the GameCube ‘Double Dash’ really failed to do for me. The official UK release date was yesterday, and knowing how generally rubbish our local shops are at getting releases on time or in any great numbers, plus my general laziness to actually go out to said shops, I pre-ordered it online.
I’ve had a little more time this week to get back into Kadath, and I have achieved one of the milestones I set myself - that of establishing ‘good’ portals from the many low-level portals I’d derived from the polygon soup. Here’s a couple of shots: Now, I realise this isn’t exactly very exciting or sexy looking. “What, no per-pixel lighting?” I hear you cry - well, that’s not the point of this exercise; those screenshots subtly demonstrate some very important points:
Well, it turns out that Visual Studio 2005 Pro isn’t going to make it to me in time for Xmas after all, the latest update from Microsoft is that the boxed product won’t be shipped until the second week of January, thereby missing (for me) the year of it’s moniker. If I was willing to pony up for an MSDN subscription, however, I could get it much faster, since it’s just basic media rather than the full retail box.
I just got word from my supplier that Visual Studio 2005 Pro won’t be dispatched until 10 December now, which allegedly is due to shipping delays at Microsoft and as such will affect all suppliers in the UK. Darn. I have Express already obviously, but I’m still doing most of my work in 2002 since I can’t bear to be without my favorite plugins for too long. Let’s hope it arrives before Xmas, think of all those sad little faces on Christmas morning if Visual Studio 2005 doesn’t make it into their stockings.
Well, that’s another OGRE release out the door, this time it’s 1.0.6, another maintenance release for Azathoth. Once again it’s packed full of bugfixes, which always gives me pause for thought - every time we do a maintenance release I think ‘right, there’s no way we’re going to build up that many fixes again in another 6 weeks’, but still we manage to. It sort of makes me uncomfortable that this many things still turn up, but it’s fair to say that the majority of the fixes this time were the less serious ones, such as safer behaviour when the user screws up, or memory leak removal in more unusual circumstances.
The Sony saga just keeps getting better. Firstly, Sony finally owned up to distributing harmful software on their music CDs in pursuance of their rampantly paranoid corporate aim to prevent music piracy. Perhaps they have finally realised that all they are really succeeding at is alienating their paying customers by limiting what they can do with the product they actually paid for, whilst having zero affect on dedicated music pirates. I doubt it though, based on their track record the Sony upper management appear to see nothing beyond their own navel.
Is it me, or does ‘Windows Live’ cry out for an exclamation mark at the end? This is Microsoft’s new initiative of online, dynamic services in their attempt to take on the Googles and Yahoos of this world in the online space. You can see a small demo site here. Now, let’s be clear about terms. When I say ‘new’, I mean ‘new to Microsoft’ - since the concept of a user-customisable portal system, pulling in content such as RSS feeds, shared documents and webmail, and paying for it through either subscription or advertising is very very old indeed.