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Hail to the King Baby

Played Duke Nukem 3D some time ago? Remember that music? :)

Bolzplatz 2006 T-Shirt arrived

I received my Bolzplatz-2006 T-Shirt this week. Bolzplatz 2006 is a game created using Irrlicht and jirr, also available in english and french. Thanks to Andreas Wenger and his team for stopping me walking around in the same old clothes all the time. :)

Prey Demo Review

Recently I tried out the Prey demo. Prey is the new shooter created by Human Head studios and 3D Realms. (BTW: A nice theory about Duke Nukem Forever: it will be based on WinFS, which now has been delayed nearly as often as DNF, and this explains everything ;)]

It seems to be using the Doom3 engine as game engine and looks pretty good, even when using not so up-to-date hardware like I do. Basically, it's just a first person shooter with the same old story: Aliens kidnapped your girl (plus your grandfather), and you've got to save her as well as mankind. (I made the last thing up because it wasn't revealed in the demo, but I bet the story will turn out like this, I would be surprised otherwise.) They've put some nice ideas into there, for example a scene where you are minimized to a few centimeters and may walk on a model of a planet which is just a bit bigger than you and has its center of gravity correctly in the center of the mini-planet. I have the vague impression that I've seen something like this in another game already, but I don't remember which, and it was fun anyway. The game also has other features like a ghost mode where you can leave your body as spirit and walk through energy barriers for example, gravity gangways and modificators which make you walk on walls and ceilings of rooms and portals, like - already described - Santostefano Giovanni recreated as Irrlicht addon.
After all, the demo was nice and entertaining. But I'm not going to buy that game. Why? It bored me nevertheless. Maybe I'm too old for ego shooters already. Maybe because it's a stupid shooter with some additional toy features and I've seen enough of them already.

Memory Leaks

From the debug log:

{123456} normal block at 0x051274E0, 64 bytes long.
Data: < X @ . > F6 E6 0C BE 58 C7 9F 40 9B 98 2E C2 00 00 00 00
Object dump complete.

123456? Ok...

Editor Progress - Week 11

After some difficulties (technical and related to the good weather) here's a shot of a new feature I've built into the editor:

What you see here is a particle system attached to a rotating light, like in the per pixel lighting tutorial. This isn't possible in irredit 0.1 because it wasn't able to modify parent child relations. If you think more about it - it really is a joke to name irredit 0.1 a scene graph editor - until now it is rather a scene list editor. This will be better in irredit 0.2, it will be possible to drag nodes and attach them to different parents in the scene graph explorer then.

Graphics meets Games competition

Michael Wimmer called my attention to this one: Some competition which may be really interesting for Irrlicht users.

In a new outreach towards the academic and especially non-academic communities
alike, the Eurographics 2006 Graphics meets Games chairs have decided to
relaunch the previously announced "Graphics meets Games" competition with a
significantly prolonged deadline, prizes and easier submission requirements!

The task in the competition is to create a small 3D game that showcases a
novel graphical effect or effects, that could be employed in a current or
future 3D game. There is a special focus on interactivity and physics-based

What's New:

- Appealing prizes: high-end graphics cards from NVIDIA and computer/video games!
- Less restrictive submission requirements: emphasis on the interaction with
the graphical effect is now optional (but still preferred)!
- Generous deadline of August 28, 2006!

Will you accept the challenge ? Visit graphics meets games to learn more!

If you participate (and maybe win?) don't forget to mention that you used Irrlicht for it ;)

Bush Go Home Demo Vienna review

I wanted to post some software development news again but unfortunately this event came in between. Dani, AK, some anonymity preferring companions and I went there, so here's my short summary:
The Bush-Go-Home-Demo was a pretty huge event. There were between 15.000 and 20.000 people demonstrating which is an exceptional high number of people for Austrian demos. Being a part of that big crowd of people sharing the same feelings and going through the streets felt pretty nice. It was interesting - we saw nearly every type of demsontrator there: American students, punks, communists, programmers ;), pensionists but in most cases simply average people who just wanted to show their dislike towards the politics of that guy. Some of us had special t-shirts printed, unfortunately mine was some sizes to small, but at least I was able to breath.. :)

The whole place was crowded and people even climbed telephone boxes.

The demo was very peaceful, and the fully armored policemen (robocop anyone?) looked a bit displaced in front of every McDonalds and Starbucks.

At the Hofburg (that's just like the White House - where our president works) it was a bit confusing and frigthening. Confusing because a part of the demonstrators thought the demo ended here and stopped walking and frightening because hundreds of policemen were standing there with white helmets (see left image below) which made some of the demonstrators kind of aggressive. People were screaming "this is a peaceful demo, lets go on!!" and we tried to get away from there as fast as possible. But nothing happened luckily.

Lots of people were upset about the effords and costs caused by the visit of Mr. Bush here in Vienna. Streets were blocked, the inner city was locked up, the streets were full of policemen and police cars. They spend about one mio Euro to protect the U.S. president from his potential killers. So, now look at the right picture below: Just behind that door the Austrian president is sitting and working, while we and 20.000 other demonstrants are walking past his office, protected only by those 10 or 20 policemen dressed in blue. Funny if you compare this. :)

After all, it was a nice event. And it was hot, so hot that lots of people even went to McDonalds to have a coke. ;)
Ok, so now you are free again to comment on how stupid I am to go protesting against something I do not like and stuff like that. But at least it looks like there are plenty of people who are thinking similarly.

Opera 9

Opera 9 is out. Impressive/innovative new features. Lets see how long it takes for firefox to copy everything again.

Vienna preparing

Just took a walk through Vienna. Everywhere these notes where lying around:

But this house in front of a subway station was the highlight. :)

So I'm looking forward to wednesday, when this guy will come to visit us, and to see the demo.

Need a break

So I just
So now I need a break. But I'm happy that irrEdit 0.1 and irrlicht 1.1alpha is out (yep, sorry, I finally decided for the old 'irrEdit' name, altough there were some really good ideas posted on this blog). And I really LOVE the subversion server. Happyness.

Editor Progress Week 10 - Ogre .mesh and Irrlicht .irr

I've made some great progress this week. I finished implementing to read and write the whole scene graph including materials and animators into and from an .irr file (it's just an own xml format). This means I'm nearly finished with this new feature. Another new thing is this:

These are OGRE .mesh files, loaded directly into Irrlicht. It's nothing unusual - after all just another file format added to Irrlichts loader list, but OGRE being the other popular open source 3d graphics engine which is nearly always mentioned in forum posts when irrlicht is mentioned, seeing the ogre head displayed in Irrlicht feels a bit odd. (I just integrated hybrid's loader and modified it slightly, thanks for his great work!) In this way I hope Irrlicht can profit a bit from Steve's/OGRE's useful exporters and - who knows - maybe the OGRE community can profit somehow from this too - maybe by using irrEdit as mesh viewer or whatever. :)
I'm going to work on the editor and the Irrlicht source for this still a bit and I hope I'm going to release both this or next weekend, depending on the amount of sunshine available in Vienna. :)
Update: The editor is done, you can download the editor here.

Fighting World Cup 2006

I just bought the ultimate tool to fight boredom caused by the FIFA World Cup 2006 in germany. At least I hope. :)

Printing T-Shirts

Dani posted some ideas for t-shirts for next week. Hm, I don't like them, I think I'll print some own statement. Then it's really mine at least.

Editor Progress week 9 - Particles

After a week of time-out because of a massive lack of time, I continued to work on the editor a bit. I added some really useful new features, like the possibility to switch the viewport type quickly using the toolbar, the menu and the F1-F4 keys (Perspective, Top, Front, Left), so it is not necessary anymore to use other viewports - but still possible of course. I also wrote a mesh cache manager window and implemented access methods for the most important scene node types. One of them being the ParticleSystemSceneNode opens a lot new possibilities: You can use the editor as particle system designer too if you want, here are some examples:

irrEdit particle system designer

Creating these particle systems is possible with just a very few clicks, and it is quite fun.

This one is was small stress test and looks a bit weired. I limited the amount of maximum possible particles in the editor, to prevent the user to make the editor hang when drawing millions of particles.

As you might have noticed I also played around with the name of the editor. Maybe 'irrEdit' would be ok anyway. But what should it mean? 'Irrlicht Editor' is much to boring. Ideas welcome :)

Irrlicht 1.0 for MacOS released

Etienne Petitjean did it again - Irrlicht 1.0 for MacOS has been released. I also finally uploaded a screenshot of Irrlicht in action on a Mac (thx martin). Nice is also that Irrlicht now runs on both - MacIntel and MacPPC via universal binaries.

VS 2005 here I come

Later than planned, but I just bought a brand new Visual Studio 2005. Time to remove one of the old Studios, because together with the new one I'll have 5 versions installed, and my hard disk is already screaming. I guess I'll remove the Express Edition, I'll still need the other ones to check for compiler compatibility.

Alphachanneled Display

Just tried out my new transparent display. Simply called display->setAlpha(0):

transparent display

Works. :)


Did you see the date below? Argl! :)

Physics Hardware

Looks like more and more time and money is spent on developing physics hardware. ATI just revealed it's 'boundless gaming', their backend for Havok FX, meaning physics calculated on GPUs. Simulating 20000 objects colliding with each other looks pretty impressive like on this image but another questions arises: Do I need this? I'd rather spend my money on gameplay or story telling hardware if something like this existed. Today's games would need it IMO.

Playing around with Blender and XMLSpy

Altough it looks like it's already summer in other parts of Europe, in Austria we are currently witnessing the coldest days since 40 years, since 1948 (Ok, its a bit better in Vienna at least). In other words: It should be summer, but heatings are active in my apartment. But this is not that bad: Next week I've got an exam at university and because I've a fulltime job I am only able to learn at weekends, the weather was my friend and kept me off trying to go outside. I also promised myself not to code anything this weekend to have some time to learn. But as always - this plan didn't work out. Instead of learning and not coding, my subconsciousness found a way to circumvent my own rules and so I spent the last days playing around with Blender and XMLSpy. With Blender, I tried to create a small test level for my editor. I never used Blender before, but I think I understood that interface after an hour or so and my first small test geometry looked like this:

Yes, very lowpoly and not that impressive. But it is a room and a small gangway. I played around a bit more, and correct me if I am wrong, but I think Blender is not qualified for creating lowpoly indoor levels. First, the camera control really sucks when trying to navigate inside the rooms, and second: As far as I have seen there is no way to display assigned textures of the geometry in real time. I'm not a Blender expert, is this true? Maybe I've overseen something.
Then, still learned nothing for the exam, I started XMLSpy (a new version of that software has been released last week, BTW) and designed a XML schema for the Irrlicht Scene Graph format, which will be used by the Editor I am working on and which Irrlicht will be also able to read and write natively. Here's a short exerpt:

The key element is the simple 'attributes' construct which appears everywhere in the format and makes it possible to keep backwards and forward compatibility (an Irrlicht 1.0 will still be able to read and write files from an Irrlicht 2.0 for example) and makes it easy to extend and change functionality. The design isn't finished yet, but it looks quite ok already. I think I'll write more about it soon.
And instead of learning today (today is official holiday in Austria), it looks like I'm blogging and surfing the web now. Well. Maybe the situation will improve soon. But wait - is it sunshine what I see looking out of the window? Hm.. :)

Hamburg sponsoring game development

Unbelievable, the city of Hamburg is starting to sponsor game developers (german language, sorry). That's a very interesting move, especially because until now computer games had a very bad reputation among politicans of Germany (can you say 'killergames'?). For example as far as I heard when Crytek developed its shooter FarCry, they were trying to get funded for their 3D research and got some money, but the politicans later stopped funding them because they noticed that Crytek developed one of those evil ego shooters, which are corrupting our poor children and supporting terrorism or whatever. Nice to hear that this view seems to be changing, or maybe politicans have noticed now that the games industry is already generating more money than hollywood. Anyway, nice that this is starting in Hamburg, were I originally come from. :)


So I went to the cinema and watched it yesterday. And it was depressing. Not only the story shown in that movie, but also the fact that we and 2 or 3 other people were the only ones in the whole cinema hall. But at least it looks like the Road to Guantanamo is an ideal tool to recruit people to accompany you to the demo. 17:00, June 21th, Westbahnhof, see you there. :)

Reptiles in the Donaukanal

The Donaukanal is a river which flows through the middle of the city of Vienna. When we were walking next to it, we were a bit surprised when we noticed a huge reptile bathing in the sun at the bank of the canal. Luckily I had my camera with me:

After I took that picture, I slowly approached that thing. It was quite big (as not very recognizable on the pic) and - unbelievable - fast! It immediatly jumped into the water like a lightning bolt and disappeard instantly. Truely a Donalkanal-Ninja-Turtle.