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Happy holidays

Sorry for not blogging that much during the last weeks, looks like my batteries are empty.
I'm probably not posting any new blog entries during the next week because I'll spend the holidays in the hopfully snowy mountains of Austria, recharging my batteries a bit. (Ok, Also maybe because there won't be any www access.) I answered a lot of the remaining mails with requests, questions and more, but a few dozens are still unanswered and I have to catch up on them later. Sorry.
Going to continue with full speed after this short break, so happy holidays for now.

Programmer's time of the year

It looks like this is not only the time of the year for spammers, but for programmers as well. It's dark and cold outside, best time to sit in front of the PC and to create something new. I had planned a release of irrKlang with some nice new features for this week, but unfortunately I was running out of time this weekend, so this is now scheduled one or two weeks later. But if you take a look into the forums, it's nice to see that there are masses of programmers doing the same currently, programming new programs and playing around with their ability to code. Personally, I like for example AlexL's clouds, they look very nice. Maybe not that perfect as those clouds recently released by someone else running another pretty popular open source engine project, but very nice. :) Or Luke's Newton integration and ragdolls, another example. Ok, doesn't look that impressive on a screenshot, but this youtube video is more fun, and the movement also gives a bit more attraction to the shadows.
Ah, it's very rewarding to see people using one's software and that all the work wasn't for nothing - I think that's the most important thing for non-profit open source projects like Irrlicht and this also explains why there are that much dead open source projects out there: It's impossible for every project to get that much attention. And because we are getting close to the end of the year and it nicely fits in here: Thanks to all Irrlicht users for doing what you are. You are more important than you might think! :)

War on terror - the board game

Still looking for an X-mas present? Try War on terror - the board game.

War on terror - the board game

Still looking for an X-mas present? Try War on terror - the board game.

Irrlicht's software mode is good for something

As I wrote last time, my new linux installation doesn't work perfectly, and basically is not usable at all if you want to do work using 3D graphics. However, I simply took advantage of this situation and tried if Irrlicht would work with this at all. And it did:

The software renderer was actually a little bit faster than with the OpenGL driver, wich ran but pretty slow of course. But ok, to be able to really work on the PC, I've got to install the ATI drivers. Or I could write an Linux irrKlang port first. Hm, let's see.

Still waiting for Linux to get ready

I am using Linux on the Desktop now for about 7 years. I'm not a Linux person, my favorite operating system still is Windows (explained in various blog entries already), as can be seen for example by the poor maintained Linux backends of software written by me (fortunately some other nice talented people are now doing this for me). From time to time I am upgrading to a new Linux version/distribution and last week, I made my computer happy by installing Ubuntu because it seems to be popular currently. I've heard 'Ubuntu' is an ancient African word meaning "I can't configure Debian" which IMO is transferable to "I'm too lazy to configure Debian" and so I thought I could give it a try. :) And what to say: It's really nice, looks clean, boots quite fast, installing was easy. But unfortunately there is no chance that I'm ever going to make it my primary operating system or even recommend it to other people. Why?
Although you should expect the opposite, it still isn't able to be usable out of the box. It looks like if you are using an ATI graphics adapter for example, you are stuck with a non accelerated display, which is simply not usable for real work. (Especially if you are programming 3D graphics, of course.) Even moving a window takes ages. There is however, a way to get a better driver from ATI, but to use it, you have to manually rewrite configuration files and other stuff like this and I think I've spent already too much time doing this with older Linux versions, making my hardware freeze, destroying my window managers and more. What century do we live in after all? Is it not reasonable to expect a simple, graphical frontend to configure ones system in 2006? Or to have an operating system which simply is usable after installing it? Of about a dozen different linux versions and distributions I've used, only one was capable of doing this (Mandrake) until now. And that's really a pity. Do you still wonder why Linux isn't getting a bigger market share for average users?
Ouch, this has become a bit longer now. Originally I wanted to write something Irrlicht related together with this. Next time then. :)

Extremo programming. AKA deaf programming.

Last weekend I made some interesting new software development experiences. I started to implement the possibility to switch between various rolloff models in irrKlang, the free sound engine I am working on, which was pretty easy because irrKlang internaly is not limited to the DirectSound way sounds are output in 3D. The only problem: I couldn't hear anything. Not that irrKlang or Windows or my speakers didn't output anything, the sound waves just didn't reach myself - they got stuck somewhere between my ears and my brain. The reason was that there happened this In Extremo concert the day before, and it looks like we were standing a bit to close to the loudspeakers (long story explained here, german). So yes - programming a sound engine without the ability to hear is a bit.. stupid.
Fortunately, about 2 days later I had regained nearly 100% of my sense of hearing, and tried out irrKlang to test what I wrote before. And everything worked as expected, hurray. :)
So did I invent a new software development paradigm - as I did before - again? Going to call it 'extremo programming'. Only possible up two days after attending an In Extremo concert. :)


Only two bad Nikolaus jokes caught today. It's getting better every year.

irrEdit pictures

André Meister sent me some pictures he made using irrEdit, the lightmapper/world editor I wrote:

Very nice. Some other people did this as well, thank you very much. Can't get enough of them. Going to add a new screenshot section on the website for those people allowing me to publish their pictures there.

Thinking about adding mp3 support to irrKlang

I am currently thinking about adding mp3 support to irrKlang, the free sound library I wrote. After all, it is the most frequently user requested feature and of course it would be very useful - OGG which is already supported by irrKlang isn't that popular yet. I'm not only thinking about if I am adding mp3 support, but also how. The if-problem is that since mp3 is now quite popular, Thomson is demanding royality payments if you create software or hardware working with this compression format, they've patented it. I've heard they usually don't ask people providing free software to pay, but nobody would be able to stop them once they start doing it.
The how-problem also has something to do with the patent and license fees and looks like this: So I'm not sure if I should choose option two or three. Any ideas or suggestions?

Digg for Game Developers

There is a kind of Digg for game developers at devbump.com. Nice service, bookmarked already.

Digg for Game Developers

There is a kind of Digg for game developers at devbump.com. Nice service, bookmarked already.