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Hurrican

When I have time to, I'm currently playing Hurrican, a recently released Turrican inspired game by Poke 53280, a veteran german hobbist game development team (Untergrund-spiele.de, anyone? I think I'm still member there too..). Hurrican features tons of particle effects, very nice graphics, cool music and a fun old-days like addictive gameplay. And totally free. It is a bit too difficult for me personally, maybe because it is only possible to save the game between levels, but this doesn't matter at all, maybe also because it is a bigger challenge this way.
This Hurrican youtube video shows the gameplay, but it is scaled down, so you won't see all the details. Cool game, nice work, poke53280! :)



irrKlang (pro) is free for non-commercial use now

The audio library irrKlang is out now in version 0.9.1, including some new features and - as announced - there is a license change making it free for non-commercial use. Here is the background:

In the beginning of this month, a new version of irrKlang was released but some of the new features were only available when purchasing a license. This license model has been chosen because irrKlang was originally intended to be free, also for commercial use. Unfortunately, a lot of users - especially people with an Irrlicht background - are using irrKlang in free or open source 3D projects and need those features which were only available in the commercial version of irrKlang, and began to send mails to me, asking for a license change. I recieved a huge amount of mails like this and because it made sense, the license has been changed now: irrKlang can now be used with all those features completely free for non-commercial use. If you are using irrKlang in a commercial product and making money with it anyway, you have to pay a small license fee.
I think that license model is more fair and widely accepted, a lot of other programming libraries are doing it this way. I hope everybody is ok with this now, happy programming. :)



7-zip

If you ever recieved a mail with a bigger attachment from me, you might have noticed that I am usually choosing 7zip to compress it. 7-zip is a great file archiver just like ZIP or RAR, but it has several advantages: It has a better compression ratio, usually my .7z files are half as big as .zip files, depending on the type of their content. With the usual combination of source code files, binaries and some images, I'm usually getting excellent compression results. 7-Zip uses an optional very secure encryption method (AES), supports huge file sizes, and best: It is open source and free.
In addition it is able to compress into other file formats (ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2 and TAR) and decompress even more (RAR, CAB, ISO, ARJ, LZH, CHM, Z, CPIO, RPM, DEB and NSIS). Simply a great piece of software.



H-Craft Championship Full Version

Some weeks ago, Michael, the programmer behind the commercial Irrlicht based racer game H-Craft Championship donated to each member of the Irrlicht Engine team a free copy of their game. That was very nice, thank you!
I played the game several times now, and now I know even better why I don't play racing games: I absolutely suck at them ;) I always had this problem. There seems not to be such a thing as a 'good video gamer'. Skills also vary from genre to genre. For example I am a quite good fps player. At least I persuaded myself that I am. ;)
But it is nice to play H-Craft Championship now and then when I have time and I think I have become a little bit better. And - of course - it is nice to watch graphics rendered by code partially written by myself while playing ;)



Please vote for us!

As we released Irrlicht 1.3.1 this week, there is something now you can do for us. If you like Irrlicht, please vote for Irrlicht in the SF.net 2007 Community Choice awards. Please click this link or below and select 'Best Project for Multimedia'. Thanks!





Upcoming irrKlang License Change

When I extended the license of irrKlang to make it possible to buy the library for some more advanced features, I decided to use a License model which is not very friendly for open source and free projects, although one of my bigger targets was to support those projects just like with Irrlicht.
I'll change the license of irrKlang pro with the next release next week to something like 'all features are free for non-commercial use', everybody should be happy again then. So now, you can stop the email bombardment asking me for a change like this. Please :)



Second Life

Funny video of Real Life - Second Life.



Irrlicht 1.3.1 released

We just released Irrlicht 1.3.1. Here is a short exerpt of some of the new features:Thanks to the whole Irrlicht Team and to all other people who made this possible.



The Sims Label

I just read that Electronic Arts now has reorganized itself into 4 new labels: Right, there is an own label named 'The Sims'. A label for addons and successors for one single game.



Austrian Bundestrojaner

Yipee, now also Austria starts to think about getting a Bundestrojaner (german links). That's a software trojan to be placed secretly on citizens computers to spy on them and help law enforcement agencies with their investigations.
Together with the Data Retention Directive which will cause all EU countries to store phone and internet connection data of all EU citizens soon, I think maybe it's now a good time for me to start thinking about leaving the country, before it turns into a real police state.



Jericho

Being a Lost addict as I have already proven on this blog is not that easy. It's so hard to wait all the time until the start of the next season. Two weeks ago, I think I have found a light substitute, namely Jericho, which has just started in the german speaking area. It also looks to be popular, today some people have hacked into the panorama camera of the Czech television and inserted a Jericho-like nuclear explosion into its live footage, shocking people watching the show (video of this on youtube). No, actually I don't think this was Jericho related (wahrscheinlich eher eine Aktion gegen den "Raketenschild" der USA) but it's funny and reminds of it.



irrEdit 0.7.1 released

I just released irrEdit 0.7.1. There are some useful changes and additions in it, one is a frequently user requested feature, a 3D grid:


It is a bit transparent by default, but this as well as its size and color is configurable. Other new features include the 3D sound scene node (using irrKlang of course), as I already showed using this video, or Ogre 1.4 .mesh loading support. Happy downloading.



Blade3D

If you know that guy on the picture to the right, you might be a little bit confused now. If you are not, then let me explain first why you should be confused: the guy on that picture, let's call him 'niko', is wearing a shirt with the Logo of Blade3D printed on it. You also had the possibility to see him running around in Vienna with that shirt recently ;). Blade3D is a Game Engine and content development pipeline for Microsoft® XNA, a game framework based on .NET, for PC and XBox 360. Now, niko is one of the guys behind Irrlicht, an open source 3D engine. So, what happened? Isn't Blade3D competition to Irrlicht, and why is niko wearing that shirt?
Simple answer: First, Blade3D is somewhat different, it is a commercial all-in-one game development system for .NET while Irrlicht is a cross platform graphics engine for C++. Second: The T-Shirt looks cool, and I totally like it, and there is no deep statement behind me wearing it. I also would put on an Ogre Shirt it I had one ;) Third: Blade 3D is one of the first commercial products using irrKlang, Ambiera's 3D audio library, and they liked it so much they sent me that shirt. Thank you!



Irrlicht & Ambiera T-Shirts available

Ever wanted a shirt with an Irrlicht Logo on it? Or ever wanted to support the Irrlicht Engine development? That's now finally possible: Go to the Shops (there are two: an European and an American, to reduce shipment costs for you).
There are various Irrlicht, irrKlang, irrEdit and Ambiera shirts to choose from. For each shirt sold, we get something between 3 and 4 euro, which we will invest into hardware, software, books and similar. Here are some examples (there are more):


As you might notice, the Irrlicht Logo on the shirts is not the official one, it's a newer, better looking version. The reason for this is that the current official Irrlicht Engine logo will be replaced by the new one on the shirts soon (when I have time to redesign the website), and the original Logo was too small to be printed on the shirts. I created a lot of different shirts (some a also a bit funny), hope there is something for you too.
I hope you didn't have too high expectations after my announcement yesterday. The error which caused me to postpone the opening of the Shirt Shops was a stupid typo in the Irrlicht Engine logo, so I had to recreate all Irrlicht Shirts, in both Shops, and this takes longer than you might think :)
Link to the Irrlicht, irrKlang and irrEdit T-Shirt Shops.



Mysterious Announcement

This sunday the weather was extremely nice, ideal to doss about. But suddenly diluvial rain began to fall and I used the gained time to do something productive. It took several hours and might be interesting for all irrlicht, irrklang and irredit users as well as for readers of this blog. I wanted to present the result of this work here and on irrlicht.sf.net this evening, but just as I started the blog entry about it, I noticed a very bad error in it, so I have to postpone this
until tomorrow.
[Update: Come on, don't ask the other Irrlicht Engine Team members, they know about this since a week, but they won't tell :)]



Video of irrKlang running in irrEdit

Now that it is possible to buy irrKlang and irrEdit licenses, it's time for some marketing. ;-)
No - kidding aside - I just created a video showing irrKlang in action inside of irrEdit - possible with the next release of irrEdit, scheduled for the next week. I first uploaded the video to youtube, but then I noticed youtube seems not to support stereo sound. And mono is a bit limiting if you want to demonstrate 3D sound :) So I uploaded it to Martins server (thanks!), but you now need more bandwidth to watch it because I wasn't able to reduce it more. So here are both options: One other nice thing about it is that I am playing some random mp3 file in 3D space in that video. Most 3D sound engine implementations won't allow this because mp3 streams are usually in stereo, and stereo sound sources make not much sense in 3D. But irrKlang doesn't care, of course. It doesn't complain and just plays the stream.



irrKlang 0.9 released, added options for professional users

irrKlang There are some good and some bad news today. Good news first: I just released version 0.9 of irrKlang, the free audio library. It includes new features such as the possibility to make playback speed /frequency changes, doppler effects, sound effects such as reverb, distortion, echo and similar, support for DirectSound8, sound event callbacks, default volumes per source, and a lot more (see change log for details).

The problem is that irrKlang is now very popular already, and I am not able to handle all the requests and answer all the user mails and forum posts without sacrifying a lot of time which I would need for my job (doing freelancing) and for Irrlicht. To improve this situation so that I could get some money out of irrKlang to be able to invest more time into it, I decided to create an additional version of irrKlang, named irrKlang Pro. And here is the bad news: irrKlang Pro is only available for a small license fee. It has some few more sophisticated features than the free version, mainly some of the new features introduced in irrKlang 0.9 (details in the feature comparison). I tried to select features for irrKlang pro which I thought would be useful for professional developers, and tried not to limit the free version of irrKlang too much so that it still stays useful as it is. I hope I achieved this, and I hope that this step is comprehensible. Depending on users feedback, I may also adapt the selection of which feature is available in which version. So, if you want to support irrKlang or ever wanted to support my work financially, here is the first option to do this ;)
About upcoming next software releases: I originally planned to release irrEdit 0.7.1 before this one, but then I decided to include irrKlang 0.9 in irrEdit for the irrKlangSceneNode, so irrKlang had to get out first. But irrEdit will be the next thing to get an update out soon.



Valve's Updated Hardware Survey Summary

Valve just updated their Hardware Survey again, which I think is a very interesting resource of information. It's a list of statistics collected from the hardware of their users.
Interesting IMO: Nobody actually uses Windows Vista (only 5 percent of all users). Most people only have 128 or 256 MB of VRAM. After English, the next most used language is German. And: Only 1% of all users have DirectX 10 systems.



No, I'm not a spammer, believe me

Today I noticed that all mails I am sending from ambiera.com are classified as spam by a lot of recievers especially free mailers like yahoo, hotmail and gmail, independent of the subject or content of the mail. I checked several black lists and my mailserver is not listed anywhere.
I've no idea why I am considered a spammer by their spam filters. So, if you are waiting for a mail from me for some time now, just check your spam folder. :-(



History of Video Games

Nice video of 92 popular video games, in chronological order. I only played a little bit more than half of them, but it is really nice. Ahh, memories.



irrlamb

Just stubmled upon a small simple game based on Irrlicht, it describes itself as "a 3D game that probably involves a lot of physics and frustrating gameplay" ;). Basically, you are controlling a glowing, rolling sphere through a level, see for yourself in this youtube video. Nice: It's cross platform and open source, and the players avatar looks like how I would imagine an Irrlicht or will o' the wisp (Irrlicht (wikipedia) - the german word where the Irrlicht Engine has its name from) looks like. It is written in or at least uses lua and includes several levels and a tutorial.
(further links: project page hosted on google code, with downloads Big Screenshot, related irrlicht engine forum entry).



Krimhild update

Nothing I could blog about has happened during the last few days. I think this will change next week. But until then and because it is some kind of tradition (examples Krimhild growing, Krimhild mad, Krimhild II) on this blog and I didn't blog about her for some time now, here is an update on Krimhild:

Krimhild, my room mate (it's a carnivorous plant, if you are new here) absolutely loves my new apartment. She nearly died in the old one but now she gets a lot of new traps, as you can see in the center. One of the traps even is red, meaning she likes it here, although she currently gets attacked by two monster sized shamrocks as you can see. And yesterday, while I was programming, she caught a small fly. Go krimhild, go! :)