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This blog may not be updated that frequently during the next 2 weeks, aka 'closed for holidays'. I think I'm going to spend my holidays in the most different country I've ever been before, and it's not like I'm traveling sparsely. Let's see if they really like starcraft that much over there :)

Subversion files left in Drakensang Demo

Looks like Radon Labs uses subversion for game development. How do I know? They just released their Drakensang game, and it looks like they've forgot to clean up some files in the Demo of that game:

Yep, not only the directories are there but even the 'entries', 'format' etc files. But nothing critical.

Gothic 3 Game of the Year Edition Review

There is nothing better to do on boring summer weekends with bad weather than playing computer games, IMO. About 1 1/2 year ago, I decided to buy and play Oblivion instead of Gothic 3, because I feared the numerous reported bugs in Gothic 3 to ruin my fun, but some weeks ago I stumpled upon a 'Gothic 3 Game of the Year Edition' box and - hoping it would include the patches as well, I bought it. Recently, I finished the game [see next shot ;)], so here is a short review:

In short, you play Gothic 3 like this: As used in RPGs, you go from quest to quest, and discover more and more of the game world. In Gothic 3, every time you get to a new village, city or valley, this is accompanied by thoughts like 'Holy SHIT!? How big IS this world!?". There are dozens of villages and cities which are extraordinary detailed, with countless NPCs (all with voices) and quests. All cities appear unique and convincing, and you are quite overwhelmed by the amount of possiblities what to do next. This must have been a total nightmare for the testing/quality assurance team.

Gothic 3 is comparable to Oblivion, but although Oblivion is a very good rpg, the world in Gothic doesn't feel that procedural and more organic when compared to the world in Oblivion. Also, it is fun to actually listen to the dialogs instead of skipping through them because the texters had an amusing style (e.g. An Ork named 'Urkrass' or countless appropriate sayings like 'Willst du mich verarschen oder was?!').
Gothic 3 has shortcomings, but I really can recommend that game. Yep, that's it, as most of my reviews: No spoilers, no details, extremely short :)

MOD player in flash

Wow, a MOD player in flash. It's open source and even zlib (same license as Irrlicht). If only something like this would have been available when I wrote Darkness Springs. :)
Interestingly, the mod player is written in Haxe, a language which compiles to Javascript, Actionscript and even PHP. Never heard of it before, but interesting.

OpenGL 3.0 - The End is near

So OpenGL 3.0 is out now, and it doesn't contain what they've been promising for a long time now: the rewrite of the API. Instead, it's basically an OpenGL 2.5. Game developers are in rage and feel cheated. I've never read so many words like 'unbelievable letdown', 'epic fail', 'fiasco' or 'disaster' in a single thread like in the one of the gamedev.net forum.

What happened is that it seems the khronos group wasn't capable to agree on the technical details of the redesign of the API and decided to release an update of OpenGL 2.x as OpenGL 3.0 now. And together with the non-existing communication of the group with the developers during the last year, game developers really have a reason to be angry. Lets face it: OpenGL today still is a collection of partially outdated, crappy documented extensions, not a solid, clean API like Direct3D. OpenGL 3.0 was supposed to fix this and because they failed, a lot of developers now will begin to support Direct3D instead of OpenGL. Simple as that.

OpenGL won't die though, if you are forced to write 3D applications on non-Windows machines, there is no alternative to OpenGL, unfortunately. But as PC game developer you can savely ignore this - 98% of all PC-gamers are using Windows, so why going through the pain of using this antiqued API just for maybe getting 2% more users instead of simply using a nice, clean Microsoft written API like D3D?

Nope, OpenGL won't die. But this just was a step into its grave at least.

PHP Adventures

For a from my perspective as C++/3D/multimedia/game/whatever programmer quite unusual project (will be released and announced here in a few weeks), I recently wrote a lot of PHP code. Although I became quite familiar with PHP during the last 8 years (my last bigger PHP related work was the game server of ds for example), this time it was a rather intensive experience, and I got to know a lot of the dark secrets and the impressive ugliness of this language.
Thousands of functions in the global scope, all with a different naming scheme, most of them doing the same as other functions, no real unicode support, dangerous side effects of its dynamic typing and ridiculous 'features' like this magic_quotes thing which escapes all content from a external variable sources. Funny are also some of the error messages: the programmer of the parser behind PHP obviously used hebrew for the names of some of the constants, and so PHP would write things like 'unexpected T_PAAMAYIM_NEKUDOTAYIM' which is really quite helpful. :)
But after all, the project is finished now and it was fun and interesting. Looking forward to announce the release of it, because recently quite a lot of the stuff I'm working on is secret an NDA-protected unfortunately.

Ambiera website changes

Did I already mention that I now even get spam using the license contact form on ambiera.com? That's quite interesting, because it's a handwritten, custom web form. Looks like there are bots out there filling in randomly all forms they find.
But at least I now know where I can find wow and eq2 gold, not to mention v1agr@, thanks! :)

The ambiera forum is still down unfortuntely, but there is an updated, more colorful irrKlang mainpage now at least. It shows some products which are using irrKlang, I personally like the page better now.

irrklang website update

Irrlicht3d.org moved to a new server

Sorry for the downtime. Irrlicht3d.org now runs again on a new server right here in Vienna. :) Hope everything is working again, but it appears to.
Update: Restored the last 4 blog entries.

Censorship Bullshit

The whole world is currently discussing the problem that journalists reporting from the Olympic Games only have access to a subset of the whole internet: The chinese government is censoring internet traffic and reporters don't have access to a lot of pages with political content, for example sites about human rights or about tibet.

The media appears to be shocked and angry about this. Basically they write that this is evil. Bad chinese government! Internet censorship is bad! And evil!

But what those journalists and media don't mention is that it's not different in the countries from where they are. Political internet censorship is common even here in western Europe. For example: ever tried to access a Nazi website from Austria or Germany? Although I don't have any sympathy for Nazis, it's still simple political censorship. It is also still pretty common for western governments to try to take down even foreign websites with so-called copyright infringing, pornographic, violent, war-mongering, racist, fascist or anti-semitic content. A bit understandable from the viewpoint of our culture, but freedom of speech certainly looks different. The today published EU Global Online Freedom Act where the European Union plans to restrict trade with internet censoring countries seems like a bad joke seen from this angle.

The only real difference to the great firewall of China is that we are censoring OTHER types of websites. [And that China is doing this a bit more effectively ;)] If you want free, uncensored internet, how about starting to make it work in our own country first?

Simpsons Quake 3 Map

Incredible detailed Quake 3 map:

IMO very impressive what detail work the author did. Even palms on the top of the Quick-ee-mart :)