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Irrlicht, irrKlang, Raknet explained in Spanish

If you are a spanish speaking developer you might be interested in this:
Cris-dlr wrote a lengthy .pdf explaining how to create 3D games using Irrlicht, irrKlang, irrXML and Raknet. Some of the tutorials are based on the Irrlicht Tutorials.

My spanish skills are still at level 0 unfotunately, but scrolling through that document it looks like a lot of work went into there.



50%

Ziemlich genau 50% der User von unserer Gratis Partnerbörse die sich bei uns darüber aufregen dass ihr Passwort auf einmal nicht mehr geht, vertippen sich beim Benutzernamen. Die anderen 50% beim Passwort. Ich weiß gar nicht wievielen Leuten ich dadurch die Funktion der Taste 'Capslock' bisher schon nahebebracht habe :)

Exactly 50% of all users of our german dating website who complain that it is not possible for them anymore to log in, are mistyping their user name. The other 50% are mistyping their password. I don't know how often I already explained what the Capslock key is doing since we started the site. :)

This blog post should test the small multi language mod I made to this blog. Did the post appear in german for you if you are german speaking?




Working on OpenGL support

Although CopperCube uses Irrlicht for rendering 3d graphics, I only made the D3D8, D3D9 and Software Renderer available in it. The reason for this is that CopperCube uses an older, highly modified Irrlicht version internally and back then, the OpenGL driver wasn't able to render into existing windows. More and more new features were added to the supported drivers, and it became more difficult to support OpenGL as well. But recently, I sat down and started backporting everything into OpenGL, and on my local build it seems to work already:


The great thing about this is that not only people who complained in the last years that irrEdit doesn't work under Linux using Wine, this will probably change once this feature is ready. Also, with OpenGL working in CopperCube, this will mean that I can port it to other operating systems such as Mac OS or Linux.



Subconscious Bugfixing

Updated to a new version of a library and everything worked fine. Well, except for this tiny little detail. Started debugger to fix it. Debugged strange, complicated code with foreign language comments and cross-platform #defines clattered over the whole library, stepped through at least 200 files. No luck. Bug still there, no idea why. Read forum posts with similar problems. Studied the change log of the library. Nothing. Again, debugging. Again amazed by the amount of code my data gets pushed trough. Giving up, going to sleep.

Next day: an idea. What if I put this flag into that function? Actually, I have no idea why I wanted to try this but it's better than giving up. Compiled. Started the app. Bug fixed.

This happened quite some times now for me. It seems that somehow sometimes my subconscious mind solves programming problems for me during my sleep, and it tells me what to do, but not why. :) But I better don't think in detail about this.



Not boring

Just updated to Opera 10.51. Very nice so far. But why do they need to completely redesign the whole user interface every release (this time, opera looks similar to Chrome)? At least it doesn't get boring that way. :)



It's not me, it's you, Facebook

In the last weeks, I wondered if I am simply too stupid to understand the strange statistics of my first facebook game, Darkness Springs. But now I think it *could* be facebook who is wrong:


Yep: -1 total Users. So the programmer lacking math skills is not me at least. :)



Browser integrated Web Development Tools

Recently I've started working on this JavaScript 3D engine which I mentioned quite a lot on this blog already. It's quite a big piece of software, and before, no JavaScript scripts I wrote exceeded 300 lines of code, so I never really needed JavaScript development tools. But when I started writing that library, I had to use them and I was surprised how good they are. Basically all major browsers today include tools to help you developing websites and their scripts, here is a short overview for people who also never noticed this:

Opera Dragonfly
Dragonfly is the development tool which comes with Opera and includes a great JavaScript debugger, DOM inspector, CSS viewer. Everything you need.

opera dragonfly


Very useful: It's source code viewer has an incremental search feature, and there is an interactive JavaScript console. It even features remote debugging and has a large set of options to use. This is basically my favourite development tool, also maybe because it integrates into the browser and is not a separate window.

Chrome, WebKit and Safari Developer Tools
Chrome, and as it appears also Safari (and probably all WebKit browsers?) include JavaScript debugger, DOM inspector, all the standard stuff.

chrome debugger


But I was surprised to see this very useful utility in it as well:


Chrome/Safari include a very neat JavaScript and Resource profiler, telling you which of your functions are the slowest. When writing a JavaScript 3D engine like I do, this is incredibly useful. The resource loading profiler additionally shows you how big all the files are your website are, and how long it needs to load them.

Internet Explorer Developer Tools
Since Internet Explorer is one of the slowest adapting major browsers out there, I rarely use its development tools, but it includes some surprisingly good utilities:


It's all there: A debugger which even feels a bit like Visual Studio, DOM and CSS inspector as well as a JavaScript profiler. Too bad this browser doesn't support canvas or even WebGL.

Why is FireFox not included here?
Simple: FireFox doesn't include development tools by default, you have to download them manually as addon. I'm using Firefox/Minefield, and unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a working addon with the Minefield version I'm running when I wrote this, so Firefox has to be left out here.


Summary
All major browsers now include impressively mature web developement and debugging tools which can compete with the development tools of 'real' programming languages such as C++ or Java. Looking forward to see some more big applications developed in JavaScript. And I think this will happen soon, since JavaScript is also getting quite fast now.



I want to unread

Social news websites are sometimes very useful. But please, please! Don't put spoilers of books, tv series, movies etc. in the headlines of your posts. There is no way to unread them.
In this case, i've just read a big spoiler of the TV series 'Lost'. Come on guys. Some people live in europe. We get to see all series and movies up to one year later than you in the USA. Hmpf. :/



CopperLicht 1.0.1 released - featuring Collision Detection and Custom Shaders

I just released a new version of the JavaScript 3D engine Copperlicht, number 1.0.1. It now includes collision detection and the possibility to create custom materials and shaders. There are two new tutorials available showing how to use these, and if you have a WebGL enabled browser, you can try out the collision test example here. For all those without such a browser, it looks like this: ;)


Since some people where interested in this, I also made it possible for companies to get a commercial license for this 3d engine, but of course the engine is still completely free to use and it will stay like this.



Optimizing 3D Collision Code

Im currently in the process of implementing collision and response into CopperLicht, the JavaScript 3D engine I recently released. It already works and you are able to walk around in a Quake 3 level in realtime, and it is also already possible to walk up and down stairs:

copperlicht collision test


The problem is that collision is quite a quite CPU-intensive task. Systems today don't have any problems calculating collisions against thousands of polygons per frame, but doing this in JavaScript is a more difficult task: JavaScript is incredibly slow.
I've used several tricks already (like you can see a bit on the lower left of the screenshot, CopperLicht automaticly created an OctTree for collision as it reports with the gray text) and it works very nice already in Chrome, which has an extremely fast JavaScript VM. But in FireFox, this is still not very usable, dropping down to about 5-10 frames per second.
But let's see, there is still room for improvement.



0 users

Something I don't quite understand:


326 monthly active users, 18 fans, and 0 users. I'm pretty sure either I misunderstood or did something wrong. :)
Pro tip: Switching your facebook language from german to english reduces the confusion a lot while developing a facebook application, because the strings seem to have been translated automatically, and in the developer section they get mixed up with english words, and you end up understanding only railway station if you know what I mean. :)



Some Very Short Movie Reviews

Shutter Island: Thrilling movie, watch it! Best film I've seen in the last few months. Don't watch any trailers or reviews before going there.

The Book of Eli: Never played Fallout 3? Love stupid, braindead plots? Then you will like this. It appears they wrapped a pseudo-action film into scenes stolen from the Fallout 3 game and added a completely crap ending. Not worth watching at all, in my opinion.

Alice in Wonderland: O come on. Alice fighting a dragon using a f***cking sword!? I've read the original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and played American McGee's Alice which was very nice, but Tim Burtons version sucked from the beginning to the end. Stupid, stupid dialogs, no irony, no plot, nothing.

Thanks for your attention. :)



Torchlight Boxed

I just received a newsletter telling me that Torchlight is now available as boxed version in my region. I never played that game, but since most reviews I came across about this game are quite positive, maybe an idea to buy it. Also, it was created using open source software, especially a quite popular 3d engine which is not irrlicht :) (since you are reading this blog, you probably know that it's Ogre).
Interesting is also that it is published by JoWooD here, one of my ex employers. Nice!



Why I stopped paying Google last week

Recently I asked in the google adwords support forum when they will support Opera again. The problem is that the first page of adwords works in Opera, but then clicking anything will open a page telling you that Opera is not supported anymore. Which is quite a shame because all other Google websites work with Opera and for adwords, I'm even paying money.

I already had filled out several feedback forms but never received an answer in that direction, so I posted it into the support forum and was happy that I even received an answer from a google employee named 'Agatha': "I just installed opera and opened my adwords account and it seems to work. You probably have a old version of opera". (translated, the original answer was in german language). But of course, I always use the latest versions of opera.

BIG, BIG *facepalm*.
What probably happened here is that google employee Agatha simply logged into the account, saw that it works without clicking anything. She also failed to see that there is a list of official supported browsers without Opera in it. And of course, she never answered anymore to the posts in the forum.

I know, I only run a very small company. But since I cannot use google adwords anymore with my preferred, perfectly web standards compatible browser, I now stopped giving them my advertising money and will start giving it to their competition from now on.



Bad Reviews

Not sure what happend, but the new version of Darkness Springs received some quite harsh and bad reviews, although previous versions have been liked very much by the majority of people. Ok, lots of people still like it, but the reactions of some people are really a bit strange. Example:

Here is what I'm going to do for you [AuthorOfTheGame]. I'm going to wait for a cracked version of your game to appear, download the game, host it on every media sharing website known to man and then I'm going to delete it from my computer.


Strange, hm?
But there are some good news as well: Darkness Springs on Facebook has been approved and now is available in the Application/Game directory. And I also removed the need to allow the game to post on your wall, because some people didn't really like that.



Axis Mundi

Axis Mundi was a student project built in 24 weeks by Surface Studios as part of a final year assessment for the Bachelor of Interactive Entertainment course run by Qantm College, Melbourne, Australia.


Irrlicht was the teams choice as 3D engine to assist them in getting the game done in such a short time span. Luke Di Lodovico, project manager says: "Having no exposure to Irrlicht, and being new the the world of game programming, it was a hard task to get where we got to, but found that without Irrlicht3D we would have had an almost impossible task."

The game looks fun, and after I watched the gameplay video, it looks like a nice idea.