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CopperLicht 1.1.0 released: supports Character Animation

I just released a new version of the JavaScript 3D engine Copperlicht, version 1.1.0. A pretty cool new feature is character animation. CopperLicht now is able to display and animate skeletal animated characters:

You can try the demo here. Remember, CopperLicht is a WebGL 3D engine, and WebGL is not finished yet, so your browser only supports it when you are using a development browser and enabled WebGL manually.

There is also a new tutorial explaining how to do character animation in CopperLicht.

After the recent added collision detection, this was the last main feature missing. So, basically, this means it is now possible to write whole game with that 3d engine, like for example first person shooters running on websites, without plugins. Now we only have to wait until WebGL arrives in end user browsers.

10000 male users reached

Yay, Bienen und Blumen, the free german online dating site we are running as side project now has more than 10000 male users:

Suchergebnisse von 1 bis 10 von insgesamt 10007.

The female user count is *slightly* lower, but it's the same ratio as most other free and honest online dating pages have. This is not only nice because it means the page is still constantly growing but also because it feels nice: a lot of happy people write to us that we helped them finding finally a partner, which is quite rewarding. Similar to creating open source software :)

Security vs Freedo^H^H^H^H^H^H Performance

Just wondered why the performance dropped strangely. The framerate of a CopperLicht scene just dropped from 40 to something between 3 and 10, both in Chrome/Chromium and in FireFox/MineField.
Reverting my recent changes didn't help. Strange. A short look at the notification icons next to the task bar clock then revealed the problem: Virus scanner running. Argl.


I recently hadn't that much time, so I only have played it for some few hours yet, but here is a game recommendation:
Torchlight is a quite nice and entertaining game. It's basically a Diablo III clone - which feels a bit odd since Diablo III hasn't been released yet - but it has everything Diablo 1 and 2 had and what you would expect from version 3.

Everything in the game feels very familiar: Portals, how you level up, skill trees, the weapon/armor/item system, sockets, magic, identification scrolls, shortcuts, the user interface, how the quests work, etc. Except that Torchlight doesn't include a multi player mode [which I would try to ignore anyway to not to get addicted ;)] I'm not sure what I would expect more from Diablo III, so I can recommend this game.
Best 20 € I've invested this month, so far :)

'Killer games' are making you smarter

A study published three days ago by the faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences of the Leiden University (Colzato et al.) found that 'Killer Games', what our politicans call First Person Shooters are making you more intelligent.

Our findings support the idea that playing FPS games promotes cognitive flexibility.

It's quite interesting to read, it seems that you are training a lot of abilities of your brain by planning strategies and reacting to fast events in these games.

[...] videogame experience enhances cognitive flexibility in general

Nice read, the PDF is available as well. So time for another round of MW2? :)

Android running on iPhone

Woha: Android running on iPhone. Not sure if this is useful, but interesting at least :)

Wine and Mac OS X support: CopperCube 1.4.0 released

I just uploaded CopperCube in version 1.4.0.

Besides all the new features in this release, a nice side effect is that it apparently now also runs in Wine, since it now also supports OpenGL. Linux users who complained for years that irrEdit doesn't run in Wine now finally have a way to edit Irrlicht scenes. :)

Other new stuff is for example support for Mac OS X (also on Windows), support for 3D Studio Max .ase, Stanford Polygon Lib .ply, AutoCAD .dxf and Truespace .cob and .scn files, improvement of COLLADA .dae, Lightwave .lwo and 3D Studio .3ds importers. Also, it now gives the possibility to use own prefabs.

And of course, this release finally ends the Mac OS X beta, both CopperCube versions (Windows and Mac OS X) now have the same version numbers and will be released at the same time from now on.

Under construction

Company website with a nice layout but the only content reads like this:

Site under construction. More info available in January 2009!


Generate space sky boxes using Spacescape

For a new tutorial for the next version of CopperCube, I needed a nice space skybox, with stars and nebulas on it. That's how I recently discovered SpaceScape, a small free tool which does this job quite perfectly. My skybox for the tutorial now looks like this:

The tool has obviously been written using Ogre, is a bit complicated to use and has no real documentation. But is is free and does its job perfectly. Nice. Something like a random generator would be a nice addition, I guess.

Beta test running nice so far

The Mac OS X Beta of CopperCube doesn't seem to have a lot of bugs as it seems. Lots of downloads, nearly no complains. And some few feature requests already, which means people are using it. So I guess the next release in the next few weeks will include a windows and a stable Mac OS X version, nice. If you discovered any bug which you would like to be fixed until then, please report. I can fix bugs only if someone tells me about it. :)

How does your website look on the iPad

For all us web designers, it is quite useful to know not only how our websites looks like in different browsers, but also how how it will look on other systems, like the iPad. Brad now created a photoshop filter to view your website as it appears on the ipad, amazing! Download and instructions here.

Looks like I am a crappy 3d engine creator

Everytime I stumble upon a new 3D engine, I'm usually quite interested in it, and usually I bookmark the website to remember it. This time I found a 3d engine someone just created and claimed on the front page of that engine that two (!) 3D engines I wrote totally suck. I don't think he knew that both of the 3d engines (CopperLicht and Irrlicht) are based on my code and ideas, but that's quite a big insult, I guess. An extract:

I take criticism seriously, and today I wanted to take a deeper look into that 3d engine, see what he tries to do better than me etc, only to find that the 3d engine has stopped to exist. Only a few days after it was started. Hm.

Probably better he took it off, I've read that its code quality wasn't the best. So I think I can ignore that persons critisism for now. :)

Did Microsoft just say "fuck you, european developers"?

So VisualStudio 2010 is out, yay. Prices according to the website:
That means the cheapest version, the professional edition would cost me about 543 dollars more just because I'm living in Europe. The Ultimate edition is 5403 dollar more expensive for Europeans then for Americans. That's quite a big difference.

In addition, it looks like only the Ultimate Edition contains UML diagrams which I was really looking for, and only some very few of them (Activity, Use Case, Sequence, Class, Component). The current UML specification contains about 14 diagrams as opposed to these 5.

I really would have liked buying this for my company, but this way it feels not right at all. So it looks like I will continue to use my faviourite UML tool for now.

I'm in Streetview

Yesterday, a google streetview car photographed me while I was walking down the Alserstraße. I even weared an Irrlicht shirt, but my reaction was to slow and it's not visible on the foto. But let's see when streetview goes online in Vienna. [Confirmation: google is capturing vienna right now (in german)]

CopperCube for MacOS X beta released

I just released the first beta of CopperCube for Mac OS X. CopperCube is a 3D editor for creating 3D Flash, WebGL, Windows and now Mac applications.

coppercube on mac

It can also be used for editing Irrlicht scenes, it includes an .irr scene exporter. This first beta version supports Mac OS X 10.4 and newer, on intel chips. You can download the release here, any feedback is welcome.
Porting CopperCube to this operating system was quicker than I had initially estimated.

Changing my profession

It's no secret that we programmers and software engineers are constantly underpaid. I've been told that other jobs like those of lawyers, investment bankers etc are not that complicated compared to for example writing complex vector graphics rendering engines or debugging ancient DOS assemblers. But we software guys are used to this. We don't earn the big bucks.

I am working as freelance software developer from time to time, and charging a pretty average amount of money. Sometimes more, sometimes less depending on the job, but from my work with other freelancers, I know that's pretty average. But last week I've learned the hard way the fact that even painters earn more than we software developers do, at least here In Vienna.

A painter, who simply painted 2 walls for me in simple, white color, charges about three times as much per hour than I do. And after my initial shock and checking back, it appears that all painters in Vienna do this.

I think I have the wrong job. Going to think about opening a painting business.

Starting to port a huge application to Mac OS X

Since I added OpenGL drawing to my local build of CopperCube recently, it would probably be a good idea to try to make it run on Mac OS X. So I imported the source into XCode and after I made a few tweaks here and there, the result was this:

Not too impressive, but with some few missing parts, CopperCube now basically runs on Mac OS X. Not least thanks to wxWidgets the cross-platform UI library used by CopperCube and Irrlicht, of course. A lot of parts are still missing which I simply commented out, so it should be still quite a lot of work to make it 100% functional, but for a start, this is great.

The most apparent missing feature is obviously the 3D rendering, which is not even visible. Making Irrlicht work together with wxWidgets in MacOS via AGL/CGL will be the next step to do.

CopperLicht 1.0.3 released

I just uploaded the CopperLicht 1.0.3 release. It fixes a few minor bugs of the previous version. But the a bit bigger news that because lots of people asked me for this, I now added the option to get the full uncompressed source of the 3d engine also if you are not a company, for a very small license fee. See license for details.
The engine itself still is free to be used and will continue to be.