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A MMORPG where the main quest is to collect "friends"

If you sent me a facebook friend request, that's quite nice of you. But honestly, if you just know me from this blog or some of my other websites and don't write any text explaining who you are, don't except me to accept that request... :/



Tutorial on how to integrate NetDog into an Irrlicht application

Jordan Gilliland, CEO of PX Interactive just notified me that there is now a tutorial available showing how to use Irrlicht together with NetDog, a networking library. The tutorial seems to be easy to understand and is written in the style of the other tutorials I originally wrote, so if you are looking for a network library, maybe give it a try.



Back again

I'm back from vacation, which was quite relaxing. Sorry for the long time without blog postings. This will change starting now :)



The New Generation of Web Experts

A mail conversation I had last week about our german dating site, Bienen und Blumen (roughly how I have this in memory, and translated from german):

User: Hello, I just received a mail from your dating site on facebook, but I deleted my account there! Stop this immediately! My mail adress is XXX@YYY. I reserve the right to take legal action if you don't comply within 24 hours.

Me: Hello there. There is no user with that mail adress on our site. Also, we don't send any spam mails out to our users. And we don't have anything to do with facebook. Can you forward me the mail you are talking about?

User: This is ridiculous!! I want you to delete all my data immediately! I don't remember my user name or my password, but my real name is XXX YYY. I tell you, I'm now going to talk to my lawyer!!
User (2 minutes later): Ok, I've now found my profile on your site (http://www.XXX). All my data is still there! Also my picture! I'm so going to sue you if you don't delete this!

Me: Hello again. If your picture and your data is still there, you simply haven't deleted it yet. Deleting your profile on bienenundblumen is only a matter of one click. As opposed to other sites where this sometimes isn't even possible at all. But I've now done this for you: Your account is gone now.
Threatening to sue me will not influence anything except me getting angry. This is coercion, and believe me, my lawyers are better and more expensive than yours. ;) But I hope you are happy now. And btw: Could you please forward me that mail you were talking about? I'm interested in what this was.

Of course, I've never heard anything again from this guy.
I still was a bit curious about what mail he could be talking about, so I googled for it, but found nothing. Except that this guy had blogs, a twitter and facebook account, an xing account and more and was calling himself a web 2.0 and computer interface expert.

Interesting for someone who is unable to click the 'delete profile' button on a dating site.



Nice CopperCube demo

Daubert Sébastien posted a new version of his demo/game which he created using CopperCube:


It's always impressive what good artists can create. I like especially the music in that demo, and that it is quite interactive already (you can pick up items, open doors etc). The demo is available as Windows .exe and MacOSX .app and can be tested at the CopperCube forum thread (direct download: Windows, Mac OS X).



CopperCube 1.4.1 now available

I just released CopperCube 1.4.1, for Windows as well as for Mac OS X.

the new coppercube prefab in coppercube


This release adds (besides other features) support for character animation in WebGL. As in the other publishing targets like Flash and Mac OS X .apps, the character animation playback supports playing back animated meshes with an unlimited amount of joints and an unlimted amount of weights. And thanks to WebGL, this now runs directly in your web browser without any plugin.

Other new features: Quaternion support in JavaScript, improved Collada Loading from Google Sketchup, a new prefab: an animated soldier (the one in the image above).

Happy downloading!



Well, profits, then safety

The 'BP Public relations' twitter account is fake and incredible funny. Some random quotes:

Investing a lot of time & money into cleaning up our image, but the beaches are next on the to-do list for sure. #bpcares

Obama wants us to start a liability account to pay spill victims. We'd rather not, but thanks for asking! #bpcares

We are not killing animals in the gulf, we are creating fossils in the gulf. Have a little perspective. #bpcares

Safety is our primary concern. Well, profits, then safety. Oh, no-profits, image, then safety, but still- it's right up there.

OMG This isss ridciulsus. playing a drinking gamee where we drink a shot everytme we seeee an oily birdddd!!! LOL! so wasted!!11 #pbcares

As part of our continued re-branding effort, we are now referring to
the spill as "Shell Oil's Gulf Coast Disaster". #bpcares


More here.



Adobe released Flash Player 10.1 - much faster now

Adobe just released their new Flash Player version 10.1. You should get it, since it also includes some security fixes: get it here.
Adobe optimized their ActionScript 3 VM a bit for this release, including an update to its previously (let's be honest here:) suboptimal garbage collector. The result is that flash games now will run faster and use less CPU power. A quick test with a CopperCube flash 3D scene confirms this:


The scene now feels much smoother. After the camera flight has finished in that scene, you can freely move around it using mouse + cursor keys (or WASD if your prefer), and it feels quite smooth. I'll have to do some real performance test still.

Nice thing about this update: The Mac OS X version of the Flash player is said to have received additional speed enhancements, very nice.



Finally

Yesterday, my PC started running the fan at higher speeds than usual. I wasn't compiling anything and not doing anything CPU intensive, so I got a little bit suspicious. Starting up the task manager didn't show any process using much CPU time. Also the CPU workload was constantly between 1% and 3%. Nevertheless, the fan kept going. Strange.

But then, I understood. The thermometer of the office shows 30° C. It's summer, finally.



Internet Explorer is dead for Developers

Since all people are recently talking about the death and rise of various browsers, I wanted to take a look at the statistics myself. I run various websites with different audiences, reaching from gamers over programmers to the average non-tech-savy internet user. Taking a look at my various sites and stats, the most interesting were these two:

usage of browsers in the year 2010


While Bienen und Blumen is a middle sized german dating website with users who in most cases don't even know what the word 'browser' means, Ambiera is a website visited by highly tech savy people developing software themselves.
And as you can see, about half of the visitors of the dating page are using a version of Internet Explorer (47%) while only about every tenth visitor on the developer site is using it (13%). So, developers are obviously preferring alternative browsers such as Firefox and Chrome.

I also didn't know that Chrome already had a that big market share, even on the non-developer site. And, interestingly, the 7th most used browser on these sites is Opera Mini, the Opera edition for mobile phones and similar. Didn't know that mobile browsing is that popular already.

Here are the detailed values, if you are interested:

    
  

Bienenundblumen.com

Ambiera.com

 

IE

47,47

13,43

 

Firefox

41,69

41,1

 

Chrome

4,89

26,99

 

Safari

2,54

7,44

 

Opera

2,5

6,04

 

Opera Mini

0,78

0,1

 

Mozilla

0,05

4,4





Writing drivers seems to be difficult

When I worked full time as game developer some years ago I learned quite quickly that the most problematic issues with computer games are graphic drivers: Some of them are buggy, and a small percentage of your customers will come back to you and blame your game for creating blue screens, randomly restarting their PC and other nasty behaviors. The game developer is completely innocent in this case, the reason for this is usually an error in the 3d graphics driver. But explain this to the customer: Quite difficult.

Today, the situation is a bit better, because apparently the quality of the graphic drivers and the operating system using it has improved (for example Windows 7 will no longer crash when its graphics driver does), but these issues still are there. But I also now have learned that this problem is not only limited to graphic drivers: Since I developed the audio library irrKlang and a lot of games are now using it, from time to time gamers report that when starting up the game using irrklang weired stuff happens: For example the screen becomes dark or mouse input stops, things which a sound library has no influence over, honestly.

Again, the reason for this is not irrKlang but a buggy hardware driver. Fortunately, these effects only happen in very, very, very rare cases, and since irrKlang supports multiple audio drivers it is possible to circumvent these, but it really makes me think that it must be quite difficult to write working hardware drivers. Or maybe these companies are simply hiring weird programmers.



CGDigg huge discount

CGDigg has become my favorite source of news for graphics applications recently. And if you - such as me - are a 'small' software developer creating 3D graphic applications, here is maybe some interesting news for you: CGDigg now offers a huge discount for individual software developers who want to advertise on CGDigg.
That's great news for all smaller developers out there. Marketing isn't that easy, now it has become a bit easier. :)