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Timelapse developing a game

You probably all have seen those timelapse videos of showing gifted artists drawing cool images in photoshop, paint and similar, but this thing is a bit different:


It shows Markus Persson, creator of Minecraft developing a game named Metagun from scratch in 48 hours (and in Java, looks at least like it for me). Not sure if this is as interesting as watching those 2d drawing timelapses, but it is a fun idea :)



WTF-Week

Since I started my own business, I've quickly learned that there are weeks where every day is a big WTF-moment. This week is such a week. Sometimes it is incredible what weired things can happen and how strange people can behave. I wish I could go into more details here (but probably later).
At least it keeps me entertained :)
And to blog some (non-related) less vague stuff as well, did you see the new irrFuscator website already? Hope it works in all browsers, but looked correctly in the about 6 I tested it with.



Starcraft 2 Review

I recently played through the (quite short) single player campaign of Starcraft II and also finished quite a lot of multiplayer matches, so here is my usual small review of this game:

I loved the game back in 1998 and from what I remember, the new game is quite the same. Everything works as before down to the short cuts, but now it's in (pretty unnecessary) 3D. But anyway, it is still fun. You get to view some - interestingly - rendered in realtime 3d movie sequences between each single player mission and the mission design is also very ok. But nothing you've not seen before in any other up-to-date RTS game. The necessarity to connect to Battle.NET in order to play the game - together with that fact that half of Battle.Net regularily doesn't fully work (for example I cannot see portraits of the players half of the time at all) - is a bit nerving, but I guess this is how games are today. I am also not entirely sure what all the multiplayer ladder stuff is about (for example: What does that number mean next to my character? What does 'Gold league' mean? How do the scores work? etc.), it is not easy to find this out because the manual mainly only contains a printed version of the background story (wtf).
But apart from all this, it is a fun game worth buying and I think I will spend some more time in multiplayer matches in the near future.



Twitter is nice

So I've been using twitter for about one month now and like it. I've not twittered that much since then (23 tweets, well, maybe it's better than nothing), but I also read the tweets of others which is quite interesting. I initially decided to use it as a ~commercial~ account, i.e. tweeting only about my software project related stuff, and I think this wasn't the worst idea. Sometimes I blog about non programming stuff on here, and when it gets political, it's usually quite provocative. Explaining this in 140 characters is not possible, I guess.
So I will continue to twitter on there, and try to increase my tweets / second a bit. :)



CopperLicht 1.2.0 out now

I just released CopperLicht 1.2.0. If you are using that 3D engine, you should update to this new version because it includes an update which makes CopperLicht work with a change to be introduced in next releases of the main WebGL browsers (FireFox, Webkit): The WebGL array types have been renamed according to the WebGL specification. Additionally, it also now supports basic 2D drawing. Details in the forum.



Terrain editor taken to the next level: From Dust

Best terrain editor with the coolest water simulation/rendering I've seen yet:



Quite impressive.



Red rectangle II

Small update about my work on 2d drawing in Copperlicht: I haven't had much development time for this since the last post, but the red rectangle now looks like a rectangle at least:


My development version of CopperLicht now is able to draw 2d rectangles, images, and even text. The text part is a bit tricky to implement in WebGL (ok, let's be honest, this is also the case in OpenGL and Direct3D; drawing 2D text in 3D is not easy anywhere): Internally, a 2d canvas is created, converted to a texture and updated when necessary. Performance-wise this is incredible fast.

The main reason for implementing these features is of course to enable all the 2D overlay and behavior functionality which is offered by CopperCube, now in the WebGL version as well. Designing (game) menus, buttons and HUDs finally also will work in the WebGL target in the next version.



Quick Starcraft 2 Strategy Tip

If you are playing Starcraft 2 multiplayer mode and want to win a match easily, try this: Just a few minutes before prime time (in Germany and Austria, this is 20:15), start a match. If you are lucky, at about 20:15, your opponent will realize how late it is and leave the game, letting you win. Happend two times for me already (although I'm not sure this is the exact reason, but looks suspiciously like it).



Smartpacker Pro

I just came across Smartpacker, a group of products which make it easily possible to pack your files of your application or game into one single executable. I am used to program my own archive file format (for example the applications created with CopperCube store all the textures, sounds, 3d models, scripts etc in one single .exe file), but it is a lot of unnecessary work if you write your own game from scratch to design a package file format for this, just for the simpler distribution.
The smartpacker applications offer a quite nice set of options, including the creation of highly customized installers, virtual file systems, encryption, password protection and download module, so this sounds like a nice package to keep in mind for future projects. Additionally the price seems to be very fair and they have a flash packer in the works.
Hint to the developers: A Mac version would be nice. :)



Red rectangle

This is supposed to be a red rectangle:


All the time I sit down to add some 2D drawing functions to a 3D engine, write code for hours and finally see the result, the rectangles I programmed usualy look like this. I guess I'm not so good with indices. Or geometry. Or both :)



Your first dogs name is too short - Visual Studio Express Edition

I'm using the Microsoft Visual C# 2010 Express edition because it is free, even for commercial use, and most of the users of my software are doing the same. I usually bought the full or 'Professional' versions of Visual Studio because I really liked the extra functionality, but I've stopped doing this two years ago. The reason for this is that starting with Visual Studio 2003, Microsoft suddenly stopped supporting it. It doesn't run without bugs on Windows Vista and Windows 7, although I payed a lot of money for it, more than you pay for the average software. And if I buy the full 2010 version now, how can I know how long they will support that one?

Anyway, the free Express Editions require you to register your name after a few days, so I did this. They also require you to create a user with password, and want you to fill in a secret question with answer in case you forget your password. It took me about 3 minutes just to do that:


For the non-german-speaking readers of this blog, the Microsoft page forces me to enter the name of my first dog. Unfortunately the name of my first dog was shorter than 5 characters, and it doesn't like that. Guess what. The birth name of my mother is also shorter than 5 characters, as is the name of my favourite teacher. Great. </rant>

Anyway, the Express editions of Visual Studio are nice (if you enable the 'advanced' mode, otherwise they only show about 20% of the functionality) and it's cool that they are there. I don't understand why Microsoft crippled them that much - no 64 bit support, no MFC, no profiler - because this will probably hurt Windows more. But nice they did this anyway. Lets see if they take one more look at XCode and also add those features in the Express Editions in the future.



Jailbreaking Smartphones

Since Jailbreaking iPhones now is also legal in the USA, the website 'jailbreakme.com' has become pretty popular: You only need to visit that website, follow the instructions on there and your iPhone is jail-broken. This blog post by f-secure shows how it works: Jailbreakme.com is simply using a PDF exploit. That's both interesting and horrific: If a website is able to jailbreak your phone, it can also do much more other, more evil things with it.
Great security, Apple.



Pro Tip for Gamers

If you were busy playing the latest RTS game by Blizzard last weekend, still can't get enough of it but have to work during the week, simply get the soundtrack of that game and listen to it while working: Congratulations: Now you are not only working, but also commanding armies of UML diagrams, ASCII characters and files and it feels totally like a Zerg war! :)