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Camera control experiment for 3D Flash/molehill and WebGL

I'm currently adding a new method to CopperCube for controlling the first person shooter camera when using 3D Flash (molehill) or WebGL. The problem with first person shooter controls in embedded applications in websites is that you don't have control over the mouse cursor position as programmer. But modifying the mouse position is essential for this type of control. So a workaround is to do something like this: (Note, this is not molehill but the software renderer of course, since it is not yet public):

Controls: cursor keys to move, mouse to Look.

It is not perfect of course, but this is as close as you can get without that feature. So please, dear Adobe Molehill and HTML5/WebGL developers: We need something to control the cursor position. Otherwise you won't see any first person shooter games with nice control at all.

Just an idea

If you are a programmer and have a blog or a company, from time to time people will come to you and tell you about their great idea for an application or a website. And they want you to implement their idea, usually for free, or if you are lucky for a percentage of the profit hopefully made when it is done. It's a revolutionary, great idea after all, and you can be lucky to be a part of it, right?

Sometimes those are very friendly people with a great vision, simply looking for a talented programmer to bring their idea to life. In other cases these are self proclaimed business people with a lot of self confidence and a suit, but nothing more. Sometimes the ideas they have are actually quite good, but in most cases it's simply a currently hyped technology like Twitter, remade with their name and logo on it. The current 'I need a programmer to build me a Facebook' is the new 'I need a programmer to build me a World of Warcraft' from several years ago.

I'm a programmer, and not a well socially trained person, so I usually have difficulties telling them that their idea is worth nothing. Personally, I have about 3 good ideas every month worth implementing. And out there are thousands of people with the same or similar ideas. The problem: You need resources to do that. You need people, time and money. You need business and marketing skills, technical know-how and even more money. Usually tons of money. Without that, an idea is worth nothing. It's just an idea.

Maybe you should do something now

Dear Americans, you seem to have a serious problem growing in your country. I know, there are a lot of things going on, and here in Europe the same thing start to happen with a ~3 year delay. But when the pentagon defines demonstrations as 'Low-Level Terrorism', then you know that you are fucked. Do something now.

Ambiera Xmas Discount

As nearly every year, Ambiera offers an Xmas discount, this time for three of its products:
Pay 20% less for CopperCube, irrFuscator or WebsitePainter. Simply use the Coupon Code 'XMAS10' on the 'buy now' page.

Only valid until 25th of December.

JMStV prevented - German internet safe!

Germany had planned to introduce new rules for the Internet (named JMStV) with the beginning of the new year. Every website should have been labeled with an age limit. If you run a website where you think it's for 16 or 18 year olds, then even had to implement some costly age verification and even take the website offline during the day. (Yes, so that children won't see it when they are awake. Politicians at work).
This was the cause of a huge outcry, because physically, this would have destroyed the whole "german" internet. People even had started taking offline their websites because they would not be able to afford lawsuits which obviously would have followed by sneaky lawyers trying to exploit that law. Also I considered taking offline some of my hobby sites, although living in Austria.
But anyway, the law now never made it (german link). Not because the law made no sense - of course not - but because some standard-If-you-dont-then-I-dont-either quarrel.
Anyway, it looks like we are safe, for now.

How to fail building a MMORPG

Just read this article: How to fail building a Massively multiplayer online game. Probably I liked that article especially because back then when they hired people I also went there (their company was located in Vienna) for a hiring interview together with some friends. But we decided not to work for them because most of the problems discussed in that article seemed quite obvious to us even back then. :)

Not Amazon then

I do consulting work from time to time, in most cases this involves helping companies creating computer games, but it's also about Website development quite often. This discussion came up yesterday:

Client: We think about using Amazon AWS for hosting, what do you think?
Me: I wouldn't do it. Amazon recently showed that they'll shut down your whole site from one minute to the next, without any warning, if they don't like you.
Client: Really?
Me: Yes, they did this with Wikileaks, just last week.
Client: You are right! So no Amazon then.

They will now use some of the many alternatives. Probably a good decision. If you are running web services, you better be reliable, I guess. Amazon also just announced their DNS service. I think people will now think twice before using this.

Give me back my money

Great, PayPal just banned the Wikileaks donation account. This means my donation never reached Wikileaks, and Paypal keeps holding my money. Isn't that fraud? Deception? I tried getting my donation refunded, but it doesn't work. So I sent PayPal this mail:
S.g. Damen und Herren,

vorgestern, am 2. Dezember habe ich über ihren Service Geld der Wau-Holland-Stiftung (WikiLeaks) gespendet, deren Konto sie laut zahlreicher Nachrichten heute gesperrt und eingefroren haben. Demzufolge ist mein Geld dort niemals angekommen und mir auch nicht rückerstattet worden. Der Transaktionscode lautet XXX. Bitte rückerstatten sie mir den Betrag umgehend. Andernfalls sehe ich mich gezwungen rechtliche Schritte gegen sie einzuleiten.

Nikolaus Gebhardt

(for those who don't speak german: Give me back my money or I'll sue). Let's see what they answer. If, at all.

CopperLicht 1.3.2 released

I released a new version of the WebGL 3D engine CopperLicht, version 1.3.2. It's adding new materials (reflections), performance optimizations, better font rendering, and several bug fixes.

Help WikiLeaks

I can't stand this WikiLeaks bashing by those stupid politicians anymore. I just donated money to Wikileaks. There are a lot of ways you can do this too.

WebsitePainter 1.2.1 released

I released a new version of my website editor, WebsitePainter today. It includes a bunch of nice new features, including some HTML code syntax highlighting. The reason that something like that hasn't been in before is that you usually don't edit HTML code in the editor, but simply drag and drop elements around. But of course, it is possible also to add some stuff in the HTML code, like attributes and CSS styles, so a syntax highlighting was nice to have.

Interestingly, the feature becomes quite slow on the Mac OS X version, where I tell the text control which parts of the text has to be in which color. For big pages, it takes up to two seconds, which makes typing a PITA. So I had to add a time measurement feature inside the syntax highlighter, which then stops early on slow systems. But I guess I'll investigate later more deeply into the reason why Mac OS X is that slow on that part. It's a bit embarrassing.