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WebGL support for Internet Explorer now possible

When looking at the following image, do you spot something unusual in there?


Correct: It's the Internet Explorer. And it is running a WebGL application, specifically one of the WebGL demos from the CopperLicht WebGL library. How is this possible? Didn't Microsoft recently tell us that they won't support WebGL and go with their own developed Silverlight instead?

Yes, they did. But now, there is IEWebGL. A plugin for Internet Explorer, which makes WebGL available also in that browser. For you as developer of the WebGL app, you don't have to change anything in your code. Basically only include some additional JavaScript file which will do most of the work for you.

IEWebGL is still in beta, but it is already usable. All CopperLicht demos and everything created with the WebGL editor CopperCube for example seem to work flawlessly. (Well, except for keyboard input currently which is a small missing feature in CopperLicht itself and should be fixed soon). If you are developing a WebGL application, simply add IEWebGL to your site and it should run on every browser then. This is a big game changer, in my opinion. Can't wait for IEWebGL to get out of beta.



Downloadable Documentation is important

Dear developers, if you are creating a software library to be used by other programmers, then you need documentation. Without that, nobody will use your library. Simply because nobody will know how. And if you provide some documentation, putting it on your website won't be enough. It must be possible to download it somewhere.

I am currently integrating a C library into a project I am working on, and there is only the documentation available on the website. Contacting the developers, asking them to provide the docs as download somewhere resulted in the following answer: "We want you to use always the latest version of our documentation. So simply use the one on the website". Great, but that doesn't help me. I'm probably not going to update the C library in my software all the time. I need the documentation of the version of library I am using now. And, I'm not going to rely on your webserver. What if it goes down? What if you suddenly decide to stop the project and delete all content on your server? What if it gets hacked?

So, I just used a Website downloader, and grabbed the whole 200 MB of your entire website. Just to get the documentation of your library. (And interestingly, I also found some embarrassing private pictures of one of the developers by doing that, but that's another story.) I don't think other developers will go that path, they probably will simply use another library.



Firefox 5 forces update of CopperCube and CopperLicht

CopperCube Mozilla just released a new version of their browser - Firefox 5. Just three months after they released the latest major version, because they think it is a good idea to do the same brainless version number increments as Google Chrome does. Maybe they start using build numers as their marketing version numbers soon.
Anyway, Mozilla also included a major change to their WebGL implementation: Firefox no longer loads textures from other domains. Also, it refuses to load textures from the local disk which is quite bugging when you are developing a WebGL app on your disk. People using my software CopperCube or CopperLicht would think this is a bug when testing out their 3D apps created with the editor for example. The scene would appear, but everything would look black, because no textures could be loaded.
So now I released version 2.5.4 of CopperCube and version 1.3.7 of CopperLicht, where I am detecting this situation and writing a message in there, hoping the user reads this and sees that the problem is in fact Firefox.

BTW: if you come across the same problem, simply do this: Enter about:config in the Firefox adress bar, and set the setting security.fileuri.strict_origin_policy to false. Your WebGL stuff then will start working again, also locally.



Problems with intelligent Spam Bots

I'm running a custom developed forum over at my companies website. The software only gets used there, which has the nice side effect that most spam bots usually ignored the forum. Well, here and there, some bots, which apparently randomly posted stuff in all forms they found on the web got through. But this was removed pretty quickly by adding an own developed CAPTCHA. I don't like these image based CAPTCHAs, where you need to type barely readable letters, so I came up with an own, simple math based CAPTACHA, which looked like this for example:

What's 3+2-1?

This worked quite well. It is easy to be used by people, and those massive, randomly form posting bots were stopped. But for the last three days, some new bot flooded my forum with posts. Not sure if this was a spam bot (there were no links posted by it), but it was able to break that own, custom developed CAPTCHA. Given the fact that my forum sofware is pretty unique, I think this bot must be quite sophisticated in recognizing forums and even be able to read and answer such math questions. (It only fails in posting the spam URL, maybe that's still a weakness).
So the only, quick fix I could think of for now was a new Captcha. I made it like this:

Please enter the missing letter in: "Admin?stration"

What do you think of this? I hope this works well, and I'm curious if this will hold longer.



Forced ads

I just went to a game magazine website and was forced to watch a video ad, overlaying the whole website for 20 seconds. There was no close button, intentionally. Then, after about 18 seconds, a button like a close button appeared, but behold, it didn't have an 'x' on it but a half-circle, it was a 're-watch' button. Clicking on it caused me to be forced to watch that thing again. Great. Dear magazine, you've finally lost another reader. And no, I'm not going to install ad block software. Most websites work without those. There are lots of game news sites without this crap or too many ads.



Camy Adventures

Camy Adventures is a nice Jump'n'Run game and has been released today for free. Looks funny (couldn't stop watching the video) and uses irrKlang as audio library. Worth a look!



Duke Nukem Forever first impression

Hell just froze over and Duke Nukem Forever has been released. And of course, I bought my copy and tried it out already. In the german version, Duke talks with the voice of Bruce Willis, which is funny, but completely destroys the atmosphere. Luckily, you can change the game back to English in the settings menu in steam. It would be so great if all games would support this. German translations are in many cases really bad and annoying.
Anyway, I played a few minutes through DNF already, and yay: It's the game I've been waiting for 15 years now. The game is not great, and from a technical point of view, it even sucks. It's slow as hell while drawing 3D models which look as if they were animated and modeled by beginner 3D artists, but anyway: it's Duke Nukem! The game has lots of fun parts and ideas and Duke talks exactly the senseless stuff I was hoping for. Nice. :)



Please, please! Take my money!

I always find it funny when I contact a company and tell them that I want to give them my money, and I get no response at all. It doesn't happen often, but it happens. I wonder how these companies are still in business? With such a way to handle your customers or potential business partners, it's difficult to keep up the desire to still actually want their product...



Solicitors...

I sent a notarially certified letter to the commercial court telling them that my company moved to lower austria now. Today, three weeks later, I get a letter from them, telling me that they would need a notarially certified letter about this from me. I call them, asking them if they are serious, if I should send them the exact letter again. After about 30 minutes in their phone line, having talked to about 6 or 7 people there, they tell me they have no idea. I should ignore their letter and sit and wait instead. Your tax money at work.