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High-Tech solar eclipse gadget

For watching the partial solar eclipse event today in Europe, I used only high tech equipment. It even apparently had HDMI support:

It actually worked, and the sun appeared like a crescent moon in that device, with a size of about half a centimeter. I didn't notice any benefit of that advertised HDMI support, though. :)



Cities: Skylines Review

About 25 (!) years ago, I played the first SimCity. You could build your own city, with streets, electricity and everything, and try to let it withstand catastrophic events like Godzilla or nuclear metldowns. It was great. I spent a lot of time with it. I also played Sim City 2000 as a teenager, but I didn't try the newer versions, especially not the latest incarnation from 2013, called simply 'SimCity' (without a number), which apparently sucked, according to many reviews.

Then, a few days ago, a SimCity style game named Cities: Skylines was released. I saw a few Youtube reviews of it, and was fascinated. I bought it, and had even a few (much too less) hours to play it. This is the city I built so far:

Boy, is this game fun. It has all the features you'd expect from a modern city building simulation. And it is quite impressive. You can build very huge cities with streets and layouts as you like, as here:

And zoom into every detail of your city, and follow every car, truck or even person:

Playing it gives you the same feeling as the old Transport Tycoon did, but with todays modern graphics. The game has so many options and features, it doesn't get boring quickly. It is also very impressive from a technical perspective, because it seems every person and car is actually simulated. It felt wrong paying only 27 euro for this. Not sure why they are selling it that cheap. Same for the name of the game: Why is it that strange?

Anyway, if you like city simulations, I can really recommend this game. Too bad I don't have much time for playing.



Amazon Prime Instant Video

Since about two months, I'm a Amazon Prime user, and quite happy with that. You don't only get free delivery with this, you also get to access to Amazon Prime Instant Video, an on demand video service, like the better known Netflix.

I was skeptical in the beginning, but although I have to live with our slow country side internet access, it works like a charm. You can watch whatever you want, whenever you want, without commercials. Amazon seems to be just starting with this, so the list of videos is big but limited, but I never have switched on the TV for one month now. I think if something is going to kill television, it is netflix, amazon's instant video and co. It is so convenient. Wondering why the TV stations still offer only very few of their shows online, and if, then usually not for a flat rate.



CopperCube 5.2 and its water rendering

I just released the game engine CopperCube in version 5.2 as free update. Besides other features, it includes the announced water surface rendering, which I managed to make work on all supported platforms: Windows (D3D and OpenGL), Mac OS X, WebGL, Android, and even Flash. It looks nicely on all of these, here are some examples:

It looks much nicer in movement, of course. If you want to see it in action, you can try it directly on a website, I created a small demo with two different scenes: WebGL Water rendering demo. It works surprisingly fast, and also does look nicely.

I'm very happy about this release. It also includes a lot of other changes (detailed list here), like localization. Meaning the editor user interface now also works with different languages. I already added a german translation, and planning to add some more later.

Hope you like this release!