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Back to the roots

I quit my job some days ago.
The reason for this was that I need to have more time for Irrlicht, irrKlang and similar, but also that I want to go back into game and graphics related development. It was quite a difficult choice to do this step, especially because I like the company I am leaving now as well as the software I've been working on there. (BTW, they are currently looking for experienced C++ developers, so if you want to work in a nice environment, on cool products... :) )

So what's next?
After the period of notice I'm going to invest some more time into Irrlicht again, and I'm also finally able to help companies using Irrlicht with their special problems - previously I always had to refuse such requests because of my lack of time. But of course - to save myself from dying of starvation ;) - I'm going to do some freelance programming. If you're looking for an experienced C++/Java/C# programmer for your project, there's now one more to choose from. :) I've updated the 'About me' page of this blog a bit, and I've got a (still a bit unlinked) linkedIn profile now as well if you want to know a bit more about me. So lets see what will happen now, I think I'll face some interesting times now, and I hope most of it won't be that negative. :)

"Video games create killers"

Found on kolumbus.fi, via blog.fefe.de:

(image in original size)

Irrlicht wiki growing

The Irrlicht Engine wiki is growing, yay. It also looks a lot better now. Impressive what difference a few colors and pictures can make. Ok, and the content. The now existent content makes a bit difference as well, I guess. :)
And did you notice the new layout of this blog? (If not, press F5 now.) Took me some hours, now I like it.

Digg this!

I did a small modification to this blog: Adding a 'digg this button' to every entry making it a bit more web2.0ish. And my last post already has been digged, kewl :) If you are a pivot blog user like me and want to have a 'digg this' link, add this to your skin template:
<a href="javascript:location.href= 
'http://digg.com/submit?phase=2&url=' +
encodeURIComponent('http://yourdomain/pivot/entry.php?id=[[uid]]') "
>Digg this</a>
I didn't find on the web how to do it for pivotlog, but it wasn't difficult to find out for me, so I thought it would be a good idea to share this.

How I got banned from Google Adsense for life

Maybe you've noticed, for the last few days some google ads appeared on this blog, but they have disappeared now again. That's because I just got banned from google adsense for life time (as it seems), although I didn't do anything wrong. Here is the story:

This blog and the related other websites are getting more popular every month and generating more and more traffic. So I thought it would be a good idea to place some few non-disturbing ads on the page to get in the costs of the webservers again. So I did this and after two weeks it looked like it worked out: The statistics at adsense told me I would get some very small amount of money out of it, enough to pay my costs.
Then in the beginning of this week, I released a new version of some free software (irrKlang 0.5) I am working on in my spare time and this generated some attention: Several game development pages and blogs linked to my website, increasing its traffic. The next morning, I received a mail from google, telling me that my account was suspended and on their site it reads that I'll never be able to do business with google again, because of invalid clicks on my ads.
In that mail, they did not even tell me any information about their problem with my ads, only "invalid clicks or page impressions". No IP adresses, no channel ID, no website, no time or date, no amount of clicks, nothing. No way for me to find out what was wrong. There was the possibility to contradict, and I tried to explain some possible causes like the sudden increased amount of traffic, but they ignored me. The interesting thing: They now even won't pay out the money I already earned before the occurance of their 'invalid clicks' assert.
So from one day to the other, google completely locked me out of their program and are witholding all my money, without telling me why, no possibility to defend myself, being sure that I didn't do anything wrong. And lets assume: Even if for example some east asian click fraud company clicked a thousands of times on my ads (which I've read is today a standard way of companies getting rid of their competition), why the hell are they punishing ME for this?
Do no evil? Sure, but it seems this is only valid if it hasn't to do anything with money.
I'm going to use some alternative ad providers now, if I find some good ones usable in Europe/Austria.

Update: A bit more than a week later, google sent me a mail, apologizing for the trouble and unlocked my account again. Details here.

irrKlang 0.5 released - including support for Linux

I just released irrKlang 0.5 with some major new features: Linux support (via ALSA) and a winmm output driver for Windows. I also fixed several bugs and added some minor new features such as the option to (un)pause all sounds at the same time, thanks for the bug reports and all the suggestions and ideas.
As this is the first Linux release of irrKlang, I would be really happy if you could try it out and report any issues: Just download irrKlang 0.5, go into the examples/01.HelloWorld directory, run 'make' and start it via './example'. It was a bit of work to make the 3D sound engine run in Linux, especially with the crappy documentation and debug interfaces in that OS, but as everything is working now I'm quite happy. There is some room for improvements and optimization, but this will have to wait for the next releases.
In addition, I updated ambiera.com a bit and changed the default example .ogg file of irrKlang. Previously, it was a song composted by me in 1999 (still available in the old irrKlang packages) but to take care of your ears, I decided to replace it with a CC 2.5 licensed song created by shockshadow.

Explaining the entry about the lost beer

Some people were wondering what my strange blog post about the lost beer was about. Of course, the beer was Dharma initiative beer, it was a joke and that beer doesn't really exist and is just a reference to the TV series 'Lost'. A very nice series, btw. I just hope it won't get the X-files effect (= the more mysteries solved, the more new mysteries appear) soon. :)

irrKlang for FreeBasic

Cedric HOULBREQUE wrote a wrapper for irrKlang, making it possible for FreeBasic programmers to use the free 3D sound engine. It's available for download at the irrklang website.
In addition, I finally moved irrXML to ambiera.com.

Lost Beer

This morning I found a box attached to a parachute in front of my door. It contained some bottles of beer.

Someone had obviously lost it.

Nobody expects the american inquisition

I couldn't believe my eyes when I read this today: Bush just issued an executive order that finally will remove the last obstacle and allow trials against 'illegal combatants' where hearsay and testifies enforced under torture can be rated as evidence. Read it again, that's technically nothing other than inquisition. Especially because those trials are allowed to impose the death penalty. Unbelievable. Constitutional state, good bye. Where are our European politicans? Why aren't they saying anything? Where are the american people? Or at least the media?
Strangely, I also only found only non-english speaking media reporting about this in detail (for example Spiegel, TagesSpiegel, FAZ) while english media only report about the executive order without its consequences, like here.

Unreal Tournament 3 Shots

Found some new Unreal Tournament 3 shots. Impressive. Looks like I need some better hardware.

PmWiki vs. Mediawiki

Maybe you've seen this already, there is now a official Irrlicht Engine Wiki available on irrlicht3d.org. Feel free to edit and add content there, the only thing you need is a password which is written on the front page of the wiki. If someone would have the time to reproduce the content of the old irrlicht wiki from the webarchive there for example, it would be great. I will also try to add some more useful articles on there soon.

The wiki software I've installed there is PmWiki, although with the skin I used on the page it may look like MediaWiki, the software behind the Wikipedia. I first thought about using Wikipedias software, but after some evaluation, there are several advantages of PmWiki over Mediawiki. One of he biggest advantage for me is that PmWiki stores its data directly on the file system and does not need a database backend, making installation, backups and hacking very easy. And although it doesn't look very stylish with it's default skin, PmWiki also is a very mighty piece of software with tons of configuration possibilities, plugins, skins, documentation pages and hundreds of users. Especially with more than 100 plugins available for PmWiki, you can do almost everything you need. So I can really recommend this software.
If you want to set up your own wiki, there is a comprehensive comparison of wiki software available at wikipedia.

Any Recommendation for a stable Linux Mail Client?

My Evolution Mail client is broken. It looks like its database is corrupted, it reports strange error messages and displays wrong mails. Yippee, I hope I haven't lost any mail. Anyone knows a nice stable visual mail client for Linux? I already used Thunderbird and KMail before and had similar experiences with them.

Viacom vs. Irrlicht Community - we win!

On the Irrlicht Forum, Veegun lets us know that the Irrlicht tutorial video hosted at youtube.com which Viacom claimed to own the copyright on has been restored again. Looks like only a news entry on the frontpage of Slashdot, one of the biggest internet news pages and dozens of blogs and forums was necessary for this. Anyway, it's very nice the situation was solved like this. We won! Thanks to our great community. If you are interested, this was the disputed Irrlicht video, finally unlocked again. And as statistics are interesting, here's the impact of Slashdot-readers coming to our webpage (it's about half a day from the peak to the end of the image):

Irrlicht.sf.net updated

I updated irrlicht.sourceforge.net this weekend, just wanted to let you know because more people seem to read this blog currently. Irrlicht.sf.net has been neglected a bit during the last months, but this will stop and regular further updates will follow now again.

Detox: gamedev.netters

Gamedev.net is offline for about a week now because of a hacking attempt it appears. How many people do you think are wondering what happened to that site? Many, I guess. At least according to the increasing amount of people hitting this blog via the google search term "What happened to gamedev.net?". Some user asked this even in the comment section of one of the previous blog entries. :)
Come on guys, I bet you can live without that page for one week. But I understand, you often only notice you need something when it is missing already.
Tip: There are some alternatives. I prefer devmaster.net and of course the irrlicht forum.

irrKlang Linux Port Progress

Here is an update of the development progress of irrKlang, the free audio library I'm writing: The Linux port is about 70% finished, so far. Here's a screenshot:

I know, as always, screenshots of sound engines are not that useful. But if you know the windows HelloWorld example, it plays an .ogg file and an wav file at that point. And this is exactly what the Linux version is doing as well. The Linux version of irrKlang already is able to play back sounds and streams, to mix them in software and to resample audio streams with other sample rates. Also 3D sound is working. I'm using ALSA as output device and because it is a bit more lowlevel than DirectSound, I had to write a lot of stuff to fill the gaps between them. As side effect, irrKlang is able to use WinMM instead of DirectSound in Windows now as well.
Things such as plugin loading is missing yet. I'm also struggling with a strange threading problem: When playing an audio stream such as an .ogg file and some more than 2 static sounds at the same time, the Linux console will hang up, freeze or deadlock, don't know yet. irrKlang itself is uneffected and will happily go on playing. Strange. Hope I'll find the problem soon.


Today and yesterday, the webserver behind irrlicht3d.org was serving a huge multiple of the usual visit count: The Viacom/Irrlicht/DMCA copyright claim has been published on the front page of Slashdot, woha. Poor little webserver. But it seems to work pretty well, thanks to my nice hoster mikas.at, great work. Just hope that nobody diggs this story up as well :)

Viacom claims copyright on Irrlicht video

Viacom, the corporation behind MTV, DreamWorks and Paramount is now claiming they own the copyright on a video of an Irrlicht tutorial. Which is completely ridiculous, of course: The whole thing has been written by me and the Irrlicht team, even textures and skins and logos have been created by me, and an Irrlicht Engine user (veegun?) simply filmed and published it on Youtube.com. Here is a screenshot of the tutorial, it's really just a 2D GUI rendered using the 3D engine, nothing special at all.
BoingBoing summarizes this: Viacom terrorized YouTube with 100,000 bullshit DMCA take-down notices. And we are one of the 100.000 victims. Here are the details of our case to read, on the Irrlicht Engine forum.
My personal consequence: I own about 150, legally purchased DVDs and funded those evil bastards with this. I am stopping to buy DVDs right now. Even if this was a stupid typing error and mistake.

Master of Puppets

Whoa, Exxon earned $39.5 billion in 2006. That's more than $75,000 per minute. More than any company ever earned. And that's about the same economic performance of the whole country I live in. After all, it looks like it is kind of useful to have a president puppet, denying global warming and attaking countries with rich oil fields if needed. And BTW, it looks like he tries to prepare the next attack, sending 48.000 troops instead of the promised 21k. Naah, those won't be used for that neighbour country with even more oil fields, I'm sure.

Not creating my own Java VM

After I wrote the Java vs. C++ benchmark I became interested a bit in Java VM implementations. I took a look at alternative VMs like Kaffe, Sable or IKVM and thought about writing my own VM, just because of the fun it would be. I even downloaded the Java VMSpec and began reading it.
But that was the time where I stopped, remembering that I've got a lot of other spare time projects running already and you really have to stop somewhere. There is a new release of Irrlicht waiting to be done and I am already ashamed because of the small amount of work I will be able to contribute this time again especially if you are looking at what Gaz, Hybrid and Tom are doing again. Also, the next release of my free Sound Library irrKlang (with the long awaited support for Linux) and the world editor irrEdit (with terrain editing, at least creating instances of terrain) is waiting.
In addition I've always some small side projects running and a full time job to do (we also just did a release btw, hurra), so dumping the VM idea was a good choice, I guess. Let's see, my TODO-list for this weekend is long, I hope I can get some of it done this time :)