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Suspect continent, Stasi 2.0

Maybe you've heard about the British documentary 'Suspect Nation (google video)' which shows how the UK government changed civil liberties laws in the last years to turn UK citizens into suspects, where every step people are doing is being watched and recorded.
It's shocking what's going on there on that isle (Airstrip one, anyone?) But to be honest, that's not my problem. I live in Austria and have nothing to do with that. Right?

Wrong. The problem is that last year, the EU has created the EU Directive 2006/24/EG which now forces every state of the EU to spy on its citizens. Ireland has started a nullity suit against this, but other countries like Germany and Austria are already implementing that directive. How are they going to spy on us? Just like this: For at least six months, they'll store with whom, how long and when you communicated with someone, regardless of the type of communication: email, fixed network, cellular calls, SMS as well as internet phoning. For cellular phones and SMS, they also store where you've been. Anonymizers will be forbidden. So basically, in a country like Austria where fixed network is dead and every austrian has an average of 1.08 cellular phones currently, they can look up what you've done during the last six months. And that's just the minimum requirement for the EU directive, every country may decide to store more data about you, like the websites you've been visiting.

In a constitutional state, they have no right to do this. In a constitutional state, you have a right for privacy. It's not ok that any f*cking fat civil servant may take a look at what I did during the last 6 months. And that's just the beginning, don't think they'll stop there, as statements of some german politicans reveal. And what's even more shocking: I feel like at least in this country, nobody is doing anything against this. In Germany, some small resistance is starting up. But what's with Austria? And the rest of Europe? If you talk to people and ask them about it, they've not even heard about this! WTF. If we don't stop those politicans, we'll soon have something like the Stasi, the secret police of East Germany. So let's do something against it. If you don't know what, maybe you could start with a Stasi 2.0 T-Shirt (german link).



irrEdit 0.7 released

I just released irrEdit 0.7, the free 3d world editor. And as you might notice when looking at the web site, there are a lot of changes, not only irrEdit specific ones. I'll summarize this here a bit.
First, irrEdit 0.7 is completely new now, nearly everything has changed and I had to rewrite a lot of code. I hope that everything still works, but some things might be different now. There is now a plugin system for editing your own scene nodes or adding new file formats to irrEdit. There are example plugins with code to learn from it. It is also possible to let games run inside irrEdit, but this isn't totally finished yet, it doesn't work on some 3d hardware. The source of the engine used is included in the package, and there is a irrEdit library with a scripting and a physics engine included (undocumentated yet). Terrain editing is possible now as well. And, there is a new tutorial written by Daryl Lee. Here is a shot trying to show some of the features:

Because so many people asked for it: I'm also going to make the source of irrEdit available for people really needing it, for a small license fee. Also, you will be able to redistribute and customize the editor for your games with that license. This will be possible in about two weeks.

And finally, did you notice the new ambiera.com website and the new logos? Thanks for all the people sending me new logo ideas for irrKlang, irrEdit and irrXML, I liked them as well. But I've now decided to let new logos to be designed by Lemonaut Creations, and as far as I can tell, they did a good job.



Virtual Reality

Zion just let me know that Irrlicht is full compatible with the emagin z800, that's one of those virtual reality helmets. They seem to be called differently today, but I guess you know what I am talking about. I never had or tried one, would be fun I guess. Zion tells me that with the Irrlicht Engine demo.exe in the sdk, head traking (6 axis) works without any code change and also stereovision works perfectly. He even made a youtube video of it in action, very great. Ah, I wish I had one of those :)



Bad Omen

The contract Id of my new apartment is 666. Should I be worried?



Terrain and WYSIWYP editing in next version of irrEdit

I just checked in some modifications to the Irrlicht Engine source which will make it possible for irrEdit, the free world editor to place and edit the parameters of terrain scene nodes. This doesn't mean that editing terrain heightmaps will be possible, but placing and adjusting terrain scene node parameters is already a big step forward, because a lot of games are using terrain heightmaps instead of meshes. Here's a shot:

(Yep, that tudor house model is borrowed ;) )
And as you can see, irrEdit is running again. I finally finished refactoring the whole irrEdit application, and mostly everything works now. Software based global illumination is disabled currently (hardware based GI works) for example, but there is already an libIrrEdit.dll file which can be reused by plugins and games. Ah, yes, and irrEdit now supports plugins. With the next release, it will be possible to enhance irrEdit with own scene nodes, animators, and you will also be able to run and test your game directly inside irrEdit, with the scene you are working on. Other engines call this WYSIWYP (=what you see is what you play). I'm going to write some examples for this as well.
I hope to release all this in the next two weeks.



New forum

I just moved the irrKlang, irrEdit and irrXML forums to the new Ambiera forum, they were part of the Irrlicht Engine Forum until now. The reason for this is that more and more non-Irrlicht-Engine users are using irrKlang, irrEdit and irrXML, and are complaining that they have to post in there or not even finding it. In addition, the ambiera forum also allows posts without the need to register. I copied lots of useful topics from the Irrlicht forum to the new one, so that help can be found easily and the most important threads can be reused.
I am not using phpBB this time and decided to try out e-Blah, which is very powerful and has tons of features and options. I like it so far. The Ambiera forum and website is still quite ugly (there are plans to improve the situation), but feel free to play around in the forum and tell me if you find a problem or something missing.



Solar Model

Here is another very interesting Irrlicht Engine project: Solar Model. It is a relatime 3D solar system simulation where you can navigate in space and watch the planets.

The size and distance of the planets has intentionally not been set to physical correct relations, so that it makes it easy to navigate in space. It also looks very nice IMO because of that.



Game feature: Wuselfaktor

In a comment about the purchase of Sunflowers by Ubisoft, Jurie is explaining the Wuselfaktor. Worth a read if you ever wondered why people of german speaking countries are playing those crazy boring strategy computer games.



Welcome to the banana republic of Austria

Some months ago a big U.S. company bought a part of the house bank of Austria, named BAWAG. And the first step it now did was cancelling the accounts of numberous clients, depending on their nationality.
If you have a pass from Belarus, Myanmar, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Iran, Cuba, Liberia, North Korea, Sudan, Syria or Simbabwe, you'll simply got kicked out. And it looks like they cancelled the accounts of Austrians which are former citizens of those nations as well. Maybe - depending on where you live - it is normal for you that you cannot do certain things like flying, buying cars or having bank accounts if you are from special countries or your name sounds similiar to one on a 100.000 entries containing list, but something like this was totally unusual here. Until now. I cannot eat as much as I want to vomit now. Ok - If a private company decides to do something like this, it's their decision. But IMO it gets ~a bit~ worse if the house bank of the state of Austria is doing this.



irrKlang 0.7 released

I just released a new version of irrKlang, my free 2D and 3D audio engine for Windows, Linux, C++ and .NET. This release contains some few user requested feature enhancements and bug fixes (details here).
Nice to mention is that irrKlang is now more popular than irrEdit. And that editor already is very popular, being about half a year older. I am also happy that non Irrlicht Engine users seem to start using irrKlang, at least I'm getting mails of people telling me so. Would be really interesting how much they are, difficult to tell from the download stats.
Next things to come: The long awaited static lib (it's already finished, but I have to figure out the release conditions first) and events. And if there is something else missing for you, just tell me. It's hard to guess what people need sometimes.



Virtual 3D office

Finally I found time to update irrlicht.sf.net again. Some news can be found there, I hope I didn't forget anything (please tell me if so). And I added a new project which I personally like:

It's a design application which allows to create your virtual office. Yoran, the author of this told me that the floor offset on that shot is intentional. Nice to see a non-game application using Irrlicht again. Comes close to the robot simulator project, on my favourite non-game project list. :)



Irrlicht 1.3 crashing your custom scene nodes?

Maybe you've just switched to Irrlicht 1.3 and your custom scene nodes are crashing in the getMaterial method. That's because we've changed the single parameter from a s32 to an u32, so your overridden method won't get called. Solution: change your parameter in getMaterial to u32 as well.
Unfortunately, C++ doesn't have a Override keyword such as C# or Java 5 have, which would have prevented that problem. Sorry to write this specific thing here, but a lot of people kept asking this. Maybe I should add this into the wiki.



Visual Studio, the Video Game

I just came across defyallchallenges.com, the website of Visual Studio, the video game. Worth a look, if you are a programmer.



Sick, Irrlicht 3D Xtra with physics

After finished moving into my new apartment, I hoped to be able to relax a bit, but fortune smiled on me: I became sick, and was not able to do anything useful during the days either side of Easter. I wasn't even able to answer mails, sorry for that. Hope I'm going to start with everything tomorrow again, blogging, updating websites, answering mails etc.
In other news, Christophe Leske just released his Irrlicht Xtra for Director in a new version, that's Irrlicht for Shockwave. The cool thing about it: It already exposes some of the upcoming irrEdit stuff like integrated physics about which I wrote already.



The eagle has landed

Sorry for this empty blog this week, I'm currently moving. The biggest challenge is over now, I've internet access again :) My new appartment now looks like this, everything needed is there as you can see ;)

Ok, I'm now working on the other details, such as a place to sleep, tools to prepare stuff to eat, etc. This could take some days, but I hope I'll be blogging more and answering emails quicker again from now on.



166 errors to go

I'm currently upgrading irrEdit to irrlicht 1.3, and at the same time, refactoring the whole code, which is a lot of work. irrEdit was based on irrlicht 1.0 and parts of the newer Irrlicht version have been merged into it, while other parts have been extended. I'm now merging my improved parts back into Irrlicht and putting stuff which doesn't have to do anything with graphics into a separate library which I am planning to make available as well. If you are interested, it is looking like this currently:

#include "IIrrEditPlugin.h"
#include "IBody.h"
#include "IPhysicsSimulation.h"
#include "ISceneNodeAnimatorPhysicsBody.h"
#include "irrEditServices.h"
#include "IScriptEngine.h"


Unfortunately, there is a lot of work to do until it is finished:

irrEdit - 166 error(s), 7 warning(s)


And those are real, big errors, not the usual ones where someone has forgotten a semicolon or similar. But I'm working on it, and you'll get a nicer Irrlicht Engine, a more open and extensible irrEdit and a scripting and physics toolset out of it for free then.



Ogre and Irrlicht projects are going to merge

Update: Just to be sure: This was an April fools joke, made together with Steve. :)

Maybe you've read this on your favourite news page already, but I'll repeat it here:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ogre and Irrlicht projects are going to merge

GUERNSEY / VIENNA, AUSTRIA – The open source 3D engine projects Ogre and Irrlicht today announced that they are going to join forces, abandon development and create a new state of the art 3D engine named ‘Ogrirr’.

"We are starting a new age for independent game developers" says Steve Streeting, founder of the Ogre engine project. "With Ogrirr, we’ll definitively kick the butts of those so called 'professional 3D engines'", adds Nikolaus Gebhardt, project lead of the Irrlicht engine.

The developers revealed that they already started working Ogrirr months ago. The engine is a C++ based 3D graphics engine primary for the PC platform and will feature a new technique making the need of current standard techniques for realtime 3d graphics such as polygons and textures completely unnecessary. The first results are even more impressive than Streeting and Gebhardt expected, with average rates of about 3000 frames per second. Ogrirr is capable of calculating ultra realistic lighting resulting in photorealistic images, although currently only reached in small, closed dark rooms without any light source.

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