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Crysis Technology Trailer - Review

Did you already download and watch the Crysis Technology Trailer? If not, then stop now and don't click there, it's 64 MB of wasted bandwidth. Basically it's just an NVidia, Microsoft and Intel advertisement in my opinion. Summarized: "Buy multi core systems, you'll get a better gaming experience!" (As side note: they are using Intel VTune to tune their code for this, and AI seems to be running in another thread. But is there a modern game today where this is different?) Then: "Buy Windows Vista, you'll get a better gaming experience!" - some marketing jabbering about the Vista game explorer. And: "Buy new 3D hardware with DX10 support, you'll get a better gaming experience!". Ok, a short mentioning of a subsurface scattering shader for the characters faces, but that's it. Crysis may be a fun game and definitively looks impressive and beautiful, but hey - I still can distinguish marketing muttering from technology information. ;)

Privacy was yesterday

The EU is criticizing Google's privacy policy: Google is storing search queries for two years, currently.
Repeat: The European Union, which this year will start storing all email connection data, phone calls, celluar phone positions and more of all of its citizens is concerned about the privacy policy of an internet company storing anonymized search strings? What's next? The pope concerned about blind faith? The U.S. concerned about tortured and imprisoned people in China?

Templates are fun

Just came across some code I wrote some time ago in irrKlang and was shocked:

template< typename T >
class CMyImpl : public T
  template< class A, class B, class C, class D, class E,
            class F, class G, class H, class I >
  CMyImpl(A a, B b, C c, D d, E e, F f, G g, H h, I i)
  : T(a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i)

Some parts have been removed, but the code really looks like this and is being used. When I started learning C++ about a decade ago, and I came across code looking like this, I usually was shocked and scrolled away. Looks like now I've become one of those template abusing programmers as well. :)
But joking aside: I still try to avoid templates and only use them for simple types operating on different datatypes like the Irrlicht's and irrKlang's vector 3D because it confuses other programmers very easily.

Discounted web hosting for Irrlicht users

Quaid Leckey from Conspire Web Services told me that his company is now offering discounted web hosting for Irrlicht Engine users and projects. That's very nice, and I think some people could find this useful.
So if you need cheaper webhosting, just contact him.

The Dark Secret of Irrlicht Revealed

I didn't want to tell anybody about it, but of course some few, hybrid, bitplane, afecelis knew about this. Now, somehow this has reached the public. Ok, and now that everybody knows, it's ok to post it here on the blog too: Irrlicht is based on the Quake 2 Engine. No, it's not only based on it, it's in fact a rip-off. I just replaced every 'ID' with 'irr'. :-)

UPDATE: This blog post was about a wrong article about Irrlicht, claiming Irrlicht is based on Quake 2. Of course Irrlicht is not based on Quake 2. The linked article has been corrected too.

Null Toleranz bei innerer Sicherheit

Ok, geht jetzt unser Staat eigentlich wirklich vor die Hunde oder wie? Gerade dieses Video von einer Rede der Merkel entdeckt. Videoüberwachung: "Das darf man nicht diskutieren, sowas macht man einfach." und "Null Toleranz bei Innerer Sicherheit". WTF? Das Ding scheint auch echt und nicht zusammengeschnitten zu sein. So langsam finde ich diese orwellianischen Verrückungen wirklich nicht mehr schön.
(via netzpolitik.org)

Architectural Visualization using Irrlicht

Alvaro just sent me the following shots of an application he has programmed using Irrlicht:

(Bigger versions of the images here)
It's - as you might notice - an architectural walk trough program. Not a game again, but it looks totally awesome, in my opinion. He also wrote an own exporter for 3D max 7 for this.

Fun founding a company

I really wonder how difficult it may be to type in a name and a number into a computer and let a new number be generated from it. I just called an Austrian government agency and asked the exact same question (read background story here).

Me: So, it's not finished yet?
They: No.
Me: Hm, so about when will it be done? I really need this.
They: In about 4 weeks.
Me: What? Why? I am now waiting for 3 weeks already!
They: That's life.
Me: But you told me this would take 2 weeks at maximum. Why will it now take 4 additional weeks?
They: That's how we are working here, sir.

Why again am I paying so many taxes?

Google Analytics tested on irrlicht3d.org

For the last weeks, I've been testing Google Analytics, a webalizer on steroids, statistics for your website. It works just like google ads, you only need to sign up and add some java script code on the pages you want to be counted. And it's free.
They just've redesigned the whole interface of Google Analytics, and IMO it now looks better and is a little bit more clearly arranged now. I used this service for some time on the blog part of irrlicht3d.org and just only logged into google analytics to remove my account because I am actually not using it anymore and noticed the new design. So why not shorly blogging about it before I'll never see it again, I thought :)
I can really recommend this, if you don't already have built-in stats into your blog software. What you get will look like this. That shot also may be interesting if you want to know some details about my blog.


Most people reading this blog know: I'm now standing a bit more on my own feet now. Maybe you've asked yourself what I'm doing now.
The answer is not very exciting. I have the feeling that most of the time until now, I've been waiting. Waiting for those Austrian civil servants and solicitors to get their job done. Example: The commercial court needed more than 6 weeks to send me a simple (snail)mail after they told me it would take them two weeks at most, in the worst case. Ahhrgh.
Ok, it's not that I'm really only sitting here, waiting and doing nothing. Actually I'm very busy and working a lot. But it is really impressive to watch the slowness of the state machinery. Which also slows down my plans a little bit.

irrKlang 0.8.1 and my first own scene node

I just released irrKlang 0.8.1, which only includes some bug fixes. I also implemented something useful for Irrlicht Engine users: My first own scene node for Irrlicht [besides all the built-in nodes I wrote ;)]. An irrKlang scene node, which makes it very easily possible to place and play sounds in 3D space. It has 3 playback modes (random with an interval, looped and playing the sound only once) and should provide everything you need. It is cloneable and also has its own scene node factory, so you can load and save irrKlangSceneNodes to and from .irr files. I even wrote a short article on the Irrlicht Engine wiki about it. It is also usable as irrEdit plugin and will be included with full source in the next irrEdit release. In the editor, it looks like this (the sound icon is only shown in debug mode of course):

Yes, something similar has appeared on several screenshots already, but I didn't make it available until now. You can download the scene node from the ambiera irrklang download page.

Shaders, Soap

Did a lot today, but nothing to blog about. Instead, found two nice articles recently blogged by other people: NeARAZ about the magic word 'shaders'. Nice post, something I could tell long stories of as well ;) Second: LordXaos about the SOAP spec. I've read lots of texts about the uglyness of those w3c specs, and this one is a nice rant too. :)


In my series "products using the Irrlicht Engine which are not games", here's a new entry: CivilFEM is a commercial Civil Engineering program. In the part 'CivilFEM Structural Designer', Irrlicht is being used:

Hugo González told me that they've decided to use Irrlicht because it is fast and it can be compiled in 32 and 64 bits.
In my opinion, it's again very interesting what kind of software can be made using Irrlicht.

Digital restriction management

4 months ago, I promised myself never to buy DVDs again, to stop funding this media mafia. Until now, I kept this promise and it worked out surprisingly well. After all, you don't really need this Hollywood crap.
This weekend, I wanted to watch one of the DVDs I already own, but surprise surprise, it doesn't work any more: The new Windows Media Player 11 says it won't play it because my decoder may not be used together with the digital copy protection. It worked perfectly with the previous version of the Media Player. Thanks, Microsoft. Thanks, MPAA, RIAA, etc.
I'm watching my DVDs using Linux now. It just works fine there.


For some time at work, I used Ultraedit as text editor, but without a private license, I used a lot of alternatives from Emacs to a combination of Notepad and the VisualStudio editor for private work. But I just came across notepad++ (Warning, ugly website), and wow, I'm impressed, that's a nice editor.
It features a built-in hex editor, undo/redo, tabbed documents, dockable windows, UTF support, word wrapping, wrap/CR-LF view, formatters for dozens of languages, XML pretty printing, macros, run-shortcuts, plugins, and works nice with huge files. Everything wrapped in a very nice simple user interface. And it's not only free, but open source. Very cool.

The problem sits behind the keyboard

Sometimes, I am really surprised about my own stupidity, and I am currently again. Remember that people found out that the game plugin in irrEdit doesn't work as promised? I thought it must be the problem of special drivers or hardware, because I noticed this problem on my notebook but not on my desktop pc, and the irrEdit message log tells something about beginScene() failing.
Now I wanted to fix the problem and tried this out on my desktop pc, and - whoa - the game plugin doesn't work there anymore either! Strange, I thought, I didn't install any new drivers or hardware on that system. So I debugged this and came to the drawing code of the irrEdit example game plugin (simplified):

driver->beginScene(true, true, irr::video::SColor(0,255,0,0));
return 0;

See it? The endScene() line is totally missing! Looks like somehow, I managed to delete a line of code in that plugin while packing irrEdit for release. This code would never have worked. The code should look like this, of course:

driver->beginScene(true, true, irr::video::SColor(0,255,0,0));
driver->endScene(windowId, rct);
return 0;

But the positive side of this is: If you want to write a game plugin for irrEdit, there is no need to wait for a new release. The source code of the plugin is available, just change it, compile it and it should work. :)

irrKlang 0.8 released

There is a new release out of irrKlang, the free 2D/3D audio engine. This time I only added some few bug fixes (removed the DirectSound pop/click sound which occurred sometimes when playing streamed sounds and a problem with the ALSA driver when running on hardware not supporting power of two buffers, which I thought I had fixed the last release already) and a small new feature (default values for 3D distances).
irrKlang is getting better and better and there are now so many features and not much bugs anymore, and thus, version 1.0 is not far anymore. I mentioned that the option to redistribute irrEdit and to access the source of it will be available in about two weeks for people really needing it, for a small license fee, and now some are asking if I could offer a similar thing for irrKlang. Ok, why not, I'm doing it. But of course, irrKlang will remain free as it is currently.
Thanks to all the people supporting irrKlang :)

Embedded Web Browser in 3D

Callum Prentice (ubrowser) told me that his embedded web browser works together with Irrlicht. Yep, that's that thing known from Second Life. It also looks very nice in Irrlicht:

At it's heart, it uses the Mozilla Gecko rendering engine that is used in Firefox 2. The Irrlicht integration still needs a bit of work, like input. Get the source here and the binary with some demos here. Would be cool if someone is interested in improving and developing this further.

How to get into the game industry

It looks like it's the time of the year again: People keep sending me mails, asking me how to get into the game industry. (I'm wondering why they keep sending me those, BTW, but who cares..) I should add an FAQ entry on my websites. But it's also a nice blog entry :)

So here is a very quick, short and hopefully obvious way how you can easily get a job in the game industry, no matter if you want to work as level designer, 3d graphic artist, game programmer or whatever: Simply impress your future boss with a finished game you've been worked on. Simple as that. There is no better way to show that you are able to work on and create a game and maybe even that you can do it in a team. Burn the game or project on DVD and take it with you to the job interview. Tell them about some of the details, and that's it. With this they'll see that you are the right man for the job and than you can finish it. Academic degrees or documents from those currently getting popular game development universities are worth nothing to people who know how to develop software or especially games, in my opinion.