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Omerta

Omerta is a multiplayer game in development by Jana Reinhardt and Friedrich Hanisch, which looks quite promising already. They are using Irrlicht as 3D Engine, RakNet for networking, Lua as scripting Language and irrKlang for sound.


There are even some YouTube Videos showing the game. Christian told me that the game should be finished in a few days.



It was just a joke

Hm, are people usually only reading half of the texts written here? Or didn't I make it clear enough? The text below was just a joke. No I am not working on a book. As I wrote directly below the image: It is just a joke.
I'm just wondering, because after some commenters who didn't get it, I received also some mails about this, and now somebody even gave me a phone call, telling me that he didn't know I was working on a book. Argl. No. I'm not working on a book. It was just a joke. Really.



My new book

I've mentioned it on this blog some times already, and today, they finally sent me the preview cover of my new book. I like it:


The cover was made using Oreillymaker. So yes, it's just a joke. :) (via)



Skype is evil

Nearly everyday I am still learning new things. Today: Skype cannot only be a helpful debugging tool as I already showed but also a problem: Running skype and then a local webserver at the default port won't work: Skype already will block that port, preventing the webserver to run.



Vague announcement of what I am going to blog about in the near future

Nice, long and mysterious headline, isn't it? :)

No, I'm not dead, although I haven't blogged for nearly a week now. Which is a quite small amount of time, compared to the time-out of some other blogs which are linked from here for example :)

The reason for my current lack of time is that I am currently working on a side project again (next to the ambiera game development tools). The side project is a game, and altough not the first game I've been involved with since I am running my own company, it will be the first one about which I will blog about. Unfortunately, I am unable to tell much more yet, but I hope to be able to blog about it while it is still under development and give some hopefully interesting insights. I hope to start blogging about it within the next 30 days, and I think that it might be a bit interesting, especially because until now I've only written about game development libraries, and never actually about game development itself. So stay tuned.



irrKlang 1.0.4 released

irrKlang 1.0.4 was released today. As described in my last debugging adventure post, it also contains the first version of the audio recording interface. Currently windows only, full support on all platforms is planned for the 1.1 release. I think the interface is now quite ok, for recording a piece of audio and playing it back again, you only have to write something like this:

ISoundEngine* engine = createIrrKlangDevice();
IAudioRecorder* recorder = createIrrKlangAudioRecorder(engine);

recorder->startRecordingBufferedAudio();

printf("\nRECORDING. Press any key to stop...\n");
getch();
recorder->stopRecordingAudio();

// play the recorded audio, looped
recorder->addSoundSourceFromRecordedAudio("myRecordedVoice");
engine->play2D("myRecordedVoice", true);


Simple and understandable, isn't it? Of course there are additional, different ways to do this and to get access to the recorded audio data using IAudioRecorder, but this one shows the basics.



My strange AvP 2 experience

Did anyone of the readers here already watch Aliens vs. Predator 2? I hesitated, because I've only read very negative reviews about it. But because I really like the Alien series and also have seen the first AvP movie (which wasn't that good either), I overcame my fear and walked into a local cinemea to watch AvP2.
[BTW: Is this blog turning into a movie review website? No, at least I hope so :)]
Not surprisingly, the cinema was quite empty when the movie started. Nobody was actually interested in that film :) It also seemed as not even the cinema crew didn't expect anyone to watch that movie because first they started to show us the wrong movie, a children's film named Kleiner Dodo, about an orangutan named Dodo who loves sounds and imitates them, forming quite a contrast to the expected AvP2 :)
But when AvP2 finally started, it became apparent to be a standard action horror movie. Because you knew at the start of every scene what would happen and the story made absolutely no sense, it was quite boring. And entertaining only because two teenagers were a bit more bored than us and started to shout out some well-intentioned advices to the actors, in order the help them surviving the movie. The original Alien film from 1979 only had one single alien and was thrilling. In contrast to that, in AvP2, there here about 300 aliens, which only made me yawn. But strangely, I didn't feel that it was a mistake to have watched it. Must have been the alien bonus. Or my nice company. I don't know. :)



Implementing audio recording - Debugging log

Last week I was working on adding the feature 'audio capturing' to irrKlang. Basically this is recording audio data, using for example a microphone and some options to work with the data and to play it back again.
The most difficult part is to design a simple programming interface for this which is simple to use and which also works on all supported platforms and audio drivers. The implementation itself isn't that complicated. At least that was the plan :)
After I had finished the audio recording implementation in DirectSound8, I started to test it. The test program worked, and reported to have recorded some audio, but when I played it back nothing happened. Silence.
What was wrong? Had the driver enumerator selected a wrong device? Didn't the capture buffer copy thread work? Was there something wrong in the new pure-PCM-data audio source which was used to play back the recorded audio? There were so many possible points of failure, but most of them had been already tested out and I couldn't imagine what was wrong. So I debugged and investigated, and had nailed it down to the recording part. Somehow no recorded audio data came through. But I still didn't find the problem. Strange.
Then, someone gave me a call using skype. I accepted the call, but my conversational partner didn't hear me. D'oh! The microphone was broken. :)



irrlicht3d.cz

Martin Zima alias "RedDragCZ" registered the domain irrlicht3d.cz and created a Czechian translation of the Irrlicht Engine homepage there. Nice work. I've been told that there is an Czech Irrlicht community, and this page might help it to grow even bigger.



Skyboxes

When you start working very early, you get at least some very nice pictures when you look out of the window. A part of the first district of Vienna from 'above' as photographed by me this week:


Would have made a nice skybox. :)



Sun buying MySQL

Woha: Sun is buying MySQL, I didn't see this coming. I hope Sun won't screw it up :)



Platterwatch

Most People already have heard of Mr. Schäuble, the Minister of the Interior of Germany who is constantly and partially successfully trying to convert Germany into a surveillance state. Platter is the Austrian equivalent of Schäuble. He is less known, but more effective: Here in Austria, we already have a fully functional surveillance state since 2 weeks.
Now, there is a website named platterwatch.at, which is a community driven approach to fight back: To follow and observe Mr. Platter and to document his life, via youtube videos, flickr pictures and blog posts. A nice idea, IMO. Unfortunately, they don't observe his private life, only the public part, because this would be illegal otherwise.



I am Legend

I watched the vienna premiere of the movie I am Legend, and I liked it. WARNING: spoilers ahead. If you plan to watch this movie, stop reading now.
Before watching the movie, I consciously tried to avoid watching movie trailers of it, in order not to mess up the experience. I knew that the film would be about an end time scenario, but that was all. So when I sat there I was totally surprised that 'I am Legend' is actually a Zombie movie. And as I wrote once or twice on this blog already, I like Zombie movies :) The undead in 'I am Legend' are more Vampires than Zombies, but who cares. The setting (forsaken city of New York) is great and the actors are convincing, the story is quite thrilling. The only point of criticism is that the ending of the film doesn't fit to the rest of the movie (the main zombie obviously tries to get back to his wife, but in the end he doesn't care anymore about this), but I heard there was originally another ending which makes more sense.
All in all, a nice movie, worth watching.



Irrlicht is useless

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Both irrEdit and irrKlang would normally form part of an engine, however, they have been separated from irrLicht to provide Nikolaus Gebhardt revenue from any usage of the free aspects of the engine. Its important to note that irrLicht is close to being useless, as a 3D
games engine, without these products. (source)


What nonsense.



Monkey Island Revival

On February 23rd, a Monkey Island Revival Event will happen in the WUK in Vienna. Looks promising: They've got a scumm bar, insult fighting and monkey island music. And what I've heard so far, the organizers make every effort to make it an interesting event. Looking forward to it, I'll be definately there :)





Localization madness

Last week, I needed a feature in Poser, which I didn't find in the user interface of the program. Maybe it was there, but as Poser n00b and totally lacking of 4 dimensional creative skills [=animation ;)], I didn't find the option. But I noticed that Poser has a built-in scripting language namely Python, so I sat down and - being a better programmer than artist - implemented that feature relatively quickly. The only obstacle was that the names of the dynamic parameters of the poser phyton classes were localized. In the german version, you have to write for example obj.Parameter["KreisenX"] instead of obj.Parameter["RotateX"]. Or "Winkel" instead of "Angle". Quite stupid. I think Microsoft Excel is even worse, where the built-in functions are localized, for example an 'if' looks like =IF(A5>1;0;1) while you have to type =WENN(A5>1;0;1) in the german version. The problem is getting worse in some situations because english programmers almost never have heard of this thing named 'localization' and so after having installed some applications in Windows, your hard disk gets filled with a lot of new directories like "Programs" and "Programme", "My Music" and "Meine Musik" and so on. (Obviously, those programmers simply created hard coded directory names. That they should have used the windows functions for this instead is a different story). In Vista, this is now even more disturbing, because it looks like now even the Microsoft programmers themselves haven't understood it correctly: Programs usually get installed into the 'Program Files' directory, but unfortunately, this is named 'Programme' in german. Both folders exist now by default, but 'Programme' is just a link to 'Program Files' as it seems. Resulting in a weired, schizophrenic installer behavior: You usually select 'Programme\MyProgam' as target directory, after which the installer says that you just selected 'Program Files\MyProgam'. Which is confusing already. And if you select 'Program Files\MyProgam' instead, the installer would tell you that it cannot do this. Exercise: Explain this to an average user if you have a lot of time :)



Leading surveillance societies

Privacy international published their report about leading surveillance societies in the EU and the World 2007. It is quite interesting, especially if you look into the details. The mini map to the right gives an overview: Green is ok, Black is bad. Interesting is that Greece seems to be the only country where everything is ok today. And in comparison to last year, the whole situation is getting worse.



Happy new year, Review of 2007

Hello 2008, I'm back from holidays and happy to continue to blog about this and that, just like I did in the past. Last year a lot of interesting things happened in my life and with the projects I am writing about on this blog. Here is a short summary of some of the happenings of the last year:

Shortly after irrKlang was ported to Linux in the beginning of the year, I announced my plans to be be self employed. Then, Viacom, the corporation behind MTV, DreamWorks and Paramount claimed that they own the copyright on a video of an Irrlicht tutorial. This caused a comparative huge outcry and numerous big websites such as Slashdot reported this on their front pages. We released Irrlicht 1.3 in March and irrKlang added support for .NET shortly after this. Irrlicht also received a new font tool created by gaz. On the 1st of April, we did an April's fool joke together with Steve Streeting, project lead of the Ogre 3D engine where we announced a merger between Irrlicht and Ogre named 'Ogrirr'. It was quite funny, especially reactions of some people. I also released irrEdit 0.7, and its source code was made available for a license fee. After some few posts about problems founding my new company, ambiera, we released Irrlicht 1.3.1 in June. Shorty after this Jirr 1.3.1 (Irrlicht for Java) has been released and irrKlang was made available on the Mac platform. August brought some interesting releases of software using Irrlicht, like Amelia, a very interesting visualization of particle physics in the ATLAS detector at CERN which also used irrKlang, or Galactic Dream: Rage of War, a commercial strategic space game. In September, I introduced the xml based .irrmesh 3d format for Irrlicht, and Irrlicht also recieved an unified skeletal animation code. After this, irrklang 1.0 was released which was followed by the release of Irrlicht 1.4. Finally, in December, the Irrlicht team was increased with a new team member (Varmint) and Irrlicht 1.4 for MacOSX was released.

I omitted a lot of interesting other things, but basically, this was 2007, quite a busy year, IMO. Let's hope 2008 will be similar and bring some additional nice releases :)