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Irrlicht Nightly Builds

Marc Burns has set up an automatic nightly builds system for Irrlicht on his server. It builds the latest SVN revision of the Irrlicht engine every 24 hours. Builds are created in both debug and optimized release form, and for both Linux x86 and Windows x86 (MinGW), the Windows builds including DirectX 9 support.
Thanks for providing that service, I think it is quite useful.

EEE Update

I still like my eee PC.
But one big drawback is that I didn't get Truecrypt to work on it yet because I don't want to install gcc and all the other dependent libraries on the small hard disk just to compile Truecrypt from sources. And I don't trust some hungarian private website as only source for a precompiled eee-compatible Truecrypt version. But I think I can live without this software for now.
The second drawback: I can't use the eee PC to do my C++ programming work, although there is no direct technical obstacle. The problem is that if you are developing a game with 3d graphics which needs a slight bigger screen resolution than 800x480, you run into troubles. :)

First Irrlicht.sf.net update after an eternity

Finally, there is an update of irrlicht.sf.net again. Nothing new for you if you are a reader of this blog, but after people told me the irrlicht website looks dead somehow.. :) Also, we - the irrlicht team - just made some provisions against this, I think that page will now be a bit more active again.

First DS review

JB from ultimateflashgame already published a Review of DS online, nice. I think its quite fair.

No more engrish in DS

There is a new update available of Darkness Springs, which adds some new maps, quests and finally gets rid of my broken english ;) :

A part of a quest written by myself:
I wonder where all those goblins came from exactly, I mean they were quite a few. I bet they came from the southland. Please go there and search for a goblins cave or similar. You can reach the southland from a gate in the storage cave, or from the Traor Graveyard.

The same version improved:
I fear that if I cannot find out where those ghastly goblins came from, they may invade our city yet again and the storage catacombs shall never be safe. Their nest must be destroyed before I can feel calm again! Now, I have a suspicion that they came from the Southland. Please, go there and search for a goblins cave or something similar. You can reach the Southland from a gate in the storage catacombs, or from the Traor graveyard.

I think that's really a huge difference in quality. :) About 95% of all texts in the game have been overworked in this way, and I know this was a lot of work. It is a role playing game after all, and I think only text adventures contain more text. A lot of thanks go to the anonymous 'translator'! :)

The Darkness Springs server will be taken down tomorrow for some hours for maintenance by the way, so don't be surprised if the website might look a bit strange for a short amount of time.

How to Build the Next Stasi, Step 2

If you thought the current surveilance laws are enough already, then take a look at the blueprint of the new BKA law in Germany. It's that severe so that the government didn't even dare to publish it, only some mainstream media recieved copies of it. But markus, blogging at netzpolitik.org made it available for download now.
Read a nice (german) analysis here.
And since there are further plans, like making it even illegal to read this wikipedia
for example, it seems like the only terror we are facing currently here in Europe is made by our governments themselves.

Irrlicht Extensions

There is now a new project available at sourceforge net, named IrrExt. Managed by bitplane and Zeuss, it is a collection of extensions to the Irrlicht Engine, like scene nodes, animators, GUI elements, materials, shaders, mesh loaders, physics wrappers and more, just about any extension to Irrlicht. Here is the official forum announcement.

Dmitry also started a similar named project at sourceforge.net, named 'irrlichtEx'. It is a small static library used to provide users with some extension classes and methods that are not provided by Irrlicht itself natively and will not be implemented there due to architecture unification and 100% portability.

Trying to digg DS up

The open beta of Darkness Springs is running quite well. I've dugg the game website now, if you have a digg.com account and like it, please digg it too (see below why):

Digg it here.

I've released a new version of the game today, and there are no major flaws in it anymore, as far as I can tell. Thanks all for testing and bug reporting. The only thing missing now is a test of a massive amount of people playing the game at the same time, a server stress test if you will. And what method for getting a massive amount of users for a short time to the DS website would be better than digg.com? :) I don't think it will hit the front page of digg, but if it does, I'll share my findings and test results here on this blog of course. So Digg it if you like, thanks :)

My new toy

Recently I bought myself a little new toy, it's an Eee PC. I ordered via Internet and never saw an Eee PC before in real life until the package arrived, so I was totally surprised that it is THAT small. Here is a picture of it in action, compared to a normal PC DVD Box:

I totally like it, especially because it is very handy compared to a normal notebook. The preinstalled Xandros Linux OS is ok, although you need a lot of manual tweaking in the config files and even some bug fixing in the boot scripts until it gets usable for a more technical user. After I had changed the font sizes of KDE and installed Opera (ideal browser for that screensize btw, firefox is still not able to resize webpages correctly and about 3 times slower than Opera on this system) I'm totally happy with that piece of hardware, I can really recommend it if you are away on business a lot, like me.

DS Beta more successful than I thought so far

Wow, I'm quite surprised by the overwhelming amount of (fortunately mostly positive) feedback I am receiveing since the release of the Darkness Springs Beta two days ago. And most of the mails and reports I get are very useful and constructive. I think I knew why I only announced the game on this blog where the readers are roughly 90% software developers themselves :)
And because of all this feedback, there is already an updated version available: I added four additional new quests, the 'southland' map has been unlocked now, magic projectile handling is improved and more precise now, there is now a 'darkness springs main quest' and lots of other minor tweaks and bug fixes.

Darkness Springs now open to play for everyone!

Just minutes ago, I unlocked the role playing game Darkness Springs to the public. The game is now in open beta and can be played by everyone. It is not even necessary to register, sign up or similar. Simply go here and click the 'play' button.

Darkness Springs

The game does not contain all content of the full game yet (will be unlocked in the next weeks), but it should already contain something between 4 and 6 hours of gameplay, depending on how you play. Happy playing.
Any kind of feedback (via the support form, by email, in the comments of this blog or in the game forum) is welcome.
Update: Links corrected now, the game should work now.

Mail delivery failure notice II

I wonder how parcel services are doing this. Are they hiding at the corner of the building, waiting until you left the building for 10 minutes, then run to your door, ring and leave the note that they couldn't deliver the parcel because you weren't there? At least I think there should be a special paragraph reserved for parcel services in Murphy's law.

Mail delivery failure notice I

Did you send me a mail during the last days and didn't receive an answer? Probably because I didn't receive your mail. There was a spam list server which decided to identify every single mail as 'spam' some days ago, also used by my mail server. Please resend :)

Gamedesign Headaches

If you ever played a game where I was responsible not only for the programming but also the level and game designing part you might know that I may know how to programm some stuff, but I am definitively the worst game designer on earth. Games designed by me usually are not fun at all and are interesting for the technical aspect at least - if at all.
I faced this reality again when the closed beta of Darkness Springs started some weeks ago - nearly all testers told me that the game gets a bit boring and is difficult. Woha.
So in order to improve the situation I allocated some time now to tweak all parts of the game the beta testers reported to be worth improving. That list is not too short, but after it has been worked off I'll make the game publically available finally, as public beta test. I hope that this will be in the next few weeks and that a public beta will help it to improve even more after this.

Self-praise permitted?

Recently I've been involved with another commercial game project, and I decided to implement it using irrlicht and irrklang, a process named dogfooding. Now that the project is reaching its final milestone, I think it was a very good decision: The game was written in record time and had no technical bugs at all. Sound integration was extremely easy using irrklang, and irrEdit helped me editing levels without the need to change on line of code which was a life saver. Additionally, bitplanes additions to irrlichts gui and his font tool have proven to be extremely useful.
This was one of the few times where I personally used Irrlicht again for a commercial game project and I like the library we created even more after this, and became fond of my own additions :). I don't think I will be allowed to reveal what game this actually is, but I'll ask the decision makers anyway, let's see.

irrBlend - Blender to Irrlicht exporter

Not long time has passed since Irrlicht received its own file formats (.irr for scenes and .irrmesh for static meshes), because it originally only included importers for external file formats. That's also the reason why there are not that much .irr and .irrmesh exporters yet, but there are some few. One is irrb, a Blender to Irrlicht exporter:

It is hosted on google code and open source of course. Currently, only static meshes are supported, but as you can see on their website, it already is very useful.