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Earthquake weapon?

I like reading conspiracy theories - not because I believe them easily but because they are in most cases very creative and reveal interesting information and other views at our world. I can recommend watching this this youtube video with some very interesting statements.
Should this be true (who knows), then something like an earth quake weapon exists: The Ionosphere is pushed up by the HAARP, causing an earth quake when it rebounces.
Seen in action lately in China (remember the strange lights reported shortly before the earthquake?) or in Niigata, Japan 2007, where the epicenter was curiously enough exactly Japan's biggest nuclear plant. Oddly enough, also in China the epicenter was quite near to a military nuclear facility, it seems.
So I hope this one really is a conspiracy theory. :)

Irrlicht at QuoVadis 2008

The QuoVadis is a german game developers conference. If you where there, you have been able to watch a presentation of an Irrlicht related project there: Here is a short youtube video of it.
If I'm not mistaken [people just sent me the link, an there is no further information to be found ;)], it's Christophe Leske presenting his Irrlicht based Adobe Shockwave (Director 3D) 3D Engine - basically this could be described as 'Irrlicht for Flash' or 'Irrlicht in the Browser'. Very nice project.

Game Development Rule: Create your tools first

Several people asked me how I am developing Darkness Springs, because it is not that small and with all the quests and items even a bit complex. And especially after the announced big update of DS has been released today, more people seem to be interested in this so here is a small view behind the curtain.

In order to add a new area to the game, I simply open a web browser, type www.darkness-springs.eu and edit the game, which would look like this:

Simple as that. So yes, I created a full game editor in flash with which I am even able to edit the running game in realtime. Of course this was quite a bit of work to accomplish, but the advantages are worth it. Generally speaking, it is always a very good idea to create your game tools first and invest a lot of time into creating them. The easier it is for you to edit your game, the better it will get, which should be quite obvious. [But even the best tools won't help if you are a bad game designer, By the way ;)]

The advantage of this special game editor which is written using Flex like the game shares a lot of code with it and shows the results as they are looking in the final game. The Darkness Springs editor contains a quest editor, an item placer, map management and event a 'test' button which makes it possible to test a just created map directly in the game without saving. It helped me a lot to create Darkness Springs and I can really recommend: Create you game tools first and invest some time into them, and after this start creating the game.

Thoughts on Spam Filter Quality

I am very satisfied with the built-in junk mail filter in the Windows Mail client - the Outlook Express version which comes with Vista. It significantly outperforms Thunderbird or SpamAssassin (at least in that default configuration when I used it about a year ago the last time), from my subjective impression.
It identifies about 99.9% of all my spam correctly as junk mail. But HOW ON EARTH are these Viagra guys doing this? All of the 'Viagra 100mg xy Dollars Per Pill price' and similar are getting through. I mean a spam filter today should have 'viagra' set as one of the top keywords making a mail looking suspicious ;) But anyway, nice job Windows Mail, so far.

European Football Championship 2008 is over already

As programmer who is not interested in any sports and especially not in football at all, it is still difficult to ignore that the European Football Championship 2008 will partially take place here in Vienna (it's organized together with Switzerland). You can hear it all the time in the news, and currently nearly every day at least one politican announces some new rules/laws or exceptions because of the Euro '08.
But I was completely unaware of the fact that the winner of the Championship this year is already predefined, and best: It will be Austria! Nice. See for yourself in this youtube video (a bit pointless if you don't speak german, sorry).

Preventing SWF reverse engineering and pirate copying

As you might already know, I recently turned once again a could-it-be-done just-for-fun-project into a released full featured product, a single player browser role playing game, actually. I created it using Flex and thus, it's just a flash game, although an abnormal huge flash game. (And it's getting bigger time after time, with a huge addition with more than 15 new quests scheduled for next week for example.)
I also created an SWF protection tool which I wrote only for Darkness Springs development, and released it later to help other Flex developers. And now, after Darkness Springs is out for one month, I am glad I did this: Pirate copying actually is really a huge problem with flash games. It is different from the PC game market where the players copy the games. Here, other Flash developers will copy and reverse engineer your game and flash game websites will grab your swf and publish it on their sites without even thinking about asking you. As I can see from the webserver logs and simple google searches, the problem is incredibly huge, basically, nobody gives a s**it about copyright, it seems. Fortunately, until now, nobody has been able to reverse engineer and republish the fully working game as it seems, only the demo without piracy counter-measures has been illegally copied on dozens of servers [which actually is good ;)].
So I am really happy about having created irrFuscator, and should you ever create a flash game, I can recommend you to use an obfuscator like it. And BTW: I added a string encryption feature to irrfuscator last week which I think should turn out to be quite useful as well.

Irrlicht as GUI Framework

If you have some time, try to visit the Technical Museum Vienna today or tomorrow. Alexander Demets and his colleague are presenting their work on a Funksimulator (= radio flight simulator?) there. They used C++, Raknet, and interestingly, Irrlicht as GUI framework for this:

By the way, the creators of this are from Austria [worth mentioning, because it's just a small country and also the origin of Irrlicht itself ;)]. And yes, I like unusual projects (= not games) done with Irrlicht. :)

Community Choice Awards Nominations

Looks like a year has passed again already: The 2008 SourceForge.net Community Choice Awards nomination process has begun. And again, we ask you to nominate Irrlicht for this Award:

Unfortunately, there is no directly fitting category for Irrlicht, but maybe 'Best Project for Multimedia' or 'Best Tool or Utility for Developers' would be ok. Do we have a change against Audacity and TortoiseSVN? Nope. But it's fun anyway. And at least I don't have to recommend Irrlicht for the categories 'Most Likely to Be Ambiguously Accused of Patent Violation' or 'Most Likely to Get Users Sued' (these are actually real categories!) :)

DS update

Just a note for the people reading this blog and playing Darkness Springs: An update is available again, with some new avatars, updated graphics and others.

I want my internet back

Oh, the good old days. When you were able to surf the internet for information, music, p0rn, whatever you liked. Where you were able to create websites with blinking graphics and write emails with any content you liked. And everything without the fear of being sued or arrested for this. Without the need to think twice before every sentence you wrote. Without the fear of having your apartment searched by the police just because you clicked a wrong link. Without the need to use Tor, PGP, Truecrypt and other tools just to feel a little bit better.
Sometimes I want the old internet back.

Virtual Global

I'm just coming back from holidays (the reason for the silence on this blog for the last few days) and I think the best post to start again is a globetrotting and Irrlicht related one: WEN Yongning sent me some screenshots of a program he developed named 'Virtual Global'. It is similar to NASA WorldWind (some people might say it is similar to Google Earth) and looks like this:

It is written in C++ (as opposed to WorldWind which is done in Java) and using DEM data, image pyramid and other 3D data, which are downloaded from a server during user interaction. Irrlicht is used as 3D engine and has been extended and adjusted during the development of this project.

I have no web site for this project, but it definately looks interesting. It is also worth mentioning that they didn't use the Irrlicht Scenegraph interface for this, but used its IVideoDriver interface directly as far as I understood.

Hope to see this thing in action on my PC soon. :)