Older blog entries for TheCorruptor (starting at number 367)

Seal Basher

Much work has been done on this, unfortunately not by me. Seal Basher's got a new developer, and his contributions have been fantastic. Suffice to say, I'll be spending a lot more time on this in the next couple of months... I've got some great things planned...

Civil

So, to mark the occasion of Civil being themed, I redesigned the website. The old one had done well for 2.5 years, but it's crappy old HTML4 was too annoying for me. The new one is remarkbly similar to my website, but it's clean and low on markup. We likey...

I think I've pretty much settled on the style for the Agnostic interface. I'll use some of the iconic elements from the old one, but the fantastic backdrop and those hideous fake wood panel buttons will be going. I've had enough of looking at them. They're so 1999 ;-)

I'll do everything in Illustrator this time, and get it all much cleaner that the original. I've always thought it was a mistake to use so much noise in the Civil GFX. Obviously I decided that just a little too late the first time around, so it's good to get the chance to go back and fix a few things.

The Napoleonic theme may only need the icons, widgets and window borders replacing, which given a few weekends free, should be easy enough to do...

Osmosys

I've started to hit the OpenGL walls now. Had some serious problems with Ortho, which I've now overcome, but I've been disappointed with my ability to bounce things up and down the pipeline as I'd expected. Might need some work arounds. DrawPixels is just too damned slow... :-(

At least there's SDL to fall back on for somethings... :-)

19 Feb 2003 (updated 19 Feb 2003 at 09:47 UTC) »

Blimey, has it been that long? Hmmm... Oh well, hit Live Journal if you want to see what I've been up to in the meantime...

Civil

Thread came up on the developer's list recently to move away from the American Civil war theme. Although the motives behind the suggestion were personally agreeable to me, the political motivation probably is distasteful to those of a non-european background. However, when all is said and done it would be fantastic to provide another theme for players.

I've sat on the idea for a few days and I'm seriously starting to think that if I start now, and use most of the existing terrains, I can probably supply some other theater of battle for a 1.0 release. It's basically peripheral GFX and units that require the work, the scenario's can support it, the docs just need extending and bingo...

Given our release schedule I'm confident that it's doable, I mean, we're probably a year from 1.0 anyway which gives me time to do the GFX required and finish off my demo. Oh, and write another screen saver. And some other thing no doubt... ;-)

Looks like the system drive in Moria (Router/Server at home) is on the way out. It's starting to make a nice high pitched whistle and the machine has bounce randomly for the last two days. Kochanski is more than able to take the load, and I guess I always planned to make that the main machine at some point. Lazyness I guess.

The large drive in Moria should move straight over as it's just one of the ftp mounts. The ftp config I'd backed up over the weekend when I upgraded the demon. Shoutcast is easy to setup and Kochanski already has Apache 2 and Tomcat installed and configured, which leaves the Alcatel drivers and WinRoute.

Last time I tried to get the Alcatel setup it took ten days and much screaming at tech support. Dunno if I wanna go through that again or just use the ancient french drivers that I managed to coerce into operation last time. God, I hate BT Openworld, and the thought of configuring their POS modem again leaves me cold.

Fun day today. I've installed mod_rendezvous and played about with Safari, and I'm now contemplating something useful to do with my auto sensed homepage. I've also upgraded to Tomcat 4.1.8 and reinstalled the various SOAP and XML-RPC bits I'd previously killed (without noticing). All good stuff.

Mod_rendezvous seems to work exactly as advertised, but it would be nice if it wasn't Mac specific. I'd like to get it running on the servers upstairs, then I might be able to do something a little more interesting. Atm It's just appearing as a single machine within Safari, so I'll need to play with the conf a little to get the various sites installed on the TiBook to appear in seperate bookmark entries. If that's possible. Still, promising toy.

Demos

So, work is progressing on doing something for the demoscene. We have some members and we're just knocking around story boards and ideas. Can't really say much more atm...

I've been wrestling with how to best distribute a demo given I want to use SDL. I don't really want people to have to download the runtime so I had a stab at statically linking it. Apple don't support this as such, only really documenting the dynamic approach, but they mentioned that you could recompile Csu and get a working Crt0.o, which I duely did. Needed a recompile of cctools (indr was missing) and libstreams, but that was easy enough. However, I never did quite crack getting SDL static.

Then it suddenly dawned on me that the OS X application bundle can contain frameworks (I'd noticed this when I was snooping through some other applications a while back), so I took one of my normally linked demos and copied the SDL framework into the .app/Contents/Frameworks folder. Voila! It picks up the local framework and runs on Emily's iBook quite happily.

I've done a couple of tests, running stuff compiled without the local frameworks, versus stuff with it included, and it seems to be the perfect solution. I can also distribute the code when the demo's out without people having to faff around, they can just compile it against their own SDL installs.

I'm a happy man now I've sussed this out, as I don't need to change to a CoreGraphics stub and I don't need to port my code. I can also distribute everything in one nice bundle so the old time Mac abusers won't get confused (learnt that lesson already). Shame it was about two day's effort to figure all this out though! Maybe I should spend more time going through Apple's documentation and begin to memorise it. Heh...

Next on the list, in-line PPC code...

Retro-life

Spent last night up in Oxford with the organiser of Retrovision, which I've mentioned before. I had a great night with them in the end. Nicely drunk, and then given the room where the C64s, Amigas and old Atari 800s are stored to sleep in. Ummm, retro hardware... ;-)

By the sounds of things this event is really going to kick off, so I sincerely hope some good PR goes out and there's a large-ish crowd. Check out the website for the details if you're in the UK early March.

While I'm on the subject, check out Press Play on Tape's Boy Band Video. It's been out for a while, but I'd not actually seen it until today. 27MB of sheer comedy! Especially if you like Martin Galway's Comic Bakery theme tune, or you've still got a soft spot for C64s... ;-)

Code

Not planning on doing anything this week given the faffing I ended up doing for Fluffy Cubes. One good thing came out of it though: I got a random email from someone that downloaded it and checked out my website. He basically expressed an interest in a collaboration to produce a demo for the mac scene. I've been thinking of doing this for a while, and as his GFX and music are *superb* I'm starting to think it might actually be a fairly good idea. It's not like I haven't got enough retro-demo effects lying around and I think it would be kinda fun to knock up an old school demo for Retrovision. Although, given how many coders are likely to be there I'd probably get a right ribbing for the cheese factor, but this particular gent does C64 remixes for fun. Seems like syncronicity to me?

iMovie

Thought I'd check out the video capture stuff on my digital camera, since Radix has been evangalising of late and I was bored this evening. The picture quality is a bit grainy, but I get about 1.5 mins on my current CF card, which is enough for comedy moments or general group hugs. Larger CF card required though, but for now...

This also prompted my first use of iMovie. Now, I'd normally use Premier for anything video related, but as this is free and I'd heard good things I thought I better look before the ilife version is released at the end of the month.

Initial gripes: lack of .mov import (needs to be .dv, which quicktime exports, but, er...) and the fussy nature of the mp3 importing. Needs to pass through iTunes first? Okay... I take it that these problems are addressed by the upcoming version, so I'll ignore it for now.

To be honest, after an hour playing around I have to admit iMovie is kinda cute. I mean, if you had a DV Camera but couldn't use a computer it's great. Comedy titles, fades etc. are all present and correct, and dead simple to use. God help me if Mum ever gets hold of it.

Personally, it felt a bit weird to not have some of the controls I'm used to, but it's fun none the less. In fact, I'm quite looking forward to the new version, just so I can play some more. Free beer does taste kinda good, especially when it's useful.

Tax

Joy. Self assessment tax returns are due, and my accountants seem to think I *still* owe tax from my company. Given it ceased trading a year ago I'm feeling particularly suspicious of their figures. This stinks of IR35 dancing to me, and I'm not happy coughing out more money this late in the game.

Fluffy1.4

Must be Advogato or something, but after my last entry I returned to PB only to figure out exactly what I was doing wrong with my Dual Head code. All bugs appear to have been squished, at least on the two Macs I have at hand to test on, so 1.4 flopped out this morning. This is definitely going to be the last version, bar any stupid bugs I've overlooked...

OrangeSPV

It sure was amusing to sip my morning coffee reading this article from El Reg. I don't know whether to laugh or not... I can only assume that Microsoft have got to the stage where they need to rush things to market so quickly that their programmers just don't get time to test.

On a brighter note, this adds another dent to their mobile platform, and increases my feelings that we did the right thing by ignoring it and heading toward Symbian for our test apps. Personally, PocketPC was enough to put me off...

Fluffy Cubes

Well, I finally got the bit between my teeth and tried to work out how to properly support Dual Heads for my screensaver. After much struggling I stumbled on a solution that seems to work great. I can span both monitors, and select to use the main display only. But... When using the main display the second monitor fades to black, and then back to white. This has really pissed me off, and for the life of me I can't work out. The only GL_COLOR_BUFFER_BIT clearing I'm doing is with black, so God only knows why this sub view pops back to white.

I've googled but can't find much that seems useful...

I've been debugging this for about three hours now, as I have a feeling that the second monitor fading to white is about as useless as not having the option at all. On the plus side, it is running a hell of a lot faster on dual heads than it was. I doubt this will be good enough though... :-)

Featureitis

People are never happy with free software it seems. 1.3 of Fluffy Clouds is out and now the feature request is for proper dual head support. There's several complaints that it runs too slow on two monitors.

I hooked the laptop up to the TV with it running 1024x768 on the second screen to test and it ran ok. I guess there's a case for it, but it involves a pretty substantial re-write and I'm debating if I really want to do this. I suppose I'd need it in the future so I might as well go through the pain and do it now.

If you're going to do something you might as well do it right. I'll keep telling myself that as I try to summon the will. Shame about the bad comments Version Tracker users gave 1.3 though. That's really sucked my will to code.

Fluffy Cubes

I thought I'd try out Version Tracker Friday night, and announce my little screensaver on there. I'm almost wishing I hadn't; within two hours I'd had 600 downloads, a couple of bug reports and a few feature requests. Cue the release of FluffyCubes 1.1 an hour later, 1.2 Saturday morning and 1.3 late last night.

I've not exactly spent long on this, about 8 hours of coding in all, but I'm amazed at the amount of people that have had a play with such a simple little screensaver. Seems that's one popular branch of the software tree on OS X.

Anyway, I think 1.3 has most of the features people have asked for, and I'm certainly not inclined to spend much more time on it considering I only did it out of curiosity. It's not some code-opus I planned to dedicate my compiler to...

On the upside I can definitely recommend Version Tracker. It's fast, generates a lot of hits, and ignoring some of the more ignorant reviewers, generates some interesting feedback. When Civil 0.82 is released and the Mac installer is finished I'll definitely be inclined to announce it there. Should generate some more hits for our little project...

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