Is it another year already?

A very Happy New Year to all. A bit belated I know, but I was kinda busy doing nothing. Well, not really. Yeah, I have been taking time off, but I was also busy with other activities, most importantly, marketing of the game.

So what’s 2008 been like? Well for me it was pretty uninteresting. Not, that I didn’t enjoy it, it’s just there was precious little in the way of what I like to do best; research. Most of 2008 was spent on fixing bugs, play testing, hardware testing, level creation and solving some insanely complicated issues, issues that shouldn’t have been there in the first place and some unavoidable circumstantial problems, that shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Most of the coding that was done was also equally uninteresting. Majority of the time was spent on getting thing working right with gameplay and design. Not the most pleasurable of things I must say, at least not for me. That said, a lot of ground work has been done w.r.t the engine, most of which will not have to be repeated for sometime to come. So that’s a big positive, something I can take away from 2008 as being extremely productive.

Having said that, the biggest hit of the year for me is of-course the release of the game; which took far more time than I had initially anticipated. True, it turned out OK (great 😉 ) given the budget, time and resource constraints, but I would have liked to do more. Maybe all that was missed in this one can quickly be added to the next one. A Causal Analysis is due, however I would like to hold on to that a bit longer. At least till we finish up with the final marketing parts which I am currently focusing on. A part of  last year was also spent in starting 3D Logic Software and there are a lot of things that had to be done before we went online. Unfortunately they accounted in a pretty big delay for the launch of the game.

On the tech front, 2008 has been equally low. Very little interesting developments. Most of things that happened were evolutionary rather than revolutionary. On the OS front XP still rules and will probably do so in 2009 as well. However, the year belonged to the underdog Apple. Both their OS and their products have gained significant market share and will probably continue to do so in 2009. Linux has always been interesting and 2009 will be no different. Linux grows from strength to strength in some areas and remains the same in others. If anything I am looking forward to Linux in 2009, some interesting developments on the horizon.

In 2008 we saw a resurgence of the GPU battles with ATI throwing in some impressive technology, and that’s good thing. For the first time I am an owner of an ATI card (HD 4850) and though NVIDA held on to the top spot (barely), ATI was close behind and even edging out in front at times during the year. Then again we can’t forget general purpose computing on the GPU. The year has been interesting for GPU and GPGPU. Powerful cards with supercomputing capability were unveiled and this year will see more power being packed into cards as the GPU titans clash with better with more powerful weapons at their disposal. Oh, let’s not to forget Intel here. Intel finally unveiled Larrabee, so you very well could have another titan arising in those battles.

Personal wish list for 2009.

  • Intel comes around to finally putting a proper on-board GPU with at least good hardware T&L and releases moderately good drivers.
  • Microsoft releases DirectX 11 for XP along with Vista and Windows 7.
  • OpenGL spec gets a overha….. well forget it!
  • Linux gets a single package-management/installer system that everyone across the board adopts, and most importantly is easy to use and deploy.
  • The economic downturn ends.
  • All people in the world become sane and killing of innocent people stops completely.

That all for now, 😀

Once again a Happy New Year.

Comedy of errors.

A mishap happened last night. I was typing out this rather long blog entry regarding multi processing and multi-core machines when there was a nasty power surge and the machines went down. When the machines came back online I had lost a good 80% of the post entry because of some comedy of errors, which, just left me feeling rather frustrated! First, let me assure you it was no one’s fault, not even mine. WordPress saves blog entries every 2 minutes or so when you are typing, which would mean I wouldn’t have lost more than about 2 to 4 lines of whatever I was typing. However what happened was really strange. When the machines did comeback on line, I restarted FireFox and it prompted me for a restore session, which I incidentally did. I shouldn’t have, but I did! That just loaded the saved version of the page which had about 80% of the post missing, and it just so happened, WordPress just automatically saved that post overwriting my current copy with the earlier version loaded by FireFox!

Damm! I was typing that out for like a week now during breaks. What happened was really frustrating!

Ah! Finally a small vacation!

I have been away this weekend, on what was a much needed time away from my daily activities. It’s been some time before I took a break from my daily routine work and this weekend presented the perfect opportunity to have some quality RnR. The beginning of the winter season here has been exceptionally hot this year with temperatures touching a scorching 32 deg celcius, almost mid summer temperatures (, talk about global warming!). A nice beach house facing the open ocean seemed too enticing an opportunity to pass by.

Here are some snaps. I haven’t had time to get all the snaps in, I will probably upload them on the main site soon.

Pic 1.

Pic 2.

Pic 3.

Some major issues with hardware.

Well I have been battling with some hardware issues on my internet PC for the past week and they seemed to be finally fixed as of now. Since the development and Internet PCs are different machines, and are not connected, my access to the internet was severely limited for the past couple of days. Updates to the blog have been quite slow. I am also doing some heavy debugging on some other issues with hardware with regards to the game on remote locations. That means I do have to be away from by desk most of the time. I am happy to say that most issues have been resolved.

Vista Woes.

Ah had my first Vista experience! I am been doing some heavy debugging for the past week and have had to keep myself awake drinking 6 cups of tea a day. For the record I am not a heavy tea drinker, but I had to do it because the work load is a bit heavy. One of the machines I was debugging on happened to be a Vista machine. This is my first taste of Vista and, boy is the OS corny! The UI in true Microsoft tradition has been revamped. I was kinda expecting that, but it was nothing out of the ordinary. I have seen Linux boxes that looked slicker, but not bad on the whole.

It is the whole attitude of the OS that ticked me off. For one it takes me for a freaking dumb ass. The warning boxes are pretty nagging. Now, some people told me that they can be turned off, but even so I felt that the engineers have gone overboard. I can understand that safety is concern these days, but come on guys a box to ask me if a want to run an exe or copy a file is just too much. Even if you do want to, where are the “OK” and “Cancel” buttons. Why are you making me read “Do want to Move and Overwrite”, “Do you want to Move and Keep”, “Do you want to Move to Latvia” … every time I want to copy a file, bull shit let me do my job. I would like to ask Mr Gates, “Just because we use your OS, do you take us for a bunch of f***ing retards!” The OS kept nagging me like I was a 2 year old kid.

Another dumb message box for installation. The OS sounds a big alarm bell when you try to run any installation. Almost like an anti-virus program would when it detects a virus or a worm attack. Seeing the message box even scared me, and it was in-fact my very own installation package. For a moment I thought the installer was corrupted or infected by a virus. The next bad experience was when we tried to install VNC. No! Doesn’t work. Set a rule in the firewall, no, doesn’t work. Turn off the firewall, no, doesn’t work! Oh its our new Defender Service! Put a rule in the defender service, no, doesn’t work! Oh yes security, sorry we don’t allow programs like these to run. Please use our 1000$ Remote Desktop. Oh sorry, it’s not available for Home edition, buy our 10000$ Professional Vista Edition. Oh God getting VNC up and running was a nightmare. The OS is also a big resource hog. It was slow while pushing a lot of windows and applications on a AMD Turion 2.0 64bit, dual core CPU, which can run XP at comfortable speeds.

Eventually we did get everything working and the game ran with but the whole experience just left me with a very bad taste for Vista. There are many more things that got to me, but this rant has gone on long enough. Maybe I need some serious straight 8 hours of sleep. Looking objectively however, there is nothing special that Vista offers and I can’t think of 2 reasons to upgrade to it. The ONE reason I will have to upgrade to this naïve OS is DirectX 10. I know it will be punishing, but unless Microsoft comes up with DirectX 10 for XP, which I know will not happen, I will have to move to this OS ultimately. I hope sanity prevails and the service packs for Vista turn off the kindergarten nanny in the OS.

Bah! My Flatron finally went dead!

After almost 5 years of continuous service, my trusty old LG Flatron CRT monitor finally bid farewell yesterday. I have been having problems with it for the past 3 months or so and only recently I got the thing fixed. But I had this wired feeling that it was on it’s final lap. The display had gone visibly blurry and I was using the monitor on my test PC for the past 9 months. Too bad, I had played some really cool games on it and most of the development of the current engine and game was done using the same monitor. (A little bit emotional, I know :'( ).

So now I am running the PC with an old 15 inch monitor which is a decade older. I know I have to get a new one soon, but which one is the question? Should I go for a CRT or for an LCD? After seeing the new LCD 19 inch monitors you can’t help but drool. They do leave a hole in the pocket but they do give bang for the buck.

Busy busy week.

It’s been a very busy week. Not only on the coding side of things, but had to finalize some major business related issues. The progress on the game has been a tad bit slow on the coding side, but nothing that can’t be picked up in the coming week. I also had a run-in with a couple of senior colleagues/friends and had some interesting discussions on the future of the engine in general. (Things like an Editor/Scene-Builder for the Engine, future projects and things like that. Maybe in my coming posts I will elaborate further on that.) I generally take the Sunday off, but I am working today on some long remaining issues with the game.

Updated the website.

websiteAh! Finally found some time to update the web-site. The main index page was rather drab and unattractive with very little on it except some techie nerdy stuff. Well it still does, what did you expect from a techi nerd, but added some spice by installing a random image display component. Looks kinda neat, if I can say so myself.

Along with that the major thing that was added were two articles from my previous blog to the article section on the site. The article on python called “Python: A maiden in a serpent’s disguise” is renamed to Python: Taming the serpent. I also added the game genres article named What are game Genres? Both these articles are from the previous blog on fastnet that went down. There are a lot more things to be added but I could not find time to salvage the entire blog. Maybe in coming week or, whenever; I am bad at deadlines!

Duped by a free hosting site.

Today my old site went down rather mysteriously. I have no idea why the admin at ifastnet decided suddenly to take down my humble little site that blogs nothing by my game development project. I feel annoyed and let down by such an act. I do have a backup up until 8th of this month, so I haven’t lost a lot of material. But now my old blog readers will find it very difficult to find my blog again.

The site had at best modest traffic so it’s not like the servers were overwhelmed, neither did it have offensive material. The only thing it had was a bunch of technical stuff on game development and game engine design. Now why would anyone be offended by that? Well GOD only knows? I tried reaching their tech-support, but in vain. If anyone who has built a site and lost if will know what I mean. Its really agonizing to see your work of months go down the drain like that. :'( .