More cloth... with collisions

Finally, about two months after starting it, I've had a little bit of time to finish up the Cloth stuff for jME. I'm pretty happy with it. Special features include large timesteps (ie. greater stability,) automatic normals, node level customizable forces (with some sample ones like wind, gravity and drag,) collision handling, and lots of tweakable settings. It's posted now in the code review forum at jME and will hopefully be in cvs there soon. Here's a recent screenshot showing a ball hitting a square piece of cloth:

cloth with ball colliding

I know there's a lot that could be done to take this to the next step, but for now I'll just be doing bug fixes and perhaps a Cloth Editor like my Particle Editor. I'd like to work next on a few games such as the one I mentioned with Mark and of course Dirt.

As you can see it's very early in the morning. I actually tried posting this earlier and was down! So I popped in HalfLife 2 and shot up some striders (wow!) to pass the time... Next thing I know it's 3am. Good night!

Turkey week already?

Man, time goes by fast. I can't believe it's already almost Thanksgiving... Seems like you close your eyes for one second and it's next year and your friends are having babies. Sheesh.

Rained again today. Nice desert rain where the air smells sweet with water and traces of dust... You'd have to have been in a desert rain to know what I mean. New York rain smelled like rotten damp fur. Not too pleasant.

On another note: Good things are finally falling into place with Crystal Reports. I've got a good architecture lined up and have been trying to nail down the actual calls out to CR for a whole week. Finally it caved in today and let me use Java to run a report that uses ADO.NET xml sources! Not exactly a complete breakthrough and still a few good months of work to go before the whole queue system and return sections are done, but at least there's some real progress being made.

On the HalfLife 2 front, I'm leading squads around and started catching my first glimpses of striders. I think I'm probably 3/4 of the way through already... Again, time goes by fast. bleh.

HL2 rocks!

Yawn. That's all I can say these last two mornings. Why? I don't have much game time during the day with work and all, so ever since picking up Half Life 2 Tuesday evening I've been pulling late nights busting up crabheads. Let me just say, it's definitely worth the tired mornings. The graphics are very good, especially the reflections, glass effects, water, etc. But what makes it stand out is the high degree of interaction the world provides. Practically everything can be moved, thrown around, busted up, etc. I was very shocked, for example, to beat a metal pipe in one hallway with my crowbar and instead of just a "ding" texture being applied there, they used bumpmapping to show slight dents in the pipe. Or busting up wood planks and throwing the scraps into a fire to watch them burn into smaller chunks in the flames. Very nice.

The enemies are really smart, puzzles are solved by interacting with objects (like counterbalancing your weight on an improvised seesaw using bricks laying around the area so you can reach a higher area) and the npcs are very expressive. I love the air bike.

I haven't tried out the Multiplayer part of the game, so I'll get back about that sometime. Definitely a great game though.

Mac support in jME

Late last week, elias of the lwjgl project announced beta support for Mac. A couple of evenings later I'm happy to say that I've been able to fix a few bugs and get Mac support into jME as well. There's only a couple gotchas... One, you have to use a custom lwjgl.jar from elias for now, and two, there's no pbuffer support yet, so impostors, render to texture and so forth are not available. Unfortunately that means the game I'm doing with my good friend David aka Graum (stalled now for several months) will not run on Macs still because it uses render to texture.

Also, late last week I added customizable LensFlares to jME. Be sure to give those a whirl.

What's next in jME for me? Well, with my day being filled with CR development for now I have only evenings to work on things. I've promised a Cloth implementation so I'll pick that up next unless Mark has other things in mind. You may have noticed he mentioned a simple game on his blog... Looking forward to working on that as well.

Long week

Does anyone know anything about Crystal Reports? I had a neat plan all laid out for integrating this financial software package with Crystal and it seems they hamstring you in a couple places. If you know CR and it's XML abilities, give me a shout.

It's been a long week. Was sick for several days and the weather's been wacky. This CR thing has been annoying the heck out of me the whole time too. The only real highlight was playing trains with my son (which was a lot of fun.)

Had a good day today though. At church we had a very inspirational message from an apostle. Spent much of the rest of the day with family and friends. Hope that foreshadows how the rest of this week will be!

Aaron and the Door

My son has recently begun unlocking and walking out the front door when we aren't looking. Obviously we were more than a little concerned, so on a trip to Target I happened to spot a brass door chain (you know, the kind where you have the chain connected to the door frame and a sliding channel on the door.) I picked that up for about $8-10 and installed it last week. The next time he tried to open the door, the chain of course kicked in after about 3 inches or so... Jeni and I celebrated. :) Unfortunately, about 3 minutes later we hear the door opening chime (love that feature) and look in the front room to see him with the door wide open. How'd he do it? He dragged the piano bench over to the front door, climbed up and unlatched the chain. I have no idea how he figured that out... He's not even 3 years old yet!

I can see now that we're in trouble. O.o

A look back

A little update on things.

Work - Still in waiting mode. Hopefully this week will bring the start to my next development project, integrating Crystal Reports into the aforementioned financial app. As for most things, it's all a question of funding. I also found an open source Java reporting package that may be useful... if I can get my partners interested. Big names == reliability, so it's hard to present an open source alternative even if it is free and gives the same results.

ASU - They've accepted my CU composition classes so far... Still waiting to find out about my other classes. Now I just need to find my vaccination records and submit those to start registering for Spring classes.

jME - I've finished a first cut of Swing - actually AWT - integration with lwjgl through the jME framework. (They said it couldn't be done!) Right now I'm getting about 80 FPS with all of the time being spent in glReadPixel. Other cards will probably get less FPS, but the good news is that that rate should be fairly steady even with more complex scenes. Before releasing it into the wild, I still have a few more optimizations to add in (for example, only rendering once per Component paint) as well as some cleaning. Hopefully that can be finished soon.

Life - Nothing else real major. I've started going to the gym for an hour 2-3 times a week. Jeni and I have been watching the Stargate season 7 DVDs about 2 episodes per night and I've put a little more time into a few video games. We reseeded the lawn, did some household chores etc. Wee.

Happy Birthday

Today is my father's birthday! Happy Birthday, Dad! :)


familyAs promised, here's a pic of my family. That's Jeni on the left, our son Aaron (almost 3) in the middle and of course me on the right. We took pictures at a great park close to our home where they have a few lakes and a rideable train that circles about the whole park. And yes, it is green here in the desert. :)


Couple of updates:

ASU - Went over there again today to drop off my course descriptions from Columbia University. Boy were those hard to track down. The Arizona State Univeristy advisors assured me that all universities keep old bulletins in archive... well apparently that's all universities except Columbia. After phoning several departments, begging, and digging through old papers, I've managed to gather together enough documents to support all of my old classes. Hopefully it's enough to make ASU happy. Didn't think going back to school would be such a pain.

Work - As I mentioned before, I recently finished off version 2.1 of a major financial app. Now I'm in support mode only, which is really hurting financially (about a 40% cut in income on top of having to drop a really good programmer from my team.) Hopefully more work will come in that realm very soon or I'll have to start looking for more projects. (Who wants free time after all?)

jME - I've made some good progress on integrating Swing and jME. I've got a JMEComponent class that extends java.awt.Component. I'm hoping to finish that up without input handling this week.

Life - Other than the above, nothing else much is going on. We got a friend to take some pictures of our family at the park over the weekend. I'll probably post up something in the next week from that.