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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Making of Ergon 4K PC Intro

You are not going to discover any fantastic trick here, the intro itself is not an outstanding coding performance, but I always enjoy reading the making of other intros, so It's time to take some time to put this on a paper!

What is Ergon? It's a small 4k intro (meaning 4096 byte executable) that was released at the 2010 Breakpoint demoparty (if you can't run it on your hardware, you can still watch it on youtube), which surprisingly was able to finish to the 3rd place! I did the coding, design and worked also on the music with my friend ulrick.

That was a great experience even if I didn't expect to work on this production at the beginning of the year... but at the end of January, when BP2010 was announced and supposed to be the last one, I was motivated to go there, and why not, release a 4k intro! One month and a half later, the demo was almost ready... wow, 3 weeks before the party, first time to finish something so ahead an event! But yep, I was able to work on it on part time during the week (and the night of course)... But when I started on it, I had no idea where this project would bring me to... or even what kind of 3D API I had to start from doing this intro!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Import and Export 3D Collada files with C#/.NET

Looking at what kind of 3D file format I could work with, I know that Collada is a well established format, supported by several 3D modeling tools, with a public specification and a XML/Schema grammar description, very versatile - and thus very verbose. For the last years, I saw a couple of articles on, for example, "how to import them in the XNA content pipeline" or about Skinning Animation with Collada and XNA, with some brute force code, using DOM or XPath to navigate around the Collada elements.

Now, looking at the opportunity to use this format and to build a small 3D demo framework in C# around SlimDx, I tried to find a full implementation of a Collada loader, derived from the xsd official specification... but was disappointed to learn that most of the attempts failed to use the specification with an automatic tool like xsd.exe from Microsoft. If you don't know what's xsd.exe, It's simply a tool to work with XML schemas, generate schemas from a DLL assembly, generate C# classes from a xsd schema...etc, very useful when you want to use directly from the code an object model described in xsd. I will explain later why this is more convenient to use it, and what you can do with it that you cannot achieve with the same efficiency compare to raw DOM/Xpath access.

I had already used xsd tool in the past for NRenoiseTools project and found it quite powerful and simple, and was finally quite happy with it... But why the Collada xsd was not working with this tool?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Democoding, tools coding and coding scattering

Not so much post here for a while... So I'm going to just recap some of the coding work I have done so far... you will notice that It's going in lots of direction, depending on opportunities, ideas, sometimes not related to democoding at all... not really ideal when you want to release something! ;)

So, here are some directions I have been working so far...