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re:fritos

Although I never saw myself releasing anything again in the demoscene I just did a fast demo for euskal party 15, which was held past week end in Barakaldo (Spain). For the first time in their history, they allowed remote entries and although I completely missed the deadline (I thought the party was one week later), ps helped me to deliver the demo to the organizers, so it was all good. I think they even used his shiny macbook pro for playing mac demos so he was very kind. Massive loads of thanks to ps!!!

Everything went more or less smoothly while assembling the code I had here and there and adding some extra layers, more colors (a lot of them!), etc. Occasionally some effect disappeared, because some effect which was executing before forgot to deactivate or to set something back to the state in which it was before, this happened a lot with certain image which I will refer again to in a few lines. It reminded me why I didn’t want to continue extending this notengine after breakpoint 06.

Conceptually the idea is right but the implementation, even if it’s better than what I had done before, is still lacking some things and has too much redundant stuff. But I’m happy to be able to spot that now – that means I’m improving my developing skills and that can’t be anything else than good. The interesting thing is that I hadn’t done any C++ programming for a long while, but even though I was quickly identifying the flaws here and there and thinking of a better way for doing certain stuff which doesn’t feel right, so it looks like learning a bunch of languages ultimately converts you in the Universal Compiler!

This mental agility manifested itself at its most when I tried to execute the demo in my intel mac and found to my horror that it was complaining about the sound not having been initialized. I thought it could be because of having created a universal binary, because that was the only difference between this demo and the previous ones that I tested a couple of months ago when I got the computer.

It seems that some of the latest Mac OS X updates prevent FMOD from being able to create a sound context, and that’s why it didn’t work in the intel machine. So I downloaded the latest version of FMOD, which used CoreAudio instead of the other whatever which was using before, and tried to implement it.

First annoyance: you can’t compile fmod statically into your exe anymore. That’s a pity, since I had began to truly appreciate the fact that the mac version of my demos was just one file with everything inside it and it was the windows version the one which went with an additional dll. But anyway, there we go with that ugly .dylib in the same directory than the exe is.

Then I had to update my audio wrapper so that it could work with the new FMODEx api. While I agree it is more meaningful and intuitive than the previous api, you can’t convince me easily when it’s 1 hour for the deadline! :-)

But anyway, I did it. Don’t know how! I think it’s my ninja coding skillz ;-)

I delivered the demo and had a coffee, relaxed, waited. And took the opportunity for saying sorry to mad, like twenty or thirty times. Why? Because I took a picture of him in an obscene mood and modified it with my wacom tablet to look like someone else, and now I was feeling a bit bad about that.

One image is worth one thousand words, so two images are worth two thousand words:

before after

On monday, I decided to make a windows port, but using mingw instead of visualc for compiling. The first thing I tried was to create a makefile by myself, but given that I have never created one from scratch, it was disastrous. Enter devcpp, it helped me creating the project, setting the libraries and finally creating the makefile.

I tried to use the same makefile as a base for compiling in linux but that was really disastrous. I spent like two hours installing packages and updates in trace’s ubuntu powered laptop (and enjoying all those nice interface effects when dragging a window!), trying to get code::blocks to work, the makefile to work or just creating a simple empty project in Kdevelop, and didn’t manage to do anything! So I finally gave up and left it for the future.

If you want to have a look… just download the demo from here and leave some nice words in here

Oh and some relatively interesting anecdotal facts:

  • the name of the demo is kind of slang for rerererererererecycling in Spanish, since most of the effects and stuff here are rererererecycled :D
  • the song is a remix of 10 years ago which happens to be an old song of mine. I did this version because xphere (from zona neutra) asked me for a song which he would use in an ifparty05 invitation but it finally never materialized, and I really liked the version. It was a pity to let it languish in a forgotten folder.
  • it ended up in 5th position, which is an improvement compared to last time ppg presented something in euskal (where we ended 7th). Although that time it was 14 demos in the compo and now it was 9 so it’s not an improvement – it should have ended 3rd or 4th to be in the middle again, but I really didn’t want it to happen!

I think that’s all, if I happen to remember something else I’ll update this post.

Wiitomidi doesn't work :-(

Finally got some time to give a go to Wiitomidi

The project looks fantastic but for some strange reason it simply doesn’t work properly in my computers. I first tried it on my powerbook, and even if it connected the first time, it suddenly disconnected and there was no way of making the Wiimote connect again with the laptop.

Then I thought: maybe it has something to do with this being a power pc computer, let’s try on the intel one. So I tried on my shiny mini (sponsored by mrdoob) and while it connected faster and I even managed to do a couple of movements and see how reason’s knobs were twisting and rotating, it suddenly stopped working, just as it did on the g4.

Trying to completely turn off the wiimote by pressing the power button, for starting again, wasn’t a good idea, since it invited the Wii console itself to turn on — even if it’s like 6 meters away.

This has shown me something that I didn’t expect: the distance which bluetooth devices can reach is far more than what I thought was possible. So if the wiimote can turn on the console which is so far away, then I don’t know why the wiimote is disconnecting from the computer.

I’ll maybe wait for another release of wiitomidi, I suppose…

One eye grey is actually very good

If you read my previous post you may be still wondering what did I do. I finally ordered the pack online and two days after got the books delivered to my door. I began reading the first volume yesterday (on the tube, as the instructions specified).

It is very enjoyable and has everything someone like me likes: references to places in London, references as to how the places were some years before, mystery and a bit of horror. I still haven’t gone past the first story but it has almost made me forget I was in the tube and had to alight in the next station!

Highly recommended.

One eye grey: contemporary London horror stories

I am an avid reader of horror stories. Don’t ask me why but I like when the writers manage to build a tense atmosphere, piece by piece and suddenly AAAAHH!!!!!! they break it! and you get a chill going up your spine. Bram Stoker is a master in this. Speaking of whom, his Dracula’s Guest short stories collection is an excellent example, and very good for travelling in the tube. I downloaded it from Project Gutenberg and put it into my ipod for reading during my daily commute (really!).

Now I just found about something called One eye grey which is described as tales of folklore and horror stories from another London and also a collaborative effort bringing together people who fancied creating something chilling and pocket sized to read on the tube. It can’t be better!

I’m unsure about visiting a bookshop for having a look or buying them directly online. If I go to the shop I’ll probably end up with a couple more of books and I still have a lot more to read!

I’m hopeless with books :-)

Note: found it via the excellent Londonist

Distances and directions

Next September it will be three years since I moved to London, and I still get a bit confused when I look at a London map :-D

I used to live at places where you either lived above or below the river, and saying I live above the river was the same as saying you’re place is below mine. But with all the curves and near loops the Thames describes, it’s impossible to absolutely determine if a given location is where you expect it to be.

Add to it some big parks in the middle, a couple of motorway like lanes which can’t be crossed unless you’re riding some kind of vehicle (like that horribly unpleasant Euston Road) and street layouts trying to avoid any square angle at all the times and you have a very confused me in the scene.

And what apparently looks like far away is actually quite near, such as Camden and Baker Street, yet one thinks of Camden as being way up north, but its prefix is simply NW1. Kilburn looks nearer, but its even more up north than Camden. Notting Hill looks nearer as well but it’s farther than you would expect; Bayswater road linearity is very misleading and what takes 4 minutes in a bus may take you 20 minutes of good, fast paced walking. Marble Arch and Lancaster Gate are left behind and you’re sweating and feeling the strong smell of Hyde Park’s recently cut grass deep inside your nose, and can’t see the moment when you reach Notting Hill Gate.

Even more, once you get used to non-linear streets and avenues, it somehow feels disturbing to be walking for a long time in a straight line, such as Whitehall. How come we are walking more than 25 meters without a single turn either left or right?, one wonders. Big straight avenues such as Vauxhall Bridge Road seem suspiciously European and mainstream, pretty much like taken out of context. And instead of walking all the way up Victoria Street, with its gray and boring institutional buildings, one ends up finding an alternative and erratic path in the side streets with its arch-describing shapes, intersecting one with another, which might be slower but be more entertaining.