Friday I was composing some object shaders and integrated them into the project. At some point we realized that under-water objects where reflected as they were above the water although I was using clipping panes. I thought I screwed up something but an idea made me check everything without the shaders and I found the trouble maker: the default shader of virtools is setting ClipPlaneEnable to zero! 


After the initial shock, I thought: interesting, can it entirely be setup and used inside the HLSL technique definitions? Soon I dropped that idea, because I would have to do technique-switching and that requires manual bookkeeping as Virtools offers no help with that. So how could I get back my correct reflections?

I thought about an old workaround I did somewhen in end 2006 or early 2007 but for this scenario it wouldn't work. This time I really would need some kind of "texkill" instruction that I did not found back then. And you know what? The HLSL counterpart is


Probably you all already know about that, but for me it's my new best "HLSL  friend"! :)

All fine now 8)

(Btw. in regards to the default shader, it might be a better idea to omit that state overwrite. Don't know how this is helpful in the way it is right now. )

Maybe you already saw the plenty of ads everywhere about GarageGame's new gaming portal called InstantAction. I think it's very well done. Most of the site is HTML – only some areas do require flash and of course the games are using an extra plugin. Installation of that plugin in firefox was very smooth – very nice with pictures for each step. The website design is trendy and makes it already stand apart, but also the fact that you can quickly play multiplayer 3d games in your browser – after registration and installation of the plug-in.

On the negative side I found, that after downloading a new game, the process does often hang. Leaving and rejoining the game fixes it. I also had to give internet-connection rights to each game separately. In addition to that, in the lobby you don't see ping times thus lag or disconnection might occur often in some matches. If you want to try it yourself, I'll suggest "Marble Blast" or "Think Thanks". The others are less interesting. A Tribes-Like title is announced called: Fallen Empire Legions.

Lobby area of Marble Blast Marble Blast Online Think Tanks

The announced title Fallen Empire Legions

As we are talking of GarageGames, there is maybe something else interesting especially in regards to the topic of one of my recent postings. They have a 2D-Game Authoring environment called TorqueX Builder. It's layered upon their for their new XNA based engine called TorqueX. They now announced that they added 3D support on the engine level – the editor will be 3D enabled in the future. TorqueX allows deployment on Windows and Xbox360.

TorqueX Builder for 2D XNA games 3D with TorqueX

Maybe you know Matthew. He was a very active Virtools user for many years and also published some casual games using it. Roughly a year ago he started to use Unity (for diverse reasons) and ported 'I hate clowns'. Now he released a new game using Unity, called Splume. It's a color-match game with a springy physics aspect.

Splume by Flashbang Studios

While  having a short look at it, I see some usability problems – it's a bit off-topic as it's partly due the Unity webplayer

  • I can't see a quick way to mute audio
  • it tracks mouse clicks outside the window or even when I am in another browser TAB
  • I can't pause the game or even better the Unity player. Thus it takes resources while I am at other web pages
  • where do I adjust fullscreen resolution and AA?

Today I found a newsletter from GameSpot announcing a World Premiere:

 Visit GameSpot on Friday and be the first to download the DarkStar One demo

The thing is, it’s already on my hard disk and I already played through the story part of the demo. After checking two sites and running the game once again, it got clear to me: I have the german version, downloaded from a german site. So its probally the world premiere for the english version – but that’s not mentioned. Wink

About the game: if you like games like Elite, Free Space and Freelance then you can download it and give it a try. I liked it. It’s very colorful which one may like or not but at least it stands apart from other products like EVE online (very beautiful)

Dark Star One Demo - Battle  Dark Star One Demo - Inside an asteroid