Friday, June 08, 2007

Back from vacation

I haven't posted to this blog in a long time, mainly because I didn't have anything to say and I didn't think that anyone would be interested in the things I didn't say either.
However, I'll try to rekindle the blogging flame by posting more about my work on the Ember project. I feel that it would be nice to have a record of the development process, mainly for myself. So...

I'm currently preparing an Ember 0.5.0 release. The main reason for the jump from 0.4.3 is that I'm now using Ogre 1.4 and CEGUI 0.5.0. Mainly the latter includes some main improvements.

Apart from those upgrades, I've been focusing heavily on creating intuitive authoring widgets. Ember, and indeed the whole Worldforge project, has been lacking good authoring tools. Currently, if you want to set up your own world, you need to hack the python and xml files of cyphesis by hand. And then there's no easy way to alter existing entities. Sure, there's the cycmd tool which allows for console type editing, but that's not really a smooth experience.
Thus I've now incorporated a new framework for editing entities into Ember. It's using adapter classes to bridge between CEGUI and Eris, with Ember handling the connections. I would really have wanted to go MVC all out, but there are some things in CEGUI that prevent that. Instead I've tried to take it far enough.
One problematic area has been to properly divide the structure into C++ and Lua code. The former is much more powerful, and adds compile time checks, while the latter is more dynamic and allows for run time editing. The overarching idea is that all layout related code should be handled by Lua, while most of the other logic should be handled by C++. I think I've succeeded in part, but there are still some rough edges. And it's never a clear cut case where some part of the functionality should go.

Yesterday I needed to take a break away from the work on the editor (mainly to get my bearings on where the code is heading) and work on some smaller issues. One of the things that have been bugging me for some time is that wielded entities aren't correctly aligned. This is because the hand bone to which wielded entities are attached to isn't really meant to be used for attaching entities, and thus attached entities needs to be adjusted for that. I've planned to add a rotation adjustment setting to the modeldef xml format for some time, but I never had the time. I was also hoping that this would be one of those things that would be excellent as an introductory task for a new developer. But sad to say so far no new developers have contributed anything to the project. It's been a one man show since it's start, with the exception of some greatly appreciated help from Hagen with the console.
So yesterday I finally took care of this issue. It's now possible to specify the rotation needed to get a wielded entity to align properly. The only thing that's missing now is an easy way to edit this in the ModelEditor.
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