Goodbye for now.Sun, April 8th, 2012 @ 13:59

Once again it’s been over half a year since I last posted anything here so I figured I should bring people up-to-date.

A lots happened over the past six months both professional and privately and as a result I’ve been pulled further and further away from game modding and programming.

In short I finally freed myself from a job I’ve been doing for almost ten years and have started working for a large multinational internet company. It’s big boy stuff and it’s a lot of responsibility and taking a lot of my time and energy. Sadly it’s not the game industry job that I’ve wanted since I was twelve but hey, thems the breaks life gives you.

Coupled with that I’ve found myself becoming more and more disillusioned with modding, specifically the Source Engine which had so much promise but just seem to of fallen flat on it’s face. Valve fan-boy that I am I’ve stuck with it but there comes a point when you look at things like CryEngine and UDK and you wonder why the hell you keep banging your head against the wall with the Source SDK. I could rant for hours about it but that’s just a waste of energy at this point.

I’ve also been forced to “kill my darling” by making the tough decision to step down as team lead on Ham and Jam and cease all involvement in the project. Ham and Jam is still going – I think – as I handed it over to the few of the team left. This was probably the hardest thing to do as it represents four years of work and £6000 out of my own pocket invested and was so close to completion. That said, it taught me a lot about how NOT to develop a game and also sadly a lot about being careful who to trust and who to let be part of your project…

So in conclusion a lot of changes and a lot of tough decisions I’ve had to face including the one to stop doing anything with my tools and plug-ins for the foreseeable future. I’m not saying I’ll never pick them up again at a later point, I just don’t know if or when that might be. What little free time I have right now is just too valuable to spend working on something I’ve lost the motivation and passion for. I’ll leave my site up, just don’t expect any updates for a while.

In the meantime I’m sure Canonfodder will keep you provided with Max plug-ins and I heartily recommend you check out and support the work Shawn Olson is doing with Wallworm which has replaced and in some cases exceeded the ability of much of my work.

Until anon, Jed

VTF Shell extensions update – VTF 7.5 supportMon, September 12th, 2011 @ 22:33

I had a bit of free time so I managed to do a quick update of the Windows Shell Extensions, specifically to add support for version 7.5 VTF files.

There aren’t many big changes but as part of an update/clean-up of the code I’ve re-written the Windows Vista/7 thumbnail extension to use the new API that came with those versions. Several people told me that they also run on Windows 2008R2 so I’ve now officially added support for Windows 7 and 2008R2 to the installer. I’ve also changed the version number to 1.7.5 to reflect the version of VTF that it supports.

There are still a few 7.5 version files that it can’t create thumbnails for but it seems that is down to a problem with VTFLib more than with the shell extensions themselves.

IMPORTANT: Please un-install any older version of the extensions you have installed first before installing these. There have been some changes to filenames and trying to install this on top of an older version will cause conflicts. The installer should detect and warn you about an older version but for your own sake, un-install the old version first. You can do this from the control panel under “Add/Remove Programs” or “UnInstall a Program”.

One final note. For Vista/7 you also need to install the Visual Studio 2008 SP1 runtime pack. Links for this are given with the extensions download link. I could of included these in the installer but it would of been a 11Mb download instead of 0.5Mb. :/

3ds Max 2012 plug-ins released.Sun, August 14th, 2011 @ 17:40

Finally…

I’ve updated all of my plug-ins to include support from 3DS Max 2012 now. The VTF importer now also supports version 7.5 VTF files. I know a lot of people wanted them and I apologise for the delay. Real life gets in the way sometimes and takes priority.

I’ve tested them as thoroughly as I can but if you do find any bugs let me know. Remember to tell me how to recreate the issue you’re having and if possible send me the file that is causing the problem. No, I’m not going to steal your models – yes some people are that paranoid.

One final note – I’ve now officially dropped support for Max versions less then 9. Keeping a separate build environment going for that was pointless as it’s so old so I’m afraid no VTF importer for older versions of Max.

I haven’t added any new features this time around, but I have a few in the pipeline so keep watching this space. For now, just re-download the ZIP file which will have the 2012 included in it.

Quick update about Max 2012 plug-ins, et cetera.Fri, July 15th, 2011 @ 21:18

I’ve had a lot of e-mail and comments here on the blog about updating my 3DS Max SMD and VTF plug-ins to Max 2012 so I thought I should give you a quick up date. It nothing else it might stop some of the hate mail I’ve actually got over it. Seriously, to quote Wil Wheaton, “Don’t be a dick” – I do this in my free time and share it with you for free.

For anyone who has upgraded to 2012 I hope you kept 2011 installed as well and haven’t saved over your source files. The first release of 2012 is buggy as hell and if you don’t believe me, just check out the list of fixes for Service Pack 1. I seriously pity anyone who dived in with both feet. Even with SP1 people are still having problems, I know Shawn Olson (writer of the Wallworm Model Tools) has been pulling his hair out with the CAT animation system.

Anyway, several of the bugs in the first release directly affected my plug-ins. Some might ask why Canonfodder’s tools weren’t affected – well I’ve never seen his code but I’m guessing I use a different area of the 3DS Max API so he got lucky in that respect. I had a lot of problems with the SMD exporter crashing mysteriously and the importer failing to create anything at all.

So without much here ado, here’s where we are.

  • SMD Exporter – Recompiled against Max 2012 SP1 SDK. A few quick test exports seem to be O.K. but I’ve sent it to a few trusted friends to test it more thoroughly. If no big bugs manifest themselves it can go out.
  • SMD Exporter – Recompiled against Max 2012 SP1 SDK. A few quick test exports seem to be O.K.
  • VTA Exporter – I haven’t had a chance to re-compile it yet but there’s a couple of features that I want to add to it. Autodesk say the method I use to interact with the Morpher modifier is now depreciated and I shouldn’t use it, but the new one is a sample/use-at-your-own-risk. Nice. Thanks for that you $#!”#”%&/!’s
  • VTF Importer – The plug-in uses VTFLib and the latest version on Nems’s website doesn’t seem to support the new 7.5 format. I’ve made my own version that supports it but I’m a bit worried about causing conflicts if Nem does update soon.

Other stuff…

  • VTFShell Extensions – For Windows Vista/7 I’ve re-written the extension for scratch using the new IThumbnailProvider API interface. Much more proper, much more slick. Needs some refinement and it can go out for testing. Need to resolve the issue of VTFLib not supporting 7.5 yet though.

So please, bear with me. If anyone wants to help me test then drop me an e-mail but keep in mind you’ll be getting possibly buggy, pre-production quality code and I can’t guarantee it won’t destroy your house and everything within a 20km radius.

Loot!Wed, May 18th, 2011 @ 14:51

A bit weird this but since I got back from Italy game companies have been throwing a lot of free stuff my way. First up was Valve with a complimentary copy of Portal 2 on my Steam account followed up by a FedEx box from the US containing Steam/Valve branded key lanyards, t-shirt, hoodie and a bunch of Portal 2 posters. Thanks guys!

But yesterday was a real surprise. I got an email from Xbox support telling me that my MW2 edition XBox360 elite *may* have a problem caused by a recent software update pushed out via Xbox Live. Apparently it makes a number of titles unplayable and there’s no work around.

To be honest, I haven’t had much of a chance to use my Xbox since I got home (Still need to get a couple of achievements on New Vegas and Flashpoint:Red River is still sealed) so I hadn’t noticed any problems. Still Microsoft has decided that just in case they will send me a brand new XBox 360 Slim + 250Gb HDD + 1 year of Xbox live membership for the trouble. Bloody hell!

I was a bit sceptical when I got the e-mail and thought it was a scam and called them up but it’s legit and totally free.