What a bloody week.

It seems the “United Servers Against Jed” had their annual meeting this week and decided to sacrifice one of themselves in protest. A database server decided to crash and burn which meant I spent a lot of overtime this week trying to get the damn thing up and running again. It took until Friday to actually get the server back on-line but I’m still working on the database recovery. Luckily it wasn’t the primary database but it’s still a pain in the arse.

Ironically enough, a few days before we’d put in an order for the new back-up storage solution which hopefully will stop this sort of thing happening again but I guessed USAJ heard about it and felt immediate action was required. So this weeks been nothing but late nights and coffee trying to fix servers so little attention to much else.

On a positive note, I slapped the Max SDK a bit and it’s now dancing to my tune. I sucessfully to the bone import sorted on the SMD importer and am happy to say everything is working as it should be. Current status is that it will import meshes, uv-coords and textures and the reference bose pose so far. Next stage is to glue the mesh to the bones with the weighting and then tackle animation.

Since the end of February things have been absolutely crazy around here to the point I’ve forgotten which was is up a few times. The word “busy” doesn’t adequately describe it.

I’ve been frantically working on a new project at work involving trying to re-build a web application platfom on newer hardware and with more recent software. It’s Java based (not my area of expertise) and involves moving from a very old version of NetBSD to Linux and in the process upgrading the Java VM, Apache, Tomcat and Cocoon. Sadly the old system doesn’t come with a lot of documentation and finding the source code has been tricky at times so theres been a lot of frustration. Of course the fact I only get to work on it part time isn’t helping much.

Evenings have pretty much been taken up with work on Ham and Jam and we’ve had a massive surge of development this month. John noted that this month has seen the
largest volume of commits to our SVN repository since the project began. We recently re-organised our team structure and things have definately improved and I’m really proud of what the teams achieved this month. Thanks to our Wiki and bug-tracking system development has got much more streamlined.

Regarding this blog entry’s title, I came across it on a story at Fox news. In the tired, stress addled state of my mind, it almost describes the Ham and Jam development process at times. 😀

Other stuff. I’ve been getting a lot of e-mail regarding some my other projects so I thought I’d address them here.

The 3DS Max SMD import plug-in has been put to one side for a while so that I can get some fairly important stuff done on Ham and Jam. With the project having this much momentum at the moment, it would be foolish not to take full advantage of it. That said, the SMD importer isn’t “abandoned” and I fully intend to get back into it in a week or so. As for a when it will be finished, that depends on how development goes.

I’ve also been asked about making my VTF tools 7.4 format compatible. The answer is yes, I fully intend to support 7.4 format and in fact I have versions sat on my hard disk now that do. There has been a slight hiccup though that I’m currently not able to fix in that Nem, who maintains the VTFLib library that my tools use, has sort of “vanished” into thin air. He sent me a pre-release of the next VTFLib update with 7.4 support but then disappeared and all attempts to contact him have failed.

I could release my tools with the version of the library he sent me, but apart from the risk of version “clash” of the DLLs, I’d rather not do it out of respect for Nem and the work he does. Nem, if you’re out there man get in touch just to let me know you’re O.K.

Lastly I got asked about making my GUIStudioMDL2 compiler compatible with the Orange Box SDK beta. The answer is no, i’m not planning to. I only support official “releases” of their toolchain as it’s too much work trying to update my tools to work with something that Valve themselves are constantly changing.

Well it’s time for TPS reports, meetings with the Bobs’ and probably several cases of “The Mondays”.

I’m finally back at work after taking a time-out to recouperate after three long and exhausting years working on the same project. I had never felt so burnt-out in my life and so, on my doctor’s advice, took a break to get my head straight. In an effort to ease myself back in I’m working part time for a while before I kick into full code monkey mode.

There’s been some BIG changes since I was away – namely that my department of about 11 people was sold outright to a much larger IT consultancy firm so instead of just a bunch of us stuck in one corner of a small office we are now a bunch stuck in a corner of some huge cavern of a office building, complete with glass ceilings, glass lifts, pass cards (with an ID photo that makes me look like a hobo) and oddly shaped pieces of “art” all over reception.

Sadly I won’t be working on anything computer game related – a year of interviews and rejection from game companies I’ve come to the conclusion that it’ll just have to stay as an unpaid hobby. So it’s back to coding for the Intarweb again.

Work will continue on my various tools and utilities though.

Sep. 29, 2007 @ 15:47

The past 3 months have been really stressful due to some changes with my job and the need to actually find some paid work to do. Not a lot has been happening, it’s been a struggle with a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of stress. So on the advice of my doctor, I took a short break and came back to England to visit my family.

A week in, I’ve had a phone call asking me if I’d consider working in Sheffield as a network programmer for a “NextGen” (I hate that phrase) game and asked to peruse a game concept and take part in a conference call with Intel to give my expert opinion. Yeah, Intel….

Why doesn’t this happen when I’m home and available instead of out in the boonies of England in a communications blackhole? Gah!