Revolution, Part 2: BioReplicant Animation

I promised this a long time ago, and here it is. I prefer to let the video speak for itself. This is a demo from January, so it’s actually a much older iteration of what we’ve got now.
P.S. Of course I delete negative comments. It’s my damn blog!

UPDATE: The video has been pulled for a while until we get a new one that better reflects the state of the technology.

Our iPhone/iPod Touch game is out!


I’ll concede it doesn’t look like much, but honestly, the game is really addictive and fun. And it’s a dollar.

One of the technologies in this is the binaural audio system that I discussed earlier. On the above page, there’s a linked video — put on headphones and watch it. You’ll get the point very quickly. It’s even better in-game than in the video, was my experience.

There’s also the animation system, which is not really shown off that well here, but it’s procedurally constructed, like NaturalMotion (but better, we believe). At no point were any animations build in a modeler. It’s all done dynamically using relatively simple rules. The future games will leverage this tech more heavily, but at least as developers I think you can appreciate how awesome that is. The flying, the hits — it’s all physics based.

Did I mention it’s a dollar? Try it out. And if you do try it out, please take the time to write an honest (and hopefully positive!) review. It’ll go a long way for us if you do.

SlimTune Profiler Update

You may have noticed that the profiler’s development is completely frozen. No this isn’t an accident, and no it’s not discontinued or finished. I’ve got so much in store for it. The problem is that when I get into my projects, I get really immersed. Keeping up the pace on SlimTune basically meant SlimDX’s August release would never get done; I’m obsessive like that. So I made a conscious decision to freeze SlimTune until the next SlimDX release was out. (Also classes were starting.) That freeze was only supposed to last two weeks or so.

And if you keep track of what’s happening in the DirectX world, you can guess that I’ve been screwed over pretty solidly on that one. I’m not sure when I’ll actually be able to get moving on SlimDX, so I may as well bring SlimTune back to active development. Initially, I had intended to discontinue the 0.1 release series and step to 0.2, which was going to provide more profiler modes. However I got some good feedback on the 0.1.5 release that I’d like to incorporate a release, so I’ll start by putting out a 0.1.6 that will basically clean up a few bugs and inconveniences in the current release.

As for the 0.2 release series, let’s see what happens. Instrumentation is actually pretty close to ready, so maybe I’ll get that out the door and throw in some other support functionality too. There’s some prototyping happening with regards to support for native code as well, so who knows. Maybe there will be an initial implementation of that available, too. I’ve got a lot more invested in this project than I think anyone realizes. Don’t think I’ve given up.

P.S. Last I heard, the DirectX SDK was going to be released last Friday. So I have no earthly idea what’s going on.
LATE BREAKING NEWS! August 09 DX SDK is out!

My Fender Stratocaster

Okay, so it’s been a long while since I had an entry, and this time we’ll actually step away from technical matters to a different passion of mine — guitars. I’ve owned several, but the subject of today’s talk is my beloved Fender.
Fender Strat Body

I bought this thing in 2007, after deciding that I really wanted to get back into playing guitar. I got it brand new from Guitar Center online; it’s a Fender Standard Stratocaster, which is a Mexican made model. This particular one is a “Fender Special Run”, FSR for short. It had the HSS pickup layout with hot pickups, a turned aluminum pickguard (that pattern is etched), black painted headstock, and a single piece maple neck + fretboard. In short, it started out in life as a rather unique guitar to begin with.

As with most of my things, I couldn’t bear to leave it stock for very long. The electronics are completely redone, and it has new GraphTech String Saver saddles instead of the original junk that Fender provides. It has strap locks as well — they’re the ever-popular Dunlops. It’s due for a new tremolo unit and nut, maybe even tuners. That stuff will have to wait until I have money again though. In the meantime, let’s look at what’s under the hood…

I went through a lot of possibilities for the pickups, but finally settled on BG Pups. They are handwound, and the guy who makes them is active on the Harmony Central forums, and he’s always eager to make adjustments to the pickups to suit each individual. Not only are the prices good, but he actually gives forum members a discount. So I talked to him and settled on a pair of hot wound Vintage 60 pickups, without the stagger, for my neck and middle pickups. For the bridge, we picked a Hellabucker. All of the pickups are AlNiCo 5, and both coils of the humbucker are magnets. I was actually trying to emulate the sound of the stock neck pickup that Fender had, but without the suck. These did a beautiful job of that. The bridge was basically meant to be as hellishly aggressive as possible without sacrificing tone; that, too, is handled amazingly well. Listen to the clips on the site if you’re not convinced.

The electrical setup is a bit more complex as well. I chose to use 250K tone pots and a 500K volume pot. That gives me a rather bright sound with everything turned up, and a LOT of range to back things off. (The volume pot is dramatically different between even 10 and 8.) I also wired the bottom tone control to the bridge instead of the middle pickup. The volume pot is a push pull that engages a coil split in the Hellabucker. The Hellabucker’s been wound so that each individual coil is about as strong as a Vintage 60; I get a pretty good Stratocaster sound out of it, though not quite the same of course. It’s a little beefy, thanks to the setup of the Hellabucker, and that suits me just fine.

I absolutely love the sounds this thing gives me, and it’s also got an amazing ability to produce a good fascimile of almost any sound. (Except it doesn’t do a great job of pretending to have a neck humbucker, sadly.) The unconventional electronics setup is a big part of that; I’ve deliberately dialed in a ton of treble, and I use the tone knobs and my amp to keep that in check. Still, it’s not a mellow guitar by any stretch. And that’s how I like my guitars.