Monday, June 29, 2009

Beware softonic scam.

I generally like to read reviews of my software. Reviews, critique, and user comments often provide important insights on the game, and I always look for the bug reports.

Today I found something unexpected tho. A 'positive' review where reviewer ('Softonic') tries to sell 'fast, virus free' download of polynomial::preview free. Without my permission. Wow. I found it flattering in a way, but not amusing. Others did, too.
Softonic offers 'free download' link, but how! With an non-apparent extra delay script[as to make 'slow download' indeed slow], they show a hotlink to a zip archive hosted by me. No permission was ever given to do any of that. And of course, softonic is a rather successful business (multimillion) from what I can see.
[if you want to see this crap, search for 'polynomial demo' in google. By the way, many other top finds neglect to link my website. This is no good. Those sites are also most likely to be linked. PageRank has severe problem in that PageRank itself influences it's input, creating a feedback loop]

edit: shortened to fit the blog style.

Page update.

Quoted some reviews from major gaming sites here. Thanks to everyone for reviewing it!
Also, there is a bit of problem with google analytics. Referring links strip parameters, so I can't access some of the reviews normally. I'll try to get them from access log.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bugfix update.

The downloads have been updated.

Update contains mostly fixes and workarounds for crashes on old cards. It should display message blaming the card rather than crashing, and in some cases, even draw something nice at lower quality.
Other notable fix improves save image behaviour on some cards, and --nosound option for Arch Linux which got some weird sound issue for one of users.
Thanks to everyone who reported bugs!

So far, most of non-bugfix work is focussed on multi-player which doesn't work yet, and relevant features. I may add some single-player stuff sometime soon too, but I really would want to finish multi-player first - it seems there's more interest in multiplayer than in campaigns and other SP features. Furthermore it would make sense to design campaigns to prepare user for multiplayer.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


What I'm currently working on:

Bugfixes. There is always bugs on the first release, especially in the multi-platform software, and detection of such bugs is what preview is for.
Different graphics cards do things slightly differently as well. Some graphics cards are very old and have drivers that crash if game as much as sneezes in wrong direction. Of course, that all needs to be fixed - if a card cannot run the game, the game must gracefully display a 'card is too old' message, but it is surprisingly difficult to get right - it is even worse to show this message on cards which can run it.

Gameplay. That's it, campaigns, missions, attack/defend, online leaderboard, multiplayer.

In response to the critique of gameplay: At the moment, it is more of a game engine demo, and gameplay is necessarily classic and minimalist - that's also why it is called a 'preview', with emphasis on pre and view.
A lot of people like minimalist gameplay, a lot of people dislike it, and of course, when the game is finished it will include fancy missions&campaigns as well as minimalist option. I, personally, prefer retro-minimalism in games - Tetris style (or even codename MAT style), but I understand that preferences vary a lot.

Ahh, and as for thepiratebay. You're welcome to put the 'free' demo version here, if you want to. If you're hardcode fan, you can mislabel it as full to make a decoy, I don't mind (in fact I'd rather prefer if it takes more time to find torrent. It has not been pirated yet though so don't bother searching). Just don't put full here, when I add multiplayer, someone else would be using your on-line play token (embedded in the game) instead of you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Whee! Temporary forums for The Polynomial!

There you go
Feel free to report the bugs, ask questions, and otherwise chat.

Things are a little too hot at the moment to set up forums on my own website - I don't want to risk bringing anything down here, especially the sales system.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Updates, and some fun with google hot trends

The Polynomial: development goes on at usual pace. (That is to say it is progressing very quickly :-) ). I'm adding new gameplay features and working on online multiplayer, though multiplayer will take a while - it is very difficult to implement.
This doesn't make really cool screenshots yet. I'm planning on releasing a minor improvements update sometime soon, maybe end of the month - existing customers will have access to this update through "check updates" button. You can use "follow blog" thing on the right to be able to see updates easily.

I didn't build any new Stirling engine this weekend, and nothing broke in my computer, so no howtos.

Random Internet stuff:
Insanely huge starspot

Totally irrelevant Internet stuff:

I've been toying with google hot trends... there's a few trends of late:

Science vs religion - science is on decline:

IQ is on decline as well (haha):

Evil is rising, after decline:

I can't recall what was so horrible in mid 2008.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Replacing dead fan on video card.

A fan on my video card (NVidia 9800 GT, by Innovision) died in a curious way - it fails to start in one position, so that every restart was like a round of russian roulette. It finally began crashing from overheating during work on ThePolynomial.
I replaced it with 1.5€ case fan:

held in place with rubber bands cut from old bike inner tube. Card runs colder than ever, and, surprisingly, with less noise.
If you do this, keep old fan for warranty.
Other options were:
a: send for replacement and wait 2 weeks. Not an option.
b: upgrade to something badass like NVidia GeForce GTX 295. Hmm. No good for keeping my game's system requirements low.
c: buy third party heatsink for ~70€ and void the warranty, a very bad idea as the GPU did overheat when fan broke.

edit: Corrections. My card did not have any box around it that would prevent such fix without voiding the warranty. I always buy no-nonsense computer parts.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stirling engine.


It is a moving sculpture project built to raise eco awareness and stuff like that. (Well, it could be. In fact it was made out of boredom)

That's a really working low temperature difference Stirling engine built almost entirely from packaging trash - things that are manufactured just to be thrown away. No high tech trash (such as old hard drive parts). It is powered by cup of hot water underneath (the final version will be powered by the heat from lamp that is highlighting it).
Surprisingly, it spins at up to 120 RPM on fresh cup.
Low temperature difference Stirling engine has undeserved reputation of requiring expensive things such as nice bearings, graphite piston, and stuff like that.

How Stirling engine works: There is a plate in chamber. When the plate is high, air is in contact with bottom lid, which is hot. Air expands, pushing the membrane, turning the shaft, and moving the plate down. When plate is low, air is in contact with top lid, which is colder. Air contracts, pulling the membrane, and turning the shaft. See more info at


Top and bottom plates: can lids.
Piston: I used rubber membrane from broken gas heater. On second thought, should have used polyethylene from food packaging.
Chamber wall: cut from some plastic can.
Displacer: cut from styrofoam tray.

Rods, axis, and other mechanics: paperclips, 8 paperclips total.
Rubber tube: I only needed it for leak testing.
Spacers: pieces of wire insulation.
Low friction washers: cut from thin transparent plastic cover on some packaging.
"airtight" holes for displacer rod: just regular holes. With some liquid soap for sealant (it is sticky enough to hold enough pressure for it to be totally airtight). It doesn't matter - the leak area is very small, and leaks here, if any, are totally insignificant.
Glue: hot glue, applied using soldering iron.

'Flywheel' is temporary just to balance it and make sure it works. I replaced it with plain piece of thick copper wire.

Tools: needlenose pliers, wire cutter pliers, knife, pin, caliper, soldering iron (used only for applying hotglue), compass (the one that you draw circles with).

Keywords: Stirling engine, Carnot cycle.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

On the removal of adsense from blog.

edit: correction. It was pointed out to me in email that ads could work lot better if used in different way. I'll restart the experiment. I'm genuinely curious if I can get adsense to work sensibly and display something relevant to my posts. So far it appears totally bugged. Under a post, it displays ads relevant to another post.

The adsense experiment's over. The conclusion: almost nobody clicks on ads. It was generating mere cents per 1000 views (and large majority of visitors have ad-blocking extension, so I were making 1000 ad views per several thousands blog views). Why so? Because adsense displayed irrelevant nonsense.

Speaking of which. I believe, making any money from blog is only possible when your blog is about making money off blogs, and consists entirely of advertising - ads all over, and the posts of blog themselves are advertising the internet advertising companies. As it goes, the only easy way to make money is to scam the people whom want to easily make money, hehe.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Various mail i'm getting...

Did I mention I love getting fan mail? Makes me feel all important :-)

A particularly nice fan mail:
Hi! I absolutely LOVE polynomial! I have recommended it to all my friends, I hope to be able to afford to purchase the full version as soon as my budget allows. Kudos! this is absolutely the most beautiful thing I have EVER seen on a computer! (and i have been working with computers for 30 years!!) Wonderful job! Amazing!! keep it up!! WOW! (you have my permission to use this email (and my full name if you like) for promotional purposes!!!) (please do!)
--- Eric Otway.

Most of mail I'm getting, though, consists of fail-to-run reports on Intel's onboard graphics. Sorry guys, can't do much about it, but please keep sending so that I can compile some system requirements list.

Ahh, and other category of mail. About opensource release of The Polynomial or The Galaxy or something else. I always get a lot of those. Sorry guys, I can't do that until either a: Someone funds development of The Polynomial (and by funding I mean enough to pay my bills), b: I make ton of cash and don't care anymore, or c: I move on to other project. Either of those will eventually happen. You can make it happen sooner by helping me advertise The Polynomial.

Meanwhile, you can take care of my abandoned project Voxel World which I released as opensource a while ago. Set up the repository, get some maintainers, etc. (Caveats: Voxel World is written in pascal. Part of it was written when I was 16 years old. It needs cleanup)

Other news: The Polynomial page is down in stumbleupon ratings to 3 stars, from solid 5 stars it had before I released. Why, presumably because of thumbdowns from people with old graphics cards for whom it does not run :/ .
Fortunately, the art gallery page is at 4 stars and growing :-).

Monday, June 8, 2009

New page.

Polynomial / Art
Contains images rendered with Polynomial, in editor mode (game effects off).

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Recipe for cheap smug satisfaction (for linux).

1: read this article about a bug. Holy cow.
"At the international date line, whoops, all systems dumped and when I say all systems, I mean all systems, their navigation, part of their communications, their fuel systems. They were—they could have been in real trouble. They were with their tankers. The tankers – they tried to reset their systems, couldn’t get them reset. The tankers brought them back to Hawaii. This could have been real serious. It certainly could have been real serious if the weather had been bad."

"It was a computer glitch in the millions of lines of code, somebody made an error in a couple lines of the code and everything goes."
Its a wonder our world too isn't gone in nuclear war over a leap second or something, given such practices.

2: If you use 32 bit Linux, set time to 2038-01-19 03:14:00 UTC and wait 7 seconds (overflow). Alternatively, set whatever date windows overflows on. Guaranteed to glitch your pc a lot. Media player will skip, browser might lose cache, something might crash. I tried that back when I used 32-bit system, there was no major failure.
3: Enjoy your smug satisfaction that your pc doesn't fully phail when few lines out of million have a glitch, due to the clever ancient engineering practice known as memory protection.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Website update, bugfix.

New website layout.
Also, fixed small bug in the editor's load (sometimes saved arenas did not load correctly), updated the downloads. Re-download as needed.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Updated release

Updated everything to the version with realtime editing. People whom bought preview can simply re-download from the link sent in email. Check updates button will work shortly soon too.

New feature: real-time editing.

Real-time view while editing, and natural number adjustment (feels like turning a knob).
Due to be released soon - check my site on Friday evening (European time).

You either spin your scroll-wheel over parameter, or you right-drag and spin the mouse in circles around it. Really great for adjustments.

If any VJs are interested - I can develop a customized version that would work with standard MIDI knob or slider board. Contact me to discuss the details and/or pricing.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Special thanks to...

(this post will be edited and updated as time goes by)

OpenAL-Soft maintainer (##openal on, nickname KittyKat or something similar) for making this excellent library and answering questions.
MiniCow on ##opengl for helping debug some MacOS X specific issues.
Camilla Berglund for GLFW, cross platform opengl framework I'm using.
Spring & SpringLobby teams for insights in development, and generally for showing that such project can be done.
Ben Woodhouse for glee . (OpenGL extensions library)
Developers of glc and recordmydesktop, free tools that I use for video capture.
Everyone who tests it and reports bugs.
Everyone who buys the full preview.
I hope I can fund some of these projects when the game breaks even.

For more details you can see library credits in included documentation.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Post-release updates.

I had minor screw-up with release on mac os x, fixed now.

Improved how it works on older macs, albeit older macs still don't draw it correctly (far too much bloom).