Hey! I'm still alive! I'm just very busy. I've been taking a break from the more cereberal components of my game (read: annoying physics routines) to do more "fun" stuff, like graphics. Anyway, it's hard to get inspired when you're flying around terrain that looks like melted Neopolotan ice cream.
Like everyone else on the planet, I'm doing a ROAM implementation. I would like to do bump-mapping, but I don't want to require a GeForce. Specifically, I'd like to at least run this thing on my dad's cruddy old Banshee :) So I'm doing lighting and bump-mapping on-demand, much like Jake Cannell's excellent procedural planet demo. I have hierarchical elevation and color maps, and I would like to also augment this with detail textures, so I don't have to generate 1,000's of textures on-the-fly. Here's a pic:
Another thing I'm working on is a Java-to-SDL binding. I've already got the joystick routines implemented and they work great -- Sam did a good job with the new version. Look for that to be released soon.
I've been playing with Java Sound and am not too pleased. Java Sound unfortunately suffers from the "enterprisetheria" that infects Java APIs nowadays. It tries to be the Ubersound API that does everything, but can't do the most basic things right. For instance: Pitch shifting is limited to 48 kHz in the default engine, which means you can't do much shifting if your sounds are already at 44.1 kHz. Also, volume control is very ratchety, as if they're just shifting bits instead of multiplying the gain factor. So looks like SDL is going to win the audio competition too. Didn't any of these Sun guys even look at the source for a MOD player?!?
One strange side effect of my relentless crusade to complete this game is that I haven't been playing any. I bought Shogun because I liked the little horses running around slaughtering each other, but it's sort of more fun to look at than play. And the last thing I want to do after looking at tiny little letters and numbers all day is watch tiny little samurai run around. Maybe I'll install an old RPG on my HP 200LX palmtop or something.
This is all pretty random, but it is hard to be deterministic at 2 AM :) Next time we'll analyze whether or not "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" would make a good video game.