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Creation Date: 2002-06-22
Well, you didn't expect it to take me another week to do the next Making Of JF page, did you? I even promised a page of JF by today. Well, it didn't happen that way. Not for lack of trying, no... Wait, yes it is for lack of trying. I did not try to do anything on JF. It's really odd, I actually forgot about it for a while. I played AO, played GTA, and worked on very little. I was going to make a new version of Half-Life Movie Producer, but it seems that the new version of Half-Life makes BMPs instead of RMRF files. I didn't get it to work, but I assume that it either does not work or works really well. Either way, I don't need to make a new version of HLMP. I feel kinda sad. I made a perfect system that could do it so beautifully with all the bells and whistles. So I did a few side projects and stuff. Nothing too cool, nothing too deep. I made a major fix in my Particle Works program so now it doesn't crash. So I decided to fix my Manga Director program (the one written in C++). I decided to go afresh to fix bugs one at a time. I found a bunch of bugs and got rid of them. The only bug left is one connected to a divide by zero that I cannot prevent. The bug only appears when a person tries to make a path that is impossible. It happens fairly easy, so it's not ready for consumption, but it's really not a part of the Manga Director System (it's a part of the Anime Director system which is important in the long run). So I took this picture of Dojo Ambush Guy #9 standing on the Seattle terrain with the LA Dome at night with fog and lighting from the left side. Not bad, right? That's how far the Manga Director system is. I can manually enter in the animation number and the position and he shows up where he's supposed to doing what he's supposed to. One of the large bugs has been fixed allowing many skinned characters. That means that it's pretty good. Also, the pathing system is controllable in run-time with the mouse, so it's pretty easy to move stuff around. Also, with the press of a button, you can put the person where the camera is. I'm working on pathing the camera, so that it's automated. Other things are 2d map for editing larger paths, run-time light editing (currently it's done manually during design time), run-time path extending (currently one sets the number and placement of cues on a path and then just editing the path during run-time), object transparency (haven't gotten it yet, but shouldn't be hard), saving (currenlty partially implemented but disabled due to errors), rotation (should be easy), and run-time animation switching (should be no problem). So you see there's a long way to go for AltSci3d Manga Director v3.

But remember that all of those features I mentioned are currently part of AltSci3d Manga Director v1.0. It's a pretty tight system, but no one would dare release a high-performance product written in Visual Basic. Acutally, it's kinda funny because the VB version is faster than the C++ version. Is it because I'm a bad C++ programmer? I think not. I think it's because VB is just made for what I'm using it for: high performance dll's and highly simplified human-like processes. For example, I use all text files instead of binary files. A c++ programmer would gasp in horror, but I think it's the best way to go. I have a small amount of data that has to be edited manually often, so I need text. Right now I'm using fstream to do it and it works about as well as VB. I'm kinda happy. But I need a string class one of these days. I'm far too used to writing WhyVBisBetterThanCPP = "This is a test of " & strVB & ", not " & strCPP & "."

I'm reading a great manga right now. "Houshin Engi" It's about immortal people messing up this one country in Feudal China. You got your demons, your sennins, and your human heros. The manga has no reservations for death and destruction. And to make death even more easy to swallow, they make a supernatural jail for all the dead warriors (human and demon) to go. So whenever the protagnist kills a bad demon brutally, we get to see the demon being resurrected in this jail. How convenient! So good people and bad people are all killed and they go to this jail. For what reason? "Because it is fate," they say. But plenty of people who are not warriors die at the hands of bad people and are not sent to this jail. They simply die and their part of the story is to be remembered and venged after. By the way, that's not giving much of the plot away. That much is explained in the first ten pages out of ~1000. While I dislike its stance in portraying this brutal war, it's a wonderful manga with great plot, strong characters, and hilarity abound. I encourage you to go read it. Books 1-5 are translated at this great site. I'm almost finished, and I assume there'll be books 6-N in the not-so-near future.
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