(Stuff deleted that I don't have new updates on. Things like MojoSetup, etc, will be back when there's stuff to announce. These things haven't been forgotten, though!) Normally I don't section off stuff in this .plan, but there's so much in this one...so, if you want to link to a specific thing, try these links: UT3 and Gears. America's Army. Google Reader. SDL 1.3. Amazon MP3. Toby on the iPhone. RSS feeds for icculus.org .plans. Other stuff. UT3 and Gears: It's still being worked on. I'm not commenting about this at the moment, but will soon. America's Army: The Army has taken the 2.x maintenance in-house. If you want a 2.8.2 Linux server or any specific fixes, please ask them, not me. Google Reader: I ditched Sage for Google Reader for my RSS needs, and I'm loving it. I've started flagging things I think are interesting. It's a fairly eclectic bunch of stuff from a fairly eclectic bunch of feeds: http://www.google.com/reader/shared/12200048204252564112 Since the shared items become an RSS feed in themselves, it's nice to start resharing from other people's shared lists. It's useful to have other people filter out the crap for you sometimes, if they happen to have similar opinions of what is and is not "crap". SDL: Here's the rough checklist for new features in SDL 1.3 (which will eventually become SDL 2.0). This list is subject to change, so while some of this work is already done, none of it should be taken as a promise of any sort. Comments, complaints, and requests are still welcome. First, some bad news: we'll probably drop a lot of platforms/targets that no one is maintaining (but happily add them back in if someone steps up to support them). Also, backwards compatibility is not law in 1.3/2.0. In many cases we have added a compatibility layer that wraps the 1.3 interfaces in the old 1.2 functions, but if we have to break binary or source compatibility, we will. We don't think the damage will be extensive, but there will probably be some pieces of code in the wild that need to be updated (or continue to use SDL 1.2). You have been warned. With that out of the way, here's the rough list of cool, shiny, new things... Video and events: - Multiple windows! You don't need to have a single video surface anymore! This is a new API (but SDL_SetVideoMode() still exists in the compatibility layer). - Multiple displays: SDL exposes details of what physical monitors are hooked up to a machine and lets you control them individually. - Formal API for positioning SDL windows: it sort of comes with the multiple window/display support. No more setting environment variables for this! - Video device enumeration: you can get an idea of what APIs and hardware are available to you. - 2D acceleration: SDL can use OpenGL or Direct3D behind the scenes with the 2D interfaces, so we can get acceleration on modern systems where X11 or DirectDraw just aren't the fast paths anymore. The framebuffer- oriented interfaces, like X11, are still there, though, for legacy platforms and hardware. - Texture support: the 2D interfaces now concern themselves with "textures" and not surfaces. The assumption is that, even in 2D graphics, you now want to try to push all the effort to the hardware when you can, falling back to software where you can't. On the most basic level, this just means you can't get at pixel-based framebuffers without locking the "texture" and doing so may be much more expensive than in 1.2, but in many common scenarios, a well-designed program can be significantly more efficient in 1.3. There are some basic texture operations to offload common per-pixel operations to hardware so you may not have to lock the texture and do it yourself. This is meant to be a very simple API, however: those needing more, even in 2D, should consider using OpenGL directly. - Multiple input devices: we'll be merging ManyMouse into SDL, which will let us handle input from more than one connected mouse on at least Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. If all you care about is the usual generic pointer input, that'll still work, too, but if you want to make a game where all your friends plug in a USB mouse and compete, that'll now be possible. This is also interesting for experimental work that has nothing to do with games, or Photoshop-style things that want mice AND pens, etc. - Pressure/tilt support: mouse-like input devices like tablets will be able to report their pressure/tilt through SDL, for those that want to write art programs. TuxPaint, I'm looking at you here. - Horizontal mousewheel events: SDL 1.2 only responds to the oldschool vertical mousewheel, but many mice you buy now can scroll horizontally, too, including the Mighty Mouse that ships with Apple desktops. There's a formal event for this in SDL 1.3. - Mousewheel no longer looks like a button: SDL 1.2 treats wheelup as button 4 and wheeldown as button 5. This was an accident of history, since XFree86 mapped the wheel to these buttons back when Loki had an interest in making this work Right Now, but it wasn't guaranteed to be those buttons, and it never was on other platforms. These have been moved to formal events in 1.3. - Separation of text input and key events: Basically, we're fixing the Unicode support. The keyboard can be treated as a 101-button gamepad with the usual KEYUP/KEYDOWN events, but there will be separate events for text input, so IME implementations can let users compose characters as they'd expect to on their platform. This will replace the "unicode" field in 1.2 key events, which was universally unreliable once you stepped outside of America and Europe. - Formal API to permit screensaver: no more environment variable hack! This is useful if you're writing a windowed application and not a game. Audio: - Audio capture support: You can record from a microphone, etc, and recover this data through SDL. - Audio device enumeration: You can find and choose specific audio devices. - Multiple audio device support: You can open multiple devices and playback different audio from each at the same time. Take all these things and you could, for example, have a game where the audio plays through a set of speakers, but speech from your teammates comes to a USB headset while you reply through a microphone...and probably other interesting things we haven't thought of yet. - Audio device disconnect notification: if someone accidentally kicks out their USB audio widget, the app can be notified, so they can pause and let the user get reconfigured, etc. - Support for PCM data in int32 format. - Support for PCM data in float32 format. - Non-power-of-two resampling. If you had to do something other than double or halve your sample rate, SDL 1.2 would break (and probably corrupt memory). This will be fixed in SDL 1.3. This is useful for programs that worked fine with data at 22050Hz when everyone was using audio cards at 11025Hz, 22050Hz, or 44100Hz, but now there are a lot of motherboard cards that only eat at 48000Hz and break badly in 1.2. - 7.1 output support. - Macros to parse audio format enumerations. No more need to do things like this: const int bitsize = MyAudioFormat & 0xFF; Now you can do the more readable: const int bitsize = SDL_AUDIO_BITSIZE(MyAudioFormat); (...and others like this.) - SDL_MixAudio() won't need an open audio device: In SDL 1.2, you could only mix audio buffers based on the opened device format. This has been changed to a generic interface in SDL 1.3 that allows mixing data without dependency on a specific device, or a device at all. - Better audio format converters: these should be faster and work better, since we generate all the possible cases in a perl script now instead of trying to tapdance at runtime. This means converting a buffer takes one pass regardless of format, instead of a pass to change bitsize, another to change the format, another to change the signedness, etc. This is cleaner to maintain and extend, and doesn't thrash the CPU cache as much, etc. Joysticks: - Connect notification: In 1.2, you needed to restart the joystick subsystem to find new sticks. In 1.3, your friend can walk up and plug in his controller, and your game will be able to announce "a new challenger approaches!" - Disconnect notification: ...and you'll also be able to deal with the controller getting kicked out midgame, or your friend getting tired of losing and leaving with his controller. - Force feedback: sticks and platforms that support vibration, rumble, etc, will be controllable via SDL. SDL_main: - No longer required on any platform. Now it does what it was intended for: hiding differences in main/WinMain/etc. Initialization details are being moved into SDL_Init() where they belong. This makes it easier to have SDL as a plugin, or use a non-SDL path without it hijacking your mainline just to function. This is really useful for scripting languages, since, say, a Python program might want to use SDL without linking SDL directly to python.exe and replacing its main() function. Misc: - Atomic operations API: a way to deal with atomic operations like test-and-set and compare-and-swap will be added. This is becoming increasingly important in game development, and every processor and platform handles this differently, so it'll be nice to abstract the details into SDL. - SDL_KillThread() is gone. It was never safe or portable. The function will continue to exist for binary compatibility, but it will always be a no-op that reports failure. If you need this, your program has problems anyhow and needs minor reworking to cleanly handle thread termination, even if KillThread was still available. Planned but not yet fully considered: - Some minor cleanups and clarifications to the RWOPS api are planned to fill some gaps, but this is still work in progress. - A basic API to read/write from the system clipboard would be nice. - A basic API to support drag'n'drop with the system would be nice. - Probably other stuff! Let Ryan know what you want! Amazon MP3: Amazon's MP3 store is actually pretty good when held up against the iTunes Music Store. You can use it in a web browser with the familiar Amazon interface, which is actually pretty comforting. If you are just buying single songs, it can just download like any other file, but since they won't let you redownload purchases (argh to both Amazon and iTunes!), and can't let you do this for album purchases, you really have to use their Mac/Windows downloader for your own safety if nothing else. Now, granted, I usually just lose interest at this point, and would have with Apple too if it didn't magically appear in an update to an application I was already using...but I gave it a try. The downloader is a minimal application that just gives you a progress bar and adds songs to your iTunes library automatically (but not the "Purchased" playlist, unfortunately, but you can do that manually). It appears Amazon didn't want to put any features into this downloader app, but rather just make the process more idiot^H^H^H^H^Hfail proof, which was probably a good call. It simply serves as glue to make this more or less equal to the iTunes Music Store experience. While it's obviously not as tightly integrated, the overall experience basically feels like iTMS and bridges the differences acceptably, so users shouldn't feel too scared to try it. They even give you a free song to demonstrate what using the downloader app will be like. In the end, when you're looking at your iTunes library and syncing your iPod, any differences between the stores matter not one bit. Using the downloader app is probably roughly the same experience if using Windows, either iTunes or Windows Media Player. It's interesting that the store's front page pictures an iPod playing a Radiohead album, since that band is still conspicuously absent from iTMS, but very available from Amazon. It's also nice that you can choose to buy the retail disc instead of the MP3s, for the one time in your life that you'd rather do that. The fact that Amazon is doing 256k MP3s is really smart. I don't know how they pulled that off with the record labels. Not dealing with DRM basically opened them up to anything that plays music, including no-hassle iTunes/iPod integration. Making that deal is all the difference in the world. No screwing around with finding devices that can play Windows Media, or AAC, or some encrypted crap, just download and go. Want to burn a disc? No problem! Want to play it on that ancient music player no one's heard of? No problem! Not having to make a Faustian bargain with a merchant to use the content I purchased is fantastic. I like this about iTunes Plus, too, but that hasn't seen any momentum after the initial announcement, not to mention that it costs significantly more. I really don't know how Amazon pulled this off. Either this is costing them dearly, or the labels just really want to stick it to Steve JObs. Maybe both. Amazon really does seem best positioned to compete here, due to all their existing market infrastructure and customer base. It's astonishing no one did this before. It's nice to have options, but I could see myself going to Amazon much more than iTMS, starting right now. Could be interesting. Also, I still don't understand why Valve will let me redownload 50 gigabytes worth of games when I switch machines, no questions asked, but I can't recover an 89 cent, 5 megabyte song from either Apple or Amazon if my hard disk crashes. I predict that there will be a news story some day about someone that diligently backs up his thousands of dollars of music purchases, and still loses it when his house burns down; the headline will be "Apple ignores homeless man's pleas" when they refuse to let him recover his music collection. The negative publicity will make them change their policy. Toby on the iPhone: Since moving, every time I take a call, inevitably I'm told "I can't hear you, you're really quiet!" Apparently it's my phone plus Sprint's network in Charlotte, since I'm the only one having a problem, and my phone is fine in other parts of the country. Then one night my friend called to tell me his wife might have had a stroke and Sprint told me "all circuits were busy!" and that was the last straw. The next day, I bought an iPhone and switched to AT&T. I can't help but void my warranty on any gadget, so I had to unjail it: Just for a goof, I tried targetting Toby at the iPhone. The toolchain took a little while to build, and someone already had an SDL port for the iPhone. With those two components, Toby compiled and ran without any source changes, which is pretty cool:
...ran fairly fast, too. When they get homebrew up on the 1.1.1 firmware and crunch time is done, I'll probably build a real UIKit interface for the thing and polish it up really nicely. RSS feeds for icculus.org .plans: You can get an RSS feed for an individual i.o user's .plan file now: http://icculus.org/cgi-bin/finger/finger.pl?user=icculus&rss=1 ...this is probably a last gasp for people that haven't moved to a real blog yet, like me. IcculusFinger 3.0 will probably just be a port-79 interface to Blogger. :) Other stuff: "That's like trying to Google 'Chuck Norris getting his ass kicked.' You'll get zero results, because it just doesn't happen." --Wil Schroter. --ryan.