TagML (design ideas)

Conversation from an AIM message between me and Flax.
tgraupmann648: I had a wicked idea before I fell into deep sleep last night
Flax0000: Oh yer?
Flax0000: What was it?
tgraupmann648: I was thinking about connecting the model editor to a mysql database
tgraupmann648: I have this concept of a virtual workspace
tgraupmann648: So a person has complete control over their workspace
tgraupmann648: But you can flip through other users using the tool to watch what they are making
tgraupmann648: Similar to Linux how you can flip the TTY or workspaces
tgraupmann648: Eventually it could evolve into collaborative modeling
Flax0000: cool
tgraupmann648: On the technical side, I would just need to convert from C++ to C# and add a web reference
tgraupmann648: The web reference could connect to my site using web services that talk to a mysql database
tgraupmann648: I’ll save the idea, short term I’ve added the ability to zoom by scrolling with the mouse

TagML (Intentional Axis Locking)

TagML is a new 3d model editor / animator. The [source] and [build] are publically available. The latest feature adds the ability to lock an arbitrary axis. As requested, this will give you better precision while animating models. You can also lock by the strafe vector (side to side) and up vector (up and down) relative to the viewports. Or you can lock by axis. Oh, and you can zoom by scrolling the mouse.

ZBrush (Update)

I purchased a license for ZBrush 2.0. It’s just like they say, digital putty. I’m going through every tutorial and that doesn’t even scratch the surface of what this tool can do. Here is my first attempt at digital sculpting using the Sphere3D method. Like so many other posts at ZBrush Central… “My First Head”…

TagML (latest)

TagML is a new 3d model editor / animator. I have made the [source] and [build] publically available. The new feature that I just added is a better keyframe display bar. Hopefully this looks like a hybrid style of PhotoShop and Flash. If it’s not intuitive let me know. As always, suggestions are welcome.
Bones (C) The Game Creators Ltd.
Bones (C) The Game Creators Ltd.

Progress Update (TagML)

I recently created a panel base object which the toolbars inherit to allow the use of textures in the toolbar buttons themselves. I moved the keyframe track display into its own panel. I still have the intent that the keyframe display will also be textured. I just finished the code that will allow the animation bar buttons to use textures. And I spent a little time drawing the icons to match the shaded background.
Android (C) The Game Creators Ltd.
Android (C) The Game Creators Ltd.


When you start ASPX and ASMX programming, the default IIS setings are commonly messed up. The solution is not well documented. The configuration process requires this command in order to work properly.

This properly configures IIS:
aspnet_regiis.exe -i

aspnet_regiis can normally be found:

These are common commands for IIS:
iisreset /start
iisreset /status
iisreset /stop

Progress Update (TagML)

You fans out there have been inquiring what I’ve been doing the last couple months since my last post. I’ve been quite busy. During the daylight hours, I’ve been testing the next generation bidding system at INSP. And in my night hours, I’ve joined FellStorm Software, a game development group, working on an action RPG. As you can see glimpsing at the pic to the left, I’ve designed a model editor from scratch, capable of importing 3ds files or creating animated models. Basically it’s an animation tool which saves models in a new Tagml format. The tool is unique in that it will take models straight from 3d studio. The internal structure is all vector based, so it’s portable to OpenGL or DirectX.
Alien Hivebrain (C) The Game Creators Ltd.
Alien Hivebrain (C) The Game Creators Ltd.

HowTo Check the Image Format in C#

This example C# script is a universal example for how to extract image data from just a byte array. You can extract file type and dimensions, easily.

//check image dimensions 
System.Drawing.Image logoImage = System.Drawing.Image.FromStream(new MemoryStream(imageData)); 
if(logoImage.PhysicalDimension.Height > 100 || logoImage.PhysicalDimension.Width > 80) 
        throw m_ef.CreateException("Incorrect Image Dimensions!");

ImageType imageType; 
//determine file type 
        imageType = ImageType.JPG; 
else if(logoImage.RawFormat.Equals(System.Drawing.Imaging.ImageFormat.Gif)) 
        imageType = ImageType.GIF;

HowTo Setup A MySQL Database

This article shows you how to connect your Perl/PHP scripts to a MySQL database.


    Start by skimming the mysql site at MySQL.com.

    The download section has medium and max grade versions of the my sql database. Free to download.

    You might even want to get a copy of "MySQL Control Center" which let's you administer that database and users with a handy GUI.

    Under Contributed APIs, there is a link to "DBI" which let's you connect to MySQL with Perl. There are other drivers down there to connect to whatever platform you want.

    Indigoperl is a good installation that comes with Apache and ModPerl. It's available at indigostar.com

    It doesn't hurt to get yourself a copy of activeperl from activestate.com.

    Afer installing activeperl, just bring up a command prompt and type: "ppm install DBI". That will install all the DBI perl related drivers for you. "perldoc DBI" at the command prompt will give you a lot of information about how to use it.

    "ppm install DBD::mysql" is supposed to work, but has a conflict. So you need to use: "ppm install http://theoryx5.uwinnipeg.ca/ppms/DBD-mysql.ppd" which installs the mysql wrapper that you need.

    You have to be in ./indigoperl/perl/bin and run the command "ipm install DBI". That will install the drivers for indigoperl/apache.

    Similarly to install the mysql wrapper for indigoperl/apache type: "ipm install http://theoryx5.uwinnipeg.ca/ppms/DBD-mysql.ppd".

    Use the admin tool to create user "db_user" with password "password" granting permissions to at least do queries on tables.

    You may need to type mysqld.exe to startup the mysql database. Bring up the client using mysql.exe. Paste the following to create a table to work with.

    create database qafw01;
    use qafw01;
    drop table TestCase;
    drop table TestExecution;
    create table TestCase
    	Description  TEXT,
            RunInterval  INT,
    	QueueWebUrl  TEXT,
    	AppName      TEXT,
    	CommandLine  TEXT,
            TestType     TEXT,
            ScriptOutput TEXT,
            LogType      TEXT,
            CaseStatus   TEXT
    create table TestExecution
    	TestCaseID        INT,
            LastTimeRun       TEXT,
            Result            TEXT,
            ResultDescription TEXT
    -- Setup the following contraints
            alter table TestExecution
            add foreign key(TestCaseID) 
            references TestCase (TestCaseID);
    -- Create some dummy data to query.
    INSERT INTO TestCase
    (Description, RunInterval, QueueWebUrl, AppName,
    CommandLine, TestType, ScriptOutput, LogType,
    VALUES ('Verify...', '3600', 'http://...',
    'Search O&O', 'idptests00tc0001.pl',
    'Perl', 'PIPE', '|', 'A');

    Here's an example of a Perl script that works for me in indigoperl. Just put it in ./indigoperl/apache/cgi-bin/ .

    # In DBD there is "No close statement".
    # Whenever the scalar that holds a database or statement handle
    # loses its value, Msql chooses the appropriate action (frees the
    # result or closes the database connection). So if you want to free
    # the result or close the connection, choose to do one of the following:
    #         undef the handle 
    #         use the handle for another purpose
    #         let the handle run out of scope 
    #         exit the program.
    use strict;
    #To connect to the mysql database
    use Mysql;
    use CGI;
    $| = 1;
    my $co = new CGI;
    print $co->header;
    my $host     = "localhost";
    my $database = "qafw01";
    my $user     = "db_user";
    my $password = "password";
    # Connect to database
    my $dbh = Mysql->connect($host, $database, $user, $password);
    # Do a query
    my $sql_statement = "SELECT * FROM TestCase LIMIT 1;";
    my $sth = $dbh->query($sql_statement);
    # Fetch the result
    my %result = $sth->fetchhash;
    # Print the output
    foreach my $key (keys %result)
       print "$key: $result{$key}" . $co->br . "n";

NeHe Productions OpenGL Challenge Number Eight!

I finally released my submission for the NeHe / Creative Labs contest today. All I am going to show you in the meantime is a screen shot until the results come out. I sent my code out with the submission so you’ll get to see all the tricks I used. Details about the contest can be found here. There has been an ongoing discussion thread about the contest here. The source is available here.

The DOs and DON’Ts of C++ Pointers

This article outlines some of the common mistakes that happen with C++ Pointers.


  1. Pointers are usually indicated by using the '*' symbol before the
    variable name. To declare a pointer the syntax is,
    [data type] * [variable name];
    int *p;
    as an example.

  2. Pointers need to point to a variable of the same type. So if you declare
    int pointer, it will either need to reference another int pointer or
    the address of an int variable. Here is an example of an int pointer referencing the address of an int
    variable. The '&' symbol means address.
    int v;
    int *p;
    p = &v;

  3. Here is an example of an int pointer
    referencing another int pointer.
    int v = 6;
    int *p1 = &v;
    int *p2;
    p2 = p1;

  4. Dereferencing also uses the '*' symbol. What dereferencing does is if
    your pointer points at a variable, when you dereference the pointer
    you can retrieve the value of the variable or alter the variable.
    Here is an example of dereferencing a pointer so that you can
    retrieve the value of the variable.
    int v = 5;
    int *p = &v;
    if(*p == 5)
       v = 6;

  5. Here is an example of dereferencing a pointer so that you can
    alter the value.
    int v;
    int *p = &v;
    *p = 6; // Actually changes v.

  6. The main importance of pointers is the ability to dynamically
    create new instances of objects. The 'new' keyword is used
    to create a variable in memory. It's really important to make
    pointers point to dynamic copies. If a reference is lost to
    a new variable, it turns into a memory leak in your application.
    Here is an example of the 'new' and 'delete' keywords. 'delete'
    just helps us clean up the new variable so we don't get memory
    leaks. 'NULL' is the same as zero.
    int *p = new int(); // Makes new int in memory.
    delete p; // Removes the new int from memory.
    p = NULL; // Make sure we don't access the old int address.

  7. An advantage to using pointers is the ability to dynamically create
    arrays. With a standard array you are stuck with creating a fixed
    size. With a pointer array, you can dynamically create almost any
    size you want. In the previous example we dynamically created a
    single int with 'new int()'. We can create a pointer array by
    inserting a number between the parenthesis like 'new int(100)'.
    The cleanup is a little different because we use array syntax
    '[100]'. The 100 is optional, so you have the option to just
    use '[]'.

    int *p = new int(100); // Dynamically creates an 100 element int array.
    delete [100]p; // Explicitly removes all 100 elements from the array.
    p = NULL; // Make sure we don't access the old int address.


Dereferencing is common with pointers. A mistake that is often
made is setting a value to a dereferenced pointer before that
pointer has been initialized.

int i = 2;
int *p;
*p = i;


The compiler can catch a lot of your mistakes, but it won't
catch one's like these. This problem is similar to the one
above. This time the pointer has been initialized, but not
with an address of a variable that can hold its data type.

int i = 2;
int *p = 0; // Initialized, but not pointing to an address
*p = i;


The same problem happens if we initialize the pointer to a
non address and try to set a value to that dereferenced pointer.

int i;
int *p = 0; // Initialized, but not pointing to an address
*p = 2;


The same problem happens if we initialize the pointer to a
non address and try to set a value to that dereferenced pointer.
Here's another look of the same error.

int i;
int *p = NULL; // Initialized, but not pointing to an address
*p = 2;


If you are going to initialize your pointers, you need to use
a real address. This is how you do it.

int i;
int *p = &i;


Here is an example of how to properly set a value to your
dereferenced pointer, step by step.

int i;
int *p;
p = &i;
*p = 2; // This actually sets i to 2.


Here is an example of how to properly set a value to your
dereferenced pointer, in fewer steps.

int i;
int *p = &i;
*p = 2; // This actually sets i to 2.


When you use a static pointer, you can run into memory issues.
This problem results in how static works. The first time the
code is executed is when the static pointer is set. The
second time the code is reached, the local variables will have
different memory addresses causing a memory error.

int i = 2;
static int *p = &i;
*p = 1234; // crashes on second lap because i has a different
           // memory address each time this code executes.
	There are 3 easy solutions to this problem.
	(1) Don't make p static
	(2) Make i static
	(3) Correct the code by splitting it into two statements:
		int i = 2;
		static int *p;
                p = &i;
		*p = 1234;


When working with pointers, type casting is always good so you
know what kind of objects you are working with.

int i;
int *p = (int*)&i;
*p = 1;


The memset function is commonly used with pointers. It helps us
be sure that memory was allocated when we made our variables.
Here is an example of how to use it.

#include  // let's us use the memset function
int i;
if( memset(&i, 0, sizeof(int)) )
   return -1; // Memory was not allocated


The memcpy function is commonly used with pointers. It helps us
be sure that memory was copied properly when we do an assignment.
Here is an example of how to use it.

#include  // let's us use the memset function
int i = 6;
int j;
if( i != *(int*)(memcpy(&j, &i, sizeof(int))) )
   return -1; // Memory was not allocated


In more advanced concepts of C++, ADTs (Abstract Data Types) are
used. Most implementations require lists of some kind. In order
to construct your own list without using arrays, you will need
to use pointers. To make your own objects you can use struct
or class. Both have data members and methods. For a list
implementation, your object will need a pointer to the same type
of object to link them together. Here is a brief example of that
kind of situation. This is a basic structure object with a Value
data member and a pointer to let us create a list. Elements in
abstract lists are commonly referred to as nodes.

You'll see that Node is a pointer with the same type as the
object that it is part of. This is intentional. We want our
list elements to be able to point to other elements in the
list. It makes sense that all the elements in the list
would be the same type of elements.

 struct aMyArray
    int Value;
    aMyArray *Node;