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You may have seen Ray Harryhausen credited with Technical Effects (meaning special effects) for his amazing stop-motion animation in movies like Mighty Joe Young, It Came From Beneath The Sea, and The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. Well, this column isn't really about special effects, just technical game details and behind-the-scenes programming stuff that we thought you might find interesting. We'll be updating it regularly, or whenever Lars thinks of something.

07/02/03: JUST AN UPDATE

I've been working on fixing bugs and making improvements in our map editor and AI in the game...unfortunately, nothing that makes for interesting new screenshots. It's probably not worth putting up pictures with captions like "Look, cars drive on the sidewalks far less often now!" or "MapEd now lets us place specific trees with subpixel precision!"

And no, I have not implemented Undo for MapEd yet. (Ed. Thanks, jerk.)

Only slightly less uninteresting, I recently made myself a little tool (link contains full details, specs and download info) to help with debugging, which I'm releasing to the world at large. This creatively named Bitmap Memory Debugger displays the memory of a debugged application as a bitmap, something useful for any graphical application. The tool can show data as 8, 16, or 24 bit images, plus some special modes for floating point data (including a mode for VST audio data per my friend Russell's request - he makes VST plugins) It can be set to automatically pull dimensions and image data from data structures and automatically refresh. It's handy for stepping through bitmap manipulation routines and see what's happening to your images. I didn't find anything like that already around, and I've found it extremely useful. Let me know what you think about it. If you know of any collection of programmer's tools/links that should include this thing, let me know...I couldn't really find many.

-- Lars


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