Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Working Hedgehog

The upcoming version 1.0 release of Croquet has been code named "Hedgehog". I know that many of you have been waiting for news of its release date. The committee has been working hard to make it publicly available early this year - part of the reason that things have appeared so very quiet on the blogs and user's forum. The silence is the sound of intense work. We (actually mostly Andreas and David) are debugging the code and Mark and I are working with the Wisconsin and Minnesota teams to prepare a download package for eventual publication on the Croquet Project website.

Hedgehog constitutes a major enhancement and, in some cases, reworking of the core system. Important changes have to do with the following concepts:

Islands and their replication
Routers/controllers with time-based replication
Capability facets
Overlay portals
Ghost objects
Incorporation of Tweak
Modifications to the graphics engine
Use of 3.8 Squeak

Many of these new features have already been discussed in papers presented at the OOPSLA 2005 conference. These topics will also be discussed by David Smith and Andreas Raab at the upcoming C5 conference to be held this week at Berkeley. The really good news is that all of these are functioning in the present snapshot. Now its a question of debugging.

I regret that we are unable to announce a precise release date at this time. Nor is the committee able to provide any support for the open source system once it is released (we all have day jobs). That is to be the role of the Croquet Consortium - presently being organized at the C5 meeting in Berkely. The idea behind the consortium is to move the project from a relatively closed group of people developing open source software to a broad based community effort to develop an open source system backed by a not-for-profit community-led organization. This will be a significant and much needed development for the project. That will be the topic of my next post....

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Floor It!

Want to make a floor? Well, then see #makeFloor:fileName: and it's callers for examples of making a floor.

The photo is one that I took of the floor of the Sistine Chapel - one of the world's most under-appreciated works of art.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Unauthorized Tutorials

In an online posting, the Brazilian programmer Américo Damasceno reminded me that the best way to learn something is to try and teach it. Américo certainly took this assertion to heart and decided that the best way for him to learn Croquet technology was to prepare a series of three of step-by-step online tutorials on Croquet and Squeak programming. The first of these is an Introduction to Basic Croquet Programming. The second is called Basic 3D Programming in Croquet. The third is a Step-by-Step Tutorial on Squeak 3.6.

In addition to the undoubted benefit that Américo has received by putting them together, many folks have told me that they can be quite useful and informative to those who wish to get started with Croquet (production value not withstanding). I know that there are a lot of readers of this blog who are programmers interested in getting their feet wet with the system. My advice to you is to walk through these tutirials as a way to begin exploring programming approaches in Croquet (that is, until someone prepares official tutorials for the v1.0 release). For those of you who are not programmers, there is a solution currently being developed that allows users to develop meaningful and interactive content in Croquet worlds without the need to program the system. It is code-named Brie. More on that in a future posting...

Please keep in mind that Américo's tutorials are based on the Jasmine developer's preview of Croquet and much of what they contain may not apply to v1.0 (which includes some very fundamental differences from the Jasmine developer's preview). Nonetheless, I direct people there since some programmers will unoubtedly find the tutorials very useful. Thanks to Américo for providing the emerging community with this valuable resource!