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Sidetracked

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danbrown

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I have done very little programming on either Titan or Dravanti in the last 4 months, hence no update in the journal. I got sidetracked after I went outside one night and saw the stars. I then went back in and dusted my telescope off and have been playing with astronomy again since.

One of the reasons it has taken so long to get back to the PC is that I hit a brick wall when trying astro-photography. My mount is not as accurate as it could be so long exposure images have star trails instead of points. I needed to correct this error and it involved building an electronic device (documented here) to compensate for the errors in the worm gear that drives the mount. So I learnt microcontroller programming using a PIC chip. I now have a device using one microcontroller, an LCD screen, and EEPROM chip and a connection to both a PC and the telescope. After so many years programming PCs it was invigorating trying to write 8-bit assembly to fit an entire protocol emulator and control software into less than 4k of program memory. I intend to keep expanding the device to have more functions such as digital setting circles (displays the current coordinates of the telescope), motorised focusser and maybe a few more bits and pieces. My attempts up to now at astrophotography using an old Quickcam VC webcam can be seen here.

All I have done on Titan recently is to continue writing the .3ds mesh loader. I can load multi-object geometry ok now (needs testing with more files yet though) and I am starting on the material system.

No work on Dravanti as I need the new Titan features first, along with an upgrade to the VirtualFile library that they both use. I have been doing a lot of thinking about the design of the Atrium engine behind Dravanti though. To make it easier for the designer to play around with menus and how the game handles as a whole, I am going to bring scripting in at an earlier stage than I was planning to so that everything is controlled (but not necessarily run) from a script. This will make it more customisable and therefore open the way to people making mods for it as well.

Dan
[Titan][Dravanti]
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