Plans

Now seems like a good time to provide an update on where various DivNull “products” stand, for the curious. (Feel free to add requests or questions in the comments.) Here’s what is (or, in some cases, isn’t) happening:

Omnihedron

The closest thing DivNull has to a real software product, Omnihedron has been languishing. This is due to two main factors that happened more or less simultaneously. The first was that Wordman changed jobs into a company that avoided Windows like the plague, so access to and interest in the platform (never high) waned to zero.

At about the same time came the realization that wxWidgets, the cross-platform framework on which Omnihedron is built, wasn’t going to cut it. While it is a great framework, it has some minor issues that get amplified when applied to Omnihedron. By far the largest of these is a design philosophy which (at least at the time) implemented new features without much concern given to backward compatibility. This essentially meant that to use the framework, if you weren’t regularly keeping up with the latest changes, your code went stale. Given that development on Omnihedron tended to come in bursts separated by long gaps, this was particularly lethal. For example, on at least two occasions, when work resumed after months of stagnation, the entire system for laying out windows had been apparently deprecated, replaced with some new thing. It could be that Omnihedron just hit this sort of thing at the exact wrong time and wxWidgets is better at this now, but I don’t know.

This same issue made ports to other platforms, particularly the Mac, slow to catch up to the main branch. Worse, the Mac port was built on Carbon, an API clearly announced to be a dead end. It appears some progress has since been made on a Cocoa version, but even this is not yet ready.

All of this combined with a realization that, while DivNull has decades of professional C++ programming experience, C++ is actually a dumb programming language.

Even so, the intent is to revive Omnihedron “at some point”. A new version is certain to be Mac first, and will mostly likely be Mac only (well, maybe an iPhone version). The large stumbling block here is that DivNull doesn’t have much Cocoa experience, so will be learning.

Web Software

DivNull is working on some web software that may or may not see the light of day. Domains for these projects exist, but are being kept secret for the moment. These projects include:

  • A site dedicated to data representation in roleplaying games, built around (but not requiring) a universal scheme for storing both stats and rules. There is a “philosophy” which goes with this standard which, after a lot of thinking about it, DivNull thinks is an extremely useful way to think about such data (and also takes the standard beyond the realm of just roleplaying). This site requires a lot of documentation in order to be convincing, which doesn’t yet exist. It also opens up the possibility for about a dozen other software projects.
  • Web software (built on CakePHP) for creating “meta-indexes”. These are documents that collectively index a whole range of books, essentially mixing an index for each of the books together into one large one. The main domain idea is to gather information for a “family” of role-playing books, which often have no index at all, though other applications are possible. (This is more exciting than it sounds.) There will also be a site that hosts an instance of this software.
  • A site for posting detailed travel logs without revealing your identity to the reader. This is more of a pet project, intending to just share travel advice with friends (who would probably know who you are) in a public place, without worrying that information about, say, your family and such would link specifically to you. If you’d be interested in writing for it, let me know.

Desktops

Being slightly obsessed with taking photographs of random surfaces for some time, DivNull will probably release a large collection of desktop/texture based art in some fashion, probably using Gallery 2. These will likely be released under a Creative Commons license.

Roll Play Dice Library

RollPlay exists for two reasons: 1) to define a standard way of representing dice and a parser to read it and 2) to provide much better pseudo-randomization for dice than was available at the time. The latter of these goals is now basically moot, since the standard randomization routines available now are much better than they used to be.

If RollPlay is altered (which it will need to be for Omnihedron to be moved to Cocoa), it will likely be by adding support for other languages, rather than changing much else about it.

And no, it still doesn’t need to support parentheses.

Roleplaying

Most roleplaying work continues to focus on Exalted. A collaborative netbook of Exalted artifacts called When Autochthon Dreams will be released by the end of the year.

Even while this work continues, DivNull’s disaffection with Exalted increases. Unless this changes, the collected charm tree project will finish out Second Edition, but will not continue beyond that.

End of life

Titles marked as “final version” on the software page will not be changed or upgraded, but will still be available for download.

Makeover

After eight years, the main DivNull site is finally getting a redesign. In addition to a new look, the site is now backed by the leading blogging software. Most importantly, it now supports RSS feeds.

In doing this redesign, it was also decided to change names from DivNull Software to DivNull Productions, and to merge the various non-software production we have done all along under the main label. This was done mostly to provide “one-stop shopping” for people interested in what we are making these days, but also because the line between what is “software” and “not software” is blurring so much that the distinction is loosing its meaning.

As much of our “not software” work consisted of products for tabletop role-playing games, expect to see more news of such on this page from now on. Announcements will be categorized (see the categories to the right).

We are also actively working on some web-based projects that may or may not see the light of day. If they do, they will likely debut under their own domain names. Even so, this site will still be used to make announcements about them.

Thanks to those of you who have supported DivNull over the years. We hope to make the coming years even better.