FRM – Coming Soon

Categories:Shadow of a Soul:Chapter I

If there is one thing I know for sure, it’s that perfectionism leads to procrastination. I was supposed to write more frequent blog posts but oh well… I’ve been working on this application called Free Render Manager and I decided that I’d post when it was done. Well it took me a month and a half to finish. During that time I re-wrote the app three times and learned quite a lot. I believe it’s something like 10,000 lines of C++ code now. It’s basically designed to manage a cluster of computers that we call a “render farm”. A render farm is a collection of computers that run 3d software like Maya, 3DS Max, Modo or Blender to compute (render) pretty images.

I see this app as my ultimate contribution to the 3d community. It has born from my desire to give something back and as a result it’s free.

There aren’t that many render managers out there. The ones that are free have one or more of the following properties: they are ugly, slow, unmaintained, and they depend on third party installation of apps (Python for example, yuck). Some of the decent commercial ones offer 1-2 free nodes, but that’s not enough and these free nodes have additional restrictions applied to them.
To be frank, the cost of commercial render managers is astronomical. I thought – quite wrongly as it turned out –– that render manager software was not complicated and would be easy to do. I assumed I would be able to write it in a week or two. How wrong I was!

Because programming is only one of the many things I do when I’m making the game, I’m not a world expert. Windows programming is definitely not my forte either – if it was, I would have known that when you try to read the registry entry of a 64 bit application from a 32 bit program, you get an error message telling you that no such entry exists. Having absolutely no idea that this could happen I wasted almost a day trying to figure out why my program was not reading an entry that was obviously there, and lost a shitload of hair in the process.

Anyway, I’ll talk more about the game and horror stuff (books, movies) in upcoming posts. I’ll upload the Free Render Manager here in a day or two. Among other last minute stuff, I need to build a release version and figure out how to create the installer.

One Response to FRM – Coming Soon

  1. Reply Tim says:

    Sounds neat. I wasn’t in the graphic design area for long so something like this flies over my head. I am however familiar with the 32-bit / 64-bit error. Figuring it out the first time is a hassle unless you know beforehand.

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