I took a new job some 2 years ago.

This unfortunately increased my travelling time from just 10 minutes to now 1.5 hours per day. For a long time, it was even at 3 hours. In effect, my spare time (== picogen time, among other things) was drastically reduced.

I have learned the basics of Haskell and also learned Python. Those languages are great in that they give you more effect per line of code.

Picogen is not forgotten and still the tool of my dream. It's really just that I currently lack the time to continue the pace of the past.

Hopefully my new knowledge will turn into new picogen releases early, but I unfortunately can't give you a definition of early.

Thanks to everyone for the heads-up and support :)
I have serious problems keeping the old MediaWiki clean. Serious problems, in that configuring MediaWiki seems like a full time job, in that fighting spam posts seems like a full time job, in that MediaWiki is mostly open to anonymous by default. And consider that picogen does not have any significant user base, yet.

So I tried out TikiWiki, which is really a full blown content management system with a ton of usefull modules and features.

The one thing I like at most: Central user group management, a banning system, safe settings by default.

I took a good style that was distributed along with the TikiWiki package, and modified it significantly to fit the style to the picogen-mainpage.

Please, what do you think?
-> picogen.org -> homepage (for style comparison)
-> picogen.org/tiki/A%20general%2… -> example content of new wiki
-> picogen.org/wiki -> old wiki (the style fits my personal homepage phresnel.org)
(update below)

To not bore you with unecessary details right now, just let me say that the last remaining "master" feature (*) that was mandatory for the 0.4 release is 99% complete.

What does remain are details, whose sum is still significant, but the gros work has been done.

(*) it is related to "Parametric Presets", where you use some program/user-supplied heightfunction that can be tweaked by just a handfull of edit-boxes and drop-downs et cetera, see fav.me/d34sdza . That feature can only be meaningful if you *have* parametric presets, and for that, I introduced a file based database. In the future, that databasee will also be filled with preset materials, colours, textures, and more :)

update 2011-01-18:

* A major bug has been removed, caused by Instances and Bound-Instances (something that does not have to struggle the end-user ;)) not propery forwarding a prepare() call. In result this meant that often, there was terrain, but sometimes, not (because under the hood, the root-node of the lazy quadtree was not cleanly initialised).

Remnant before release: Documentation. I am thinking about writing a dialect of markdown (daringfireball.net/projects/ma…) for documentation, but I'm also having a look at alternatives (preferably something that is also editable by end-users), possibly I just keep the wiki (but spam sucks at times).
... left before I must submit an image "of flowers, trees, foliage, seeds, or anything to do with plants, either real or imagined, on earth or elsewhere" to irtc.org (IRTC).

A plethora of features have been added "just" to be able to render trees, I think so many that I could tag the next release with version 0.10 instead of 0.3. Stay snoopy, I've also mocked up the rough layout of the phresnel.deviantart.com/art/Ea… (next GUI).

But back on topic: Less than a day left. Right now I am rendering two variations of one image that features a nice, foggy sunset, with many trees + (yay!) semi transparent foliage. I'll be posting both versions on dA the next days (it was/is really worth the effort!). The one my gf likes more will get some more computation time when I am home before submission.

Times are funky, aren't they? :D
(see UPDATE below)

Freshmeat: OpenEXR support has been added (QtPfsGui is suggested for those now). picogen-pure, a mostly CLI renderer that could also be used for batch rendering, is included. Some severe bugs have been detected and squashed.

Full changelog: picogen.org/changelog

Nice-to-haves for 0.3.x-series: Realtime 3d preview, integration of visual Sun-Sky-Editor into SimplexGui.

Download: code.google.com/p/picogen/down…
Complains and support at: picogen.org/forum/
And if you want to help with documentation: picogen.org/wiki/

Any help and feedback is much appreciated.

Sorry for not providing a 64bit Windows build, but I am lacking licenses.

Linux-Sidenote: If you can't use the .deb-packages or can't install the right packages for the tar.gz's, it might be worth trying the windows versions through wine. This perfectly functioned for me!

What next?

IRTC (irtc.org) has running a rendering contest (www.irtc.org/irtc/irtc?_n&pg=C…) with this topic:
Plants - Renderings of flowers, trees, foliage, seeds, or anything to do with plants, either real or imagined, on earth or elsewhere.

I took this as a motivation to start implementing L-Systems into picogen. Only 33 days left to implement an L-System-Compiler, an interpreter, and proper acceleration structures for the rendition of millions of plants? Challenge accepted. Plants will therefore be featured in the 0.4 series :)

More about L-Systems:
* commercial L-System implementation: xfrog.com/ (xfrog.com/ ) (you'll recognize the potential)
* en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lsystem (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lsystem) (introduction for geeks)
* algorithmicbotany.org/papers/a… (low quality, other versions at algorithmicbotany.org ; handy for writers and implementors of L-Systems)

UPDATE: 29 days and 18 hours left, and the L-System compiler+virtual machine are done, with the following features:

* context sensitive
* parametric
* conditional
* stochastic
* bracketed

I thin,k those are all general purpose features that exist. Other features (e.g. loops) are, to my knowledege, only used in exotic applications, e.g. city generation (uhm, yes, that's another plan for a later version picogen) and architecture.

Feature wise, this is a complete implementation of chapter 1 of "The algorithmic beauty of plants" (the book is free as in beer and can be obtained via algorithmicbotany.org ), except for the turtle interpretation (that is: drawing is not implemented yet).

But well, 29 days left :)