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Alastair Aitchison

Alastair Aitchison is an independent developer, trainer, author and consultant specialising in spatial data reporting and analysis. His work has been used by the House of Lords, the police, political parties and various media agencies.
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So you heard about the new spatial functionality in SQL Server 2008, rushed back to your database and added geography and geometry columns to all your tables, eager to create the next Google Earth-beating application. You then click the Execute button and wait. And wait. And wait some more. (You get the idea). Spatial data is a rather unique beast, and designing efficient spatial queries requires specific techniques when compared to other, more traditional types of data. In this session, we look at how the SQL Server database engine satisfies spatial queries, the theory behind spatial indexes, demonstrate the effects of altering the bounding box, use the spatial system DMVs and stored procedures to your spatial database
SQL Server spatial features have not yet made it into mainstream usage and many developers still ask "But *why* would I use them?". In this session, I hope to answer that question by replicating the functionality of Google Maps using only SQL Server.

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Adding Shadows to a Unity Vertex/Fragment Shader in 7 Easy Steps 30 Dec 2014
This was a question asked on the Unity Forums recently, so I thought I’d just write up the answer here. Unity provides its own unique brand of “surface shaders”, which make dealing with lighting and shadows relatively simple. But there … Continue reading →

Using the Stencil Buffer in Unity Free 27 Dec 2014
News concerning the recent release of Unity 4.6 was largely dominated by its new UI system. However, closer inspection of the 4.6 release notes reveals some other interesting changes and improvements, including the announcement that “Stencil buffer is now available … Continue reading →

Optical / Spatial / Dimensional Trickery in Games 22 Nov 2014
I’m currently considering a game design that makes use of various optical and logical tricks to fool the player as to how objects in the game are spatially-related – and thought I’d start by doing a bit of a review … Continue reading →

Previewing FBX Animations in Quicktime Player 11 Nov 2014
I’ve been building up a library of FBX animations from a combination of MoCap stuff I’ve found around the internet and my own lovingly hand-crafted (though rather stilted – I’m not a natural animator!) clips. I now have a folder … Continue reading →

Spacescape 28 Oct 2014
Everyone likes a good space game, right? Then you’ll need some way of creating spacey backdrops. You could go for an 8bit parallax pixel starfield, or, at the other extreme, you might use authentic NASA imagery of the night sky. … Continue reading →