Sebastien St-Laurent is a software engineer for the Microsoft Game Studios and author of several technical books. Read about my work and life.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Practical .NET2 and C#2 has arrived!

Finally recieved my copies of Practical .NET2 and C#2 on Monday. Been busy shipping pre-orders and review copies.

The book still is shown as pre-order on most online retail sites. Our distributor has recieved the copies but the actual books have to percolate through the distribution channels.

In the meantime, orders made on will generally ship within 24 hours.

Amazon Sales Rank Watcher Bug

For those of you who may have downloaded my Amazon Sales Rank Watcher. There is a bug which can cause an error to happen (and a big red X to show on the graph) when adding new titles. The bug is minor and is due to the way the first sales rank is added to the graph. I plan on releasing a new version within the next 1-2 weeks adding a few new features on the product.

  • Fixing graph bugs
  • Improve graph update performance
  • Add more intelligent filtering to the list of titles from amazon to only include book titles
  • Allow for the App to be resized (allowing for a bigger graph)
  • Allowing the app to be minimized into the icon tray so it can be left to gather sales rank info in the background
Thanks to everyone who has sent me some feedback, bug reports and comments!

Farewell Steve Lacey and good luck!

Steve Lacey, my boss, mentor and the man at the core of Flight Simulator graphics is leaving the team to attempt his own long-due venture. Here is his post:

Well, the time has finally come for me to say adios to Microsoft and hit the startup road. This has nothing to do with Microsoft or the Flight Simulator team/product and everything to do with my insane desire to try something new.

In fact, this was probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make - Microsoft and in particular the Flight Simulator team is a wonderful and stimulating place to work and it is hard to walk away from eleven years of history.

What have I worked on in that time? Well in summary, back in January 1995 I joined some friends at a small 3D graphics startup in London, UK. One month later we were acquired by Microsoft and shortly joined the fledgling DirectX (then Games SDK) team. Our product, Reality Lab, became the basis for Direct3D and shipped in June 1996 as the key feature for DirectX 2. After that I worked on DirectX 3, VRML, IE4, DirectX 5 in Windows Multimedia and then moved onto Chrome (who remembers that?) and DirectX 6.

In 1997 we relocated to Redmond.

In 1998 it was time for something different, and I led feature teams on Flight Simulator 2000, Combat Flight Simulator 2, Flight Simulator 2004 and FSX, found time along the way to run the development team at a new studio, work on a bunch of Xbox stuff, build a game engine and scriping engine/language completely from scratch and general get my fingers into a lot of incredibly interesting pies.

And now it’s time for something completely different.
For the Flight Simulator fans in the audience, let me tell you that the product is in a great place. It’ll ship on time and look astounding - I’ve made sure of that!

Anyhow, stay subscribed - my blogging will continue (does it ever stop?) and in fact I will continue to post about Flight Simulator as long as my value-add is still relevant (and the team puts up with me :-)
Although I can claim to be the first Flight Simulator Team blogger, I’m really happy that
Mike, Jason, Adrian, Hal, Susan and others are now on board, and delivering a really compelling and insightful look into the world under the hood of Flight Simulator. The conversation rocks. Long may it continue.

That being said, no worries as most of the major graphical featuers for FSX are already in place and we have been preparing for his departure. By the way, I do promise to start posting more often on the graphical features of FSX.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Amazon Sales Rank Watcher (Take 2)

For those who had difficulties installing the app, there was a dependancy problem I had not noticed and was addressed. More details and screenshots can be found at:

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The cat is out of the box (or the plane is our of the hanger)

I'm a little late with the news but at CES, the next version of Microsoft Flight Simulator was announced.This is good news for everyone and as a developer on the project, this means that the "gag order" has been somewhat lifted.
I am a graphics engineer on the project under Steve Lacey and I take care of various graphical improvements on the project. For now, I will leave you dangling but I plan over the next few weeks to take a deeper look into some of the new features I have helped develop.

Author/Self-Pub Amazon Sales Rank Tool

I have written a little took to track and chart the sales rank of various products on It is kind of handy to keep track and chart the sales oaf your titles or your competing titles. More details and screenshots can be found at: