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6 months later....

Posted by phantom, 13 December 2011 · 511 views

So, I'm not dead still ;) however the last 6 months have been largely lacking in much of anything in my own projects.

What has gone down however is a slight change of work status; after OFP:RR wrapped up I got moved to another project to help that start up, which I was happy with as it was something new however as it was some way from starting I ended up working on other things. Then shortly after my last entry I had two weeks off and upon my return found out things had changed again, heh

So, as of July this year I've been working for Codemaster's Central Tech team in the rendering team for the new engine that is being developed and will, in time we hope, power all Codemaster's future games... which is, ya know, pretty cool :) Small team but once I got settled in it's been good.

Between settling in with a new team, time off due to TOIL from OFP:RR and a rash of decent games being released (or just revisiting some old ones) my weekends have been somewhat devoid of progress.

Until recently... dun dun duuuuuun!

A few weeks back I got an itch to do some coding of the graphical type; despite my knowledge I feel like I'm behind the curve a bit these days with techniques so I want to setup my own DX11 renderer/engine to play with things.

I decided, however, that first things first I need something to render. Cubes are all well and good but to do any serious graphical work you need something big... something decent... I settled on Sponza.

For those who don't know the Sponza Atrium is a very extensively used GI test scene as with it's arches, ceilings and open roof it makes a good test location for testing out and visualising various GI solutions. A few years back Crytech released an 'updated' version with a higher poly count and some banners in the scene to make it even more testing.

The scene is avalible in 3DS Max and Obj format however I decided that I didn't want to parse Obj by hand and decided that I'd export the scene using 3DS Max to FBX and then use the FBX SDK with some of my own code to dump out the information in a slightly more 'engine friendly' format aka a dump of the Vertex Buffer and Index buffer along with material files to describe properties/textures.

The FBX SDK is pretty easy to work with and it didn't take too long to get something hanging together which compiled so I figured "time to test the model...".... and thus began some hell.

Firstly, the 3DS Model uses some crazy CryTech plugin for Max, the net result being even once you get the plugin and delete the large banner they haven't provided a texture for you are still stuck with a bunch of broken materials and, even once you've fixed them, the FBX exporter doesn't even attempt to export the CryTech shader based materials in any way so while you'll get an FBX file it is devoid of textures or any other useful data.

The Obj version suffers the missing texture problem too, however after fixing those up as best I could and deleting the offending geometry which has no textures at all the scene did sanely export at last. I had to do some copy and paste work from the max version into the OBJ version to get the lights and camera positions into the FBX file however the net result, after a couple of weekends work, is a directory filed with per object vb/ib/meta files and 'material' files :)

Unfortunately this weekend I'm heading back to my home town for Xmas, which means no access to a decent computer for two weeks, so any further work is going to have to wait until the new year at which point I'm going to set about getting a basic flat shaded, no textures and no lighting version of the scene loaded and rendering. After that I need to adapt my exporter to also dump out camera, lights and maybe positional information for the various objects but we'll see how that goes.

My aim, by the end of Jan 2012 is to have the scene rendering, lit, optionaly with shadows even if basic shadow maps, and textured using the cameras and lights provided. I shouldn't be a big ask.

Finally, tomorrow Dec 15th marks my 10th year as a member of this site; 10 years ago I signed up as a 21 year old just having failed out of uni with small amount of OpenGL knowledge picked up in the previous years. 10 years later I've been published both in a book and on this site, got my degree, working for my 2nd company in the industry and now part of a core team working on a AAA engine. Intresting how things go..

I've also drunk a lot, fallen over a lot, danced a lot, got beaten up once, broke a table in a club trying to kick-jump off it (in front of the owner, without getting thrown out :D), got accidently drunk at lunch in college and scared a student teach away from the profession and generally had 10 years of amusing times including some GD.Net London Pie and Pint meet ups.

Lets hope for another good 10 years... and if they are more intresting than the last 10 I'll be cool with that too :D




Happy 10th year anniversary mate!
Cheers sir *salutes*

Heres to another 10 :D

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