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Member Since 04 Mar 2011
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 03:09 PM

Topics I've Started

Insurmountable limits on a touchscreen interface?

16 April 2015 - 09:39 AM

So I'm at the point in my game development where I have to start deciding on a UI framework. Tablets are all the rage these days, but I don't use one myself. The reason why that is, is because I'm a PC gamer. I like strategy games and the occasional first person shooter, things like Crusader Kings 2, the Civilization series, that kind of thing. When I start making my game, it will be a strategy game of some complexity.


Every touchscreen game I have ever seen is a casual game where you poke at things and get a response. Have any of you ever seen a complex strategy game on a tablet? Please name them if you have.


What I'm wondering is, for the games I like to play and presumably make, whether keyboard and mouse is the only way, and that the touchscreen will never be a replacement for that. I worry that trying to turn a PC game into a tablet game is a fools errand to be strictly avoided. 


What do you think?

Time to decide on a UI Framework (SharpDX)

16 April 2015 - 08:53 AM

Ok, after a couple of years I've finished with my graphics engine! It has everything I need to make a game prototype now. The only thing left is to decide how I want to present various game data. The games I like to play (and also presumably make) are fairly complex strategy games, so I will need to present possible sortable lists, tables and dialogs etc. over the top of and along side of my main graphics screen.


I think I've already made a decision, but I wanted some other opinions on the subject because for me this is uncharted territory.


All of my UI experience to date comes from WIndows Forms. That is what I am comfortable with even though it performs miserably for something like games. However, XAML seems to have some promise even though I have no experience with it. Microsoft seems to be pushing that with the new WinRT stuff, but I'm not ready to force a Windows 8+ platform. I am still using Windows 7 and will probably end up skipping 8 altogether. That leaves me with mixing SharpDX with WPF I think if I want to get familiar with XAML. My research is heading that direction.


What do you think? Is that just a big waste of time or is it feasible?

Messing with the depth buffer for skybox effect

09 April 2015 - 02:09 PM

So I want to create a sort of dynamic skybox, with a standard cube map as the backround, and quads depicting orbiting planets and other celestial phenomena.


I tried creating a dynamic cube map, and before I succeeded I decided that this approach is really very expensive for what I'm trying to do, as there's only ever going to be maybe ten billboards floating around the sky. Rendering the 6 faces of a cube map over that is overkill I think. Just clearing the 6 faces had a significant impact on my framerate.


What I'd like to do instead, is draw the planets as I normally would draw a quad, but have them:


pass in front or behind each other correctly according to distance,

be in front of the background skybox.

be behind everything else. 


Can I do that with certain DepthStencilState settings, or does anyone else have any other ideas?


EDIT: If I make my projection matrix too deep, I'm going to have z-fighting issues with the other components in the scene, therefore I can't just make it 'real' by putting the planets far away.

Particle Z Fighting

23 March 2015 - 10:30 AM

I have these particles drawn with transparency, and as such have turned off writing to the depth buffer. They are waterfalls that start blue and turn white as they hit bottom and lose energy. Unfortunately, this creates noticeable z fighting that is really bugging me, since the flickering seems to happen in unison with all the other waterfalls on screen.


I don't suppose there is a way to turn on the depth buffer only for pixels at full alpha? I'm not even sure that would look better as the sprite edges would still fight... What if anything can be done about this? Sorting them seems out of the question since there's hundreds of thousands of them. They are sorted by age I suppose, maybe I can use a depth bias.

FPS counter suspicious

20 March 2015 - 02:24 PM

My FPS counter is updated in the main game loop, like most tutorial examples you see. So, I have this computer that has a fairly fast CPU and a bad slow GPU. When I adjust certain things to put more work on the GPU, the reported frame rate improves, but in every other way it feels like performance has worsened. The animations and camera controls stutter noticeably. When I shift that work back to the CPU, my reported frame rate worsens, but the animations are much smoother.


Is it possible that my update loop is going at a different rate than my render loop? Maybe frames are being skipped automatically somehow? How is this possible?