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Good Enough?.... Never!

Awe the new extensions to my 8800GTX

Posted by , 16 November 2006 - - - - - - · 228 views

I just got the texture_array extension working and I love it... Now for the other extensions. I hope/plan on using the GS to tessellate my terrain to make it look a bit more realistic. I also want to use the float depth buffer also to see what the brings to the table.... Well off to play some more.

I am running with the big dogs now!

Posted by , 08 November 2006 - - - - - - · 248 views

I just ordered a BFG 8800GTX card. Hopefully it will be here Friday or Monday. Anyone have any requests?

Get your coded apps ready to run on it. :)

Yippy skippy

Posted by , 03 November 2006 - - - - - - · 237 views

Another month has gone by and gotten nothing done due to crap that everyone I know needs help with and overtime at work. What a killer of coding time. I bought the Superbible 3rd edition just to have something new to look at when I am at work. I came across the shadowmapping chapter #18, and the example they have in the code I can't figure out what is going on. I understand that they are trying to maximize the texture resolution with the screen size with the sqrt() but I can't get it to work in my code. Anyone here willing to take a gander at it? I would appreciate it.

GLfloat lightToSceneDistance, nearPlane, fieldOfView;
GLfloat lightModelview[16], lightProjection[16];

// Save the depth precision for where it's useful
lightToSceneDistance = sqrt(lightPos[0] * lightPos[0] +
lightPos[1] * lightPos[1] +
lightPos[2] * lightPos[2]);
nearPlane = lightToSceneDistance - 150.0f;
if (nearPlane < 50.0f)
nearPlane = 50.0f;
// Keep the scene filling the depth texture
fieldOfView = 17000.0f / lightToSceneDistance;

Next week the new G80 cards are out!!!! Preliminary results are out at http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=4812

The cards look sweet. Hope they aren't to out of control on their pricing.

Fog and more fog

Posted by , 19 October 2006 - - - - - - · 246 views

Another month has gone by again. How time flies when you are having fun. I have another issue and its with my fog. I am trying to add in fog to cover up the skyline/terrain/waterline in the distance. What I have so far is cubes that are placed in a circle around the camera to try and cover up my line problems and have a bit of depth to the fog to allow the units terrain to come into view gradually. I still don't like the hard line you see around the fog and don't know how to make this go away... The sky would be easier if I dump the textured sky and in the shader just make the sky colors blend in, but loose the clouds. And I don't want to loose the clouds. The terrain issue is bit harder and out of ideas since I have tried doing fog on the terrain where the fog wall it as and still didn't help. Any ideas or suggestions would be great.

On another note anyone here who actually reads my journal [grin] used XNA and C# as of yet? How is it for PC. I could care less for Xbox. Also has anyone used DX10 and DIP() and seen if it gets rid of the overhead costs for call it?

Wow almost a month since I last posted!!!!

Posted by , 25 September 2006 - - - - - - · 203 views

Time flys is all I can say.

Well I have come to the admit defeat and just drop the view I have had in my game and just go with the standard top down look but slightly skewed. The user can move up and down to zoom in a bit and rotate 360 degrees, but no more looking out over the vast landscape. I have determined that shadowmapping unless its PSSM just isn't up to par with the quality I want to see in large outdoor areas. PSSM is nice but comes at a performance hit. I can't afford anymore FPS hits as my FPS are borderline where I think they are acceptable so far. My skydome looks ok, but from a realism stand point ugh, just a texture of a sky, not good enough anymore and this would take more of my time that I don't have to find/fix the sky to make it look up to par with what I want. All of these and other points start to push my game back more and more. I just want to finish it and then look at whats out at the time for power and code accordingly.

I have been looking at PBO's lately but not sure what good they would be for a RTS. Anyone have any ideas glad to hear them.

How is everyone rendering 100's of models on the screen these days? Lets say you have 50 different model types but you have two players that can have 250 units each. So 500 units on the screen from 50 different units. Can't I just have one model object for all the instances of that unit and just render it where I want to, by just using a lets call it mesh manager that hold each instance's position and ID number and then loop throught that mesh manager and render that units mesh at the locations... Still seems wasteful, what about instancing how is that different from what can be done now? Instancing draws once and you can place that mesh all over the scene with one call? This I can see saving cycles...

About time

Posted by , 31 August 2006 - - - - - - · 251 views

Good grief, I finally got bumpmapping to work with my models and GLSL. I never would have if it weren't for some great people here and at openGL.org who helped me. What space are you in? So many different spaces to deal with. Does anyone have a good cheat sheet on how to determine what space one is in? I could really use it.

I think I fixed a bug with the .3ds loader I am using, it was causing me to crash to where I couldn't see windows anymore after I exited my game. Annoying to say the least, because I had to do a hard reboot.

I got a few other bugs to fix and should be able to move onto other items that I need to implement. Particle engine comes to mind.

Anyone have any ideas on how to render trees, vegetation without billboards? The problem with billboards is my camera movement allows the user to look down and pan it up and down, so 2D billboards don't seem the way to go.

New HD

Posted by , 21 August 2006 - - - - - - · 210 views

Well I couldn't take it any longer, my old HD speed was killing me. So I bought a new Raptor 16MB 74GB drive and WOW!! This bad boy is faster than lighting. So far I love it, things are loaded NOW. Now maybe I can see how my load times go once I get my desktop back up and running. Anyone know of a good matrix library for GL?

I added multitexturing to my skydome, so now I have a cloud layer and adds quite a bit to it. Looks more 3D like. I now need some better textures for sky. e.g. Ground Control 2's sky is what I am after.

Next I have to flip Y on my .dds loader data, and tangent vectors hopefully I have them both done by weeks end.

More fun than I should be allowed to have by Law

Posted by , 18 August 2006 - - - - - - · 204 views

Well I got a .dds loader working, but the issue is my textures are flipped on Y axis. So I tried using the GL_TEXTURE matrix mode to flip NO DICE. I guess when using GLSL and not using the texture coordinates that get suppiled by the texture unit I get no difference, but if I use the texture coordinates I supply I can flip textures in the shader with a gl_TexCoord[0].y *= -1.0 works but only with texture coordinates that I send into GLSL, if I try this with a copy I make nothing happens.

vec2 temp = vec2(gl_MultiTexCoord0);
temp.y *= -1.0;

will not work... got me

Got a few other bugs fixed and adding in a few neat fx's I thought about for awhile. Feeling frisky lately. [grin]

On to a different topic concerning the rating system here, I hate it... I was at 1262 then someone must have decided to rate me BAD so I drop 20pts... OUCH. Typically I am a well manner person on the forums... Oh well, guess I should help less...

Anyway hoping to sell my PC soon and wait till Vista is out and build a new one then...

Good bye DX

Posted by , 15 August 2006 - - - - - - · 269 views

Well I tried for about 3 weeks now with DX and decided it's not for me. :( I tried and tried to get DIP() to work and couldn't with my grid system. I am sure someone with more experience with DX than me could but no one seemed sure how to help me get it right. I looked on the net for any tutorial on this way of calling DIP() and couldn't find any, all the ones I seen were for drawing the whole mesh in one call. That worked, but isn't what I want. The sad thing is in GL this is done so easily, where DX DIP() is a nightmare and people who been using it for a long time still have issues getting their head around it. I also didn't like HLSL as well as GLSL. Then when I got to asking about performance people told me that DX9 and older do suffer a overhead cost with calling DIP() where GL doesn't. The issue is supposed to be fixed in DX10, but if that is the case then what else is going to be changed in DX10 vs. DX9? I decided for now DX isn't my cup of tea and may take a look after I finish my game and see how DX is then. One thing that made me think twice is after talking to people they said things like "You will want to code your own or make your own" well thats one of the reasons why I wanted to use DX was to use its built in libraries and .x, .dds ect... So if that is the case then I may as well use GL since I been coding in it for 4yrs now and feel comfortable with it, not an expert but good enough to be dangerous. :) So I added a .dds loader to my OpenGL version of my engine, after seeing how my texture dir shrank from 75MB to around 25MB I was shocked. Anyway I hope that Khronos doesn't screw things up for GL and that I regret this decision in the long run... Now I can get back to work and push forward with getting closer to a alpha build someday...

Trying to get my rendering working with DX and cul

Posted by , 11 August 2006 - - - - - - · 247 views

I am about to pull my hair out!!!!! With DX I am trying to do what I have in OpenGL and its driving me nuts. So far I am trying to use view frutsum culling and patches for my terrain and thats not working out... I can render one huge chunk and when I try to render more than one chunk my mesh is all screwed up! I can't figure out the DrawIndexedPrimitive(). One book I read says the parameters are for the VB and another the IB. Then one site says the minIndex + this = that?????? Good grief GL's calls are much better if thats the case. I am not sure what I should be sending to the parameters with all the confusion and have tried almost ever combo and still get nothing... Any ideas you DX gurus?

On the GL front looks like Khronos stated today that GL will run full force under Vista and may actually fun faster they say. So will Aero UI work with GL now also? This bit of info would be nice to know.

Anyway back to pull hair out... :(

Ugh more headaches

Posted by , 08 August 2006 - - - - - - · 171 views

Well I am not sure about the whole DX idea anymore. I just tried running a demo from a book that I bought that was going about rendering terrain the way I pondered a few months ago while I was thinking about moving to DX. The gist is take a large terrain mesh and break it down into patches or grids and render them with LPD3DXMESH per grid. Well the load time for the terrain alone will age you... Good grief its slow as hell. My OpenGL version loads a 1025x1025 HM and frutsum culls the grids and loads a lot faster. I am pointing the finger at the fact this DX method uses so many LPD3DXMESH's and has to setup this main mesh first and then break it down into a mesh for each grid(33x33). So if anyone ever reads my posts, I would be interested to know how you are going about your DX terrain rendered and if you know of any good tutorial sites...

Now for the other side of the coin. The pondering of moving back to OpenGL... If so when or will we get instancing from Nvidia or ATI? This whole back and forth thing is about to kill my drive to code... Guess it's the grass is greener on the other side of the fence issue...

More Progress

Posted by , 08 August 2006 - - - - - - · 270 views

Well I have my camera class done now in DX. So movement is more user friendly with mouse/keyboard. I am now moving onto culling the terrain into patches. This will allow me to render larger outdoor areas again. Hoping to have this done tonight or tomorrow sometime. After that its moving onto skydome/water. Fun, fun...

New Computer

Posted by , 05 August 2006 - - - - - - · 136 views

Well I bought a HP dv8000 laptop today. I couldn't resist the price on this thing, considering the power it has. I wanted to be able to code when I leave the house or go somewhere for the weekend/week. Nice to have a laptop along side the desktop to gage FPS on a lesser system anyway. Anyway catch you all later...


Posted by , 03 August 2006 - - - - - - · 244 views

Well thanks to Evil Steve I got my debugger to work again with DX. Which in turn helped me solve why the DX version of my heightmap loader wasn't working. Argh! Never underestimate the importance of the debugger.

I got my new Zalman fan today, and it was a good move my CPU temps are lower now around 50C under a load vs. 55-60C under a load. Idel around 40-45C so a nice drop in temp. The thing is HUGE and quiet. My videocard is still the loudest fan in the case.

I noticed that MS may do away with the .x file format? Not a 100% sure but in the new SDK they talk about converting to a new file format from .x to .meshsdk? I hope they don't drop the ability to use .x files to calculate tangents, normals ect. I even like how MS allows you to optimize the mesh with a function call. These are nice options and I hope they keep this kind of functionality around with DX10...

Moving onto DX9 Part II

Posted by , 01 August 2006 - - - - - - · 277 views

Well so far I like DX, but today I finally got my first terrain mesh rendered and not liking what I am seeing... I am not rendering my skydome, or water as of yet and my FPS is pathetic. I am rendering 33x33 all the way up to 129x129 mesh sizes, due to I am using unsigned short for IBO's and my FPS is around 50fps... With my OpenGL version I am hitting well over 120fps and hit around 50 with all my effects turned on rendering 513x513 mesh! Granted its using frustum culling but the DX is only rendering 33x33 which is a chunk size I am using for my culling. As of now I am lost as to why this such a difference in speed. Anyone who's reading have any ideas I would be interested in hearing them... I plan on implementing frustum culling for the DX version also but like I said with a mesh of 33x33 shouldn't be a need to.

On a different note I got the 4800+X2 and ouch it is running hot! My 3800+X2 ran alot cooler. So placed an order for a HUGE fan/heatsink see how that goes.

As of now I am still moving forward with DX but I know already once I drop my water in my FPS will be 0 if my terrain is already killing my fps...

Moving onto DX9

Posted by , 26 July 2006 - - - - - - · 251 views

Well I decided to try my hand with DX9 and HLSL. So far I can say its been really fun, and almost to productive... I went from nothing and have a decent framework up and running in DX. I am hoping to have most of my engine up and running with DX within a month or less. I have never coded with DX before but the little bit I have I like it quite a bit. I know its the dark side as some may say but its SOO tempting. :) I just can't see any reason anymore to code for X-platform when OSX is running on x86 and can run Windows on a Mac so most gamers are just going to install windows and run games that route. IMO OSX gaming it dead after Apple went to Intel. For Linux, IIRC the market is smaller than OSX for gamers. I guess if I was to make any money on this venture I would then go back and make games for all platforms but as of now its a dream to finish this game of mine and release it let alone make it for all platforms. With DX9 and all the libraries it makes one much more productive to actually make your game. Of course this is all my opinion. I still like OpenGL/GLSL and wouldn't say DX is better, but with so much going on in the PC world with AMD buying ATI and SGI on the brink of bankruptcy and taking of selling off OpenGL I am feeling like I may end up loosing in the end. I hope I am wrong and OpenGL shoots past DX someday but as of now I am not so sure anymore... I moved my .tga files to .dds and used compression and wow I reduced my texture directory to around 30megs from 77megs! On a side note with AMD dropping their prices on CPU's I picked up a 4800+X2 for around $350 with a free copy of AOE3! to bad I already own AOE3... Well back to work. Later

DX ugh

Posted by , 19 July 2006 - - - - - - · 190 views

Well I finished Titan Quest and it was great. I would recommend it to anyone who likes Diablo...

I started looking into coding my engine with DX, and get depressed everytime I look at code to learn what is going on. I feel like I am starting over from the beginning again and it makes me depressed to think I may have to waste 6 months learning DX. Then I think no the end game will be better for I will have acccess to many DX libraries that do things for me and will save me time. I started looking at setting up DX and see most people are making classes to take care of their DX initialization, rendering, ect... and starting wondering why people don't use the BaseApp class that the SDK has setup already? I am wondering is it good enough for a game engine? Then the Khronos group is going to take over OpenGL which I hope is a good thing, but who knows where it could end up at... It could be worse and may end up moving to DX anyway...

On a different note I was eyeballing a new Conroe CPU a.k.a Core Duo2, but decided to wait till the 4x Core CPU's hit end of next year and get Vista then. New tech is so tempting for me. :)

If anyone would like to help me figure out how to use Eric's code for tangent calculations with my .3ds models I would be greatful. Later

RAM is here

Posted by , 05 July 2006 - - - - - - · 209 views

Well my 2GB's showed up today and does make a difference in overall system performance vs. 1GB and my Athlon64 x2. Played some TQ and so far it's rocks. Very much like Diablo2 but better GFX. Somethings are better to like the menus system. e.g. when you are selling or looking at buying items it shows your stats for the current item and the one you are looking at buying. Nice addition to the game. As for coding, I pretty much finished the book "Intro to 3D Game Programming with DirectX9c a Shader Approach" by Frank D. Luna. I haven't made up my mind as of yet whether or not I am going DX but the book does make me think about it a lot. I think if I do I could port it over in less than two weeks. So I looked at C# and decided against it for now, I already spent $100 on VC++ 2003 so I decided to stick with C++ for now, no real reason to switch for I like C++, but due to DX is MS only may as well jump on C# also then. Back to coding soon I hope. :)

Instancing with OpenGL? When?

Posted by , 03 July 2006 - - - - - - · 203 views

I know that we are supposed to get some extension from NVIDIA sometime that allows instancing for geometry... I hope this comes out soon so I can implement it into my engine. Fixed an issue with the PPL normal map lighting I was using. I wasn't normalizing the lightVec and was causing my lighting to act all screwy. I did some tests with my VBO/IBO and determined that with unsigned short as the type I go from 40-42 using unsigned int to 55-58 FPS. Problem is with 257x257 you are over the 65k limit of unsigned short, so I would back it down to 129x129 but this isn't large enough, so I need to make my patches into quadrants and render 4 129x129 quadrants is what I am looking into to see if I can gain those extra FPS. Has anyone here bump mapped any models of buildings or RTS units? I haven't yet and am looking into it; I am planning on adding this into the engine, and will prototype it with Render Monkey to see what I may gain from it vs. non bump mapped units. Back to work.

New book and RAM

Posted by , 01 July 2006 - - - - - - · 186 views

Just ordered 2GB of Ballistix Tracer RAM, 2 x 1GB sticks to give my Athlon64 x2 more RAM to use. I had 2GB before, but when you fully populate all 4 banks the speed drops to DDR333 and I didn't want that. So doing it correctly this time with 2 sticks. I just picked up "Intro to 3D Game Programming with DirectX9c a Shader Approach" by Frank D. Luna great book so far. Covers it all, from math to Shaders. Drops the FFP to get one ready for DX10.