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This journal may contain languages not suitable for minors and some occasional swearing.

Entries in this blog


Welcome to the world of tomorrow!!

I neglected to write a post about a great milestone in my life. I am now the proud father of a little baby boy, who I hope will be impressed when his brain develops enough to understand what his dad does for a living. His name is Luka and he was born on June 26th, which happens to also be my birthday, he has a really cool birthdate 06/26/06.

Here he is, notice how his hands have perfect keyboard posture, he's asking "is that a laptop?"

He was not thrilled when I told him I couldn't bring the xbox to the hospital.

His mom is healthy and practically recuperated and he's doing great, and we're all sleeping very little, but it's ok.




LUA + PocketPC

I wonder if using LUA is feasible on the PocketPC... does anyone know the memory footprint of LUA? I don't know what I'd use it for.. yet, but perhaps it could allow me to make a pretty good game framework that allows me to code all the game using LUA, then I wouldn't have to compile, and upload a new executable each time, just a smallish text file and run it...

of course I'd lose some debugging abilities, but if the framework is stable enough, I could have a small script validation run on the PC that will look for syntax errors and such to prep the script for download to the PPC...

Just a thought, I may give it a shot, but after I'm done with the more important stuff.




The universe tends to unfold as it should...

I don't remember where that quote comes from (some movie), but it stuck in my mind and for some reason my subconscious is always reminding it to me, especially when things aren't going all that great. Things do seem to be slowly turning around and getting a bit better, we'll see how everything 'unfolds'.

I got the new architecture for SGE working, at least the barebones of the scene graph implementation. It's not at the same point where my previous architecture was yet. I've been porting over different components and man am I proud of the work I did in making each component self sufficient, porting has been extremely easy.

Oh, I also ported the project to VS.Net 2005, and was pleasantly surprised at what MS did in deprecating some old C functions and replacing them with safer versions, I'm not sure if this is an MS thing only, or a C standards change, so I'm not sure what the cross-platform implications are, however, everything is nicely enabled/disabled with a #define, so it's not a big deal, in fact, I put the define in an #if _MSC_VER >= 1400 block, so those defines only get used in VS.Net 2005.

VS.Net 2005 is nice, I haven't used it all that much to find a lot of things. However, I was a little disappointed that some rather small, yet very useful things didn't make it. Particualily, things that VisualAssist gives you. For example, something I use a lot in VA is the ability to open the corresponding .cpp for a given .h or viceversa, I was hoping they would make that part of the VS.net IDE (if it's there and I just haven't seen it, please let me know). IMO VA also provides much nicer syntax highlighting, and although VS.net did improve their syntax highlighting, it's still not as complete as VA.

That is all for now, I need to get back to work on SGE..





I'm getting the exact same problem using flexporter. For the life of me, I can't seem to be able to load in UVs anymore...

Why is this wrong?

for ( uint16 i = 0; i 3; ++i )
uint16 v = mesh.mFaces;
uint16 tv = mesh.mTFaces;

vertices[v].u = mesh.mTVerts[tv].x;
vertices[v].v = mesh.mTVerts[tv].y;

Am I missing something? does 3DStudio export UVs in some particular way I'm not aware of?

At least I didn't spend all night working on this, I set up the actual texture loading, so now any texture I specify in max gets loaded and set when the model is drawn. Except, of course, the UVs are wrong.

This is annoying, and I'm too tired to start looking at it.




* Vanish *

So I pulled out my flash powder and *poof* vanished for a little while. (sorry, wow reference there)...

That does not mean that I have spent every waking hour playing warcraft, although I have played some, my warrior is at lvl 56 and I'm pushing to get to 60 soon (and before my bro! the fool, he will never catch up!).

Anyway, I haven't been too busy at work, which is nice, except for most of this week when I was having the most annoying, most frustrating, enfuriating problem ever. Visual Studio was closing itself on me... no error message, no crash, nothing! it would just disappear, not even using "End Process" kills programs as fast as VS was disappearing, and of course, any unsaved work would go bye bye.

So, after looking for spyware, viruses, even getting my computer swapped with another identical one, the problem persisted. I tried it on our lead's system and the same problem. And all this time I thought it was my system.. damn it...

Anyway, long story short, I uninstalled Visual Assist X and did a painful "Rebuild All" (without Incredibuild) and the problem finally went away.

I miss VisualAssist, but I'm happy that I'm not entirely lost without it, the only thing I truly miss is that thing that lets you open a file quickly by typing in the name of the file, that and the button to open a corresponding .h/.cpp file... everything else was just a cherry on top.


Oh yea, and for the record, DirectInput's force feedback code is crappy and poorly documented... I'm really surprised MS never released a small library of commonly used force feedback effects. Something like "bullets", "idle car", "chainsaw", etc. Instead I gotta sit here and try to mathematically come up with what I think an effect would feel like... great fun.






Ok, now let me explain... hehe

I've kept working on my mobile stuff which I've codenamed sgeMobile. I've done some pretty good progress in very little time, and for that I'm pretty happy. Although I haven't gotten to the 3D part yet, I'm getting closer.

On the screenshot you see a few things, the number way up top is the framerate, 52fps... if I remove the window on the bottom right which is just a dialog (or the first iteration of one) it shoots up to 70, so I gotta look into that, but I'm not too worried, since the 3D and 2D stuff will remain somewhat isolated from each other, except for a few HUD elements.

The text stuff is pretty cool, I wrote a small tool that allows you to convert any windows font into a compatible format that sgeMobile uses and renders it exactly as it should be rendered once in the game.

I think I mentioned it, but the two sprites you see, Link and a Delorean are both animated, just looping over 4 or 5 frames.

Finally the blue box there is a button in an unpressed state.

So, that's pretty much it, that I can show at least, I also have all the framework setup to receive stylus input, buttons, detect memory leaks and all that fun stuff.

Oh, the sprites, I downloaded from somewhere on the net (search google images for sprites) and I'm only using for testing, they have nothing to do with the game... at all. I'd credit the authors, but I forgot to write that down... oops.

For reference, this is running on PocketPC 2002, the screenshots were grabbed directly from the hardware, not an emulator =)





I'm amazed at the response SleepyTime has been getting, in only 3 days since its release it already has 94 downloads on download.com, and about half that on other download sites.




It's getting ridiculous

This just in! Terrorists were planning on using clothes as explosives in airplanes, from now on, everyone must fly naked!

Ok, so it's not an actual headline, but at the rate it's going I won't be surprised when full cavity searches are "standard procedure", hell, they already fondle old ladies, cause everyone knows that grandma can be one mean terrorist.

When I was a kid, I used to love flying in an airplane, now it's one of the most deplorable things you can do, even worse now that I won't be able to fight with damn dehydration by bringing my own water or gatorade in, I'll have to drink the 0.42 oz. of soda they give you. Screw that, if you're getting on a plane, demand that the airline have a large bottle of chilled gatorade waiting for you inside the plane, I think if consumers begin to demand stuff, they may get it.

We should all as the world community use the money we would've otherwise spent at the duty free and fund research into teleportation. Anyway, enough ranting, I gotta go to work




xRC, my new toy

So here's something new... a little while ago some bad shit happened that have put me in the place where I am today, long story short, I currently don't have a TV, except for the TV tuner card in this computer. Unfortunately, it's a pretty old TV tuner, so it does not have a remote...

Let's take this story back a few months, to E3... at E3 I won a cool wireless XBox gamepad, not long after I bought an adapter so I could use it on my PC (mostly for game development, I have no PC games that are suitable to play with a gamepad).

Fast forward to the present... one day while watching TV and wishing I could just lie in bed and switch channels, I saw the xbox controller lying around, so I thought to myself... why don't I just write a little program that will map the gamepad's output to keyboard keys...

I have not fully established whether I'll try to sell this, or release it as freeware, I guess I'd like to gauge interest on it and then decide, so, if you're interested and want to try it out, GET IT HERE

Here's a screenshot so you get an idea of what it is:

Oh yea, system requirements:

- Windows XP
- .NET Framework v2.0

Feedback, comments & bug reports are greatly appreciated!





So, does anyone know how to determine if CapsLock is enabled/disabled with DirectInput? I can detect if the key was pressed, but I need to know in what state it currently is in.





Almost ready

Today I formatted my C: partition, reinstalled all my software (well, I'm in the process of doing that) and next I'll be cleaning up my development drives and preparing for a new wave or renewed enthusiasm and desire to take SGE to the finish line. DX9 SDK April 2006 release just finished installing, yay!

I have a ton of plans on how I'm going to move forward, I haven't cleaned them up into human readable form yet, currently it's a combination of unintelligible streaks of ink in a notebook and deceiving diagrams, but after I'm done getting all my software back into shape, I'll have something nice and clean to work with.

Anyway, things seem to be going a bit back to normal, and some sort of a routine is starting to develop, which is fine, it'll make planning a bit easier... at least till until a month from now, then there'll be a few weeks of disarray and reorganization, but I don't think it will be so bad... sleep deprivation is a friend, not food.

Ok, I'm getting tired, so I better get back to installing shit.




New shader, new architecture

Ok, so I mentioned a couple posts back that I had worked on some shaders, truth is, I only finished one of them, the other one is in progress, but it was put on hold.

After much struggling with my current rendering architecture, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and refactor it. The new architecture is somewhat similar to what is more commonly used, somewhat like OGRE in that you can create projects and derive the application class from a set of base classes. This will allow me to prototype different things without having to pollute the main namespace with test code.

I'm also refactoring the renderer to something similar to the one in this book:

3D Game Engine Architecture, First Edition

So far it's going good, anyway, here's the screenshot of my high resolution fighter with a cloak type effect. It looks a little soapy right now, kindof like a bubble, in part it has to do with the cube map I'm using, but I think with some good textures, the ship would look a lot less soapy and a lot cooler.

Click here for full size




New Release: SleepyTime


I just released a new program, it's called SleepyTime, it allows you to schedule when you want your computer to shutdown, reboot, log off, suspend or hibernate. It allows you to set a specific time or to set a minute timer. It's incredibly useful if you don't want your computer to stay on all night after you've gone to sleep, or if you want your computer to reboot after a long process is complete.

You can check it out here: SleepyTime

I also updated EasyShots, here are the latest updates:

- JPEG quality is now set to the highest possible
- Screenshots can now be resized in the edit window
- Resized or cropped image size is now properly updated in the thumbnail list
- Edit window will not get set to a size larger than the desktop resolution upon zoom
- Crop & capture box dimensions are now white text over blue background, improves visibility
- Optimized area capture
- Images can now be dragged into the thumbnail list
- Thumbnails for small screenshots are no longer zoomed in
- The + and - keys now control zoom in the edit window
- Optimized screenshot capture and thumbnail list process





Ok, this is just a shameless bump to get a few more opinions on my new website:






I need help.

So, I'm getting a strange problem in my engine, at first I thought it was my code (and it could still be, but Im not sure). I have some text that was being displayed on the screen, FPS, position, etc. When using the debug drivers everything works great, but when I use the release drivers, even if I remove the code that draws the text, I get junk on the screen, flickery bits of text from what was previously being drawn.

Here's a screenshot:

Anyone seen this before? for the longest time I've thought the problem was on my dynamic rendering code (for text), but I still get the problem even after removing the code that was drawing the text in the first place.

Any ideas?




Sphere Games Website

So, I have a "beta" version of the new Sphere Games website... I guess it's not techincally beta, it's more of a prototype. I'm still debating whether it's in the direction I wan't to go, mainly because I envition it being a lot of work in maintaining it up to date, and writing new tutorials...

If you notice, I tried to keep the ads and things like that to a minimum, but I am interested in making a few extra bucks, it'd be nice to at least make enough to pay for the hosting.

Anyway, you can take a sneak peak here:

Sphere Games Prototype Website

All feedback is appreciated, especially if you hate it.





Wow, I just noticed there's some sort of closure thing going on... is it a strike? is there a gdnet developer journal writer union I was not invited to join?

I'd close mine, but quite frankly, with all the good ones closing, it can only increase the popularity of mine, I guess I'll have to start producing screenshots more frequently to keep people entertained, that is until people talk bad about the screenshots, then the screenshots will delete themselves out of sadness and this journal will wither and die, thus completing the cycle of life.

Ok, enough about that... Actually, if they don't make a version of GDnet with a damn BLACK background sometime soon, I may just end up closing this journal for real and install word press on my site and take it from there... this REALLY hurts my eyes, it's 3am and I'm sitting in here in complete darkness, except for the incredibly bright beacon of gamedev goodness that is GDNet. C'mon guys... I already wear glasses, I don't want to 'up' the Rx on 'em.

Ok, enough.

This holiday season has got my spirits down a bit.. I should've done a ton of things, but I've felt no motivation to do them at all. January is going to be real stressful and I'm already feeling the anxiety about it *sigh*.

I just want to make games... sometimes, it feels as if it's too much to ask. Oh well, I have high hopes that something good will happen in January, but if I learned something in the past 6 months is that the higher your hopes, the bigger your disappointment. It gets hard to keep your head up at times... and yet, somehow I manage...

Ok, enough rambling... hopefully next update will have a screenshot. cya.




Net coding

So I have this very basic network library, and I can do some real simple stuff with it, and I'm having fun playing with it, making a small crappy chat program, and then it hits me, there is no way I can turn this into a full fledged MMO server in any reasonable time frame, there is just too much to consider. Or I could, but at the expense of writing some other important system, hell, I still need to finish the core renderer (which atm is the most complete system I have).

So, I may put it on the back burner, once again, but I will also consider integrating Open TNL (www.opentnl.org). I mean it's there, I can use the code, if I decide to license it, it's either $300, or $1000 depending on the license... may not be a bad idea after all.

Anyway, I gotta go...




GPU Particle System

A friend of mine suggested that to give my engine a "wow" factor, I should throw in a particle system, and I agree it would make a world of difference. So I'm researching particle systems that run on the GPU.

I'm wondering if anyone out there has done this type of particle system and I'd love to hear about your experience in doing it. I have of course google'd it and have read some of the pages that have turned up, such as Building a Million-Particle System.

So please, if you have worked on something like this and would like to comment on your experience I would appreciate it.

In other news, I got to do a programming test for a company in Australia tomorrow... should be fun ;)




Trialware development

So, as I mentioned in my previous post, I have launched my very first serious trialware application, Explore++. This project was my first ever in C#, before doing it I had only glanced at what C# code looked like.

Now, I'm not the kind of guy that gets into what language is better, C++ or Java, Java or C# and so on.. to me that's a waste of time. You find the most appropiate language to solve a problem and you use it. With that out of the way, let's continue...

I really liked a lot of things about C#, and I also disliked a couple of them, but not enough to make them worth mentioning. I liked how (relatively) straightforward it was to do almost everything, I liked making a custom control and having it appear on my controls toolbox then dragging that into my app and bam! it works. That was cool. With MFC it always felt as if I was fighting VS to get what I wanted to work, with C# most things just kind of worked like you'd expect them to.

Interoperability stuff took me a bit longer to learn, although when I figured it out I realized how not terribly difficult it is, just well, not what you're used to doing with C++.

I released Explore++ two days ago, and I'm pretty happy with the amount of downloads it has received so far, I'm sure that number will go up once it's posted on the cnet network of download sites.

Now that my first application is done, I'm planning my return into games. I'm thinking of making a simple 3D game using managed directx whenever I feel I need a break from working on SGE.

Speaking of which SGE deserves a post of its own, I'm tired of how incredibly difficult this architecture is proving to be when it comes to dynamic rendering of stuff, so I'm seriously considering ditching the deferred renderer and switching to an immediate renderer instead... but I'll post more about this later.




Almost checkout time.

I'm about to head home, I'll probably post something on-topic from there... basically have been doing more of the same, I keep meaning to go back to that UV bug, but I'm having fun with the other stuff I'm doing.

Why do I get all the stupid bugs?

** EDIT **
Look at the comments of this post for some LUA stuff =)




Dell Axim PocketPC

Anyone know where I can buy a Dell Axim PocketPC in Vancouver, BC ?

Is there a store similar to Best Buy, or Fry's in or nearby Vancouver?

(real store, not online)




I'm out - for now

I just clicked on the 'Cancel Subscription' button, this means I wont be renewing GDNet+ at this time. Why? for many reasons, most of which are personal, no I'm not getting out of games (not yet), no I don't hate GameDev, I quite enjoy it, actually. I'm just trying to evaluate where all my money, or lack thereof is going. I work in the gaming industry, and I haven't been able to afford an xbox360... and I've been wanting a new computer of a decent laptop for a while now but somehow, I never have enough money. So I believe I need to reduce my expenses as much as possible, then identify where the money is going and then decide where I want to use it. Plus, I have more bills now than I used to, hell, the gas bill up here is like $80...

Anyway, I'll be back (will my journal get deleted? that would be crappy), hopefully soon.




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