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About this blog

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

Entries in this blog

 

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 ;)


VisualLR

VisualLR

 

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)


VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Event System

So, I had previously worked on my event system, and I had tested it, but I ended up putting it in the back burner because I needed to do some graphics work. But, as I do more and more work, the need for an event system is becoming more urgent, or at least more desirable.

I'm not entirely happy with my current implementation because it uses templates, and templates have a way of becoming hard to manage the more you work with them. Another problem I have with them using templates is that it became a bit troublesome when I decided to work on the event manager class (aka, the event scheduler).

But, this is what it looks like right now:



All the main application is doing is randomly issuing "Fire" event on the good or evil ships, when the good ship fires, the evil ship listens for that event and determines that it has been hit. If a ship's health reaches 0, it executes the "Destroyed" event. What I didnt do, but would be trivial is to make the other ship listen for the "Destroyed" event and display a message, such as "I win. bitch", but it wasn't necessary because I had already proved that all listeners listen for the event and react appropiately to it.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

No luck

So, still no luck fixing the strange flickery stuff problem.. I have no idea what it is. Not that I have been working much on it, I've been keeping myself busy with a different project, hopefully one that will provide some financial gains...

Anyway, just thought I'd do a quick post... cya.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

tucows.com

tucows.com has a sleazy business practice... their business model is to make people buy expedited software submission, if you don't, they'll place your program in a queue, a LONG queue, EasyShots is currently at 1009/1634, which means it'll be about 30 days before it gets CONSIDERED to be posted.

Now, their submission website is IMO messy, lately I've seen several, some are really bad, some are real nice, some just get the job done...

Anyway, what's the sleazy business practice? well, after my program has been sitting in a queue for about 40 days, they send an email saying the application has been rejected.. here's the reason:

because the submitted file was named one
of the following: setup.zip, setup.exe, install.zip or
install.exe. Please choose a file name related to your
program.

First, the file name is setuptrial.exe, but I understand it's not related to my program, so I agree with them, what I don't agree is that nowhere in the submission page did it said "warning: if your program has this criteria, it will be rejected", and if it does say it, it must be some really small print, because I'm pretty sure I read everything, at least everything that wasn't hidden away by some tiny link somewhere.

Now, why is this sleazy? because after 40 days, they put you right back at the end of the queue... back at 1634/1634... it took me
But, for $50 you can buy expedite submission... for $65 you can buy expedited and you get to choose the date you want from a little box, and for $2000 you get expedite all your submissions for a year..

Now this may work for a large corporation that mass produces software, or for those developers that have had an insane streak of hits that generate tons of money... but for a guy that's just starting out, and who has actually invested more money than what he's made so far, it just doesn't work.

What's even funnier is that in 82 days, I'll probably have a v2.0 or more of Explore++.. which means I'll have to resubmit, or submitting the update will take at least 40 days... but they'll be nice to offer me expedited submission.



VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Good progress

This weekend was good, I refactored my dynamic rendering pipeline, and now it actually works. I never could figure out what was going on before, but every so often some of the stuff being dynamically rendered was blinking (this was the best case), worst case, entire letters would disappear altogether, imagine a buffer becoming full and then dumping out the first few elements to make room for the new ones, but the new ones never came. Kinda like that... doesn't matter, it's all fixed now and works quite nicely.

Now that I am able to display some text, I got my framerate counter up, and I'm happy to see that my entire terrain is rendering at 70+ average fps.

Anyway, I'm gonna get back to work. I still have that strange UV issue with models to look at, but I may just do something else... problems like that annoy me sometimes.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Explore++

So, I've been real quiet lately, but it's only because I've been keeping real busy. Although not directly a game development project, it's something that anyone can use.

The project is called Explore++ and what it does is allow you to have 1 file exploring app open where you can transfer files using tabs. This will get rid of the clutter from your taskbar since you will no longer need all those explorer windows open. It also has a lot more useful features that will help you manage your files more efficiently.

You can read more about it and download the trial version here:




VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Sphere Games 2.0 prototype

So, today I didn't do any coding at all, I had a pretty busy day getting all the necessary permits for my little trip next week.. but I did manage to throw together a prototype of kind of what I envision the new Sphere Games website to become... it's incredibly rough and has barely any content (nothing new, that's for sure). But I kind of think it works...

I'd post it, but at the moment it's all local on my machine and it would be a lot of work to upload it and create the DB's and all that fun stuff.

I'll post it here as soon as I have something online, I'd like to get some feedback =)

Have a great weekend!

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

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?

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Why I don't post interesting stuff

The problem is that I have a conflict, I work in the games industry, so I can't just go freely discussing what I'm working on because I could get in trouble. And when I get home, if I do some coding on my own time, I usually get very into it and do it until I go to sleep, which leaves no time to talk about it here, except the next day when I'm at work, but since I'm at work... basically a while (1) with no breaks.

And it's not like I get to do anything that cool at home anyway, there's only so much you can do and not feel like you're neglecting your loved ones.

Oh, on that note, although I still play World of Warcraft (usually during my lunch hour), I uninstalled it from my home computer, it was too much of a distraction. Now I actually do some productive stuff at home. yay. (I do miss playing though, that game is fun, oh well).

Ok, on a development related note, I'm interested in learning a little bit about how MMOG's client/server architecture works (not so much high level, but low level stuff). Anyone know where I can find some good reliable information on this? I think it would be a really fun "hobbyist" kinda project to make a little MMO system, even if it's just a sort of chat room in its first iteration.

[edit]
Oh, I forgot to mention something... I changed webhosts for my website, and when I did and needed to update the DNS servers on my domain, I found that network solutions had somehow lost most of my website's registration data (even though I had renewed my domain name for the next 6 years about two weeks ago). I had to call them several times and fax them some data that proved I owned the site at some point before I could regain control of it.

But, it's all straightened out and I am going to take the time one of these weekends to really overhaul the site, improve the layout and change some things.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Slow day

Slow day today...

Capt. Dale Dye stopped by today, I happened to be in the room where they were going to show him some parts of the game so I stayed to hang out. He's a nice man, he sure has a lot of stories and his insight and advice is really interesting. Last time I saw him was well over a year ago when we went to play paintball (for combat reference, of course). That was a pretty fun time. He would show us combat strategies and then we'd enact them in the field (under his direction). It was very intense and exciting, I can only hope that I get a chance to do that again.

Anyway, I've got a task to do, so no quick tip today, at least not for now.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

back to school?

So I had to take a mandatory course on C++... although I already knew 95% of what was taught, that 5% was actually pretty interesting. The problem is that taking a C++ class 3 days, 8 hours each day is pretty exhausting, and probably not very conducive to retaining half of what they teach... sigh.

So I'm tired, and I'm getting sick, which sucks.

Anyway, VS just finished compiling, so I'm gonna go take a look at what I just did.


VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Networking

So, a few days ago, johnhattan sugested I try Raknet (http://www.rakkarsoft.com/ so last night I took it for a test drive.

It was great, I got a very simple text based chat program working in less than an hour, and the code is so clean and well designed. I really liked it, so whenever I get tired of working on the graphics side of things, I'll keep extending the simple chat application, and testing out the other features of RakNet, the autopatch feature seems very cool.


VisualLR

VisualLR

 

New demo + source

I just uploaded a new demo and source code on Texture Management on my site (http://www.spheregames.com/articles.asp).

I'd like some feedback, so if you have time to check it out, please do and drop me an email.

I used to keep my MSN private, and I've recently realized that I should not be such a private individual, so if anyone wants to chat about making games, programming cool shit or needs help, don't be afraid to contact me, if I'm around I'll be happy to help, or just chat.

What have I been doing lately? well, I've been helping out my friends on a project they're doing, and it has required me to code a GPS receiver. I got it all working quite nicely, I can parse the data and determine my longitude, latitude, altitude, and some other bits of info, which is pretty damn cool. I was pleasantly surprised at how GPS data is formatted, it's very straightforward.

My next game is going to be GPS enabled, you'll need a GPS receiver on your computer to play it.. haha

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Santa hat status: DISABLED

Well, the time has passed and I have removed the Santa hat from my avatar.

I've kept treading on the mobile 3D game library I dubbed sgeMobile. It's coming along nicely, I'm using Intel's optimized GPP (here) which seem to be pretty fast (it has some optimized arithmetic, geometry, trigonometry primitives).

I haven't gotten to the 3D rasterizer yet, at the moment all the tests I've done hace consisted of drawing circles at random locations, but I'm quickly approaching the point where I can start working on the rasterizer.

I'd post a screenshot, but I don't think there's an easy way to take a screenshot right out of the pocketpc and into the PC... perhaps I should write EasyShots for PDA... hmmm...


VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Shameless bump

Ok, so my previous post was threatened by lightning, so I'll just repost it again here in hopes that it'll attract some attention. I've tried everything I can think of and haven't been able to figure this one out...

--

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?

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Hello World!

So, it turns out that VS.Net 2005 has a pretty good pocket pc development environment. Of course it uses VS.Net Compact Framework 2.0, so Im not sure just how backwards compatible it is.

Because of this I also installed embedded visual C++ 4.0, where I also made a hello world app, but I'll spare you the screenshot.. hehe

Anyway, today I'm going to concentrate on the graphics API's for pocket pc and I'm going to start developing my game prototype on the PC.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

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...

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

It's checkout time.

Time to head home, I can't wait to get there and keep messing with the net code stuff, it's fun.

That's all I have...

Seriously.

Ok, I'm leaving.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Foray into 2D gaming

I've started playing around with making a 2D game, I already wrote a design and I'm about to begin prototyping it. My plan is to make the game for PocketPC and sell it online.

Oh yea, and Im about to install all the pocketpc dev tools, so it should take me a few hours to become familiar with how it works.

I don't have a pocketpc yet, so I'll use an emulator for my "Hello World", I'll post a screenshot when that's donde.. just for kicks.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Found the problem

I found what's causing the strange behavior, but I haven't come up with a solution yet. It's strange, but basically, what's happening is that for some reason the UVs are different on different faces that share a same vertex.

For example,

--- Face: 0
0: -20.00 -20.00 0.00 [ 1.00 0.00 ]
2: -20.00 20.00 0.00 [ 1.00 1.00 ]
3: 20.00 20.00 0.00 [ 0.00 1.00 ]

Notice the UVs for vertex 0, they're 1.0, 0.0 further down the list we have:

--- Face: 4
0: -20.00 -20.00 0.00 [ 0.00 0.00 ]
1: 20.00 -20.00 0.00 [ 1.00 0.00 ]
5: 20.00 -20.00 40.00 [ 1.00 1.00 ]

Now they're 0.0, 0.0 which is wrong, and since this is being mapped directly into the vertex buffer, it's changing UVs that were already good.

So now I have to figure out why this is the case.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

I've done it

I've coded myself stupid. I've been coding so much these past few days, on several different projects that I've managed to become stupid.

Actually, I'm just experiencing a little bit of burnout, I hardly slept at all last night.. some people stay up worrying about their finances, their love life, family problems... me, I stay up worrying about whether I should try a different rasterizing approach in the morning or if I should figure out how to create a DataSet from an XML schema, or if perhaps I should continue with the 2D stuff on sgeMobile since some of it is 50% complete...

All this thinking about that kept me up, so today everytime I've tried to do any coding my mind just goes bzzzzzz...beep...access denied - systems disabled pending system reboot...beep...bzzz...

Or like those computers in fallout "You press a few keys on the keyboard, but fail to learn anything from this terminal"...

Anyway, I gotta get up somewhat early tomorrow, so I plan on going to bed at a reasonable time (like all the 'real' humans), so I should feel better tomorrow and be productive again.

Maybe I'll watch TV... I haven't done that in at least a week... I've forgotten what it's like.

VisualLR

VisualLR

 

sgeMobile

Steady progress is being made on sgeMobile, last night I added a textbox, it's still missing the scroll bars, but those shouldn't take long to add.

Here's a link to the executable of the previous post if anyone wants to try it (Rob), I'd really appreciate it.

Click

I'm curious as to how it runs on other PPCs.


VisualLR

VisualLR

 

Fixed point goodness

Last night I converted the fixed point math class my friend wrote from C to C++, it turned out pretty good, you can use it just as if it was a primitive data type:



fixed fxNum1 = 32;
fixed fxNum2 = 2;

fxNum1 *= fxNum2; // performs multiplication in fixed point

fixed fxRoot = fixed::sqrt( fxNum1 ); // fixed point sqrt

float fN1 = (float)fxNum1; // converts fxNum1 to floating point
int iN1 = (int)fxNum2; // converts fxNum2 to int

float fRoot = (float)fxRoot;




Fixed point numbers will only be converted into something else when you cast them into either (float) or (int), as long as you don't cast them, any operation you perform on them will be done as fixed point arithmetic.

I also converted my Vector and Matrix classes to use 'fixed' instead of 'float' last night. So AFAIK they're much faster now, I just need to run some tests.

VisualLR

VisualLR

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