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Forum FAQ time..

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I'll be opening this up to the whole forum sometime soon, but as a treat for readers of my journal you can see the preliminary workings of the planned revision/update of the DirectX forum FAQ.

The following is only a small part of what I plan and is based on my run through all the 2700 threads started this year and my own general knowledge about what gets asked repeatedly.

Any feedback on what should (or shouldn't) be included is appreciated.

  • Redistribution
    • The legal stuff

    • What do I need to redistribute

    • How to do it properly

  • Direct3D
    • What should I learn first
      (Tutorials, programmable pipeline not fixed function)
      (Sample Browser - Install Project, Empty Sample)
    • I only want to do 2D graphics
      (People who still insist on using DirectDraw)
    • Alpha blending doesn't work correctly or how do I do blending
      (Setting up states, draw-order dependent, per-vertex modulation, alpha in textures ('A' channel)...)
    • Hardware capabilities and enumeration
      (Why it should be done, how)
    • Depth buffering problems
      (projection issues, zbuffer resolution, z-fighting etc...)
    • I don't see anything on the screen, why?
      (checking return codes, debug runtime output..)
    • I tried my application on a different computer and it didn't work or looks wrong/different
      (Hardware compatability (refer to previous FAQ entry), use refract to verify, contacting developer relations...)
    • Memory leaks
      (how and where)
    • Is x faster than y?
      (explain that trying to compare methods in Direct3D is difficult. Accurate API profiling. Point to NV/ATI tools, PIXfW)
    • Creating and exporting .x files
      (PandaSoft exporter, point to Visual Arts forum, Promit's GDNet contests resource listing thread)
    • Blurry or distorted textures
      (Filtering/wrapping issues, directly mapping texels to pixels, non pow-2 textures from D3DX)
    • Resource allocation best practices
      (Managed pool preferred, default second. Don't create/destroy resources in tight loop)
    • Locking and manipulating resources
      (Explain that it is *always* slow, locking can stall the pipeline, don't lock backbuffers, use GetRenderTargetData... etc...)
      (D3DXFillTexture[Tx] can be an easy option)
    • Debugging Vertex and Pixel Shaders
      ("Start with D3D debugging" doesn't work in VStudio 2005. Use PIX)
    • Getting information from/about shaders and effects
      (Reflection information - the questions Dustin always answers!)
    • Picking Geometry
      (How to use D3DXVec3[Un]Project, Pick sample, performance considerations)
    • Draw call overhead
      (Context switching for D3D9 Draw**() calls; batching of primitives, geometry instancing..)
    • DrawIndexedPrimitive Parameters
      (How to correctly set them - point to SDK documentation!!, ATI is less tolerant than Nvidia etc...)
    • Direct3D and multi-threading
      (D3DCREATE_MULTITHREADED - only if you absolutely have to, D3D best in a single isolated thread)

  • DirectSound
    • How do I play an MP3

  • DirectInput
    • I heard that DirectInput shouldn't be used for mouse/keyboard

In other news, i've been revising my "Operating Systems" module for the last couple of days. For the first time I think i'm finding revision to be interesting [oh]

Muhammad, if you're still reading, I envy your project now. Can I have it? [grin]
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Looks like you got yourself quite a huge undertaking with that FAQ thing. Good luck! [smile]

Muhammad, if you're still reading, I envy your project now. Can I have it?


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Hehe, damn - I might just have to steal your OS then [evil]

I'd imagine I'll do my typical with the FAQ - start with a great plan and then completely over do it and end up with much more work than I should have done. But if it gets a good result thats fine by me!


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Good luck, Jack. I'm rather conflicted about offering my help. I won't mind helping, but I don't want to get myself into huge projects. I'm already too good at wasting my time.

And glad to see your journal is official again.

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