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# 13 RONIN - DevLog #7 - Fight or flight!

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Since I had no previous experience of coding a computer player I turned to our friend google for advice. I found a number of threads on the subject, some talked about AI, but most of them talked about reaction based solutions, but since I’m not interested in AI and rather want to mimic the feeling found in old-school fighting games I decided to go for the reaction based solution. And when I use the phrase “reaction based”, I’m referring to an implementation that selects action-based on one or several conditions e.g. if the opponent hit then block.

Feeling a bit over-confident, I stopped reading and headed over to Visual Studio just to realize that this was not as easy as I had thought. Soon I had a bunch of if-statement and a code hard to follow. I refactored the code, but still I wasn’t pleased

Along came Halloween and at my workplace, we had an amazing party (I was dressed as the Invisible Man). After dinner, I chatted with a colleague and talking about the computer player he asked if I was using a decision-tree for action selection. Decision trees? What’s this, yet another gap of knowledge.

The name itself told me that this was something I had to read up on. So, the day after, still recovering from the party, I started reading. And oh yes, this was what I’ve been looking for. (Thanks Mikael for the suggestion)

## Decision trees

The full definition is somewhat longer, but simplified, a decision tree is a tree structure describing conditions and results. Every node is a condition deciding upon which branch to follow until reaching the leaf and the result of the path taken. This was exactly the kind of data structure I needed to find a structure around the computer player logic Using a fluent builder I could put all conditions in a tree and let the leaves contain what actions to perform.

Decision tree for the computer player.

## DecisionTreeNode

My implementation of the decision tree is very basic, it consists of a DecisionTreeNode-class that I use for the tree as well as for the nodes and the leaves.

The Condition-property is only applicable to condition nodes. It’s a delegate that when called will evaluate what child node to step into. It returns the name of the child to step into.

The Result-property is only applicable to leaves. It’s a delegate with actions associated to the leaf.

The GamePlayState-class contains all data needed when deciding computer action.

## DecisionTreeBuilder

I’m quite fond of fluent coding so when building the DecisionTreeBuilder it was a natural pattern to choose. Using this pattern makes classes easy to use and code easy to read.

This is how I build the decision tree

var decisionTree =
DecisionTreeBuilder
.Begin(
"Reacting",
state =>
state.Player.IsReacting()
? "Elapsed"
: "Opp new action")
.AddNode(
"Elapsed",
state =>
state.Player.IsTimeToReact(state.GameTime.TotalGameTime)
? "Facing"
: "Done 1")
.AddNode(
"Facing",
state =>
{
return
state.Player.IsFacingOpponent()
? "Reachable 1"
: "Reachable 2";
})
.AddNode(
"Reachable 1",
state =>
state.Player.IsWithinReach(state.Opponent)
? "Opp attacking"
: "Opp approaching")
.AddNode(
"Opp attacking",
state =>
state.Player.ActionToReactUpon is AttackAction
? "Defend"
: "Attack 1")
.AddLeaf(
"Defend",
state =>
{
state.Player.ResetReaction();
state.Player.ParryHeadCut();
})
.AddLeaf(
"Attack 1",
state =>
{
state.Player.ResetReaction();
state.Player.HeadCut();
})
.Parent()
.AddNode(
"Opp approaching",
state =>
state.Opponent.IsAdvancing() &&
state.Opponent.IsFacingOpponent()
? "Idle 1"
: "Advance 1")
.
.
.
.Build();

AddNode will create and append a new node to the current nodes’ children and then go into the newly created node and make it current. AddLeaf will create and append a new leaf, but not go into it. Parent will go to the parent node and make it current. Build will return the newly composed tree.

The choice to use strings for names makes it easy to follow the code but also makes it easy switching between the diagram and the code. The Parent-, and Name-properties together with the GetFullName method make nice tools while debugging.

## Player

In my game I have a HumanPlayer-class and a ComputerPlayer-class, both implementing an abstract class Player. The main difference between the Human- and the ComputerPlayer-class is how the Update-method is implemented. The HumanPlayer-class is using input from keyboard and gamepad to control the player character while the ComputerPlayer is using the decision tree.

The code for using the tree looks like this:

var leaf = _decisionTree.Evaluate(state);
leaf.Action(state);

Nice, isn’t it?

Happy coding!
jan.

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I roughly followed (and borrowed a lot of code from) this tutorial, but I'm using SlimDX and WPF: http://graphicsrunner.blogspot.com/2009/01/volume-rendering-101.html
Here's an example, showing voxel-ish artifacts on the X and Z axes, which are evidently not being interpolated:

...whereas on the Y axis it appears to be interpolating correctly:

If I disable any kind of interpolation in the sampler, the whole volume ends up looking voxel-ish / bad:

Thinking maybe my hardware didn't support 3D textures (even though it's modern?) I wrote a little trilinear interpolation function, and got the same results.
In the trilinear code, I calculate the position of the ray in grid coordinates, and use the fractional portion to do the lerps.
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However, my X and Z fractional values are strange. What I should be seeing is the same white => black fade 144 and 145 times, respectively. But what I get is this:

... which is definitely not right. The values are A) discretized and uniform per grid cell, and B) exhibit a pattern that repeats every handful of grid rows, instead of a smooth fade on each cell.
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float4x4 World; float4x4 WorldViewProj; float4x4 WorldInvTrans; float3 StepSize; int Iterations; int Side; float4 ScaleFactor; int Width; int Height; int Depth; Texture2D<float3> Front; Texture2D<float3> Back; Texture3D<float1> Volume; SamplerState FrontSS = sampler_state { Texture = <Front>; Filter = MIN_MAG_MIP_POINT; AddressU = Border; // border sampling in U AddressV = Border; // border sampling in V BorderColor = float4(0, 0, 0, 0); // outside of border should be black }; SamplerState BackSS = sampler_state { Texture = <Back>; Filter = MIN_MAG_MIP_POINT; AddressU = Border; // border sampling in U AddressV = Border; // border sampling in V BorderColor = float4(0, 0, 0, 0); // outside of border should be black }; SamplerState VolumeSS = sampler_state { Texture = <Volume>; Filter = MIN_MAG_MIP_LINEAR; AddressU = Border; // border sampling in U AddressV = Border; // border sampling in V AddressW = Border; // border sampling in W BorderColor = float4(0, 0, 0, 0); // outside of border should be black }; struct VertexShaderInput { float3 Position : POSITION; float4 texC : COLOR; }; struct VertexShaderOutput { float4 Position : SV_POSITION; float3 texC : TEXCOORD0; float4 pos : TEXCOORD1; }; VertexShaderOutput PositionVS(VertexShaderInput input) { VertexShaderOutput output; output.Position = float4(input.Position, 1.0); output.Position = mul(output.Position * ScaleFactor, WorldViewProj); output.texC = input.texC.xyz; output.pos = output.Position; return output; } float4 PositionPS(VertexShaderOutput input) : SV_TARGET // : COLOR0 { return float4(input.texC, 1.0f); } float4 WireFramePS(VertexShaderOutput input) : SV_TARGET // : COLOR0 { return float4(1.0f, .5f, 0.0f, .85f); } //draws the front or back positions, or the ray direction through the volume float4 DirectionPS(VertexShaderOutput input) : SV_TARGET // : COLOR0 { float2 texC = input.pos.xy /= input.pos.w; texC.x = 0.5f * texC.x + 0.5f; texC.y = -0.5f * texC.y + 0.5f; float3 front = Front.Sample(FrontSS, texC).rgb;// tex2D(FrontS, texC).rgb; float3 back = Back.Sample(BackSS, texC).rgb; // tex2D(BackS, texC).rgb; if(Side == 0) { float4 res = float4(front, 1.0f); return res; } if(Side == 1) { float4 res = float4(back, 1.0f); return res; } return float4(abs(back - front), 1.0f); } float TrilinearSample(float3 pos) { float X = pos.x * Width; float Y = pos.y * Height; float Z = pos.z * Depth; float iX = floor(X); float iY = floor(Y); float iZ = floor(Z); float iXn = iX + 1; float iYn = iY + 1; float iZn = iZ + 1; float XD = X - iX; float YD = Y - iY; float ZD = Z - iZ; float LL = lerp(Volume[float3(iX, iY, iZ)], Volume[float3(iX, iY, iZn)], ZD); float LR = lerp(Volume[float3(iXn, iY, iZ)], Volume[float3(iXn, iY, iZn)], ZD); float UL = lerp(Volume[float3(iX, iYn, iZ)], Volume[float3(iX, iYn, iZn)], ZD); float UR = lerp(Volume[float3(iXn, iYn, iZ)], Volume[float3(iXn, iYn, iZn)], ZD); float L = lerp(LL, UL, YD); float R = lerp(LR, UR, YD); //return ZD; return lerp(L, R, XD); return 0.0F; } float4 RayCastSimplePS(VertexShaderOutput input) : SV_TARGET // : COLOR0 { //calculate projective texture coordinates //used to project the front and back position textures onto the cube float2 texC = input.pos.xy /= input.pos.w; texC.x = 0.5f* texC.x + 0.5f; texC.y = -0.5f* texC.y + 0.5f; float3 front = Front.Sample(FrontSS, texC).rgb; // tex2D(FrontS, texC).xyz; float3 back = Back.Sample(BackSS, texC).rgb; // tex2D(BackS, texC).xyz; float3 dir = normalize(back - front); float4 pos = float4(front, 0); float4 dst = float4(0, 0, 0, 0); float4 src = 0; float value = 0; //Iterations = 1500; float3 Step = dir * StepSize; // / (float)Iterations; float3 TotalStep = float3(0, 0, 0); value = Volume.Sample(VolumeSS, pos.xyz).r; int i = 0; for(i = 0; i < Iterations; i++) { pos.w = 0; //value = Volume.SampleLevel(VolumeSS, pos.xyz, 0); value = TrilinearSample(pos.xyz); // tex3Dlod(VolumeS, pos).r; // Radar reflectivity related threshold values if (value < 40) value = 40; if (value > 60) value = 60; value = (value - 40.0) / 20.0; src = (float4)(value); src.a /= (Iterations / 50.0); //Front to back blending // dst.rgb = dst.rgb + (1 - dst.a) * src.a * src.rgb // dst.a = dst.a + (1 - dst.a) * src.a src.rgb *= src.a; dst = (1.0f - dst.a) * src + dst; //break from the loop when alpha gets high enough if (dst.a >= .95f) break; //advance the current position pos.xyz += Step; TotalStep += Step; //break if the position is greater than <1, 1, 1> if (pos.x > 1.0f || pos.y > 1.0f || pos.z > 1.0f || pos.x < 0.0f || pos.y < 0.0f || pos.z < 0.0f) break; } return dst; } technique11 RenderPosition { pass Pass1 { SetVertexShader(CompileShader(vs_4_0, PositionVS())); SetGeometryShader(NULL); SetPixelShader(CompileShader(ps_4_0, PositionPS())); //VertexShader = compile vs_2_0 PositionVS(); //PixelShader = compile ps_2_0 PositionPS(); } } technique11 RayCastDirection { pass Pass1 { SetVertexShader(CompileShader(vs_4_0, PositionVS())); SetGeometryShader(NULL); SetPixelShader(CompileShader(ps_4_0, DirectionPS())); //VertexShader = compile vs_2_0 PositionVS(); //PixelShader = compile ps_2_0 DirectionPS(); } } technique11 RayCastSimple { pass Pass1 { SetVertexShader(CompileShader(vs_4_0, PositionVS())); SetGeometryShader(NULL); SetPixelShader(CompileShader(ps_4_0, RayCastSimplePS())); //VertexShader = compile vs_3_0 PositionVS(); //PixelShader = compile ps_3_0 RayCastSimplePS(); } } technique11 WireFrame { pass Pass1 { SetVertexShader(CompileShader(vs_4_0, PositionVS())); SetGeometryShader(NULL); SetPixelShader(CompileShader(ps_4_0, WireFramePS())); //VertexShader = compile vs_2_0 PositionVS(); //PixelShader = compile ps_2_0 WireFramePS(); } } Any insight is hugely appreciated, whether on the specific problem or just random things I'm doing wrong.
With the coordinates in the Texture3D being so messed up, I'm surprised this renders at all, let alone close to correctly.
Thank you in advance!

• TLDR: is there a way to "capture" a constantbuffer in a command list (like the InstanceCount in DrawIndexedInstanced is captured) so i can update it before the command list is executed?
Hey,
I want to draw millions of objects and i use instancing to do so. My current implementation caches the matrix buffers, so I have a constantbuffer for each model-material combination. This is done so I don't have to rebuild my buffers each frame, because most of my scene is static, but can move at times. To update the constantbuffers I have another thread which creates command lists to update the constantbuffers and executes them on the immediate context. My render thread(s) also create command lists ahead of time to issue to the gpu when a new frame is needed. The matrix buffers are shared between multiple render threads.
The result is that when an object changes color, so it goes from one model-material buffer to another, it hides one frame and is visible at the next or is for one frame at a different location where an object was before. I speculate this is because the constantbuffer for matrices is updated immediately but the InstanceCount in the draw command list is not. This leads to matrices which contain old or uninitialized memory.
Is there a way to update my matrix constant buffers without stalling every renderthread and invalidating all render command lists?
regards

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