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3D stuff

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Well, I've narrowed down my list. Actually, I've narrowed down my list quite a lot. I've basically decided that I'm gonna use Direct3D (or some abstraction thereof) for the next generation of my games. In case you're wondering why, here're my reasons for dumping Java3D and OpenGL. . .

Java3D -- While Java3D probably has the most potential of all of 'em, I don't have the resources to put towards dealing with software that's not yet fully "baked". Also, I'll certainly make more headway with a language I already know.

OpenGL -- OpenGL was a tougher choice. It's very mature and has a lot of support from the developer community, but I think that Direct3D, like it or not, is gonna become the standard 3D API of the future. Microsoft has pretty-much proclaimed that Direct3D is the future of 3D under Windows. Fahrenheit, the SGI/Microsoft collaboration, is looking more and more like adding to Direct3D the stuff that OpenGL still does better.

If there are any OpenGL zealots out there who feel that I'm that I'm jumping on the MS bandwagon for its own sake, lemme explain myself. I realize that OpenGL's probably a better-structured API than Direct3D, but it's certainly not the first time that the less-capable technology got ahead. Many think OpenLOOK/OpenWindows is better than X/Motif. Many think that Gravis UltraSound is better than SoundBlaster. Many think the OS/2 PM API is superior to Win32. Many think that the Newton is superior to Windows CE. Maybe they're right, but sometimes "the survival of the unfittest" is the law of the business jungle. I wish I had the means of a John Carmack, and I could make a 90-degree turn from the flow of technology and pull the industry with me, but I'm still working on purchasing my first Ferrari.

Now I'm looking into any genuinely-interesting abstractions for Direct3D. Genesis3D is very cool and state-of-the-art, but it might be gigantic overkill for the modest needs I have for my project. Also the demo app crashes my machine in a big way --not even ctrl-alt-del will unlock it! RenderIt 3D is also cool and is a lot closer to my needs (more of a 3D sprite library than a Quake-clone toolkit), but it's commercial. Not that commercial is a bad thing --developers indebted to you for technical support is a plus. Neither have source code, which give me cold-sweat nightmares about companies pulling a Visix on me.

Interesting tool alert: Speaking of commercial tools, I'm now using Neolite to compress my executable files. It's a gizmo that compresses your executable so it takes up less space. The main reason I got this is because I've got a DLL with 3 meg of common bitmaps, and it crunches it down to about 700k without affecting performance. Unfortunately, the latest version is crashing on my big resource DLL, but the tech-support guys have been very good about keeping in touch with reports on how the bug-fix is going. They've also implemented a couple of my suggestions about command-line options for the tool. The tool works on about 90% of the executables I've tried it on, and the decompression doesn't seem to affect performance at all. If you've got bitmap-heavy apps that you plan for people to download, you might wanna look into this gizmo.

On the games front, I got a couple of good bug reports in, and I made a few fixes. Nothing overly interesting. Shelly made contact with a couple of good prospects in the publishing front. If I get a bite, you'll be the first to know --unless I'm on a non-disclosure, of course :)
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