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Should new D3D tutorials include tutorials on FFP, or drop it?

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Not exactly a DirectX development question, but thought it's be the best place for some feedback. A new set of tutorials are in the works for TripleBuffer, and we've been thinking of not going through the fixed function pipeline at all. We havent decided yet, but considering that DX10 is right around the corner, in which there is no FFP, do you guys think it'd be a good idea to completely drop FFP? I've added a poll on the front page of the site to keep track of votes, so voting and opinions would be highly appreciated. - Thanks.

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DROP THE FIXED FUNCTION PIPELINE [grin]

That's my vote anyway... FFP is definitely legacy now. You'll be doing yourself and everyone else a favour by being more forward looking. The general advice I've been giving for a few months now is to start with HLSL and the FX framework - it's worth the initial hurdle.

BUT, there is a valid case for still having the FFP around - but it all depends on the target platform. If you're aiming at absolute baseline PC's and most laptops then shaders are out (although, software vertex shading is okay). For any sort of gaming or modern rig (say, 0-2 yrs old?) you'd be fairly safe with a shader-driven architecture.

hth
Jack

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My personal opinion and in the best interest of the community that wants to learn would be to start developing tutorials that will teach logical development. With this I mean by using shaders you will clearly show what is happening in the pipeline and it might integrate theory with application alot better than the FFP has done in the past. Problems like beginners and even alot of intermediate graphic developers not understanding blending and other topics, by incorporating shaders into the earlier tutorials will give them a good base to work from and be eternally thankful.

I hope this helps.
Take care.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Armadon
My personal opinion and in the best interest of the community that wants to learn would be to start developing tutorials that will teach logical development. With this I mean by using shaders you will clearly show what is happening in the pipeline and it might integrate theory with application alot better than the FFP has done in the past. Problems like beginners and even alot of intermediate graphic developers not understanding blending and other topics, by incorporating shaders into the earlier tutorials will give them a good base to work from and be eternally thankful.

I hope this helps.
Take care.


Don't forget about being able to generally rub shoulders a lot more with linear algebra concepts... ;)

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Shaders will force you to learn how things really work, which is good. It also opens up more options, and those options will be more apparent to the person learning. Also, I think more people will understand the flow of a pixel shader than TextureStageStates, even though they're the same thing. All around, shaders are better. Anyone learning now isn't going to release a game for several years, at which point there will be no FFP, or if there is, it will be completely different.

You can include FFP if you want, but it's now more of an advanced topic. Hobby games don't need to worry about it, only professionals targetting older hardware or onboard Intel chipsets and the like.

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At least, if you want to mention FFP, do so with effect framework. AFAIK everything that is FFP can be set in an effect file. states, light, mats, FVF. SDK docs describe all effect FFP settings very detailed.

Yes, I am the darkelf2k5 from devmaster ;)

Edit: Ok, FVF maybe not. A least don't know how.

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I'm wondering, does no one else have a problem with the Framework? This sets the entry level up quite high for beginners? Personally I leant from the small tutorials such as how to set up a vertex buffer, how to render a mesh etc. If they weren't in the sdk (not sure if they are even in the latest sdk's). I seriously doubt I would have got anywhere with graphics programming. How is a beginner supposed to use the framework, its enough just to get a basic window up?
@Jolly Jeffers, you say the framework is worth the extra effort but I'm not sure a beginner could cope with it at all?

I would agree to drop the FFP though, that seems the way forward, but please could some non framework begginner tuts be included?

I just feel every body (including microsoft) are forgetting beginners.

(About FFP again, there are current resources out there for it already so maybe its not so bad to drop it).

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Quote:
Original post by Stevieboy
@Jolly Jeffers, you say the framework is worth the extra effort but I'm not sure a beginner could cope with it at all?
Yes, I will concede that by "jumping in at the deep end" you do risk making it more painful for beginners. However, Direct3D is not a simple API - and I'd raise the issue that if you learn a whole lot of FFP/simple stuff you're going to still hit an "upper limit" of what you can do without moving into the PP. Jumping to the PP from the FFP still requrires substantial re-learning.

Another aspect of it is that, maybe, Direct3D isn't so suited to the absolute graphics beginner - something higher level (such as one of the various open source engines or frameworks) is more suitable.

Quote:
Original post by Stevieboy
Personally I leant from the small tutorials such as how to set up a vertex buffer, how to render a mesh etc. If they weren't in the sdk (not sure if they are even in the latest sdk's).

The tutorials are still in there, in fact there's been a 6th one added at some point - at one point there was only 5. For Direct3D 10 there are 14 tutorials - covering the full length of the pipeline.

Original post by Stevieboy
I just feel every body (including microsoft) are forgetting beginners.

In relation to my previous comment - I don't think MS are forgetting the beginners as such. BUT it is worth remembering that the SDK (+DX in general) is a professional level component - so some degree of knowledge is a prerequisite [wink]

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Something that I always have found amusing is that MS produces a managed D3D layer for people who seemingly can't match every new with a corresponding delete, but must be able to understand the intricacies of a programmable 3D GPU.

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Original post by Anonymous Poster
Something that I always have found amusing is that MS produces a managed D3D layer for people who seemingly can't match every new with a corresponding delete, but must be able to understand the intricacies of a programmable 3D GPU.
Thats a little controversial [wink]

Strictly my own viewpoint, but MDX has great potential for a prototyping system - where you can trial the actual "meat" of an idea without getting bogged down in the finer implementation details before getting anywhere. Secondly, it's an excellent choice for tool/utility writing. I've been told that a number of big publishers make use of MDX specifically for this role.

Jack

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