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Oogst

DX11 Shader debugger in DX9

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I would like to do real shader-debugging on my Windows 7 PC: being able to capture a frame, select a pixel and step through its pixel shader. The real deal, just like I can on my Xbox 360 devkit. Which tools can I use for that on Windows 7?

Supposedly Visual Studio 2012 has a really good PIX inside, but this is only DX10 and DX11, while my game is still DX9. So I cannot use that.

Nvidia's Perfhud used to also be a nice graphics debugger (don't know if it had stepping through pixel shaders, though), but I cannot get Perfhud to work on my Windows 7 computer: it keeps giving the error that the drivers are not instrumented. Also, Perfhud doesn't seem to have been update in six years, suggesting it is simply dead.

So, what to do? Are there other debugging/profiling tools I could use for graphics?

My game is made in DX9 (with the Ogre engine), shader model 3.0 and I can switch between HLSL and CG, so either would be good. I use Windows 7 and have an Nvidia GTX480.

Thanks in advance! smile.png

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Like Yourself mentioned Nsight is the replacement for PerfHUD. Nsight is the only debugger availble for PC that actually debugs shaders on the hardware, all other debuggers work by emulating the shader on the host PC.

The old PIX for Windows will still work for debugging shaders (via emulation as mentioned above), however you can't install the Windows 7 hotfix that brought DX11.1 to Win7. With that hotfix PIX will crash. However it is possible to uninstall the hotfix and use PIX again.

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I am okay with software emulation, just as long as the results are correct, since I need it for debugging, not so much for profiling. smile.png

I had a look at Nsight before, but I got the impression it only does shader debugging in DX10/11, not in DX9. Am I misinterpreting the description here, then? https://developer.nvidia.com/nsight-visual-studio-edition-features

I had also found Intel GPA, but I had automatically assumed it would only support Intel videocards. Does it also fully function on Nvidia cards then? I also couldn't find any description of full shader debugging in the GPA description. It only mentions "Shader experiments" in their Product Brief, which suggests things like swapping shaders, not fully stepping through a shader for an individual pixel.

Since you are mentioning 3 different alternative (Nsight, GPA and PIX), which would be my best choice?

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It does look like you're correct regarding Nsight and DX9. Honestly it's been so long since I used DX9, so I hadn't checked what tools supported it. I think PIX might be your best bet here, it's only tool that I can confirm works for debugging DX9 shaders.

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Microsoft DirectX SDK June 2010 has 64bit PIX in the package, I just have it on my win7 and I succesfully debug 32bit dx9 applications. PLease, post your result wheather you got it or not, thanks.

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I tried PIX now and it indeed does exactly what I was looking for! biggrin.png

I did have trouble with PIX in the DirectX June 2010 SD,K giving some weird error when I tried to debug a pixel. But it turns out that the 32 bit PIX in the August 2007 SDK does work. Great, on to some good debugging fun!

Thanks for the advice, folks! smile.png

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weird error? You could have been more specific. Wasn't it alerting " Multisampled surfaces cannot be pixel shader debugged. " ?

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weird error? You could have been more specific. Wasn't it alerting " Multisampled surfaces cannot be pixel shader debugged. " ?

Since PIX 2007 works fine, I wasn't particularly looking for a solution, but I guess newer PIX would of course be better, so if you know how to solve it, I'd love to hear the solution! smile.png

When I try to debug a shader for a specific pixel, I first get a popup that tell me PIX is going to "Enable Shader Debugging" in the DirectX Control Panel. I click Yes, I allow it to make changes through a Windows popup, and then I get the message "Shader debugging could not be enabled", and then "An error occurred while preparing to debug the shader".

I tried enabling shader debugging myself in all the DirectX control panels I could find (2007/2010 32/64bit), and also setting them to Debug instead of Release DirectX, but neither helped. PIX 2007 works fine right away. Edited by Oogst

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      Hello everyone,
      After a few years of break from coding and my planet render game I'm giving it a go again from a different angle. What I'm struggling with now is that I have created a Frustum that works fine for now atleast, it does what it's supose to do alltho not perfect. But with the frustum came very low FPS, since what I'm doing right now just to see if the Frustum worked is to recreate the vertex buffer every frame that the camera detected movement. This is of course very costly and not the way to do it. Thats why I'm now trying to learn how to create a dynamic vertexbuffer instead and to map and unmap the vertexes, in the end my goal is to update only part of the vertexbuffer that is needed, but one step at a time ^^

      So below is my code which I use to create the Dynamic buffer. The issue is that I want the size of the vertex buffer to be big enough to handle bigger vertex buffers then just mPlanetMesh.vertices.size() due to more vertices being added later when I start to do LOD and stuff, the first render isn't the biggest one I will need.
      vertexBufferDesc.Usage = D3D11_USAGE_DYNAMIC; vertexBufferDesc.ByteWidth = mPlanetMesh.vertices.size(); vertexBufferDesc.BindFlags = D3D11_BIND_VERTEX_BUFFER; vertexBufferDesc.CPUAccessFlags = D3D11_CPU_ACCESS_WRITE; vertexBufferDesc.MiscFlags = 0; vertexBufferDesc.StructureByteStride = 0; vertexData.pSysMem = &mPlanetMesh.vertices[0]; vertexData.SysMemPitch = 0; vertexData.SysMemSlicePitch = 0; result = device->CreateBuffer(&vertexBufferDesc, &vertexData, &mVertexBuffer); if (FAILED(result)) { return false; } What happens is that the 
      result = device->CreateBuffer(&vertexBufferDesc, &vertexData, &mVertexBuffer); Makes it crash due to Access Violation. When I put the vertices.size() in it works without issues, but when I try to set it to like vertices.size() * 2 it crashes.
      I googled my eyes dry tonight but doesn't seem to find people with the same kind of issue, I've read that the vertex buffer can be bigger if needed. What I'm I doing wrong here?
       
      Best Regards and Thanks in advance
      Toastmastern
    • By yonisi
      Hi,
      I have a terrain engine where the terrain and water are on different grids. So I'm trying to render planar reflections of the terrain into the water grid. After reading some web pages and docs and also trying to learn from the RasterTek reflections demo and the small water bodies demo as well. What I do is as follows:
      1. Create a Reflection view matrix  - Technically I ONLY flip the camera position in the Y direction (Positive Y is up) and add to it 2 * waterLevel. Then I update the View matrix and I save that matrix for later. The code:
      void Camera::UpdateReflectionViewMatrix( float waterLevel ) { mBackupPosition = mPosition; mBackupLook = mLook; mPosition.y = -mPosition.y + 2.0f * waterLevel; //mLook.y = -mLook.y + 2.0f * waterLevel; UpdateViewMatrix(); mReflectionView = View(); } 2. I render the Terrain geometry to a 512x512 sized Render target by using the Reflection view matrix and an opposite culling (My Terrain is using front culling by nature so I'm using back culling for the Reflction render pass). Let me say that I checked with the Graphics debugger and the Reflection Render target looks "OK" at this stage (Picture attached). I don't know if the fact that the terrain is shown only at the top are of the texture is expected or not, but it seems OK.

      3. Render the Reflection texture into the water using projective texturing - I hope this step is OK code wise. Basically I'm sending to the shader the WorldReflectionViewProj matrix that was created at step 1 in order to use it for the projective texture coordinates, I then convert the position in the DS (Water and terrain are drawn with Tessellation) to the projective tex coords using that WorldReflectionViewProj matrix, then I sample the reflection texture after setting up the coordinates in the PS. Here is the code:
      //Send the ReflectionWorldViewProj matrix to the shader: XMStoreFloat4x4(&mPerFrameCB.Data.ReflectionWorldViewProj, XMMatrixTranspose( ( mWorld * pCam->GetReflectedView() ) * mProj )); //Setting up the Projective tex coords in the DS: Output.projTexPosition = mul(float4(worldPos.xyz, 1), g_ReflectionWorldViewProj); //Setting up the coords in the PS and sampling the reflection texture: float2 projTexCoords; projTexCoords.x = input.projTexPosition.x / input.projTexPosition.w / 2.0 + 0.5; projTexCoords.y = -input.projTexPosition.y / input.projTexPosition.w / 2.0 + 0.5; projTexCoords += normal.xz * 0.025; float4 reflectionColor = gReflectionMap.SampleLevel(SamplerClampLinear, projTexCoords, 0); texColor += reflectionColor * 0.25; I'll add that when compiling the PS I'm getting a warning on those dividing by input.projTexPosition.w for a possible float division by 0, I tried to add some offset or some minimum to the dividing term but that still not solved my issue.
      Here is the problem itself. At relatively flat view angles I'm seeing correct reflections (Or at least so it seems), but as I pitch the camera down, I'm seeing those artifacts which I have no idea where are coming from. I'm culling the terrain in the reflection render pass when it's lower than water height (I have heightmaps for that).
       
      Any help will be appreciated because I don't know what is wrong or where else to look.
    • By thmfrnk
      Hi,
      I am looking for a usefull commandline based texture compression tool with the rights to be able to ship with my application. It should have following caps:
      Supports all major image format as source files (jpeg, png, tga, bmp) Export as DDS Compression Formats BC1, BC2, BC3, BC4, BC7 I am actually using the nvdxt tool from Nvidia, but it does not support BC4 (which I need for one-channel 8bit textures). Everything else which I found wasn't really useful.
      Any suggestions?
      Thx
       
    • By trojanfoe
      I have been trying to create a BlendState for my UI text sprites so that they are both alpha-blended (so you can see them) and invert the pixel they are rendered over (again, so you can see them).
      In order to get alpha blending you would need:
      SrcBlend = SRC_ALPHA DestBlend = INV_SRC_ALPHA and in order to have inverted colours you would need something like:
      SrcBlend = INV_DEST_COLOR DestBlend = INV_SRC_COLOR and you can't have both.
      So I have come to the conclusion that it's not possible; am I right?
    • By Royma
      In traditional way, it needs 6 passes for a point light and many passes for cascaded shadow mapping to generate shadow maps. Recently I learnt a method that using a geometry shader to generate all the shadow maps in one pass.I specify a render target and a depth-stencil buffer which are both Texture2dArray in DirectX11.It looks much better than the traditional way I think.But after I implemented it, I found cascaded shadow mapping runs much slower than the traditional way.The fps slow down from 60 to 35.I don't know why.I guess may be I should do some culling or maybe the geometry shader is not efficient.
      I want to know the reason that I reduced the drawcalls from 8 to 1, but it runs slow down.Should I abandon this method or is there any way to optimize this method to run more efficiently than multi-pass rendering?
      Here is the gs code:

      [maxvertexcount(24)]
      void main(
          triangle DepthGsIn input[3] : SV_POSITION,
          inout TriangleStream< DepthPsIn > output
      )
      {
          for (uint k = 0; k < 8; ++k)
          {
              DepthPsIn element;
              element.RTIndex = k;
              for (uint i = 0; i < 3; ++i)
              {
                  float2 shadowSlopeBias = calculateShadowSlopeBias(input.normal, -g_cameras[k].world[1]);
                  float shadowBias = shadowSlopeBias.y * g_cameras[k].shadowMapParameters.x + g_cameras[k].shadowMapParameters.y;
                  element.position = input.position + shadowBias * g_cameras[k].world[1];
                  element.position = mul(element.position, g_cameras[k].viewProjection);
                  element.depth = element.position.z / element.position.w;
                  
                  output.Append(element);
              }
              output.RestartStrip();
          }
      }
       
    • By savail
      Hey,
      There are a few things which confuse me regarding DirectX 11 and HLSL shaders in general. I would be very grateful for your advice!
      1. Let's take for example a scene which invokes 2 totally separate pipeline render passes interchangeably. I understand I need to bind correct shaders for each of the render pass and potentially blend/depth or rasterizer state but what about resources such as Constant Buffers, Shader Resource Views and Unordered Access Views? Assuming that the second render pass uses none of the resources used by the first pass, do I still need to unbind the resources and clean pipeline state after first pass? Or is it ok to leave pipeline with unbound garbage since anything I'd need to bind for second pass would overwrite contents in the appropriate register slots anyway?
      2. Is it a good practice to assign register slots manually to all resources in HLSL?
      3. I thought about assigning manually register slots for every distinct render pass up to the maximum slot limit if neccessary. For example in 1 render pass I invoke 3 CS's, 2 VS's and 2 PS's and for all resources used by those shaders I try to fill as many register slots as neccessary and potentially reuse many times the same slot in shaders sharing the same resource. I was wondering if there is any performance penalty or gain when I bind all of my needed resources at the start of render pass and never gonna have to do it again until next render pass? - this means potentially binding a lot of registers and having excessive number of bound resources for every shader that is run.
      4. Is it a good practice to create a separate include file for every resource that occurs in >= 2 shader files or is it better to duplicate the declarations? In first case, the code is imo easier to maintain and edit but might be harder to read if there's too many includes. I've come up with a compromise between these 2 like this: create a separate include file for every CB that occurs in >= 2 shader files and a separate include file for every sampler I ever need to use. All other resources like srvs and uavs I prefer to duplicate in multiple shaders because they take much less space than CB for example... I'm not sure however if that's a good practice
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