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About TheGilb

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  1. TheGilb


    Congrats :-) We got one too: New International Track and Field.
  2. TheGilb

    Word to the wise

    I actually laughed out loud when I read this post and took at look at the website! I found a particularly amusing article here where they basically shred the site! Also I found this amusing quote: “Thank You so Much, I can't believe this actually worked. It took me only 5 Days to find a game tester job and I am making around $23 per hour, it’s so exciting. Thanks Again.” We get paid pounds (£) in the UK .. Plus, minimum wage is only £5.52 ;-) You know, if you say the word 'gullible' fast enough, it sounds like 'orange'?
  3. TheGilb

    More dev

    About the ratings system ... As things stand in the current design, the ratings system feels 'bolted on', with very little actual use within the site. I think the rating system is a great idea, but it could possibly be put to a more effective use. Another issue, - possibly linked - the same topics in the forums come up over and over again, and on the 'active topics' section of the site, topics that have been answered several times over already keep getting comments, and ultimately I think this leads to beginners often getting confused. Posters only need one answer. Also the tagging system doesn't mesh with user profiles too well. Areas of expertise can be roughly divided up into the major game programming disciplines - like they are in the forums already. Graphics, Networking, Maths .. etc. If you give the user an inch to abuse the system - he will. Don't make me 'tag' you over this. The way I see things, you could maybe borrow a few ideas from the likes of experts-exchange.com. Your rating is linked to your profile in the form of points which can be spent to ask a question, and you can earn points by answering questions. If a user accepts an answer the points are awarded from the posters account, a grade awarded, and the topic closed. Users can easily search past topics, with the best answers highlighted by their rating. Now you're building up a knowledge base. Stats are visible in realtime on the main page, grouped by category, in the 'Hall of fame'. Now you're making a game where the users are actively encouraged to participate and share whatever knowledge they have, even if their rating is super massive. Suggest giving ratings an upper limit of a 32 bit unsigned integer. Users could also be awarded a rank like Beginner, Expert, Guru, Genius, Jedi .. whatever - and that rating could be linked to the points in their profile. Rating icons could be displayed in posts, and help guide posters better towards a good answer. Because many gamedev participants like to spam the forums with rubbish, some forums could be flagged for 'free chat' or whatever, where the points system is completely bypassed. Now users keep spam out of the main categories where people are looking for answers, it means less work for the moderators. Now you have a reason for ratings, you are discouraging duplicate topics already answered, you are discouraging forum spam and encouraging community participation.
  4. TheGilb

    Why I uninstalled Windows Vista

    1. The new Windows Search thrashes your hard disk something chronic and it's so aggressive it completely ignores what the rest of the system is doing at that point in time. Bearing in mind I've got 3x hard disks in a sata mode 3 array, I really dont expect them to be busy for the next several hours every time I install a new piece of software. 2. It feels unfinished, sure it *looks* finished, but that's probably the only bit they did finish!! Even then, it's so horribly inefficient the OS is eating up 1GB (!!!) of ram before I even boot anything. I could cut out gadgets and aero glass but then what you're left with, essentially, is a really buggy vista that thrashes your hard disk looking for the files that as a power user *I already know where they are*. 3. When Microsoft announced the new driver model in Vista I figured it would be a while for other companies to transition to the new model. What I didn't realise however was how little those companies would invest in testing their 64bit vista code paths. Even the NVidia graphics drivers are lagging behind a little, not to mention that several features are just plain disabled because they dont work. One of my favourite features of NVidia graphics drivers is the colour calibration - disabled on Vista x64. God it feels like the dark ages.. 4. No hardware sound acceleration? You mean this terribly expensive, extremely high performance DSP processing all singing all dancing shiny creative sound card is more or less worthless under Vista?? It's all well and good telling companies to use OpenAL for hardware accelerated sound but there's one small problem .. OpenAL is open source, which is a big no for a lot of publishers then, not to mention the fact that if OpenAL can have it then why can't DirectSound under Vista? And what about all those amazing games I own that were published depending on DirectSound to provide hardware acceleration? To me audio is extremely important in games and I have an expensive sound card to match. It's just not getting better for Vista.. 5. Vista nags me more than any person in my life has ever nagged me before, treating me like an idiot and condescending with the utterly moronic UAC. Oh what a good idea, now we can help idiots stop being so idiotic .. NO. If I click on an installer I *want* it to install, and if you ask me again about if I'm sure I want to do anything I might just uninstall you! Oh... 6. All of the above make Vista slow, unstable, missing features, downright annoying and to be honest can you actually think of a single good reason to use it yet? So my final reason is, there's no reason on this planet that makes me feel that downgrading my computer OS to Vista is justified. I'm currently running a tri-boot system with XP, Suse Linux and MacOS X 10.5.1. Vista was the weakest link and I'm not trying to stick it to the man, I run XP as my primary OS to access the tools I most frequently wish to use.
  5. TheGilb

    Brighton Bound!

    sounds like a sweet rig, keep up the good work! ;-) i hope you get the job, the kuju guys are really sound. i'm sure you'll be in good hands with them! ps. avoid the ps2 dev kit like the plague!! and i hope you answered the memory copy question using simd optimised assembly ;-)
  6. TheGilb


    congrats! :-)
  7. TheGilb

    VS2008 again

    Ok, I must now admit to ignorance (as I so often have to). Visual Studio 2008 has some really great new features and they're already coming in useful:- - win32 and x64 are now separate platform build targets, so no more nasty hacks to swap between them. - class diagram view is a very powerful new feature which allows you to see the design of your software in a uml class diagram and I'm sure that for C++ programmers who like me are conscious of software architecture it will prove to be an often used feature. - debugger enhancements make debugging multithreaded software a fair bit easier with the ever-so-handy 'Debug Location' toolbar. I know this doesn't sound like a huge amount, but I just recently upgraded my Visual Assist to 10.4 (with vs2008 integration) and the new VA Outline feature slots in nicely with these new features in VS2008.
  8. TheGilb

    Visual Studio 2008

    Ok so I got a copy of Visual Studio 2008 and to be brutally honest, initial impressions are that it looks promising but it's not quite there yet. I think it's safe to say that Microsoft have shoehorned into this release a great deal of stuff which I think a lot of developers will be excited about - particularly the .NET 3.5 support and enhancements will make a lot of C# developers happy I've no doubt. Trouble is, I aint a C# programmer, am I? There were 2 things I was really looking forward to in this release - TR1 support and MFC 11. After reading some more stuff I started looking forward to Visual Studio Shell. But where are they I hear you ask? Simple answer is, they aren't anywhere yet because Microsoft haven't finished them yet. So why did Microsoft release a product that isn't finished yet? Probably the same reason they released Vista a pinch early. Make that pinch about 12 months big, and at least in comparison to that the C++ enhancements are a bit closer to completion with the goods being coughed up early next year. Nice. In other news, the IDE has some enhancements which I'm sure we'll all learn to love or loathe. Enhanced ANSI C++ compatibility and Vista support (my main reason for using vs2008) make using this version worth while, but only just. All in all I'm disappointed that the most exciting stuff didn't make it to the initial release. I guess I'll have to look towards open source libraries to fill the void for now (Boost & WxWidgets should do nicely, and they have the added benefit of being cross platform compatible). Wink, nudge.
  9. TheGilb

    New rig

    Funny you should mention that, nothing at the moment :-) When I get round to it I'm going to install several other OS's in virtual machines for compatibility testing purposes (XP and Linux, different flavours and possibly OSX if I can blag it onto an AMD processor). I'm also going to install all the different versions of Visual Studio to help ensure cross-compiler compatibility. Several versions of 3dsmax and Photoshop may also come in useful for testing custom written plugins. My development folders tend to grow quite large, one reasonably sized project can easily weigh in at 7GB with all the intermediate files for all the different build targets. What to do with the other 850GB? I'm sure I'll find a use one way or another! I actually put 3x 500GB drives in the order, and received 3x 1TB drives instead, so it wasn't intentional at first but having plenty of space is always useful.
  10. TheGilb

    New rig

    Greetings, it's been a while since I last posted here I notice, so I thought I may as well add an update seeing as several things have happened and I didn't bother to post. In all honesty I'm a little bit fecked off with Gamedev.net at the moment in that my rating has gone down even lower to < 1000 status. That's really lame, because all I've done is try and offer advice to beginners and I dont seem to get rated up for it. I would try harder, but I fear I'm nowhere near that agreeable ;-) Oh well, to be honest I must be really narking some people off I guess, but I dont know why. Noone will have noticed because I didn't post it, but I've left Stainless Games to go and work for Sumo Digital in their Advanced Technology Group. It's good fun and the people at Sumo are very nearly as great as the superb Stainless guys. I'm really going to miss working with them, but at the same time I'm really looking forward to working at Sumo Digital. I've upgraded my home rig. It should be slightly more useful now, and it can play pretty much all modern games, which is always a good sign for a development rig. For those interested the specs are AMD Athlon X2 6000+ (3GHz), 2GB DDR2 667 RAM, 3x Seagate 1TB 7200RPM 16MB in RAID 3 array (XFX Revo64 Controller), GeForce 8800GT 512MB DDR3 VRAM, 22" Samsung LCD 3000:1 C/R 2MS R/T. [edit] Thank you to the individuals who have read this and rated me up out of sympathy ;-) My rating is actually slightly higher than it was before I even posted about it \o/
  11. TheGilb


    Brainfuck is one of those amusing little jokes which has been taken way too far. Yes, technically speaking, it is a programming language. But let's face it, what are you going to use it for??? If you can program in Brainfuck then, technically speaking, you could probably program a windmill .. or a tree .. and possibly take over the world with your devious creations. I mean this is a programming language with 8 commands, and that's it. No add, no mul, no mov. Just inc, dec, loop, jnz. To write something in that you're either a genius or a complete raving maniac! What kind of sick mutha would inflict such a sick and cruel perversion upon the world? ... Me! So yesterday I went one step further and wrote a Brainfuck interpreter in C++ (with source) grab it while it's hot. I'm probably going to pick this up and drop it as I feel like it, but some initial thoughts for improvement have already been considered. I hope to make it into an optimising native compiler eventually (hence the parser module). Whether I ever actually bother to get that far though is another question entirely :-) What does it do? .. Well it runs Brainfuck programs, it can catch errors as it runs (output to std err), and it's jolly fast too! Written in all C++, if you want to support variations on the 'standard' (bwahaha) then there are handy defines and constants you can change. The code may look slightly elaborate for what it is, but if you wanted to write a Brainfuck variation (like Brainloller or Braincopter) or a native compiler then I'm sure this would be a nice starting point :-)
  12. TheGilb

    Work is the root of all evil!

    Power off your laptop, close the lid and turn it over. You will notice a large panel attached to the base held in with screws. Undo the screws and take this panel off. Take some time to take in the view - now upon closer inspection you may notice a screw which goes all the way through the middle and ends up roughly in the middle of the keyboard, so undo that. Now turn the laptop over again. Around the edges of the keyboard are some tiny spring loaded latches which you can push back with the aid of something small - I used a tiny flat ended screwdriver. On the X52 there are 4 latches along the top and 2 either side. When they are all pushed back you can (CAREFULLY) lift the keyboard up from the back, and then gently slide it forwards (towards the display). The keyboard is attached to the motherboard by a short data ribbon which is disconnected by pulling the latch toward you - the ribbon will now come away from the motherboard quite freely. Be careful though because if you yank the data ribbon without properly disconnecting it then the contacts can be damaged.
  13. TheGilb

    Volumetric clouds

    Ok so I haven't really been keeping up with my journal as much I would like. I wont bother making excuses though and I'll just cut to the meat. Volumetric clouds. This is one of those topics I see coming up again and again. The first ever technique I ever saw was a 'realtime' cloud animation algorithm that ran at about ~1fps on my now ancient Pentium II 200MHz. At the time that was a lot of horsepower :-) Right now there is an IOTD up on the front page of some guys cloud effect. After following his link for an explanation of his technique he's being all hush hush about it. Why though? You take your own knowledge for free. Ah well, I guess we're all in the rat race. Anyway. Mega particles. I first found this technique in ShaderX5 and followed up with a Google search. If you watch the video trailers for Windlight in Second Life then you may notice a pattern in the cloud animation that looks somewhat uniform .. Yes, it looks suspiciously like mega particles to me. When you see mega particles in action (like you can if you buy ShaderX5 because there's a demo with source on the CD) then you will notice that the effect is pretty much equivalent. Throw in some physics to better simulate the sunlight, some ray casts and ray-sphere collisions later and all of a sudden you could have a really nice atmospheric simulation solution which will even run on some pretty old hardware. Wow. To think Second Life actually bought the whole company to get a hold of that tech.. The mind boggles :-) ShaderX5:- Wolfgang Engel ISBN: 1-58450-499-4
  14. TheGilb

    Realtime texture streaming

    Anyway, so there was that really cool thread in the graphics theory forum here on Gamedev.net, and it was all about Carmack's virtualised textures technology. As a spin off from implementing this technology I found this little gem whilst researching the possibilities for streaming textures in real time. Nice eh? There's a huge great big chunk of research already in that paper, and it's written by one of the guys at ID Software. From this paper I think it's fairly safe to assume that you can speculate with more insight about how the new virtualised textures technology is working in the tech5 engine. For a start, they're using a custom image format which from the research in the article makes sense because one of the prerequisites of working with the virtualised textures system is that you must be able to load chunks of an image in as they are needed - not the whole image at once - which means that a wavelet based compression technique works best. JPEG2000 would look at first glance to be a good candidate for this except that compression rates aren't the best and decompression in open libraries is unoptimised for SIMD / multi-core. Also it looks as though ID may well perform on the fly DXT compression, though possibly only when video memory budgets are low as even SIMD optimised DXT compression routines require a large amount of processing power. It looks as though ID's technology is aimed squarely at the multi-core / multi-cpu trends of the future then. So where this leaves me is basically I don't really have the time or resources to implement all this technology on my own so I'm most likely going to go with JPEG2000 which can be decompressed with GPU acceleration. This is because the DWT can be computed on the GPU, and the nice guys at the link given have integrated their solution with JasPer, and provide full source code. Nice guys! Another question that was pretty much answered is that it looks like ID also generate mipmaps on the fly, using a simple box filter. This is to reduce the amount of data that needs to be streamed off disk and decoded. I've been toying with the idea of doing actual hardware decoding on the fly with a fragment program that can decompress the image data. To be honest though this doesn't really make sense unless you store the mipmaps in the compressed format too. Also the only reason to have compressed textures in video memory would be to save texture memory - which DXT is better suited for. And the problem with that is doing it quick enough - even on crap hardware.
  15. TheGilb

    New article in the works

    Thanks for the heads up, it's fixed now.
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