Ogre

Detecting MSAA modes based on render target format?

Hmm, I’m beginning to think this isn’t possible. I’m adding support for multisample AA on render textures to Ogre right now (as opposed to AA on render windows, which we’ve supported for ages), because I need it for a project I’m working on. It’s a little bit more convoluted than I expected since you actually have to create 2 separate render surfaces in both GL and D3D, and blit between them to trigger the AA ‘resolve’ stage, and given the complications particularly in GL with shareable FBO surfaces and making sure that you match AA modes on the shared depth / stencil / colour buffers all adds to the implementation time.

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Why I don't need Visual Studio 2008 (yet)

Visual C++ Express 2008 came out while I was away I see, which inevitably was going to draw calls for a VS9 version of our SDKs (I always buy the Pro version of Visual Studio myself, but I keep an Express version for testing too). I’ve always been pretty relaxed about this particular version though, because unlike many previous versions it holds precious little for the native C++ developer. Sure, you can use Vista native controls, which will undoubtedly be useful for some people, and if you’re a purely Windows-targetting .

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Hardware!

Well, the ‘flu’s after-effects are certainly dragging on and I still feel like I have a nasty cold, but I have at least been able to return to work and start catching up, with the Ogre forums too. One of the other things that’s been on the back burner is that I’ve needed to revamp my ATI test rig, which also doubles up as my wife’s machine when she uses it.

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Motorm4x just keeps looking better

TheEasyCompany have been posting more pictures of MOTORM4X (offroad driving game using OGRE) and they just posted their first couple of videos. They look great - here are the bandwidth-friendly but low-quality YouTube versions: Now, really you want to watch the high-res versions from their site, because they look gorgeous and really show off the great attention to detail. And don’t get freaked out by how fast the trees are blowing in some bits, if you look closely you’ll see a ‘FF >>’ icon at the bottom which indicates time is being accelerated, which they’re doing to demonstrate the changing weather effects (which you can’t see very well at crappy YouTube resolution).

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Cg 2.0 public beta

Yay, we’ve been waiting for this - the beta of Cg 2.0 is now publicly available to all. I’ll be updating the OGRE dependencies downloads later on today to include it for the purposes of future releases. It’s important because in OGRE we skipped the last major Cg update (v1.5) because of a loop unrolling bug (the compiler would hang) that would strike people using SM1 vertex shaders for things like skinning.

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Oh, the horror

I think the games industry has just demonstrated the very depths to which it is willing to plummet in search of game ideas with Chegger’s Party Quiz. British people my age will have fond (if slightly garishly coloured) memories of Saturday SwapShop which Cheggers (aka Keith Chegwin) presented with Maggie Philbin and Noel Edmonds (before he became an annoying git, or maybe I was just more forgiving aged 8 ), and who can forget Cheggers Plays Pop?

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MacBook Pro Dies

Yes, I fired up my MacBook Pro today with the intention of getting on with some more Dx10 work, but was greeted with a completely corrupted display. It appears that other things are still working, as I can still make some things out through the garbage - right from power on I get the top third of the screen as mostly greyish blank, and the bottom two-thirds as a ‘smeared’ version of what I should be seeing, although when I tried sleeping and waking it, I temporarily got a correct login screen view in the top third but it slowly faded into garbage, whilst the bottom section was still smeared.

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Remote debugging tips

I used to use remote debugging as my primary form of debugging many years ago (we’re talking the early to mid 1990’s now), simply because it was impossible to debug code that was tinkering directly with the VGA registers to do things like Mode X any other way. These days I still find it useful although less frequently - I’ve used it to diagnose full-screen issues that couldn’t easily be tracked via simple log output, and at times I’ve used it to debug server applications (J2EE, via Eclipse that time) where the behaviour could not be replicated anywhere but a super-duper beast of a machine.

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Kong!

We’ve been getting glimpses of this in the OGRE Forums for a while but now you can actually have a play with it now; Kong! is a deathmatch / capture the flag game with a couple of twists; firstly, everyone plays as a brightly coloured monkey (and you can never have too many monkeys in a game, IMO), and secondly, it’s top-down, like the GTA’s of old. I liked the look of it before but playing it, it’s remarkably well polished - it includes AI-controlled bots, online play and an integrated map editor.

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Dare to be Digital - OGRE projects clean up

Dare to be Digital is the UK’s premier video games creation competition for students, and several of the entrants this year (4 of the 12 teams in fact) used OGRE as a basis for their graphics. This was in itself rather cool when we heard about it in the forum, but I just noticed that out of the 4 awards available, projects using OGRE won 3 of them. That’s not all, as winners these projects get shortlisted for the BAFTA ‘Ones to Watch’ Award so will be no doubt heading to London next week for that.

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