Well, my stuff arrived today so this evening was dedicated to hardware upgrades. The new Thermaltake chassis is indeed very nice, and surprisingly light. As befitted the occasion, I ensured that I still managed to cut myself and thus christened the case with a bit of the old personal claret - not a fault of the case, I might add, actually a particularly sharp section of the motherboard blanking plate. After some swearing (whilst they may have invented ‘zero insertion force’ CPU sockets some years back, they still haven’t managed to resolve the 1500 pounds of pressure required immediately afterward to mount the heatsink) I managed to get the new bits in and working.
Well, I got time to do more testing of the multi-SceneManager today, and amazingly it all seems to work; I now have multiple independent SceneManagers playing nice together and running pretty darn fast I have to say; that’s a Quake3 level, a LOD’ed terrain and a texture shadow test all running at once on my FX5900, each in their own separate subscenes. I think I see a few visual artefacts on the BSP level which I’ll look at, even though BSP is not our favoured format.
I’m quite pleased with the amount of work I’ve got done on OGRE over the past couple of weeks. As well as the things I’ve already mentioned in this blog, I’ve added a new ParticleSystem optimisation feature that lets you tell particle systems to stop updating if they’ve been out of camera shot for a defined period of time. Since particle systems can be CPU heavy, and you might want to distribute them around a bit, this should save some cycles and allow more particle systems to be used practically.
God, MS really need to get SP1 for VS 2005 out, now. I’ve been mildy irritated by the appearance of a little bar at the bottom of the VS window labelled ‘Updating Intellisense…’ which kicks in and generally screws up my performance measurement after I do a large build. I have to sit there waiting for it to finish before I take any performance stats because it hogs the CPU badly.
I’ve bitten the bullet, and have taken the opportunity raised by writing my version of zeroskills patch on enumerating SceneManagers to set right a few things in SceneManager in general. One of the goals is to make it safe to use more than one SceneManager at once, particularly for rendering subscenes using different techniques. In theory this has always been possible, but in practice some optimisations and assumptions put a few hurdles in the way.
Well, it’s been a seriously crazy week, I’ve been flat-out the whole time. The good news is that plenty of OGRE work got done, including fixing a few relatively obscure bugs in the stable version (Azathoth), which will thus make it in to version 1.0.7, which I’m building right as we speak. I believe this will be the last Azathoth release before Dagon goes planet-wide. I also managed to clear a good few of the remaining TODO items on Dagon this week, leaving only compositor scripting and a couple of platform & rendersystem-specific bugs to resolve before release, which with any luck we’ll be done with by the end of the month.
Well, Borland have finally accepted defeat and are looking to sell off their IDE business, including Delphi, JBuilder and C++ Builder. It’s a long way from the heady early 90’s when Turbo C and Turbo Assembler were my two favorite development tools and the Borland name was synonymous with software development. Despite it being a little sad, I’m not surprised in the least. The fact is that since those heady days, Borland have consistently gotten it wrong.
My current OGRE job is one that should have got done for Azathoth really, but it got put off for lack of time. Dagon is out of time too really, but I just couldn’t let this one slide again. It’s not a particularly sexy feature - it won’t be demonstrated through any flash demos or anything, but it’s an important core consistency thing that really should be sorted out. The problem?
A friend pointed out an Ankh review on Eurogamer today, and on investigation I found a whole bunch of others. Probably the simplest way to summarise is to link the Metacritic page. Overall it’s been received very well I think. Eurogamer gave it the worst mark of all the reviews so far (the others gave it around the 70-80% mark which is more in line with most of the German review sites), although they still made plenty of some positive comments.
I’ve just finished adding automatic ‘ribbon trail’ support to Dagon. This uses the BillboardChain class , originally contributed in the forums but I’ve mostly rewritten it over the last few days to make it more suitable for dynamic systems like this, and to give it lots more configurability. RibbonTrail is a sublass of BillboardChain, and basically ‘watches’ Node instances, automatically building a trail behind them as they move. In the shot here, I’ve combined it with regular billboards for light flares and standard light objects, all of which are attached to a single node.