I finally got around to ordering some upgrades for my machine here, something I’ve been meaning to do for ages but just never seem to find the time. I haven’t upgraded the core of my main machine for over 2 years now, mainly because these days I spend far, far more time coding than playing games and thus not only do I not have time to tinker with the hardware much anymore, but having a graphics card that’s not the latest and greatest is actually a bonus - I’m always scared I’ll get sloppy if I’m working with the best all the time.
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?
So, the Red Cross have got a bit upset (not for the first time I think - I believe they’ve made this protest before in years gone by) that they don’t like their symbol being associated with violent games, one can assume foremost on their minds here are those games where you run about shooting other people in the face, before patching yourself up with medical equipment bearing the Red Cross ‘brand’.
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.