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Monday, October 24, 2005

Graphics programmers: You NEED this

If you are developing games on an nVidia graphics card (who isn't?), you need NVPerfHUD. It's really nifty!

Under OGRE, you will need to get the source and modify the D3D9 RenderSystem plugin in order to use it. The easiest way is here, but the wiki has another way to do it. It seems to me that the forum method could be included in the main line OGRE code because you have to select a seperate adapter to enable it, but I am not on the OGRE team.

I am just getting started with it and I have found a major speedup already. I highly recommend getting it and trying it out.
Friday, October 21, 2005

More OGRE Fun

I still really like OGRE, but I am getting a bit frustrated with the differences in the way OGRE handles shaders and the example shader stuff I am trying to use. There are some very strange quirks that I have not quite figured out yet. Generally, shader stuff is interesting but hard to debug. Right now lots of things effect the visuals and it doesn't always make sense. in OGRE's defense, I can't see a better way of doing the material scripting and shader integration.

The nVidia book "The Cg Tutorial" has been great. I highly recommend it for beginning shader developers. The pace is great and the samples are useful.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Current Research

I am currently working with the open source OGRE 3D graphic engine. Of course, I am putting Lua to good use.

So far, so good. I have had lots of successes in using the engine. It has some quirks, most notable is the use of C++ exceptions on what I would consider normal errors. The initial issues are not enough to cause me to even think about moving on.

The community looks to be very active and, in most ways, helpful. The main authors are very active in the forums and IRC chatroom. This is one of the most important issues to consider when selecting an open source library of any type.

The main thing I have been playing with is Cg shaders. J5 never got developed enough to include programmable shaders, so this stuff is all new to me and very fun. I have learned a lot in playing around with the engine as well as with shaders.

As a GUI guy, I was initially impressed with the companion GUI library, "Crazy Eddie's GUI System". It is complete, XML Based and has a decent tool for layout. It has since caused me more problems than it is worth. The community there is pretty much dead and/or unhelpful and there are some strange interactions with the OGRE code that causes major problems in rendering. OGRE's native GUI support is sparse, but I am starting the work to bring the J5 GUI system (the one used in "Game Development with Lua") over to the OGRE engine. I am hopeful that the many scripts that have been written for J5GUI will be directly portable to the OGRE System.

Of course the finished port will be posted here and submitted to the OGRE team for possible inclusion.
Saturday, October 01, 2005

Book Code Update

I have been playing around with the code from the book "Game Development with LUA" and I have an upgrade to the codebase that I would like to publish.

This zip file contains a DLL implementation of the cLua interface first published in the book "Game Development with Lua" (ISBN: 1584504048). It expands the interface to support the Lua "boolean" type and the Lua value "nil". The interface also has new methods to query the type of any passed parameters to LuaGlue functions, which is useful for writing flexible LuaGlue. A new way of calling Lua functions from C++ that preserves the values and the ability to handle multiple return values.