Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Wednesday Glued

Lee Did It Again

I hope this is not a habit forming, but I seem to have glued Wednesday onto Tuesday (again). That is, not actually do the 'sleep' bit between Tuesday Night and Wednesday morning.

It Was Worth It Though

The time was about 2AM and I was not the least tired, and I knew I was out the office over the weekend. I had planned to finish my PC build that weekend too. It was at that moment I decided to finish my build there and then. I was in a finishing mood because I had just finished single player Dishonoured and was quite pleased with myself. I had a power supply, a USB front panel, a fan controller front panel and a sound card with front panel to install. The goal was to quiet the machine so it would not hum.

The finished system that will create Reloaded in 2013!

It took two hours to do the hardware swap, and a further two hours adding software and other small tweaks. I managed to get the noise level from 45-47 decibels down to 42-43. The ambient noise level in my office at 5AM was 41-42 so my machine now operates a mere 1 decibel above what I regard as 'human quiet'. Little things like the ticking of a clock, the wind outside and the breathing of the house all contributed to making 41 decibels with all machines switched off.  The upshot is that I have built a machine that makes virtually no noise, and with fan control can be made even quieter! I had to look into the case several times to confirm the fans where indeed working, and the machine was, in fact, on.  I then did some stress tests and used Prime95 to attempt to melt the CPU and get it really hot. I got up to 69 degrees at the chip before I backed off and increased fan speed on the case. I have the bios automatically increase the main CPU fan as needed, but I can control the case fans from the front panel now. In theory I should not need to fiddle with anything as it's highly unlikely I will be running at a prolonged 4.4Ghz and even if I did, the CPU is quite safe under 70 degrees.

FPSC Bug Fixing

It looks like I also fixed the FPSC V120 issue causing some failures on Windows 8 (the OS thought FPSC was a virus). Just as I thought I had a final official release, a new bug came in related to leaping spawned crates. Working on that as I type this, and hopefully I can narrow it down and fix for a new release today too.

Reloaded Prototype P002

I have made it right with my brain to do some work on the prototype today, getting the occlusion system further along so basic shapes can be culled from a scene with hundreds of objects. It will be a good first step towards working out a good indoor outdoor occlusion system that works in code.  I've decided not to use the GPU occlusion system as it will add time to the R&D and might cause problems later on when it comes to different cards supporting different variants of this feature. At least good old simple code works the same no matter where you put it.

With occlusion done entirely real-time with nothing more than a list of objects to work from, the last element of 'delay' experienced during the classic FPSC build step was loading all the game media in and preparing it for the start of that level.  The good news is that the map editor already has the assets loaded in (to edit with), so we can assume this step is instantly eliminated.  Once the occlusion is dealt with, I will probably look at the scope of work to incorporate the 'play game' actually 'inside' the map editor executable and in theory reduce the build time to zero.  I might allow myself 2 seconds grace to transition from map to game, and game back to map. More than this and we are back where we started I think.

Signing Off

It's been a fun couple of hours, and when 7PM comes around I will watch an episode of Time Team through bleary eyes then flop off to bed to have a long sleep. I have been reliably informed that new graphics are coming in for one of the AGK projects I am managing, so will be doing a little bit of that Thursday I think.  


  1. You're have huge and impressive plans for Reloaded indeed.
    Nice to know that work goes on.

    P.S: Good luck in The Ultimate Coder Challenge.

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