Friday, 4 October 2013

Friday Frakless Fun

Weapons Are In

Yesterday we saw saving, loading and well behaved cursors. Today we see the weapons added to the main engine and the sounds re-instating. The great news is that weapon assets are only loaded once, and all subsequent test game sessions happen almost instantly. Keeping them in memory is a very smart way to edit and play, and makes for very quick iterations of your creations!  

Torn

I am now torn between adding in physics for all entities added to the level, or swapping in a new GTX graphics card in order to check out a bug Rick has been experiencing on his GTX card. I am also aware of a presentation on or around the 12th which also uses a GTX card. By installing one of my own, I can hopefully get to see this bug and fix it right away.

No doubt both of the above will be done before the middle of next week, but the reason for my apprehension is that taking my aging PC apart to insert something new into it is always a calculated risk. What if the little cherub decides not to boot up again - ever.  Still, it needs to be done and best to find out now I suppose. You will know in my next blog which way I went.

Multi-sampling Anti-alias Mayhem

You may also be wondering what happened to my 'five minute' tweak to activate multisampling anti-alias. Well....


Can you tell which one has the MSAA x 4 effect applied?  I agree it's not as obvious as I would have liked. Turns out this effect does not apply itself to transparent textures, just the edges of polygons.  Furthermore, DirectX found it wise to allow MSAA on backbuffers, but not for textures. And as post process shaders require textures, I cannot re-direct the main screen render to a texture render target without losing the MSAA advantage. The only way is to create a new render target surface (and matching depth buffer), render the main camera to that, then stretch blit the contents over to a regular texture, downsizing the image in the process and then using that for the post process shader.

The bottom line is you can have MSAA but you lose all post processing such as bloom and light rays (and whatever else we want to add later). The second option is to add the extra code, performance hit and video memory hit to feed an MSAA effect into our shaders.  Naturally, the second option will require some dedicated coding and incur a noticeable performance drop when active. There may be other restrictions on what I can do elsewhere in the engine with this second approach too, as yet blissfully hidden from me.

I then look at the above comparison shot and ask myself, should I be working on MSAA now, or dealing with things like more shaders, physics and AI.  If this effect can only be appreciated by zooming in, do I really want to place a high priority on it?  I will let you guys decide. 

Forum Reveals All

I was as shocked as everyone else when we announced some solid dates to the Reloaded community earlier today:

http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=208094&b=50&p=0

Apparently we are going to have a website launch on the 11th and a full beta launch of the latest version we have here on the 31st. No pressure then :)

Zip-A-De-Do-Da

I was asked by Rick to compile the latest version of the product which zipped up to 500MB. I don't really want to keep zipping 500MB and just want to zip the changes instead. WinZip Pro are charging £42 for the ability to do this. Does anyone know a tool that does this process for free?  You will find being a developer very often involves finding cheap or free solutions to problems, and this is one of them.  Comments and suggestions welcome!

Signing Off

Before I depart to continue 'coding' or 'installing', please comment on two questions I have for you today. The first is who thinks they have the oldest desktop graphics card here?  I am looking for some minimum specifications for Reloaded and at the moment I only have a very rough idea of performance based on my own graphics card and my unoptimised shaders.  I am curious what you have and more important what you feel Reloaded should run on. I am excluding all laptops and Ultrabooks at this stage, as that will require some dedicated and protracted optimization for integrated solutions.

Secondly, I am curious what was the single incident that caused you to pledge into the Reloaded project.  My current theory is that it was our long standing reputation in the field of game creation or a recent screenshots or video which set your imagination on fire.  I am eager to learn if this is not the case, as it will increase my ability to encourage more pledging in the future.

52 comments:

  1. Yeah, I'd be more impressed seeing more fullscreen shaders at this stage than the antialiasing. I couldn't quite get close enough to the screen to see the difference as my nose is too big.

    Does WinRAR do as you described? It's supposedly not free, but it just flashes an annoying trial message and then doesn't bug you again, and also allows you to use a more thorough zipping algorithm which I guess takes a bit longer to compute but will save your bandwidth fractionally.

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  2. I think aa is a later later addition when nearing full public release time and want some nice graphics. Suggest make the texture 1024 or 2048 that will help smooth the textures surely unless they are. I think get other stuff done and ponder aa etc. Water system is more important than aa but that is my opinion.


    I have a gtx 660 2gb if helps.

    What lured me to reloaded was area size better graphics and moving lights and all that was proposed on kickstarter.

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  3. Hmm, that anti-aliasing is a rather frustrating conundrum. I believe it is a very important effect which does require a somewhat decent graphics card to use in most modern games, but is becoming more and more standard. I worry that zero AA, (which I am very used to) might be a problem. I would at least like the option for game creators to give their players as with most games.

    But it certainly should not take the forefront over those important shader effects. And indeed. I think you are probably testing wrongly with AA and it's importance. You should load up some AAA games, if you have not done already and toggle it on and off.

    What about that cheap AA, FXAA?

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    1. Anti-aliasing is so tedious to type out. :P

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  4. My main reason to pledge was not TGC's long-standing reputation or these recent screenshots. For me, the single most enticing thing is the ability to design a high quality games with far less restrictions and more power, most importantly so with just one person (me). I see it as something incredible if I could on my own, design, develop and release a game with high standards. I'm passionate for game design, but restricted in a number of ways. Tiny budget, one person, limited knowledge overall etc clearly puts a cap on what you can achieve. Why did I stick with FPSC in the first place? It was a tool that I could use to development a proper game, whereas in other engines I wouldn't know where to start, let alone develop (on my own) a high quality game all the way to release. Now that FPSCR is coming around, I pledged as soon as the TGC backer came about. FPCR will take the best of FPSC (low price, easily used, easy to create high quality, can release and sell games etc) and should greatly improve on what it really needed (I don't really need to go on here). This is the opportunity for a EXCELLENT product, something powerful, affordable and more. That is why I pledged. :)

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  5. "What if the little cherub decides not to boot up again - ever." A chance to buy yourself a new computer?

    Thanks for the screen shot. You sure know how to Pick -Em! did that on purpose didn't you :-)

    By todays standards - being kind the best I could say is that it is absolutely dreadful. The one on the right being the somewhat better of course. We shall just have to be sure we avoid adding any fences or such like to Reloaded games. Clearly the mesh depicted here and similar things are going to be an issue much similar to FPSC classic quality of visual graphics which are not really what you would like for Reloaded I am sure at least as shown here though perhaps users will find the reality a little better than that - or not?

    From your descriptive there seems to be little mileage one way or another at this time for obtaining any benefit? Swings and roundabouts there so it seems. Performance amongst other things was or is I guess always going to be a limiting factor or what can be achieved or included.

    Specs Min/Max: Not sure if any of these could run Reloaded.

    I have an old laptop 7 years runs Vista : 32 Bit :

    I have a new-ish Desktop : Windows 7 : 64 Bit : Quad Core : 8GB Ram : Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GT 530 1GB Ram

    Why Pledge? :

    I cant imagine any of your suggestion being a prime reason anyone would pledge to Reloaded myself.

    "In the first instance" I believe that the majority of potential pledger purchasers of an indie nature would be attracted to - "any" engine and particularly Reloaded primarily as it has a niche of being a Game Maker and thus offers them the easiest root when having limited resources a way to actually build and publish/deploy a real working game in a short space of time with as said limited resources and most importantly limited, skills, knowledge, expertise in multi-disciplines, tools, and other softwares needed to actual succeed in making a game with other engines.

    Other engines require a great deal of all of these and many other things and though they easily surpass Reloaded in professional quality visually and are likely to attract far more people from that viewpoint and do - they cannot compete with the level of attraction Reloaded has to an audience at the level it has or will have in the market. Neither can be compared - they cant compete with one another as they provide for different things and users of a different kind generally speaking. Reloaded is a Game Maker and as such attracts those that want that primarily for their own reasons often because its their only realistic option if they actually want to make a finished game. Thats the major draw for the product.

    Of the other engines around that indie users can potentially use, many of the well known accepted pro type ones leave Reloaded Standing both for number of features, deployment, and any visual quality so I cant see that anyone would plum for Reloaded for any such reasoning.

    What they don't have is ease of use in achieving the objective many indie developers/would be non professional game makers look for and really need. Thats the key Reloaded feature that will get people to pledge in my opinion. At least that's why I support it.

    I think few will concern themselves with the length of time TGC has been trading. I don't see TGC software or the company having a particularly good reputation from what I read around the web - potential pledgers/users just want to make a game - they don't care less how or particularly who helps them do it. Give them that and they will be happy and you potentially have a winner.

    :-)

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    1. "By todays standards - being kind the best I could say is that it is absolutely dreadful."

      You do realise the screenshot is a zoomed-in view, right? Any game looks dreadful when you zoom in on a screenshot.

      As far as AA goes, I say just leave it for the time being. It's not absolutely necessary and it'll slow performance right down with the method you suggest.

      I probably have the weakest system:

      Windows 7 64bit
      3GB Ram
      Nvidia GTS 250 1GB
      Intel Core 2 Duo 2.8Ghz (soon to be an Intel Core 2 Quad 2.83Ghz)

      I haven't pledged yet, but I as soon as Mum pays back the ~$300 she borrowed from me, I'll have enough to pledge at Gold level.

      I WILL be pledging for these reasons:

      - I have used TGC products for the last 3 & 1/2 years and have always adored their power and ease of use.
      - I have tried to use FPSCx9 many times, and had a great time using it, but was frustrated by the many bugs. Having read this blog from the very first post through to now, I am confident that most bugs have been invalidated (lightmapping bugs for one, since it's now dynamic lighting) or fixed, and any that haven't, will be.
      - This blog has given me great insight into Lee's thought processes, and I'm confident in his understanding of what we want and of his abilities to achieve that.

      Lee, let me suggest that as soon as the beta launches, you create a medium-sized level with lots of STUFF in it, and ask everyone that pledged to run it (it has to be the same level to be accurate) and record their average FPS, then post their specs and the FPS they got with the level so you know how well it's running.

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    2. Hello Lee,

      good work on the project so far. FPSC: R will be really badass!

      To answer your questions, I bought two of the pledger packs to have a similar amount pledged as on Kickstarter. I knew that you, together with the "help" of the community, will slowly push DBPro towards its limits. I don't think that FPSC: R looks too different from FPSC Classic right now, but that might only be the assets that look similar. Anyhow, I knew that dynamic shadows and other nice effects one could work with will come in and therefore I pledged right away.

      The second question... I have a variety of test systems. Not only at home, but I also have friends and family who would let me test. If I recall correctly, these are the graphics cards I could test on (sorted by performance):

      Gigabyte HD7970 Ghz-Edition
      EVGA GTX 680
      EVGA GTX 580 Classified
      EVGA GTX 660
      ASUS GTX 470
      EVGA GTX 650Ti
      ASUS Mobility HD5850
      EVGA GT 640
      Zotac GT 610 Zone Edition

      And also I could test it on integrated graphics:
      Intel HD4600
      Intel HD4000
      Intel HD3000

      Greetings,
      Jan Maslov

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  6. Hello Lee

    about AA: i looked at the pictures, at beginning i think was a joke, i actually cant see a difference, then after some time i noticed that the right picture was AA.. the difference is very minimal and noticeable on still images.. if i have to select between bloom&light effects and AA of course i want bloom&light, leave AA problem for the future or, at least, you could include a selectable option in the first beta release, so we can see the real differences and give you better suggestions :)

    about pc i have 2 configurations (two distinct pc)
    1) Intel core i7 2.93 Ghz overclocked @ 3.89ghz, 8Gb Ram, Radeon HD 4770 with 1Gb ram two 512Mb hdd in raid configuration- this baby run MW3 in 1280x960 at 60fps

    2) the oldest i have (near 4 years old) CPU intel T4300 @ 2.1ghz (not overclocked) 5Gb ram (i can remove mdules to reach 1Gb) Ati radeon HD 4570 with 512Mb ram. one 320gb hdd Windows 7 32bit version (i still use this because it have an hardware serial port & parallel port still on it's mb, my eprom programmer actually is incompatible with these new usb to serial adapters)

    Why i pledge? i tried a lot of engines, the main principal problem i encounter is that you must know a programming language (C mainly) it is almost impossible to do anything without programming.. the easiest of these engines i tried was Torque3D.. then i found FPSC i tried it and i was AMAZED about the easy way it have to build games, you can do it with only mouse clicks!!! (of course tweaking scripts is possible and you can change behaviours) i saw a new version (Reloaded will be released) at this time i was impressed about the quality of the product (presumabily sacrificing a little of the "easy to do" way of building games) when I read about the removing of segments i should admit I have repented of pledging.. but if i think better, with cold mind, i think room bobs will be superiors about segments.. if I were to go back in time i will re-pledger :D

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  7. "i looked at the pictures, at beginning i think was a joke, i actually cant see a difference, then after some time i noticed that the right picture was AA"

    Are you kidding? It's not THAT hard to see the difference. As Lee said, the AA is only applied to edges of polygons, so the chain link fence and the barbed wire isn't anti-aliased; you should look at the edges of polygons (i.e., the fence pole).

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    1. The image isn't fair though. It's displaying mostly a transparent texture. For us to see the true different between AA and no AA we need to have a screenshot with lots of polygons and sharp edges.

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    2. Of course it's unfair, but the point of the image was show two things: that AA wouldn't work on transparent textures and that the effect was minimal even on polygon edges.

      Delete
  8. "The first is who thinks they have the oldest desktop graphics card here?"

    Our systems:

    Desktop 1 Graphics- AMD Radeon HD 6450 1GB
    Desktop 2 Graphics- Radeon X1300 AGP 256MB
    Laptop 1 Graphics- AMD Radeon HD 6450 256 MB
    Laptop 2 Graphics- ATI Radeon Xpress 256 MB

    And to add further insult, we can run in VMWare which use their own standard video driver. Most of our testing of deployments are performed in VMWare to trap any errors for providing technical support of installation/playing. I won't list the graphics for that as we are probably the only one to do so.
    ---

    "I am curious what you have and more important what you feel Reloaded should run on."

    I am not so much worried about the processor or RAM as that is a bit redundant to me. The video is the biggest thing. I would think that "minimum" video would need to support DirectX 9, Shader Model 2.0/3.0, OpenGL 2.0. Not all of us run the latest/newest systems.

    ---

    "I am curious what was the single incident that caused you to pledge into the Reloaded project."

    Due to how well FPSC v1 (classic) did for us, we felt Reloaded could bring just as much success as its predecessor.

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    1. "I don't really want to keep zipping 500MB and just want to zip the changes instead. WinZip Pro are charging £42 for the ability to do this. Does anyone know a tool that does this process for free?"

      I forgot to reply to this question. We use an application called SyncBack Pro on our network. Works very well, and it will keep folders synced with data. When I do my coding, I sync from my desktop to my laptop(s) and backup drive. The SE version is free, but the PRO does allow for FTP transfers as well. If you want free, then you can sync your "changes" to a drive and perhaps Rick can then pull that content (either via FTP or if a shared drive in the same location). You could setup a free FTP server so he can access the location you sync your changes/data to. For more info, you can review the site here (http://www.2brightsparks.com/syncback/sbse-features.html).

      Delete
  9. Clearly their is a significant difference in the two screen takes though perhaps not enough if the trade off is a performance hit which I presume there would be. Honestly its difficult to say isn't it until users see what they actually get in game as it were using various kinds of content.

    Whatever you cant keep adding and improving in some areas if the result is a constant and accumulative drain on performance or you will have none left eventually somewhere later. Just trying to be realistic here. Nice to have if you can get it as they saying goes.on.

    I am sure Lee is the only one that can really decide at the moment being in the thick of it and we have to trust his judgement I think. I would move on if its a time consuming issue especially if his judgement is the added performance hit is unacceptable which is probably the case. I don't know.

    "so the chain link fence and the barbed wire isn't anti-aliased; you should look at the edges of polygons"

    Therein partially lies the problem where such are the worst offending objects which do reduce the perceived quality of the engine and its rendering capabilities in particular. Clearly then one could conceivably not use such and make such models including the internal wire grid as a wholly mesh object, however then one has the issue of a large extra number of polygons to consider.

    If you then carry this across to other such highly detailed entities with fine detail such as grass of trees and leaves then one would end up with an even greater unacceptable performance hit very most likely.

    As I have said many times Reloaded will need to call upon some limitation somewhere most likely and fair enough. We cant always have what we may like to have or might be ideal. Reloaded cant bet more capable that it will be and can be and that's an end to it.

    It's a pity but something, somewhere and perhaps many things will have to be left by the wayside and bypassed at some stage. Its early days.

    Lee has done a great job and I am sure improvements will be made wherever possible if not sooner then later if that's possible.

    Main thing is still the core features of Physics, AI and so on so they should get priority.

    :-)

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  10. I pledged to Reloaded as soon as I read that it would also be built on DBPro, and that there might be updates to DBPro as a direct result. I probably won't make any FPS's in the foreseeable future, but DBPro is long due for an update, I want to be one of the first in line for that.

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  11. Hi Lee

    It looks like MSAA certainly improves the edges around polygons. I agree with Peter that we can always create models for fences or things that would otherwise require alpha transparency to get more detail or smoothness on them.

    Its a shame that its not compatible with the other post process effects at the moment. If we can't combine them without a significant performance hit I think we should go with post process effects and hopefully hardware AA can be forced on for people that have it to make things smoother.

    I pledged about 10 mins after I saw real time dynamic shadows working in FPSC !

    Great work as usual Lee. If you can have a look into the transparency not looking quite as brilliant as everything else that would definately give the overall presentation a lift towards exceptional but its something we can work around if we have to.

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  12. Excuse my ignorance - I have read some about this but what is there any technical difference between MSAA and FXAA which my NVIDIA card says it supports by name that would help at all. I guess not. No worries then.

    I do hope that DBP pro users do get some benefit from all of this too. I would hope that Reloaded will also prove to be useful as a tool to develop other 3D environment types too as well as FPSC or games.

    :-)

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    1. FXAA is cheap antialiasing. It effectively adds a blur to everything. It doesn't look too awful, (Fast, approximate, anti-aliasing.)

      I suggest Lee look into it.

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  13. Just wanted to include at least one other triple-A game in the 'absolutely dreadful' camp, so I don't feel so alone: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Anti_aliasing_comparison.png ;)

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  14. I am warming to the idea of releasing a sort of DB3 update which includes ALL the goodies I needed to code for FPSC-R. The DBP community is still HUGE and I dare say everyone would benefit from the much faster compiler and overall performance improvements in the object engine and general tweaks and fixes required of a hungry game engine product :)

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    1. Yes! Obviously! We all assumed you WOULD be releasing the additions as an update, pay-for or otherwise. Only don't rename the engine. DBPro is well-ingrained in our minds. DBElite just sounds tacky to me. And if you call it DB3 it'll remind too many people of 007's Aston Martin DB5.

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  15. Did some quick reading, and SMAA (http://www.iryoku.com/smaa/) looks pretty good, and along the same lines as FXAA, Fast, can be done entirely as a post process and requires no expensive blits. Everything costs performance, but the results should be worth it. Still I will postpone any more on this until the meat of the beta is in place.

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  16. "I was as shocked as everyone else when we announced some solid dates to the Reloaded community earlier today" - Lee, you were in the room when we discussed these date! I guess I will have to ask you to repeat them back to me so you're not surprised in future. :-)

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  17. Yes the anti aliasing link sums it up visually.

    Meat of the Beta in place - Sounds like a good plan.

    :-)

    :-)

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  18. Ricky baby, not the date, just the announcement. Remember folks, if we slip, it's Rick's neck now ;)

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    1. Rofl! :D I wish I'd thought of that :D

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  19. You're right guys, I shouldn't use my blog powers for Rick bashing :) Poor fellow.

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  20. The more you strike me down, the stronger I become! :-)

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  21. I have another question which pertains perhaps to both the Reloaded rendering quality and Lees question regarding users systems and Graphics cards both.

    The question is not particularly in regard to Editor and a game development but with regard to a compiled playable game (level) for devs and end users both and what they have as hardware to run a game on either testing for devs or playing for the players.

    i.e. the end result if you like :

    The question : Simple question really I think?

    Is Reloaded/will Reloaded run a game (Level) at a fixed resolution determined by the engine and hard coded at a fixed resolution - or will the game resolution be adjustable either by automated process to adjust to the users desktop resolution or by in game settings choice?

    The thinking is obvious I hope in that a non fixed resolution would presumably and I may be incorrect here - allow those with better hardware to potentially achieve better in game level rendering quality than those who would have a lower spec and could turn down or use the lowest resolution option to suit their system and maintain performance better too perhaps?

    That would seem to be fair to me and may make a big difference to those who are able to take advantage at least and not limit them and allow too improved rendering in game play, better screen shots and possibly videos for cut scenes, their own games promotion and that of TGC and Reloaded too.

    Not sure why I am asking this now as I presume that has all been considered and decided upon though I do not actually know the answer to the question as I don't know if that been confirmed in any way?

    Thanks

    :-)

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    1. The resolution will be adjustable, just as it is in FPSCx9.

      Adjustable resolution is simply not optional. Never. It's singly THE most important graphics option, full stop. If the resolution is too high it can destroy old CRT monitors and renders the game 100% unplayable if the end-user's monitor is too low-res. If the user has a higher-res screen than the game, the game looks utterly terrible. If the aspect ratio is different, everything looks squashed and out of shape. If the resolution is not EXACTLY matching one of the user's monitor's available resolutions, the game is again unplayable. It is imperative that the resolution is adjustable by the end-user. Lowering the resolution to make a game run well enough to be playable is always an extreme last-resort for me because it (obviously) makes everything all pixely and horrible.

      And I know FPSCx9 already does this, even if in the worst way possible (i.e., by requiring the user to edit a text file).

      However, I see no reason that at the very least Lee couldn't make the games start at the desktop resolution by default using the DESKTOP WIDTH/HEIGHT() commands....and I am left to wonder why this has not been done previously. It just seems really obvious to me.

      Rant over :)

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  22. Looking at all of this again, the whole rendering 'issue' is not really that much of a big deal. I don't think Lee should spent a great deal of effort on anti aliasing or transparency. We can throw hardware and resolution at this and there are work arounds like using models instead of transparent textures for things.

    Lee has solved the most significant graphics issue FPSC faced which is real time dynamic shadows. He has solved this and got it working in the game and the editor which trumps any concerns about the edges of polygons or alpha channel masking in textures.

    I would like to see a scene with real time dynamic shadows enabled for the terrain and all entities (including characters) so we can truly appreciate the power of the new FPSC Reloaded renderer. Also it would be nice to see a video showing entities being placed in the editor with all the dynamic shadows being crafted on the scene in real time.

    The fact we can now drop in and out of test games without any significant load times is going to mean we can spend most of our time actually designing rather than waiting for the level to build which is very exciting. Real time dynamic shadows will mean that we don't have to worry about the lightmapper adding to the build times and the memory footprint will be much lower, especially with the new segment instancing.

    I think we are losing sight of the bigger picture here with AA and transparency when there are so many other bigger milestones which Reloaded has already tackled with room to spare. I'm sure Lee will put in a good compromise like SMAA which will improve the smoothing and the rest will be down to us to work around which is fair enough.

    Every blog entry for the rest of this month is going to be very interesting as we move to the 1st BETA being available by 31st October. I am going to reserve further judgement on the overall visual presentation until I've had a chance to work with my own media and test all of this properly for myself.

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    1. I agree, though I have to correct you on one point: segments no longer exist. Well, they will for the beta (AFAIK), but after that it's "room blobs" all the way.

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  23. I was just reading the article Lee sent and there are some interesting definitions:

    Super-Sampled Anti-Aliasing (SSAA). The oldest trick in the book - I list it as universal because you can use it pretty much anywhere: forward or deferred rendering, it also anti-aliases alpha cutouts, and it gives you better texture sampling at high anisotropy too. Basically, you render the image at a higher resolution and down-sample with a filter when done. Sharp edges become anti-aliased as they are down-sized. Of course, there's a reason why people don't use SSAA: it costs a fortune. Whatever your fill rate bill, it's 4x for even minimal SSAA.

    Multi-Sampled Anti-Aliasing (MSAA). This is what you typically have in hardware on a modern graphics card. The graphics card renders to a surface that is larger than the final image, but in shading each "cluster" of samples (that will end up in a single pixel on the final screen) the pixel shader is run only once. We save a ton of fill rate, but we still burn memory bandwidth. This technique does not anti-alias any effects coming out of the shader, because the shader runs at 1x, so alpha cutouts are jagged. This is the most common way to run a forward-rendering game. MSAA does not work for a deferred renderer because lighting decisions are made after the MSAA is "resolved" (down-sized) to its final image size.

    Coverage Sample Anti-Aliasing (CSAA). A further optimization on MSAA from NVidia [ed: ATI has an equivalent]. Besides running the shader at 1x and the framebuffer at 4x, the GPU's rasterizer is run at 16x. So while the depth buffer produces better anti-aliasing, the intermediate shades of blending produced are even better.

    FXAA stands for Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing, and it's an even more clever hack than MSAA, because it ignores polygons and line edges, and simply analyzes the pixels on the screen. It is a pixel shader program documented in this PDF that runs every frame in a scant millisecond or two. Where it sees pixels that create an artificial edge, it smooths them. It is, in the words of the author, "the simplest and easiest thing to integrate and use".

    FXAA has two major advantages:

    FXAA smooths edges in all pixels on the screen, including those inside alpha-blended textures and those resulting from pixel shader effects, which were previously immune to the effects of MSAA without oddball workarounds.

    It's fast. Very, very fast. Version 3 of the FXAA algorithm takes about 1.3 milliseconds per frame on a $100 video card. Earlier versions were found to be double the speed of 4x MSAA, so you're looking at a modest 12 or 13 percent cost in framerate to enable FXAA -- and in return you get a considerable reduction in aliasing.

    Sounds like FXAA might be a good solution for Reloaded.

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    1. I stand corrected !!

      SMAA is even better and faster than FXAA.
      http://www.iryoku.com/smaa/

      Also there is software that automatically injects SMAA into your d3d9, d3d10 or d3d11games:
      http://mrhaandi.blogspot.com/p/injectsmaa.html

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  24. I had looked at this around the web.

    Well worth having considered all of this at this stage regarding Reloaded specifically - now lets move on and lets have the Beta and see how things pan out.

    I agree. Far more important things at this stage and a lot of them.

    I think the point has been done to death now - moving on.

    :-)

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    1. Agreed. If Lee can implement SMAA in Reloaded then great and that will help with smoothing pixels at the edges of polygons and textures. If not there are plenty of work arounds and it looks like we might be able to use the SMAA tool to use this with Reloaded anyway. The comparison images look very promosing.

      http://mrhaandi.blogspot.co.uk/p/injectsmaa.html

      I think Lee should concentrate on completing real time dynamic shadows implementation for entities and integrating bullet physics for all entities.

      I'm sure there is still a lot of work and polish that needs to be done before the BETA ships at the end of the month so lets allow Lee to focus on those things. AA can be experimented with and enhanced after the BETA.

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    2. Yeah and the water is not done. Will appear after. That is surely important as it is a big part of terrain surely. We cant submerge we can walk on the water surface but not underneath that is soo much bigger than a slight extra smooth line. But then people tend to get extremely excited about a smooth line. Whatever floats your boat I guess. But ai will need more. Camera bots and huds and built in inventory etc but if a smoother line is better and more important so be it :)

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  25. Random idea could you code to the character controller so that when you look at a friendly unit you lower your gun and have a (X) cursor on them

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    Replies
    1. we can do that with scripts. I guess we'll have to see what types of scripts we can write with FPI in FPSC

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  26. There are a lot of things that indie developers want and look for in their game making endeavors.

    The more Reloaded offers and in quality the better of course needless to say. The less it offers the less users it will attract in purchasing and using it unfortunately. That will impact on its sales success and everything related to that. That's the way of it.

    Many in the wider world will not want to use it if it is not a top feature/quality engine but that is to be expected. Not much anyone can do about that. It will have to live without them. I am sure it will as it still promises to potentially offer a lot to a substantial number of people.

    Time will tell and the new web site and Beta will be the first steps.

    Still only core features or things that can be slipped in between opportunistically or otherwise should be looked at for some time. Too late now really to worry too much about lesser non core finer details. Add to many of them and quite likely they will have to be taken out later or something will when they all add to impact on performance.

    Effectively as I understand it its about to go public - well shortly and thats "about" so it will be immediately judged by that public by what they see and read and alike. If it falls short then it will to some extent impact accordingly on the judgement and opinion in the wider world at an early stage.

    Not a lot we can do about that either so upwards and onwards it is me hearty's.

    Looking forward to it.

    :-)

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  27. Gooday Lee you asked about what system Blog Viewers had. I have just purchased a Toshiba Qosmio PX30t All In One Desktop Computer with a 4th generation i7 processor and Video Card nVidia G740M - 64 bit Windows 8. I realise that the specification is like a Laptop because it is a compact computer.

    I read in your Blog that you were purchasing a Winfast GTX 650 ti Video Card which has a G3D Mark of 2,748 while mine only has a G3D Mark of 1,379. I hope that the New Improved Re-Loaded will work on my new PC. I have the FPSC9 working on this
    machine.

    Although I praise you for this new version, it is a pity that you have not built Re-Loaded for the future, which seems to be DirectX 11.

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  28. Why did I purchase FPSC9 - I have used most of the 3d Game Makers on the Internet. The first thing I look at is the AI, is it difficult to comprehend, will I be able to programme my NPC's etc, then the Editor and all the other complexities. I found the AI easy to understand, and it worked fairly well. I loved the top down way of building levels, I thought it was the easiest Editor of all to use. I loved the Model kits that "The Game Creators" sold, still do. I purchased my FPSC9 in 2007 at first it had more bugs then the Amazon Jungle but it improved with age. Still love the FPSC system and hope that Re-Loaded is an great improvement.

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  29. Hello
    A French version will be scheduled or not?
    In the meantime, good luck.

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  30. 3 weeks until the BETA!

    W0000000T

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  31. 3 Weeks and 3 Days by my computer calendar - Perhaps.

    I will miss it by 3 Days?

    W00000T! W00000T!

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  32. hi..Im student from Informatics engineering, this article is very informative, thanks for sharing :)

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    Replies
    1. Please pledge if you have not done so already. It will help this project along.

      Delete
  33. My Oldest card I am running is a Geforce 880gt PCI v1. The reason I pledged back in march is that I have owned a boxed copy of FPS since it first came out and I have loved making games for myself, my kids, my friends, and just the fell in love with the whole creative aspect of it. When I heard of the FPS reloaded project it was a no brainer for me and I have been following your blog daily in anticipation of its release. Keep of the fantastic work Lee

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