A successful meeting day today with both visual and performance objectives reached, and a new set of tasks for the next 3-4 weeks agreed. The good news is that I have another week to work on performance and remaining visual touches so hopefully I can get some more out of the engine before I move onto the bulk of the next month of work which is what I am calling the 'third pillar'.
My ideas was that three pillars hold up a good product, the performance, the visuals and the functionality. Visuals and performance have had their weeks in the sun, and good things came from it. The last pillar, that of functionality, will focus on adding those features to the software that we felt are critical, and agreed an order in which they should be done. I cannot remember the order exactly due to two pints of Guinness, but it includes extra terrain editing controls, multiple levels, improved explosions, melee combat, the material system, importing custom characters into the AI system (for Zombie fun) and a bunch of IDE clean-up tasks. The result is a piece of software that will closely resemble it's final shape on Steam (minus the CONKIT and MP).
I prepared some side by side shots for the meeting but never used them, so I am posting them here instead so the effort in making them was not wasted.
Hopefully I don't need to explain which side is which, but you will be pleased to learn you get this extra visual eye candy in addition to a jump from 40 fps to 60 fps (which is a sizable jump at these speeds).
I also took the demo to the Ultrabook to profile with Intel Frame Analyser last night but after about five hours, I discovered that it would crash the app unless my app used only a little amount of system memory. If I used a lot, so did the frame analyser, and it would bomb out. My new plan is to analyse something like Get To The River level which uses a lower system memory amount and I can study the GPU side of things and understand what in the scene is consuming SO much processing.
My task for this evening will be to continue pushing the odd wires back into the engine so it does nothing naughty under regular use, such as not removing a lightmapped object when one is deleted in the F9 edit mode. Before I crack on with the next series of major tasks, getting what I have done so far squared away with nice commented code and a clean desk is a good way to prepare for the ordeal to come. I also have the 'multi-core lightmap crash' issue to investigate as well, which will need to be sorted in order to accelerate the feature of lightmapping the test game on the fly. Looking good so far though, and I am very happy with the work from the last two weeks.