Friday, January 04, 2008

I've just added the ability to use Progressive Meshes. It was a really simple addition.
I found a web page with a really good simple sample ( and working with that as a reference I was able to add this feature in.
Now I just need to combine the ability to change the number of faces on a mesh with the distance of the object from the camera and perhaps the FPS will go a little higher.

I've also found another nice program called Cam Studio for capturing the screen, this time it captures it to an Avi so I can upload it straight to BlogSpot.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


I saw a great screenshot and article the other day of a great smoke effect. I then thought that would look nice on the back of a rocket! Now I already have a particle effect in the game, as I use it for the ships engines and the explosions.
This is the simpler version I came up with, no lights effecting it and the tone of each smoke "particle" is now a bit to similar, I think it needs a little randomness and a blackening, as well as the fading over time.

I also created a simpler menu, away from the tacky 3d menu and the flying circling light and in with a nice 2d menu that can easily be customised (for add on packs?) and tweaked. You'll see 2 concept art spaceships either side framing the menu. You can still see the old 3d menu when the game ends, as it still goes back to the old for now.
You'll also see the story screen, which took a lot longer than I thought. It's a simple thing in theory, but in practice it took a lot longer to get it how I wanted i.e. fading in line=-by-line with 5second intervals. It does take a little while to load up this screen. This is because I'm creating a texture on the fly and it's the CreateTexture part that can take 10seconds or so, the delay only happens when debugging from VStudio and is a documented issue.
You'll notice the enemies have a particle generated explosion and then "fall" before vanishing. Later on I think it'll look better if their was a particle generated explosion, but fewer particles and instead of being alpha blended they were spaceship bits, the enemy ship could then be removed under the cover of the debris.

The animation was made with a great little freeware utility called Wink


Sunday, September 30, 2007

Re-ignite my fire

I was in New York recently and while I was there I picked up the new iPod nano, with video!!

I liked the concept of short podcasts but never had a device to play it and decent software to mange it all, but now thanks to Apple I do. I've recently been listening to podcasts, one of them relates to games programming. The podcast isn't bad, but it does seem to concentrate on C++ concepts a bit too much for my liking. Anyway it's presented in a great light, energetic way. There are other podcasts that interview people from the industry, these also make intersting listening. So after listening to most of the podcasts I could get iTunes to download, my interest in finishing this game flarred up again.

Maybe I will get something completed... and this won't end up being just a learning exercise!

Saturday, July 08, 2006


So after a while away from this project I realised a few things.

I've reinstalled my PC... well I actually bought a whole new one and reinstalled everything, even my little utilities! I realised how hard it can be to track down a problem if the motherboard is faulty on a new pc. I bought my PC in parts and put it together, however I couldn't tell if the motherbaord, CPU, hard drive or the gfx were faulty as they were all bought from the same supplier (, the one thing I was sure worked was the ram and that was bought from eBay!!! It came up with a hard disk error after running the seagate utility, so I returned it on that basis, and it turned out to be a bad MSI motherboard. Anyway that's been replaced and other than the cpu getting hot(57c) and the stock fan spinning like crazy it's been working ok. Not sure going dual core was worth it though, nor am I sure it is worth having 2gb of dual channel memory, but I guess I'll find out when I play a processor, memory (harddisk and ram) hungry game, or at least try out vista!
Still I may not have 2 gfx cards running together, I did try the sli out but the frame rate incresed by just a few fps in Doom3, so wasn't worth it.
Having a dual display however is not something I could live without, or at least use my computer without! Even at work now, I insisted on having a dual display system, it makes like so much easier.

As usual I was too ambitious in my plans for the gameplay of the game. I wanted it to do too much too quick. This is odd because when I was creating the engine, I did it slowly, one feature at a time, and gently adding parts on and unit testing to make sure those units I add on all worked. Next time I think I shall get the game working fully, how I want it to flow with stick men and circles for bullets, whatever is cheap and quick to do, just so I can get the actual game to work. Once the game is working I can then work on the game engine and making things look and sound nice. Instead of graphics first and game design last! Of course next time (assuming there will be a next time) I won't be so impressed to have 3d models and particle engines in a program I created. Just imaging what it was like to go from having grey menus and arial fonts in utilities that did stuff like move a mouse to what I have now, a program with 3d text that can move and rotate on the x axis along with a 3d scene of my ship and hangar bay with a simple particle engine for the enging fumes and for the explosions. That doesn't even go into playing with the lighting or my thoughts on 3d movie scenes. Such a change, such a shame I never got round (yet?) to doing more.

I realised I should have created a setup program for my game, as I've not yet been able to get it to work. I know it's not my code because other VB DX9 programs don't work either. Where do I get a working version of the managed directx files? Must I download the entire 400mb DirectX SDK again. I suppose at least then I'll get those lovely debug directx files again.

I also realised how horrible the trains and tubes are in the british summer. Even during other months, you get off the train, with its air conditioning and nice spacious seats and relatively friendly people and get on the tube, with its small seats(if you can get one) hot stuffy atmosphere, unfriendly people who are quite willing to barge and push you out of the way, just so they can get to their destination literally a few minutes quicker. It's a strange but true transformation.
I've even drawn a few sketches on this irritating behaviour, these are now in my desk piling up, so I guess my boss is going to get a laugh out of it when I eventually leave! I'm sure that most people now just accept it as being the norm.

Sunday, January 08, 2006


So I've not published anything lately, I've just not managed to get anything done.
I don't quite know how other people can do it. After working 8hrs plus another 3hrs travelling I don't really come back home wanting to use the computer, I get enough of that thing at work!
I have no mp3 player, so the journey on the train and tube can get rather boring, not knowing what to look at! If someone out there wanted to help you could always send an mp3 player my way!! :-) or help me get a free iPod by signing up here: and completing just one offer.

After work I'd rather do some mind numbing, dumb, easy thinking task, like watching eastenders than programming. I know that if I turn that PC on and something doesn't work, I'm gonna get very annoyed. I suppose to unwind is why some people smoke, some people drink and I, well, I kill people, well not real people, just mutilated, robot fused cyborgs who go by the name of Strogg. Yes you've guesed it Quake 4. What better way to relieve stress for a guy than to go to a mouse controlled shooting range. No clay pigeons, foxes or stuck down coconuts here, instead we have aliens who are very keen to do nasty things to your limbs. Although I've still not finished it!

I did find an interesting article while I was at work though; it's about poor games with great ideas.

Guardian - Poor Games with Good Ideas