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News 16-08-2005


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Ok ladies ;)

Here some news, through the board... why? Simple...

1) The arrakis page is simple, and its meant for all my projects (in the past and future) related to the Duniverse.

So putting D2TM news on that site is kind off, odd. A new page is almost ready and is located elsewhere, i can blog/post a lot of news there. And don't worry, this forum is still in use. No need to re-register or whatever. Dune2k.com is the place to be for all stuff!

The D2TM site contains D2TM content. The Arrakis site contains a more general content. So don't get confused about that.

Now, about D2TM....

Currently i am trying to get the engine a lot faster, since we want to run on 1024x768 at default. (NOT lower!). Preferably on 32 bits, but i dont think thats doable. So i am satisfied with 16 bit. Currently, 20 FPS is my result. Which is BAD. I am investigating this, having chats on a forum for programmers and about Allegro, it should be possible to make it way faster, so its not yet that i have to rewrite the engine (see previous news post & allegro / lib issue).

So in short, work on the project has begun again, slowly, but steady. :)

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Technical update:

I am writing code that should speed up the game (a lot if all goes well). Basicly this is the theorie:

- load all objects (all!) into VIDEO memory. Blit from video to video memory and ur done.

Currently it is done from normal memory. This should give some boost in performance.

The drawback is that blitting from NORMAL to VIDEO memory is slow compared to VIDEO to VIDEO memory.

Another 'drawback' is that your video card should have 2MB of video ram at least...  ;)

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current results:

- no speed increase.

It seems when i equal my bit depth everywhere, i get increasement of 50% sometimes. Since the game is 16 bit, but the units 8 bit (and cannot get more bits) it is tough.

This would raise the question. Should we do units 16 bits? (meaning, we have to apply some function on them to make shades) or should the entire game be 8 bits? Your thoughts are welcome ;)

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NEWSFLASH:

It looks like the real-time shadows code EAT a LOT of FPS. When i turn it down, with my optimizations on. I have over 70 FPS on 1024x768...

Now i  have to look where i can use real shadows and fancy effects. This limits us in some ways for graphical stuff, but imply put. Alpha channels are down to a MINIMUM.

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NEWSFLASH #2:

According to the manual i cannot do nice blending from VRAM to VRAM. However i can do from RAM to VRAM without MUCH loss of FPS. I will try this. If i can flag my bitmaps who undergro frequent blending routines, i can skip them from the VRAM-VRAM stuff by loading them in RAM. If i can do that, i can gain higher FPS with nice blending/gfx. Stay tuned!

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Final and latest update for today (note: i will be using the new website (at http://d2tm.duneii.com) now!):

The game runs now at 1024x768x32 at 58FPS on my machine. It uses a lot of VRAM optimizations. Blending cuts down performance big time. So i need to reduce that. I can tweak a bit there, so i added a possibility to flag bitmaps that will likely be used for blending. So they are optimal used. Aside that, its a good result.

I also tested the engine now on 1280x1024, it gave me 37 FPS ;)

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