Monday, July 28, 2008

Podcasts, and Sharks with frickin' laser beams!

Sharks have invaded the office... There is a battle between product management and engineering over who can build the best shark with frickin' laser beams. (Spoiler: engineering wins, with real lasers.) The latest challenge includes irritating the turtles in the fountain with a self propelled shark... we'll see if joat can pull it off!

And, podcasts!.. Adam has kicked off an official-un-official Emergent podcast. ;) He and Dan Amerson ramble away about Gamebryo 2.5.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Parallel Rendering with DirectX Command Buffers

I'm at Microsoft XNA Gamefest 2008 presenting Practical Parallel Rendering with DirectX 9 and 10. You can find the slides and open source code. Bo Wilson helped out on the design and prototype.

The short form of the presentation is:
  • We made a command buffer (or "display list") format for DirectX 9.
  • Multiple CPUs can record command buffers simultaneously.
  • One main thread that owns the device can playback command buffers.
  • For many games, this provides an effective way to improve performance with minimal changes to existing render code architecture, they can "simply" swap in one of our special recording devices.
  • The code is open source.

Monday, July 14, 2008

E3 2008 - Xbox 360

E3... blah blah, some things that jumped out for me from the Microsoft news:
  • Netflix on 360 - This has been speculated on for some time, but it's great to get the official word. It seems clear to me that the future of entertainment delivery will be along the lines of IP cable, streaming movies, etc. The next few years we'ss see the battle between the console providers, cable companies, probably phone companies as well.
  • Install to HD - A great feature, since the 360 is so loud while spinning a disk. Most games are doing this to some extent under the hood anyway, so why not just copy the whole thing? Sadly, you still need the disk in to boot... I'm looking forward to the disk just being a high bandwidth way to download, and then tossing it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Google's Lively

Google has launched Lively, a virtual space for chatting... and... hanging out.

Several blogs mention that Lively uses Gamebryo: e.g. Gamasutra & Virtual Worlds News

I've put up a room here, and embeded it here:

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Johan Andersson's keynote at Graphics Hardware

Johan Andersson's slides were recently posted for his keynote The Intersection of Game Engines and GPUs - Current & Future at Graphics Hardware (other presentations there too...). I've looked over several of Johan's presentations in recent years, and am a big fan. This presentation covers many interesting topics, though is light on details:
  • Most screen shots and examples are from Bad Company
  • Shader node editor
  • Rendering jobs, task decomposition for concurrency
  • Command buffers used on 360, PS3, but DX10 is a problem
  • - He also mentions an approach I'll be presenting on ind detail at Gamefest 2008 - software command buffers - with the con of "Difficult to update dynamic resources efficiently in parallel due to API", quite true
  • Software rasterization for occlusion testing
  • - low rez floating point buffer, renders 100 meters of low-poly occluder meshes, limited to a max of 10,000 verts. Use on all platforms
  • Prefer bumpmaps to normal maps - better compression - sample to normals in shader
  • Virtual textures
  • Raytracing - cites Mirrors Edge - urban environments with reflections
  • DOF implemented in CUDA