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July, 2009:

Status Update… or what happens when you start pulling the thread

Ok, I know, I said I would implement sound, and I swear I started, but I can explain what happened and why I’m still without sound.

For each kind of data (i.e textures, materials, loaders, etc) I had a manager. Each manager was a singleton, and after coding the Sound manager I said “Dude! I have tons of singletons, it’s time to change that!”. And that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve centralized managers, factories and containers under the Engine’s hood. To ensure there’s only one instance of each manager I’ve tangled a bit managers and engine :). It’s something like this:
An excerpt of IManager’s code
class IManager
{
public:
IManager(int type, Engine* e); //Constructor
virtual int GetType() = 0; //some RTTI
...
};
// Adds the manager to the engine
IManager::IManager(int type, Engine * e)
{
e->AddManager(type,this);
}

An excerpt of Sound Manager’s code
class SoundManager : public IManager
public:
explicit SoundManager(Engine* e); //Constructor...
virtual int GetType() { return MGRT_SOUND;}
};
// Adds the manager to the engine
SoundManager::SoundManager(int type, Engine * e) : IManager(GetType(),e)
{
}

So as you can see, it’s engine (called from IManager::IManager who decides what to do with the manager’s instance). In my case I stored it in an array.

So once I had all managers de-singletonized (?) I thought:”mmm, I’m not sharing data”. Yes believe it or not, I was loading models, animations and textures as many times as they appeared in the data files. So well, just some more coding following the same schema I had used for managers and well, at the end of the night I was sharing data correctly.
And this morning… I’ve woken up thinking “Ok Toni, so you’re sharing data but, do you know how much memory is your application consuming?”. At Insideo, shash had coded a memory checker, and I’ve thought that doing something similar I could know, at runtime and with a per frame granularity, what was the ammount of memory I was using.
I’ve searched on the internet and I’ve found 2 sources one at flipcode (RIP) and another at CodeProject. I have adapted to my needs and at the end of the day I was tracking the memory consumption…
To my surprise my application was a RAM eater monster :| just loading de imp animation and it was taken as much as 78 MB! WTF!!

78 MB!! The RAM eater monster attacks!

78 MB!! The RAM eater monster attacks!

The first think I’ve thought has been: “textures, probably I don’t release the texture data”. So I’ve checked it, and indeed, I wasn’t releasing it. I fixed it but as I expected I didn’t had a big gain, after all currently I’m only loading 5 textures :).

75 MB the RAM eater monster is on diet! :D

75 MB the RAM eater monster is on diet! :D

So… I’ve been thinking… where do I have tons of data and it’s not released? Where? Where? Obviously it was on the loaders, so I just simply added a Reset method to all loaders, call it after loading and that’s it! :)… And you can be wondering :” And where were those dozens of MB?”. Well, the md5 material loader was keeping a table with a translation from material name to material file and some other info. And that table was consuming 70 MB!!

5MB ! The Ram Eater monster is now thin like a ballet dancer!! :D

5MB ! The Ram Eater monster is now thin like a ballet dancer!! :D

Well, now I have the Ram under control, and I suppose now it’s the momment for sound. The journey of this 2 last days has been interesting, reallocating some classes and studing how to keep track of memory has taught me some good things I didn’t know about memory allocation and new and delete operator overriding :). Probably this will evolve in a near future to some kind of memory allocation manager and custom allocators and all this stuff I’m willing to learn :).

Well, it has been a good weekend, stay tuned!!

Status update

Two status update on the same day? GOSH I’m crazy! The world is ending! Penitenciagite! :P

I’ve just followed shash’s advice and implemented frame interpolation. Obviously it didn’t work the first time I tried, but the second. As always I’ve recorded the progress so you can enjoy and laugh.

Implementing frame interpolation was really easy but if your interpolation value is greater than 1.0 you get things like this


Once I changed that i got a nice interpolated animation


And now, once this is completed… it’s time for sound!

Stay tuned!!

Status Update

As I said on my last post, I was pursuing animation, and guess what: I have it!

Even when I haven’t implemented frames interpolation yet the animations look funny. So let’s start with the usual postmortem of what went wrong.

First I started parsing the md5 anim files, and guess what I don’t like it either. It’s not hard to parse, it’s just nonsense. It starts with a hierarchy and a base frame, well, everything seems ok until here, right? But then you have the frames, defined as a series of floats that, with some kind of obscure craft applied over the base frame and with the information in the hierarchy gives you the skeleton for the given frame. Sure it works, sure it has few data and sure: WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING OF? I think, honestly, that it would have been simpler to have an skeleton for each frame, easy and simple. Why do people think that being clever is ALWAYS the right way? Sometimes a simpler approach makes life easier :)

Well, once I have it loaded I faced another decision: coupling an animation and a model with a custom file or being a real macho man and loading the doom 3 def files? Obviously I’m a macho and def files was the way to go :).

And what are the def files? Def files for models at least define the entity informatio, in particular you can find there for each model what mesh and animations it uses. I have to say that this is the first file format that likes me :). It’s simple and does what it has to do. For each model defines a mesh and a series of animations, and for each animation what events applies and in what frames. Wonderful! :)

So I made a little loader for it and here’s the result:

Amorphous blob from the pitt!

Amorphous blob from the pitt!

WTF!?! I had a correct skinning system! What was happening here? At least I have to say it was indeed animated :)


YouTube Link to

YEAH! I have videos, thanks to glc capturing application, fraps-like for GNU/Linux. Well, it looked really weird, didn’t it? So I checked the def file and I discovered that it contained 3 imps models, so click click click I just hacked the loader a bit to have them separated and what did I got? Well, this:


YouTube Link to

Which… well, looked at least strange :) The first 2 imps remind me that Edvard Munch painting: The scream

I didn't know Id inspiration for imps came from expressionism!

I didn't know Id inspiration for imps came from expressionism!

Well, once they were separated I was wondering what failed, because the only model that was animated was the right-most one, but in fact it wasn’t properly animated but somewhat convulsing :S.

Well, it was due 3 little bugs

  1. Quaternions, my friends, are composed of 4 floats, and when I was reading frames I was just missing one component
  2. When I readed a frame and I send it to process, I only processed it when it had movable parts (that is, was different from the abse frame). But the base frame wasn’t processed so I had to process the base frame to get good results.
  3. The tutorial I was following said something like “I assume that parent index < current index so parents are always processed”. So did I, and when I was processing a frame I assumed that parents had been previously processed. Well that’s simply not true, so I had to do some adjustments to have a correct processing.

With all that fixing here and there I ended with this:


YouTube Link to

It was ok, just that it wasn’t moving due the first 2 models had an animation with 0 frames, nice isn’t? So i did a little more fixing-typing-hacking to cicle among all models’ actions to get this:


YouTube Link to

And finally I decided that watching a single model was nicer, so I loaded a single model and put a better camera:


YouTube Link to

So, at the end I got the model animated… but with no sound, and wouldn’t be nice if it had sound? Well, that’s the next thing to do! Stay tuned!