Tex2D Rotating Header Image


This is my current project right now. I had the chance to get the source code and assets of an old game: Resurrection, the return of the Black Dragon. And I wondered “wouldn’t be fun to upgrade its rendering algorithms and that stuff to something more up to date”? And well, that’s my pet project at home. When the other more serious projects allow me, or when I simply want to do something funny, I spent some hours with it.

Here do you have a gameplay of the original game (yep, some people still play to games from 1999), and later a peek of where I’m now.

[youtube J6pdj36brMQ Original Resurrection]

And what have I done on the code? Well, when I took it it had a fixed pipeline forward shading renderer, and that was my start point. Currently it is a opengl 3.3 (formerly OpenGL 4.5 but the port to osx on a macbook from 2009 forced me to go down to 3.3) deferred renderer with omni shadowmapping and an exagerated SSAO :). Ah! and I don’t draw transparent meshes yet :)

The shadows are simple Shadowmapping with no filter yet, and the lighting it’s still a lambertian/blinn. Easy peasy, but I have to admit it’s funny to dive into the code and find ways to improve the rendering.

Here is the little video I’ve recorded this morning. Just the character moving, and I enable/disable the SSAO, otherwise no one would notice it’s there.

It’s embarassing but I admit that 1999 resurrection still looks better than mine, but give me time :)

[vimeo 227532668 Reborn (AKA Resurrection Resurrected)]



Intellij 13 eap

If you have this error when  starting up intellij 13 ultimate EAP on linux 64 bits:

[YourKit Java Profiler 12.0.3] Log file: /home/casa/.yjp/log/IntelliJIdea13-2942.log
/usr/lib/jvm/java-7-oracle/bin/java: symbol lookup error: /home/casa/.java/jayatana/1.2.0/amd64/libjayatana.so: undefined symbol: gdk_threads_enter

Add this line to idea64.vmoptions


It worked flawlessly for me and I can keep coding.


A little advice

SDL overrides the main method, so don’t forget to include sdl.h in your entry point file. Otherwise the SDL_main funciton won’t be called and you can spend like two hours trying to figure out why the hell the system is not creating a proper context :P

The last game i’ve worked in

Last Thursday, the last game I’ve been working on was launched at te Apple App Store. Since then a lot of things have been said about that game, some good, some bad :). I’m thinking seriously to write an in-depth post-mortem of that game as i’ve been the only person involved in the development of that game since the beginning and until the day it was submitted. A lot of things have happened, some good and some others even better personally, but it hasn’t been a piece of cake. I will ask one or two people if i’m allowed to talk about XW.

I’ve been interviewed!

The folks at fasebeta interviewed me just to know my impressions about the industry, gaming and such. You can read it here (it’s in spanish only tho)


At home I’m an ubuntu/Mac OS user, all well known linux/bsd systems :) They’re stable, they’re reliable and, unlucky, they don’t have too many games (well, a bit better on osx).

Anyway, for several reasons i decided install win7 on my machine (one of them being that my desktop computer isn’t able to virtualize properly and windows goes extremely slow :( ). Yesterday I took my windows 7 and started to install it, fast, easy and didn’t have to install any driver! :) That’s good, isn’t it?, like in ubuntu, my desktop was working properly from the begining. Well, some drawbacks, as always it destroyed my MBR so ubuntu was unaccessible :)

Well, I let it that way and this morning I started to download some applications, nothing fancy, ext2fsd for accessing my EXT3 disks from windows, clementine, chrome and itunes and… surprise! When importing my music to itunes I got a BSOD :( It took less than 2 hours of not so intensive use to get a BSOD. And people stills wonders why I use stable systems :)

Porting to mac

I’ve started coding again, a bit, not too much :).
Currently I have the engine working on linux but as my primary computer is now a macbook pro I will port it to mac, but this time using cocoa and all that stuff, that way i’ll learn a but about it.
In fact i had it compiling on mac without problems but linking was another issue. SDL overrides de main method and seems that macos didn’t like that adn you had to do some tricks here and there to make it work. As i didn’t like that I just decided to go to a more platform dependant solution. This way I learn more and at the same time i make all my code more platform independent.

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
IManager(int type, Engine* e); //Constructor
virtual int GetType() = 0; //some RTTI
// Adds the manager to the engine
IManager::IManager(int type, Engine * e)

An excerpt of Sound Manager’s code

class SoundManager : public IManager
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

[youtube iVWGw1P0YGA nolink]

Once I changed that i got a nice interpolated animation

[youtube Oj9xDFYEy9M nolink]

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

Stay tuned!!

Status Update

Well, well, well…. this time I have screenshots!

Since my last post with screenshots I have discovered many things, the first and most important is that seems that our beloved John Carmack thinks (or thought) that OpenGL was great but that its default behaviors didn’t fit his mental map.

I was following David Henry’s tutorial to load this md5 files. Md5 had great advantages over other file formats, it’s easy, it’s documented and it is in text-form, so it is easy to read and see if you’re doing something wrong. Well, that tutorial is great, honestly, and there’s no “but”. I recommend it to anyone trying to load this file format. Take into account only two minor thing: Quaternion format and triangle orientation. But let’s explain all the process until I obtained a relatively good looking models :)

For some reason I don’t fully understand yet, Id’s quaternions are specified as q = ([x,y,z],-w). That led me to a very strange behaviour on the skinning of my mesh:

More abstract art!

More abstract art!

Why did I obtained such a strange model (even I have to admit I like it!) ? Well, MD5 my friends is a format full of surprises :). When the file specifies the skeletton information it only gives the vector part of the orientation for each bone. This is GOOD, you know, less data to read and well, we’re loading, we can spend as much time as we want, can’t we?.
So we have our vector from the quaternion and we need the scalar part. We know, because someone told us so,  that the quaternions are unitary, so it should be easy, right?

[pmath] w = sqrt(1-x^2-y^2-z^2) [/pmath]

Well, my friends… That would be in the WE_USE_THE_RIGHT_MATHS world, but let’s never forget that we’re dealing with John Carmack here, the man that made Doom and Quake, and probably the only man that can bend maths at will!
So if you ever want to load correctly MD5 quaternions, don’t forget to extract the w component using this:

[pmath] w = -sqrt(1-x^2-y^2-z^2) [/pmath]

Notice the minus sign :D

So once I noticed that (in fact once I re-read the tutorial :P) I corrected my loader and what I obtained was this:

Pink and blue marine

Pink and blue marine

WTF! Yeah i got correct orientations but what the hell were those pink meshes? Over time I’ve been adquiring some good practices that let me spot bugs or strange behaviours quicky, one of those practices could be stated as:

No matter if the material, mesh, sound or whatever asset is wrong, corrupted or unsupported, you MUST provide a fallback so the problems can be easy spotted and fixed.

And that’s what I did with shaders. After a brief discussion with shash about how to dispatch shaders to each material I did a quick and dirty shader dispatcher on the renderer. This function analyzes the material and depending on its properties it assigns a shader to it. Obviously I didn’t take into account all possible material definitions in MD5 material files… in fact it’s a shame but atm I only provide 2 shaders: one for diffuse materials, the other is that magenta shader :). So if the material has a diffuse map I give it a simple (very very simple) shader to texturize. Otherwise I give it the magenta. What’s the advantage of this approach? Well there are 2 main advantages:

  • I am confident that the program won’t crash in case of uncorrect data or unsupported data
  • I will see all geometry EVEN if i don’t have support for a specific material.

So I saw the player model there, it was there! It just have tons of other strange geometry overlapped. So I took a look to the MD5 file model again and I discovered something interesting. There were low poly shadow models there! Amazing! honestly this was totally unexpected, but at least this was easy to fix :) Those models used a material named “shadow” so I just ignored those meshes (my plan is use original material to generate shadowmaps so I didn’t need that geometry anyway).

Ok, so I removed the geometry and what did I obtain?

The smurf marine!

The smurf marine!

YEAH! a blue marine… damn! this was easy tho, the textures were TGA files, those textures are stored in BGRA format so I corrected that and I expected I would get finally the correct marine, right? Well, my journey was not ended… YET :)

Opposite thumbs!

Opposite thumbs!

Ok, something I had noticed when I obtained the blue marine was that the mesh had holes, and as you can see in this screenshot it even had the thumbs… well, reversed! Damn! I couldn’t believe it! :) I checked the depth func and was correct, I was loading the indexes correctly so where was the problem? Ok, shash helped me again (he made a md5 loader years ago and had faced these problem)… well the problem was that triangle order is Clockwise! There’s no problem once you know it, and probably this decision cames from quake 1 ages so I won’t start any kind of war here. I’m trying to become somewhat data agnostic so instead of doing a quick hack I just changed the order at loading time aaaaaaaaand:

This marine has super powers!

This marine has super powers!

Great! I got it! Well, the eyes and mouth look a bit “pinky” but I don’t support that material yet so….

With my loader ready to load new and shiny models I was ready to load… the zFat (doesn’t it has a filesystem like name?)

Almost correct, excepting the tool!

Almost correct, excepting the tool!

Yeah, perhaps is not very noticeable, but the tool is like flat colored, do you see it? Why is this? Well, file formats have plenty of surprises and they’re there, stalking, hiding, waiting to jump over you if you’re amusing. Well, in this case was because textures files in mtr files doesn’t have to have an extension specified. I had  along discussion with Shash regarding if this was or wasn’t a good design decision. Obviously I still think it’s not, but I have to respect others’ point of view. Well, anyway, the format is specified this way, so I had to support it. And after coding a “if the file doesn’t have extension check if it exists for most usual image file extension files” procedure I ended FINALLY with correct models :)

A rotated imp

A rotated imp

zFat with strange pink balls in his hands!

zFat with strange pink balls in his hands!

Hehehe, well, after this I thought it would be nice to have it animated, and that is what I’m working on right now. This time i’ve taken a look to the files looking for usual weirdness, but this time seems that the files are nice enough :) But that is a whole different story and will be told in a different post! until then…

Stay tuned!