"The plural of anecdote is not data."
- Frank Kotsonis
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Wedding style studio photo gallery
Monday, January 10, 2011 | Permalink

When we were in China we went to a professional photo studio to take wedding style photos. It was a massive project with many full days invested in it, but the result was well worth it. I have added another gallery with the resulting pictures.

[ 7 comments | Last comment by vincent (2011-01-16 13:11:46) ]

Gallery of China
Friday, January 7, 2011 | Permalink

I have added another gallery with pictures from my trip to China this summer with my fiance (now wife). About half from her home town of Taiyuan and half from all the tourist attractions in Beijing.

[ 1 comments | Last comment by O_O (2011-01-08 03:22:28) ]

DX9 is dead
Friday, January 7, 2011 | Permalink

Speaking of the state of hardware, Just Cause 2 was kind of early to dump WinXP/DX9 and go DX10 exclusive back in March. I argued back then that this was the right thing to do, despite that at the time a relatively large group of people would not be able to play the game on their systems. I estimated it to 40% in this post from February. Today I would estimate it at maybe 15-20% given 25% left on WinXP of which a number of low-end systems (DX8, SM2.0 etc) would not be able to play a DX9 version anyway. Of course, it's also questionable if those SM3.0 cards would be able to render anything at an acceptable framerate given a DX9 version. Such a version would pretty much only exist for those on XP with DX10 cards, which would be about 10-15% of the market.

In the case of JC2 the decision to go DX10 exclusive for PC was actually made already back in early 2008. A radical move indeed, and given the slow adoption of Vista I suppose it was a good thing that the game got delayed, which of course happened for entirely different reasons, but having the game released some time after Windows 7 certainly helped make JC2 on PC available to a wider audience.

Today of course the situation is different. You'd be crazy to spend development effort on supporting DX9. It's great to see our friends over at DICE reaching the same conclusion. The amount of flexibility you have in DX10 over DX9 is huge, in addition to the performance advantages. You can simply make a better game if you focus on DX10 and above. When it was revealed that JC2 would only support DX10 this created quite a lot of criticism. Once the demo was released though almost all such criticism pretty much instantly went away. The result was speaking for itself.

[ 6 comments | Last comment by BK (2011-03-29 23:52:27) ]

Just Cause 2 is the Game Of The Year
Wednesday, January 5, 2011 | Permalink

As we enter 2011 it's also interesting to look back at the year that passed, of course including all the games released in 2010. As various sites are handing out their awards it's honoring to see Just Cause 2 nominations and mentions here and there, and winning some subcategories, such as Best Technology by gamereactor.se. But it makes me proud beyond words to see Just Cause 2 receive the Game Of The Year award from Zero Punctuation.

[ 4 comments | Last comment by Kevin Bjorke (2011-01-24 23:11:53) ]

State of gamers' hardware
Wednesday, January 5, 2011 | Permalink

As we enter 2011 it's interesting to once again look at what the average gamer has in his system. A continuing trend is the decline of WinXP in favor of primarily Win7, but to some extent also to Vista. This drop has flattened a bit the last couple of months though. The other trend is that all 64-bit OSes gain and all 32-bit drop. As 2010 closes we land on fairly round numbers. Out of four gamers on Steam two use Window 7, and one on Vista and XP respectively. Two run 64-bit. Three has DX10 systems. 9 of 10 has two or more cores.

In conclusion, for any new AAA title beginning development now there appears to be no reason to aim lower than DX10 and dual/quad core. In a year or so when such a title is released the number of people remaining on XP who buys AAA titles will be a tiny fraction. Quad-core will likely outnumber dual-core machines, although there will likely be a substantial portion of the gamers left on dual-core at that time. It's probably a bit early to go 64-bit exclusive, but looking over a two year development cycle it might be a reasonable thing to do.

After the huge initial success of Steam on Mac it's been sliding back to a 4-5% range, a fair bit lower than overall Mac market share. This was somewhat expected since Mac has no real history as a serious gaming platform, so it's likely that fewer Mac owners are gamers. Steam on Mac is still new though, so it will be interesting to come back in a year or two and see if any of that has changed.

[ 2 comments | Last comment by Gnome (2011-01-05 03:27:58) ]

What happened to the AMD demo team?
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | Permalink

So I downloaded and tried the Mecha HK-2207 demo. I don't know what has happened to the AMD demo team. They used to beat the hell out of anything Nvidia could produce back in the Ruby days. Then production value went down slowly, but even the demos for the 5800 series at least looked pretty good. But this demo leaves me very disappointed.

The demo is 665MB compressed (900MB on disk), is less than a minute long, and it just plainly looks old. It's like DX7 with some posteffects on top of it. The posteffects are fine I suppose, but it cannot save the seriously lacking underlying tech and artwork. It's just polishing the turd. I hear some people say that maybe little focus was on the graphics because this demo is for showing off GPU physics, but I'm not seeing that either. I mean seriously, where are the physics effects? I looked for it, but saw nothing I could tell apart from plain animation.

For a while I suspected it's because I'm running it on a 5870 and not the new 6970, but then looking at the published screenshots it's the same there. I mean, look at that water, is that a demonstration of EMBM in DX6? At this quality level I'm surprised it was released at all. It's almost demarketing.

I want Ruby back!

[ 18 comments | Last comment by ThorSevan (2011-02-03 07:36:27) ]

New cubemaps
Monday, December 13, 2010 | Permalink

There are another 10 cubemaps in the Textures section now. There are another bunch in my backlog as well which I'll upload once I have time.


DirectX object naming
Thursday, December 9, 2010 | Permalink

The other day I was cleaning all the old files that have been collecting over time on my desktop, including a number of presentations and papers I hadn't bothered to read yet. Deep in a PowerPoint presentation I found a little note about a nice and hardly advertised feature of PIX and the debug runtime. By using the SetPrivateData(WKPDID_D3DDebugObjectName, length, name) function resources can be given a name. Having seen debug output from the debug runtime such as "Destroy Buffer: Name="unnamed" blah blah" before I suspected such functionality existed, but googling on it before didn't turn up any information. Although after bumping into it I found this entry on the Games for Windows and the DirectX SDK blog.

Assigning names to objects is of course of great help when debugging things in PIX. Note that you need the June 2010 version of PIX for this to work.

I will include this functionality in Framework4 so that all resource creating functions take a name parameter, which of course will be passed along to the runtime. Speaking of Framework4, after long time with little or no time to work on it, I have lately made some decent progress on bringing it to something reasonably close to an initial release of. I hope to be able to release that in the not too distant future, together with my first DX11 demo as well, which is long overdue.

[ 1 comments | Last comment by Alan (2010-12-13 21:13:34) ]

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