"In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."
- Niccoló Machiavelli
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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.

[ 0 comments ]

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) ]

New gallery!
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 | Permalink

I have added another gallery. These are pictures from this summer.

[ 2 comments | Last comment by Dick (2010-12-08 13:54:58) ]

New cubemaps
Monday, November 15, 2010 | Permalink

I've added another 11 cubemaps to the Textures section of this site. More will come soon.

[ 6 comments | Last comment by Meagen Shores (2012-10-19 18:12:37) ]

Married
Thursday, November 4, 2010 | Permalink

On October 23 I got married.
It was a wonderful day, and the wedding was great, better than I had even dared to hope for. Thanks to everyone who made this special day so happy and memorable!

Here are a couple of photos for now. More will definitively come in the not too distant future.





We are just back from our honeymoon on Cyprus and things have just started to settle a little. The apartment is finally looking normal again after we cleaned the mess from all the wedding stuff. And today I finished the last leftovers from the wedding food. Still have some cake though, and loads of cookies.

[ 23 comments | Last comment by redmod (2012-10-20 03:53:43) ]

Comparison images
Tuesday, October 5, 2010 | Permalink

The question was raised what the actual benefit of computing the rights gradients is. The texture in the demo is relatively uniformly colored, and this is of course not at all uncommon for road textures, so the artifacts from ignoring discontinuous gradients may not be that visible to the untrained eye. For me the artifacts are quite obvious though. Here are a couple of comparison images:




If you are developing a game for consoles or low-end PC you can probably live with these artifacts. But if you want the best or target high-end it's the right thing to do to compute the gradients properly. This method also extends to any other deferred or screen space technique that could cause discontinuous texture coordinates.

[ 2 comments | Last comment by sqrt[-1] (2010-10-06 05:34:28) ]

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