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Return to Sword of Moonlight

September 2nd, 2017 by Holy at www.swordofmoonlight.net

As a result of my endeavoring to do good by Sword of Moonlight in the back half of 2017 two remarkable things came about:

The first came out of left field. Something I’d thought about doing for years: it applies a meager form of classical antialiasing to the shapes cutout by black parts of texture-mapped images. This counters pixelation. I ended up doing this now because of a secondary interest in “cross-platform” text rendering; that is a challenging problem. I was considering an approach that made me curious about what this would look like, and I thought I should try to do this first, since it was simpler.

There is virtually nothing on the WWW about classical antialiasing, much less examples in software. I found some resources for implementing a relatively modern approximation called MLAA. It is not really suitable for this application, but the results were a marked improvement, so I’ve made it the default technology going forward.

The next development would be a major undertaking to finally seal the cracks I opened up in 2015 when I developed the modern replacement technology for the earlier antialiasing extension. Note that these kinds of “antialiasing” are unrelated. The new development smooths precise, purely black and white edges; whereas the “antialiasing extension” produces straight geometric lines in 3D images, and does so by preventing aliasing in the first place, akin to how MSAA works or worked, but leverages time and our eyes, so that our silicon computers can be used for more interesting things.

This is the end of a long, frustrated effort, that actually led me astray to explore COLLADA almost two years ago. Or at least, the goal I had then has been accomplished. That is to make amends for the trouble I caused. (Of course the extension can be turned off, but it looks so amazing, that the odd crack in space is insufficient cause; especially since King’s Field has a long tradition of such cracks.)

This development comes in the form of a new release. For the first time the art of Sword of Moonlight has been expanded upon by this website, or rather the art files hosted here are altered henceforth.

I remodeled all of the tiling pieces used to build mazes and exteriors that were affected by the 2015 evolution of the antialiasing extension. It was not inevitable. Many complications arose. The whole project just squeaked by. I did it for the sake of timeliness. The experience has shifted my perspective of what parts of Sword of Moonlight most require attention in the immediate term.

I avoided work on models that did not result in cracks, but while working on those that did I made other types of revisions, and insofar as those affected other models, or if I noticed something especially glaring, I made revisions to models outside the narrow scope of the campaign. I worked on the images that the models share, so that all models saw some benefit. Some changes I made can be said to go beyond mere touching up.

This work spanned many full-time work days. 3D sculpting work is time consuming. In this time I worked with the level design tool more than ever in recent years. I don’t use Sword of Moonlight as a user does. To use it so was very eye-opening. So out of this I made some quality enhancements to it. Of most interest is a new “play” button that sits between the compile step and test buttons, that combines their functions into one uninterrupted interaction; or 4 fewer button presses!

Spending so much time in this tool allowed me to address myriad glitches and deficiencies, most of which I was not even aware of. I will try to recount all of the details inside the accompanying forum post.

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Return to Sword of Moonlight

July 30th, 2017 by Holy at www.swordofmoonlight.net

Lately I’ve felt I’m burning out on COLLADA-DOM and so I’ve at least temporarily turned my attention back to Sword of Moonlight. My return so far proceeds on two fronts — or three if you count the slew of issues seemingly brought about by the Windows 10 Creator Update:

Front 1 is the King’s Field II port. I’m beginning by surveying Melanat, made with SOM_MAP, accurate to the King’s Field in-game maps. This is something I’d want to do myself even if there was an easier way. I’ve done some tests and will soon add an image overlay feature to SOM_MAP.

Front 2 is to make technical changes to From Software’s artwork, so it is compatible with extensions I developed in 2015 that enable Sword of Moonlight to conjure perfectly straight lines without “anti-aliasing” perfect for the stark geometric shapes of the original PlayStation games. This was the first practical objective I had in mind for Daedalus. It still is.

I’ve web searched the landscape in vain. I’ve concluded developing a new editing software is unavoidable. It’s not the only way, but it’s the only way that doesn’t make me uncomfortable.

I’ve settled on borrowing from a modest open source project called Misfit Model 3D. In order to carry out software, programmers methodically pore over problem domains, and this is the molten core value of a baseline competent code base. By carrying this effort over into Daedalus I sidestep having to do that myself (up to a point) and am liberated to be more creative and less necessitous. While I feel like I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel this time, I’m also feeling positive about this arrangement, even if it is just an instinct.

In July I inadvertently preoccupied myself porting COLLADA-DOM (2.5) to POSIX environments: Cygwin; and then Linux on Windows 10. I used CMake to do this. I’d never used CMake. It doesn’t have a precompiled-header framework. COLLADA-DOM requires one. So I developed one.

Forum Discussion

ColladaDOM 3 Reference Viewer

June 29th, 2017 by Holy at www.swordofmoonlight.net

The software demonstration from last month now has a location bar and downloads a graphic from this website if opened to a blank document.

http://www.swordofmoonlight.net/holy/ColladaDOM_3_Reference_Viewer.zip

The new graphic demonstrates an experimental sRGB mode and also in this file I devised a way to extend COLLADA’s Common Profile to be able to represent Sword of Moonlight’s material values. This was a major stumbling block when I first approach Sword of Moonlight via COLLADA.

The location bar uses a UI code base that I settled on earlier in June called GLUI. I’ve added “copy & paste” to it. I did so for Unix like environments also, but am still working on a full non-Windows version as I speak. I’ve had good relations with Nigel who develops GLUI. I would like to develop it alongside the Daedalus project to complement Sword of Moonlight with art creation tools. I’m uncertain what the future holds. I know that this is destiny, but the way Nigel works is too counterproductive, so unless I can insinuate my values into the GLUI effort it will have to be reconstituted into a sister project that can develop at a brisker pace. I’ve enjoyed myself, but I must live at the speed of mere mortals.

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ColladaDOM 3 Reference Viewer

May 31st, 2017 by Holy at www.swordofmoonlight.net

It’s deadline time again. All I can manage, again, is a follow-up to April’s post.

Here is a link from some time ago in the forums that leads to a new graphical application that visualizes COLLADA’s XML resources. It works much as a web browser displays a web page.

http://www.swordofmoonlight.net/holy/ColladaDOM_3_Reference_Viewer.zip

I am keeping it up-to-date with new capabilities as they come online. There are sample files and keyboard and mouse usage instructions to be had in the following link.

http://www.swordofmoonlight.net/bbs2/index.php?topic=234.msg2253#msg2253

In May I could hardly recall where I spent my time, except that in the previous week I’ve worked extensively on the “FX” part of the application in preparation for taking it beyond the confines of Nvidia’s Cg API that was part of an initiative for the PlayStation 3 but is now gathering cobwebs; Only in the last weeks while I was working on it Nvidia took down its online documentation.

In the week prior I decided to apply myself to nooks and crannies: working on nonlinear curve design and its application to 3-D animation.

Finally I was able to recall the earlier part of the month. In that time I believe I hit upon a practical way to incorporate the newer of COLLADA’s two XML schemas (1.5.0) into the software; Which was a first.

Continued: ColladaDOM 3 Reference Viewer

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Something old and something new

April 29th, 2017 by Holy at www.swordofmoonlight.net


Something borrowed, and something blue.

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Alive and kicking

March 29th, 2017 by Holy at www.swordofmoonlight.net

I feel like I have to post something up here before April. Two months is long enough to lay low. Unfortunately I don’t have a lot to add. I fear I’ve been preoccupied by the return of Twin Peaks this year; but not procrastinating. I have been steeped in Twin Peaks though. No more so than when I have entertainments. I owe myself some time to myself.

Yesterday I finished working on a supplemental component of the COLLADA-DOM software library, which I’ve been dedicated to now, going on more than a year. It preexisted my involvement, so I feel I must work on it or discard it, and I’m uncomfortable doing the latter. Besides, it’s proven a good exercise for working with the primary component in an exhaustive real world capacity. I like to think of it as a “reference implementation” code base. That means its raison d’etre is to demonstrate to software developers how things are done or can be so.

http://www.swordofmoonlight.net/holy/COLLADA-RT_snapshot.zip

The above link has untested C++ source code for that component. All that said I believe it will be a core building block for the “Daedalus 3-D” software suite I’m inching toward. Sword of Moonlight will use it before the end of the year to automatically manage a cache of art files stored in its native formats so that when it sees the COLLADA files are modified it will rebuild the affected cached files, like your web browser’s web cache. This will make artists’ lives much easier, including my own. I’m also working to converting the portable art files to COLLADA. What remains to be seen is if artists can work with COLLADA or not, since support for COLLADA is very poor. Although probably better than support for the older Microsoft X tool chain. I’m hoping a new and improved COLLADA-DOM will convince vendors to better support COLLADA. And if that fails, then I will just have to work on the new Daedalus software suite until it’s a full-featured artist’s tool.

Working on the art end is proving less newsworthy than working on the media player. It just doesn’t have developments that lend themselves to print. I know things seem slow around here. I would say best case scenario is nobody cares; but that’s not true. I of course hope people care and check in here once in a while. I care. I will always care.

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