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Maps and menus and and, oh my!

Friday, December 15th, 2017 by Holy at www.swordofmoonlight.net

Exit: Out of the blue!

I’m presently dividing my time between Sword of Moonlight and finishing a rewrite of the COLLADA-DOM library that began at Sony. A month ago (30 days or so) I took a break from the other project and so — of course — returned to this one. I never got around to complementing the previous release as I’d intended to do. I usually ease back into this work by taking on smaller, more varied appetizers before I settle in for a main course. I do a few of these more substantial jobs every year.

This blog-post is about a new release; The substance of which is hard to categorize. It came about as a surprise; In short, I bit off more than I could chew.

Currently I’m postponing the major finishing touch in order to return to the other project for a time. I think this release grew from my experience having explored the Moratheia 2.1 demonstration in the months prior. I experienced some difficulties with it that I thought ought to be addressed. This release addresses two areas of concern.

One of these two is how to better facilitate access to “items” that are buried deep inside menus. To ease this process this release remembers and returns to the place where a menu is left off. This way it’s more practical to do the same things over and over again. One class of “item” for which this is often required is a map of a game’s surroundings. I actually began working on this, partly out of curiosity, because I’ve never before surveyed Sword of Moonlight’s menus system. I felt it was high time to do so. This was unavoidable, and is why this release ultimately took so long to conclude itself.

In addition to saving places within menus, it’s now possible to work backward from the top of the itemized menus, and vice versa. And what really took much longer than anticipated is a new system for changing the ordering of items for these menus. It was when I began toying with this idea I realized what I’d gotten myself into. Still, it’s an especially important development, since the natural ordering for most projects is haphazard at best, and so unacceptable as finished product. The full plan called for end-users to be able to rearrange the ordering from inside the games’ menu, in order to easily accommodate personal preference.

The other of these two is not really for end-users, but is instead a real-time map display system for developers to use. But is also available to end-users who find themselves in a pinch. When we make a virtual world it’s difficult to supplement our natural sense of direction. In the early days of development a guide such as a map is essential. One interesting development to come of this is, map in hand, it was instantly more expedient to “click” the map in order to go anywhere, as opposed to navigating by it.

As always, several original bugs were encountered, and along with previously unreachable bugs (although exceedingly nitpicking nowadays) have been quashed. There are many details that will be elaborated upon in the linked to forums posts, very shortly.

Forum Discussion

Let there be light

Monday, October 30th, 2017 by Holy at www.swordofmoonlight.net

Exit: Overtime

October was a good month for Sword of Moonlight. It started with an unscheduled release that turned into possibly the most consequential yet, and because of it I was able to really dig in to Mortheia’s 2.1 demonstration (pictured) resulting in a string of “patch” alerts on the back of the new release, the likes that can only come about from many hours of genuine, uninterrupted play.

Combined with the first surprise release from late this year, in Moratheia’s project Sword of Moonlight appears able to make a fully professional showing. The earlier release removes pixellation from detailed images that form cutout shapes that are applied to two-sided paper thin polygon shapes. It sounds like a cheap effect, but Moratheia makes use of this to great effect, as can be seen in its many fine tree limbs (pictured) and grasses. The second surprise release is more or less an omnibus that started with the simple objective of extending the kind of geometry that can be walked over without encountering glitches, but would snowball to enhance and make perfect the solidity of Sword of Moonlight’s artistic worlds.

Furthermore, in this process, insidious, showstopping bugs were isolated and eliminated from Mortheia’s demo.

I believe that very soon Sword of Moonlight will be suitable to stage a competitive commercial offering. Moratheia appears poised to be the first such offering. That said, that Moratheia exists at all is nothing to sneeze at. Sword of Moonlight is very user-friendly, but also many parts of it are strictly off limits to users, and so I cannot endorse its fitness as a complete product at this time, and do not expect to be able to do so any day soon. Nevertheless, Moratheia is living proof that with enough patience and know-how, Sword of Moonlight can deliver very impressive results.

Forum Discussion

Escape from Sword of Moonlight

Friday, September 29th, 2017 by Holy at www.swordofmoonlight.net

Exit: Something Else!

Seems I just can’t quit Sword of Moonlight! Earlier in September I made up my mind to work on the MHM files that are counterpart to the MSM files from last month. No one really knows what these acronyms mean. I hazard to guess Map Hull Model, and who knows for the S in MSM. Sculpture? Possibly its Japanese.

I thought it’d be a small project, because there is — or ought to be — far fewer MHM to MSM files. I added value to the exteriors set by fitting it together vertically, forming terraces, that look like a strip mine. This is something users like to do with the odd set that is experimental compared to the interiors. It’s the only one that isn’t a level of From Software’s remake of King’s Field included with SOM, an enticement doubling as a demonstration.

Continued: Escape from Sword of Moonlight

Forum Discussion

Return to Sword of Moonlight

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

Exit: Something Blue!

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.

Continued: Return to Sword of Moonlight

Forum Discussion

Return to Sword of Moonlight

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

Exit: Something Borrowed

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

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

Exit: Something New

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.

Forum Discussion


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