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Holy Diver

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Holy Diver says,
« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2015, 05:01:43 PM »

I have pretty exciting news for anyone who likes the classic Windows theme or is stuck using Windows XP (I still have an XP machine I occasionally fire up for testing SOM and would use in the event of computer problems)

ACTUALLY I just tried the Windows 7 Basic theme and was surprised that it has the same problems. The trouble is with SOM's tools when you drag another Window over it in these modes the picture becomes dirty, permanently. I think my XP box may have a larger problem in that its entire screen seems to refresh itself on a regular basis when anything moves, but only for older apps, including SOM. I pray that's a quirk of the integrated board on that nettop and not something everyone experiences (I'd modified SOM to ignore the pulsing refreshes, which usually works but is imperfect. Better would be to find out why its treated the same as the other older programs)

There is also the problem on XP and possibly these other basic themes on 7 of the 3D windows occasionally drawing themselves on top of the windows in front of them. That could be related to this new finding...

But essentially I've determined that there is something wrong with the way the tools fill in their backgrounds. It took me I guess up to the point of having made some new tools (SOM_EDIT/SOM_MAIN) that don't experience the same problems to want to pursue it further.

What I've known almost from the beginning is SOM's backgrounds are filled in during the window manager's painting phase instead of inside the erasing phase. I'm not sure if there are separate phases (my intuition is that each window just erases inside its painting step) but it is unusual to not do the background in the "ERASEBKGND" prompt; or it could just be a bug in the filling routines.

Either way since the main windows are basically empty canvases I seem to have been successful in having them skip the fill in but still do all of the inner elements (which are also windows) correctly. So the only thing in the way of remedying this problem is to go in and manually fill in all the backgrounds just by collecting and cross referencing all of the IDs that are involved.

My attention has been diverted the last few days during the last week in the month I'd hope to finally produce a new release after five months! I've also been sitting on a lot of nice developments that have accrued in all that time more or less unrelated to the new SOM_MAIN tool. So, I don't know if stopping to tackle this fix is a good idea or not. It definitely seems like something to work into a patch immediately after I can get a release up.

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Holy Diver says,
« Reply #31 on: February 27, 2015, 04:43:54 AM »

I overworked myself the last two days and ended up clocking upward of 20hrs of sleep last night. I couldn't remember what time I went to bed because that seemed preposterous, but I had the presence of mind to look at the timestamps on the files I've been working on before I modified them further.

I don't think I've ever slept anything close to 20hrs in my life, I just hit the sweet point I think of being up just too long so that my body took the opportunity to reset my clock to around where it should've been.


I couldn't resist working on the problem in the post above yesterday. It is a complete success for the most part and revealed some interesting things I think. The only real wrench in the works was SOM_PRM's two graph screens. Also I still have to draw the rectangle borders around the 3D screens for SOM_MAP. They really do help, but I wonder if the backgrounds were a lighter shade of black if they'd even be necessary...

One unrelated thing I noticed is the new buttons have an annoying flicker when they are highlighted. That's because the contrast layer of the text gets drawn over the top layer when it is refreshed, and I expect the button behind it does as well, over both of the layers. The old buttons don't do that because SOM must be "double buffering" them, which explains part of the weirdness around the way it manages its bitmaps, basically using one as a temporary, but it doesn't explain why the palettes are off, whether that's on purpose or not. It could even be SOM is double buffering the entire screen. It should no longer do that with the fix above, yet its buttons remain buffered, suggesting that those at least have their own double buffers, which would suggest that a full screen buffer is less likely to exist. On the other hand when the screens load up they seem to all appear at once, suggesting there is one, so it's hard to say. The new way loads up like Swiss cheese more or less. It's still better. I'm not sure why it does that on Vista/7 with Aero since it does compositing which includes full screen double buffering. Probably just takes too long to draw everything.

The new approach also provides a fairly straightforward way to disable the custom graphics altogether as an extension or if a theme package omits the graphics. Funnily the scrollbars can still get junky every so often when you drag over them (in classic mode) the same way SOM was, so must be even Microsoft's own code is doing something wrong (the Taskbar leaves an after image fairly consistently on my desktop too (in classic mode.)) As for my XP box, I haven't tested it, but I think unless there is something special about it it should be okay now.


(edited: by the way I want to add that this is really a big deal for me, I was less enthusiastic about continuing to support XP as long as this problem existed, but also now I know it applies all the way up to 7 Basic mode also, so that's not even an option. Making SOM work properly in these modes is about as big a development that can possibly be. There are also a lot of Windows emulation projects out there, so these OSes could be with us for a long time if not forever)


Also I want to get the last word out on the "mnemonics" subject. I decided for numerous reasons having them push buttons was wrong headed. Like if Alt hasn't been pressed its not safe to assume the user even knows about them, and they can also change as the software does. And probably the biggest reason is what if you don't actually want to press the button right? I.e. You just want to get closer to its neighbors. So basically Alt is required, but since Alt combos can be really contorting it can be used in a "sticky" way by pressing Alt, releasing, and then pressing what you want, and then as long as you press the same key it will still work to cycle through the buttons that share that mnemonic (eventually labels will be able to have them too)

This sticky behavior is completely independent of the switch to the window menu mode, which is pretty much disabled now thankfully. That reminds me, I guess the sticky should also support space for the system menu access.


EDITED: I was able to improve SOM_PRM's look while loading, which happens to be the only tool that really looked like Swiss cheese when changing tabs. The holes are actually good because it means that the elements aren't plastered over by the wallpaper, but when the thing behind them happens to be SOM_PRM's black screen it's really noticeable. In fact I can't tell the difference, so maybe there is no full screen buffering after all. The trick just involves letting the background fully cover the black when the tab changes. So now I don't have any reservations.


EDITED/Follow-Up: actually the trouble with SOM_MAP's frames was unrelated and something I've already been aware of before. Basically the borders are just sometimes styled as pure black and so can't be seen. I just standardized them (it was actually a fairly involved/all-consuming job of trial and error) to the Windows 7 grey version, which seems best. Earlier today I worked on the backgrounds of the transparent elements, including the text, sliders, and grouping boxes, because they would still become corrupted in classic mode owing to not having proper backgrounds. So now the transformation is 100% complete, and it's pretty cool/will be touted in the coming release for sure.


EDITED: further victory, I double-buffered the targeted button only, since the only place I could see flicker was when transitioning from white to yellow text buttons. The black text buttons must flicker too, but because of some optical effect I can't see it, but they are not singled out. The previously selected button is not double-buffered, and I can't see flicker in it even when I don't pay attention to the new button, so there may be something weird going on, like being double updated when targeted, but anyway, there is no longer a noticeable effect for me. SOM is feeling rock solid even in classic/basic mode. Can't wait to try it on my XP box. It will be much better if not perfect. Anyway, no reason to double-buffer everything.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 12:48:04 PM by Holy Diver »

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Holy Diver

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Holy Diver says,
« Reply #32 on: March 01, 2015, 07:28:10 AM »

I had another good idea involving SOM_MAP yesterday. I almost gave up on it because nothing obvious would do the trick but eventually got it to work.

I've always found the map painter part very clumsy to use because there is no way to just select the tile without clobbering it with the current "pen" setting. You have to keep one hand on the Ctrl key basically to use the thing. Whether or not you get used to this and it's more effective in the long run or not, I don't think it's at all welcoming to new users...


So what I've done is make it so clicking a tile selects it, as if you held down Ctrl and clicked. For now actually holding down Ctrl does the same thing. It's also now possible to double-click or press space to open the tile up in the 3D setup screen (double-clicking was a feature that has always been available in the other two views, so this is a nice addition)

The trade off is to draw you now have to drag click or hold down the button long enough for the drag detection period to timeout. You can shorten that time in the Windows control panel.

On the one hand that very much simulates using a pencil, and feels natural. On the other hand it's a little unnatural if you just want to lay down one tile on one spot. In fact I think that's probably what Ctrl+click should do now.


During the drag detection phase the tile doesn't have a square around it. I wish that were not the case but there isn't an easy way to draw it. I guess I could draw it pretty easily, but the old tile square would still be visible given the current state of what is knowable about SOM_MAP's internal state.


I definitely intend to change the way right-click works in the future, so that it is more drag oriented. If only because I want to free up right-click for opening a menu. But I think dragging to set the orientation will be more intuitive too. Doing this left click logic while tricky is comparatively less involved than setting that up, and more immediately useful.


I also learned that the tile windows would accept "mnemonic" inputs as if they were buttons. That took me by surprise, so I'm glad I learned that before rolling out the new mnemonic oriented stuff in the soon release.

I was surprised that the spacebar doesn't seem to do anything in the map painting screens. That's good though since it's been used as the keyboard equivalent for double-clicking everywhere else, to the degree that if it had been used I would've remapped it.

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Holy Diver says,
« Reply #33 on: April 30, 2015, 10:04:56 PM »

So after working on the Auto Map feature mentioned in this thread I just happened to be using random items, and one was an automap and it crashed. Turns out I managed to bugger something that looks like:

*(DX::IDirectDrawSurface7**)(som_status_mapmap);
som_status_autolock->Lock(0,&icons,DDLOCK_READONLY,0);

The top line doesn't actually do anything so it's obviously a typo. Apparently it was supposed to be:

som_status_autolock = (DX::IDirectDrawSurface7*)som_status_mapmap;

So I must have got distracted when making a last minute change at some point.


The last couple days I've been up in the game player's guts making binary changes to its program so to get between it and places where it displays screens of text, so it can be translated by text block instead of line-by-line.

So far I've done the three kinds of event based text and am wrapping up work on the Truth Glass text for monsters and NPCs. It was while I was doing this that I began noticing, or being reminded of, annoying little single frames between two black tint frames...

This has been a problem for a while, and I don't know if it's an original bug or misfeature in SOM (I'm surprised that misfeature is not underlined by the spellchecker since I just made that word up???) or something that crept in due to all of the sanity checks I've added to SomEx to screen out crazy things that SOM does that causes further insanity to ensue.

Either way I was going over some of said sanity checks around the black screen tints and everything seemed in order, so I realized what was happening was when the Truth Glass was used SOM would basically start drawing a new frame without ever having sent the current frame to the screen. That's pretty much something that should never occur. It might be a good idea to have SomEx send the current frame up, but since that's slightly complicated I opted just increment the frame counter that functions as a kind of heartbeat for many extensions/sanity checks, which doesn't seem to break anything ... the result is the single untinted frame goes away and everything looks alright.

It seems like the single untinted frame would appear almost anywhere between two text like events. I hadn't noticed it before when transitioning between two regular text screens, as in a double dose of text, but it's possible it's just been a while since I encountered one of those and these corrections were put into place.


At one point I was also having input problems with the Truth Glass screens, but I haven't had them since. I thought I had finally rectified all of SOM's input firing problems on an scenario by scenario basis, but if there is one scenario I haven't addressed it would be the Truth Glass; especially the monster/NPC use cases. It's possible the problems I was having was due to debugging, suspending the execution of the program, which seems to break DirectInput's internal timers irrevocably somehow from time to time, but anyone whose messed with SOM knows that these kinds of input firing problems are hit or miss (that is, when they are not making the game literally unplayable)

Holy Diver

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Holy Diver says,
« Reply #34 on: May 06, 2015, 06:39:59 PM »


Good news. Today I finally got around to devising a fix for the lines in the Options and Controls config screens. There are both "texture" and "polygon" problems, and I'd just kind of half given up on the polygon problem for no real reason...

I'm not sure if something changed or what, but I didn't think it appeared on standard resolutions. I noticed it was on the 1080 screen the other day, which is most common. I got a new monitor a year or two ago, and I'm not sure why but the ones I had used before never had that problem. I guess my main display was my laptop's, which I had to pull out after it turned psychedelic one day. I think it was more than 1080, but it was 1920 as I recall, so SOM would've ran mainly in 1080 I think, with letterboxes.


The fix is so simple I don't know why I didn't think of it. It basically just checks the tops and bottoms of polygons against every other transparent polygon so far drawn in the menu that are aligned left edge wise and matches the current polygon to the preexisting ones' tops and bottoms.


There are so few bugs in the player at this point that every single one seems like it's worth taking seriously. I just have to be reminded of them I guess.

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Holy Diver says,
« Reply #35 on: May 13, 2015, 03:24:02 AM »

I finally got around to switching from Visual Studio 2005 to 2010. I'm really displeased with the Help Viewer situation but otherwise it's not bad (using a pirated version just so the colors can be customized from the insane magenta/black theme the Express version is saddled with)

I delayed doing this only because it could've potentially got in the way of the work I was doing. This version supports a rather small subset of "C++11" features ("Visual Studio 2010 enables six C++0x core language features: lambda expressions, the auto keyword, rvalue references, static_assert, nullptr and decltype.")

It has more standard C++ classes/utilities than 2005. I think 2005 is better in every way except for the further implementation of C++. To move beyond 2010 would mean either abandoning XP or abandoning Visual Studio. Maybe in 2020 it will be time to jump to Visual Studio 2015 for Windows.

(2008 is a version between 2005 and 2010. According to Wikipedia it didn't add anything interesting.)
« Last Edit: May 13, 2015, 03:31:50 AM by Holy Diver »

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Holy Diver says,
« Reply #36 on: June 04, 2015, 08:11:28 AM »

I'm going to be trying to add some basic sound effects extensions to the next release, I think in the form of a new section called [Sample] starting with the new extensions footstep_identifier, headwind_identifier, and headbutt_identifier. Possibly along with some volume/pitch modifying extensions per each of these sound effects.

headwind_identifier will depend on whether or not I can successfully loop its sound effect. I'm not doing any sound programming, I just recently learned about the subroutine that plays non-3D sounds by their SND file number.

I thought about having a heel and toe sound effect, but instead I think footstep_identifier can optionally encode two numbers using http://en.swordofmoonlight.org/wiki/SomEx/list_of_numbers#id for this purpose. Heel+toe mode should be much more sophisticated.

EDITED: headbutt_identifier will be limited to hitting the ceiling with the top of your head. All numbers are programmable, so you can change them on the fly according to environment, equipment, etc.

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Holy Diver says,
« Reply #37 on: July 07, 2015, 06:39:11 AM »

^EDITED: Another thing I think I'm proud to report, is SOM used to have a bug where really low framerates would cause its input system to get stuck in time so no further input is possible (edited: not just until the frame rate returned; no you'd have to restart the program at that point; basically game over)

In my tests pushing very low frame rates I haven't experienced this today. It's not something I worked on, but just seems to be a side effect of one or more thing that I've changed over the years.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 06:45:43 AM by Holy Diver »

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Holy Diver says,
« Reply #38 on: July 16, 2015, 11:04:15 AM »

It's been mentioned elsewhere but SOM recently got a major surprise upgrade in the timing department, so frame rates wise it's beginning to behave like a proper game (this is not a statement about performance but just having a reliable steady frame rate. Although it does seem to improve performance somewhat as well)

This development grew out of noticing that jumping/falling would become really unpleasant at low frame rates. You never know when something will get attention next with SOM/me.


Having SOM working for a change led me to conclude that my display adapter (graphics card) is probably very unstable. In fact this may've began only last week when it had an episode towards the end of the day that began with crazy frame rates and ended with the screen exploding into a snowfield of static-y pixels. It hasn't exploded since then but it does go into the erratic frame rate behavior when I push SOM beyond even the lowest resolutions... and I've noticed video playback doing more or less the same thing for a while (edited: to be clear, Windows itself exploded/had to be restarted to get a proper picture back)


So I decided to try to underclock the card, since that's always solved any crazy problems I've had with cards in the past, but it didn't help. I looked into the relationship between temps and frame rates though and learned a lot about display adapters that I've never had to really know about not really being a PC "gamer".

I decided my card was way too hot almost all of the time, and that I'd like to give it some maintenance (clean it out, put a new cooling slick under it) but being a laptop that has to be completely disassembled to the very last screw to get to the modular (MXM II) seat I decided that if I'm going to go through all of that for the third or fourth time I'd just assume install a new one, especially with the current one showing signs of being at the end of its life, and had had a good run.

I placed an order for a new gaming class model. I think I'll need something with more onboard memory anyway once I begin work on a new renderer for SOM. That reminds me. I had a good idea earlier today, to use the vertices in the MDL files to form bounding boxes, which is something SOM lacks, which are very necessary for lighting. Currently bounding boxes are generated at runtime, the first time the model (or parts of it) appears and even for each variation for softbody models, and this can cause a pause sometimes. So this will be very useful, and it will also mean that MDO files should have MDL files even if not animated with CP and bounding box info in them. The bounding boxes can also be used as hitboxes, which is especially good for giant monsters so that you can't just swing at obvious air and hit them.

July was supposed to have Windows 10 and OSVR headsets going on sell. But neither has happened yet. It's looking like August may be an interesting month instead. It should also be noted that I've achieved most of my performance goals for SOM for this year without even having to get started on a drop-in renderer, so things are getting interesting. And SOM's performance will only be even better with the new renderer (SOM will be given the MHM models and hitboxes to draw instead to keep it busy, but they won't be shown unless you toggle that on somehow. Probably with F4 since that's associated with clipping. Alt+F4 if the function overlay is on)


PS: I'm thinking SOM will have an unconventional bounding box system, so that its boxes just have to be convex shapes instead of boxes. That will make it easier to make them form fitted, and will let them double as abstract versions of the monsters/NPCs. They can even have simple textures and lighting parameters.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2015, 11:12:59 AM by Holy Diver »

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Holy Diver says,
« Reply #39 on: July 18, 2015, 03:56:23 PM »

I received an Xbox like controller today. I was hoping if nothing else it would be much bulkier than the PlayStation controllers, which I decided were doing long term damage to my hands.

I thought Xbox controllers had a reputation for being big bear claw things, but this controller is still small and I don't understand what you are supposed to do with your middle finger. There is no support for the middle finger in controllers for me. And no products I can find to fill in the negative space. Controllers should be something we are obsessed with, but no one seems to care about them as far as I can see.

This is the highest end MadCatz model, although used, and one of the top left trigger is stuck but works. I may attempt a repair. But whether I make a habit of using it or not, at least I can add XInput support to SOM now, which seems like a VERY important thing to do, since this controller is basically useless with SOM without using any of the advanced manual configuration extensions.


Thankfully there is detection code here (https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ee417014%28v=vs.85%29.aspx) and that's all I really need. I don't know if I'll actually add XInput, but at least I'll have it detect it, if not in the next release, the next one after. Mainly the buttons all have to be remapped. The nice thing is I guess the button layouts are identical. The only thing that makes it weird are the bottom triggers aren't mapped to buttons, so the Pause/Select buttons are two buttons down, and you can't use the triggers... so totally useless. Not good for SOM!!

If XInput isn't added the bottom triggers are mutually exclusive. I figure people will use these for dashing and accessing the menu (plus quick select once I get around to that) and I wonder if somehow the extra sensitivity could be used to aid this in any way...

One thing I've noticed using the DualShock2 is whenever you have to hold buttons down for extended periods they always seem to eventually come up on their own somehow when you think you are holding them. Maybe my setup is defective, but I reckon they are just not good for holding. I'm hoping the Xbox controller will give you more to hold onto (and the DS3/4 I guess is the same)

I honestly think there should be a special grip for the middle fingers on both sides. It never works to keep your middle fingers over the triggers for extended periods of time, and there should be grips on both sides for left handed people if nothing else. I've always thought that the face buttons are redundant too! And that there should be two d-pads, if only so left handed people can use the same controller, but d-pads have advantages.

Holy Diver

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Holy Diver says,
« Reply #40 on: August 09, 2015, 02:37:52 AM »

I think I've found a good/open implementation of morphological antialiasing here (https://github.com/iryoku/smaa)

I've read the paper and things it's associated with in the past, but I'm not sure it had code and everything readily available then.

I'd tried searching for open implementations then. I'm not so much interested in the GPU based screen filtering, which is why most people talk about it. Although if I develop some good code around it I will look into using it for that.

What I want to do with it is to filter the cutout textures that people use for things like grass, so to remove their lumpy qualities. I think with perfect morphological antialiasing they may even come out as perfect cutouts.

I've done experiments with this before but couldn't find any code and didn't want to invest in developing my own code base at the time, based on the best papers I could find on the subject, which were not even part of this GPU based version of it.


However now I think I have code I can work with, and also SOM is becoming more and more mature everyday, and so much of it has been spruced up and polished that there are few more places left to clean up its act graphically.


So, it seems like working on the cutouts is a reasonable place to focus on. I don't know if i will get to them this year, but if not next year. The load times are already quite high because mipmaps are generated at load time. To add another generation step will only increase load times. I think this speaks to a need to cache the results of the generation in temporary files to improve subsequent runs, or to generate the cache before the game starts if players want to have the fastest loads possible on the first time. I see this as a larger step to introduce caching to reduce load times. CP files can also be cached files. There's no reason to store these files in the games or on websites.


PS: "morphological" is actually the oldest form of antialiasing and is what antialiasing originally meant before faster/cheaper versions were invented. Still at the time I turned to GIMP's code base to find code implementing it, and was shocked that's GIMP's "antialiasing" filter was probably the crudest form of antialiasing imaginable. There's really no reason for image processing software to use substandard AA, so I began to wonder how that could be, if possibly the original/most obvious form of AA was patented or something like that. It really seemed more like it was just a little too complicated for people to bother implementing....

In theory it's very simple to do the original form of AA, but it becomes less clear what to do when not dealing with stark black lines on pure white backgrounds, which is what AA was originally intended to address (print on paper)

Fortunately in the case of SOM's cutouts, they are precisely that. So I wasn't too worried about implementing a solution from scratch for that simple use case. I can probably reason my way through it if I had to. It just hasn't seemed like it should be a priority until only recently (and I'd hoped a reference implementation would turn up in the meantime so I wouldn't have to!)
« Last Edit: August 10, 2015, 08:47:05 AM by Holy Diver »

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Holy Diver says,
« Reply #41 on: August 10, 2015, 01:51:30 AM »

Crud

I'm out of commission for a little bit. My luck ran out replacing the MXM (II) based GPU cards on my notebook workstation.

I received a new card this weekend and despite everything I'd done Windows 10 (which I recently tried to upgrade to) kept cutting the signal to the monitor after a random spell no matter what I did. So I had enough and decided to install the new card tonight hoping it wouldn't do that. Although it probably would still (lots of people seem to be having such problems with Windows 10 w/ Nvidia cards)

The operation (involving at least 50 screws and a completely factory disassembled laptop) was a success but the BIOS won't fully accept the card, so its working in a crippled form while I wait to decide what to do. I've emailed a few companies to get information about updating the BIOS and contacted the Ebay seller about possibly returning the card at my expense.


So unless I can update the BIOS and that doesn't brick my workstation I'm either out of $100 or out of return shipping but also won't be able to upgrade the card which I think would've made the workstation able to play games like when I bought it with a similar marked model from the 8 series (8600M GT)


I feel like I should take a break for a few days. I'm certainly not eager to open the notebook all the way back up again, and then reverting back to Windows 7 (although this seems like it will be inevitable)

The card won't play games as is so if I don't do that I'll have to move my work onto my backup PC. I assume the card is involved, I can get its BIOS anyway. I may lose my mind without work to do. We'll see.


EDITED: For the curious, what I expect is actually happening when the monitor is cut, is my card would occasionally short out and Windows would switch to Basic Mode and recover itself. I think on Windows 10 when this happens it just goes black, there is no signal to the monitor but it also seems like interaction eventually breaks down, even though I could unpause a video after it did this, I couldn't then pause it. It just seems very likely, so if so it seems like an ability removed from Windows 10.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2015, 08:44:20 AM by Holy Diver »

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Holy Diver says,
« Reply #42 on: September 02, 2015, 08:35:43 AM »

Update:

The "bug" looks like a legacy bug in SOM_MAP that happens when SOM_PRM creates a 0 hole in the PR2 file record tables. SOM_MAP sees the 0 and gives up on the rest of the table!!

The hole happens if you change an enemy or NPC profile to one that is already in use, and the old profile is no longer needed, and so becomes a 0 hole in the PR2 file (now called PRO)

It could well also happen if you just deleted an enemy or NPC in SOM_PRM. But I think SOM_PRM probably consolidates the table for no real reason in that case, only because it seems like this bug would've been noticed before long if not :confused:

Holy Diver

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look out honey, 'cause I'm using technology
Holy Diver says,
« Reply #43 on: September 18, 2015, 11:33:27 PM »

I just ordered a new computer for working on SOM to begin to replace my 7 or 8yo notebook workstation that has been having problems lately, finally to do with just the power button strip circuitry (Bluetooth is turned on randomly and sometimes hitting power when asleep/hibernating just kills it cold)

It's a $368 unit with an i5 processor with the best integrated graphics AFAIK. Which I'm assuming should be enough. I wish it was black:

http://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-Barebone-i5-4570R-Graphic-GB-BXi5-4570R/dp/B00HYEU0C8/ref=sr_1_3

One of the comments says it's really not much bigger than a mouse. I am planning on keeping my workstation alive and trying to put Windows 10 on the new PC using the same product code, so I can test Windows 7 and classic/basic modes on the original workstation as long as it lives.

I'm assuming Windows 10 will work on the newer hardware, and so I can do tests with it. And now the OSVR headset SDKs are supposed to be coming in October. I'm hoping this computer is more than enough for the kind of VR I'm interested in. Speaking of which...

KillScreen ran an annoying article today (http://killscreendaily.com/articles/technical-challenges-virtual-reality/) that somehow posits that VR tech is more demanding than ever, so I guess we need PCs that are bigger hogs than multiple refrigerators, and that we cannot accept that we can't make out individual hairs on a dog (I'm a big fan of body hair which is one reason photo-realism in gaming has never interested me) so the games have to be super massive to do the hair of a dog instead of you know, scaling back our expectation! The final line is the most annoying of all...

One of the Oculus people idiotically says that computers that cost thousands of dollars today will cost $200 in the bargain bin a few years from now. Never mind that the cost of computers has hardly changed in 10yrs and shows no sign of doing so, SO my only guess is he meant to say a few HUNDRED years or something like that!


PS: I think I'm going to try a solid state HDD, and will surely have to buy memory for it as well. I'm surprised that a 250GB SSD costs less than $100. I think I want to have SOM on the local disk also to try to speed up load times. Having an SSD will make that crazy to not do! I also wanted to invest in a decent CPU both because SOM is a CPU hog and because when I build (compile/link) programs it's a relief to have a strong CPU.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2015, 11:41:08 PM by Holy Diver »

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Holy Diver

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Holy Diver says,
« Reply #44 on: September 30, 2015, 09:10:48 AM »

^Update: this new computer is working well, except it does something unthinkable, that I've spent countless hours today trying to remedy, where it dims the display based on some measurement of the image on the screen's overall brightness!! (or darkness rather)

Everything I can find out suggests this is a technology provided by Intel... and that it can probably be disabled in the Power section of its control panel... only I'm in a unique situation because my computer doesn't have a Power section! So I'm losing my mind.

Strikeout: actually it's the Samsung monitor/television, but it only does it on the HDMI inputs, and somehow I never noticed it on my backup/XP computer. It's especially noticeable int fullscreen games/movies. It's really annoying frankly. I think there is a hidden factory settings menu that can disable it, but only turning up "Shadow Detail" helps on this model, which minimizes it. I will probably just switch to VGA when playing games, since it seems like the only way to get oranges be orange on this monitor! Whether it's better or worse I can't tell, but it doesn't have the all of the psychedelic settings, which is the only reason I might try to get at that hidden menu, even though it will reset all of the setting!!!

What's annoying is I've long wanted to do something like that in video games, but not in the way it does it. What I wanted is to simulate eyes adjusting to the environment, which it would be in a perfect situation to do. But as is I think it's just messing up the image, which is an especially awful thing to do when the image is art!!


On the plus side, I thought maybe I needed to completely remove the drivers and reinstall them, to fix what may have been a bug. So I installed new 10 drivers that I happened to get from the computer's OEM instead of Intel's updater, and they just happened to return the computer to playing SOM with a steady frame, whereas after I'd updated the drivers it had become very unsteady.


So this new computer can play in 1080 HD at a constant 60fps (on the F5 overlay, which is just an average rounded to the nearest 5) which is pretty cool. Unfortunately I find that bruising is much more noticeable on a big screen, and that I actually preferred the low resolution window for realism sake. I think I want to go back to the days of soft analog displays, which that somewhat provided....

Perhaps only because in HD little artistic imperfections are to be found everywhere, I've actually taken solace in a weird mode my Samsung monitor has called "Dynamic" which I think is probably just a showroom floor mode for producing very eye catching but ultimately brutalized images that don't holdup under scrutiny (technically you can make it whatever you want)

Which is actually pretty interesting when applied to a 16bit dithered image. It produces a super-dithered image that makes me feel like I'm playing a PlayStation game like King's Field only piped through some kind of advanced technology that produces perfectly straight high resolution geometric forms. Anyway since I can't soften the image, this is the next best thing for airbrushing away those imperfections. Normally I despise all of the cruft around display/display input configuration these days. I've spent probably 12hrs trying to sort out this new computer vis-a-vis my display ... when it should just be WYSIWYG, but I guess the monitor can do all of this stuff for "free" even though I'm sure it adds latency, which in turn means you can twist all of its image brutalizing effects to create non-realistic viewing modes that can't be screenshot to your hearts content.


I was having serious problems with HDMI until I found the one setting that fixed the big one, which would make everything reddish appear very pink. They are still a little pink, but more or less look like the old computer being replaced. This setting was the Color Space, and for some reason it had to be set to match the inputted color space (automatically so) and defaulted to the monitor's native color space, which I'm not even sure what it is. With this Samsung monitor to get anything like a natural image you first must undo about 20 different settings, many of which don't even have clearly defined parameters...

I thought it was a very good monitor though, but now I'm seeing its slight bruising, and not being older than it is, I wonder how that compares. Bruising is a big problem for video games since you can turn around and go anywhere it's always there staring back at you however faint. Fanfare for a non-bruising/clouding LCD would be only second to a cure for cancer I think.

Next month the OSVR headset development kits are supposed to go on sell. Unless I decide to pass, at the very least it shouldn't have any bruising, and maybe being enclosed or something about it it will be less likely to bruise over time. With any luck.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2015, 03:26:45 PM by Holy Diver »

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