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 Cyna Games > News theme: News
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October 30, 2002
October 30, 2002, 00:00:00
Still working on the DX8 port... I've been able to convert all dialog boxes (and visual components, obviously), all windows (with fade-in effects, eh eh), and today I finished the main menu. Well, nearly finished. I'm still having a few minor issues with the highlighted text and shadows, and I haven't found a workaround so far. But I probably will, uh. So, basically, most of the game is now powered by DX8, although I'm not so happy about it. I mean, I was expecting a jump in performance, and there's actually a 10-20% drop instead. It's even worse during the game selector, where the 3D logo animation only reaches 170 FPS when it used to be at 230 FPS with the DX7 version. Okay, at this level, there's no real point in gaining performance or not... I know. But I'm still thinking about the older video cards that have trouble running the game at full speed (sob). I believe DX8 will only be a transition for me. From now on, I'll be able to decide whether I want to switch (back) to OpenGL, or give DX9 a try. I've been enrolled in the DX9 beta program today, and am looking into the 200mb SDK. It's absolutely useless to me for now (there are no Delphi headers provided, and the people I know who usually do the header conversion aren't on the DX9 beta program, so I'm stuck with the C++ headers which aren't of much interest to me), but at least I can start learning what DX9 could bring me. I was first interested in the library because it re-implemented DX7's "GetDC" instruction [allowing GDI operations on DirectX surfaces] which Microsoft seemed to have given up in DX8. Only, I've now made a workaround by having a GDI surface in memory and copying its contents manually into a DX surface whenever the GDI stuff is modified. It's a rather CPU-intensive routine which manages to noticeably slow down a Pentium III 450mhz, unfortunately, but not enough to bother me. On my new Pentium IV 2.8ghz, the routine is just as fast as what I used to get with the GetDC method. One of the advantages of my manual method is that I could port the game to OpenGL without many changes needed. So I'm sticking with it for now... Overall, I haven't been very creative this week. The only changes I made to the game are cosmetic, and these are very small graphic details that nobody but me will notice. Ah, never mind. At least I'm currently reworking a lot of code to make it cleaner, delegate low-level tasks to subroutines, and make the code generally easier to understand and to port to another API -- hopefully. I'm still a long way from achieving a professional-looking source code, but it's still better than what I had last week. And I'm not planning to stop there. Maybe I could implement a dual-engine to enable both OpenGL and DirectX support. Ahhh, silly me. I know it would never work... I'm too lazy to do this kind of thing Smile Anyway. It's bedtime for me now (I know, you're relieved !). I'm not too sleepy though. I don't want to count sheep. What about DirectX versions. DirectX 2, DirectX 3, DirectX 5... Brr... Zzzz.....  PS : I know that "only" 86% of you don't seem to have problems with OpenGL, but I have one question... Why, out of the remaining 46 voters, has no one taken the time to send an e-mail explaining the crash ? I'd specifically asked you to write... Hu. Maybe you're just teasing me and you didn't even try version 10.21 ;o)
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October 22, 2002
October 22, 2002, 00:00:00
Hello hello. I've been fortunate enough this week to NOT crash during work ; so far so good. I've taken into account the results of the 3D API poll (yes, I did !!) and gave up DirectX 7.0 definitely. Since I didn't keep an usable copy of my DX7 source code, I just hope people who voted for newer DirectX versions won't have trouble with Kyodai Mahjongg in the future... Anyway. Now I can play a Solitaire game in DX8. I'm quite happy about it. I still have to reimplement all of the dialog boxes and menus, which used 100% DirectDraw (DX7) instructions in the latest build... And since DirectDraw (and specifically GetDC) support has been removed from DX8, err... I guess I'd rather make a DX9 version as soon as possible, since it re-implements GetDC support. Phew... Now who's going to be kind enough to send me a copy of the DX9 SDK ? (Well, I'm asking the question Smile)  I don't even know when DX9 will be officially released... MS is really lagging on this one ! Hey MS, make it quick or I'm saying good riddance and switching to OpenGL ! Wink (I don't know if that kind of threat is thrilling them or not... After all there are millions of users of Kyodai Mahjongg who would have to... switch to OpenGL as well.... Wink)  Oh, this is all geek rubbish again !! I must be cursed or something. Oh, no, I just remembered : I'm a game developper. That explains everything !
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October 16, 2002
October 16, 2002, 00:00:00
And here's another silly poll for all of you who like to click on buttons Smile Honestly, the poll is here to see whether people are scared of OpenGL because it doesn't work on their machine, or because version 10.21 isn't as pretty as version 18.75. As I told you yesterday, if I did come back to OpenGL, the game would not only retain its current graphics and interface, but I could also improve on them much faster, because I wouldn't have to spend time figuring out the problems caused by DirectX. Don't forget to install OpenGL drivers if you haven't (gl-setup). You normally don't need it if you've already played a Quake-like game recently.  
OpenGL
Does Kyodai 10.21 work on your computer ? (No crashes)
Yes
No (please e-mail me to tell me what happens)
Yes it runs, but crashes during a game (please e-mail me with the error message)
Yes, but it's so slow it's unplayable

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October 15, 2002
October 15, 2002, 00:00:00
Okay, the good news is, I recovered all of the data I lost on October 10... Good thing there are programs to "unformat" quick-formatted partitions. Now if only I could save the 20gb I lost a couple of weeks ago... The drive was so fragmented that all of the large files are unusable (sob).  The bad news is, I'm nearly unable to work on Kyodai Mahjongg. Not that I don't want to. But my brand new Radeon 9700, which I hoped would fix the infamous Radeon 8500 "infinite loop" bug (which causes full PC crashes on Direct3D games at any random time), is actually worsening the problem... So, now the crashes even appear when Kyodai Mahjongg is minimized and only running in the background. And it used to appear only during the Game Selector screen. Now it happens in all mini-games as well. I tried a lot of things to get rid of the problem, and nothing works. I love PC's when they tend to crash even out of the box. At least, if you had a problem running Kyodai Mahjongg and other 3D games, you know you are not alone. Even a competent programmer who knows how these machines actually run can have such trouble.  I've also heard that NVidia cards also had similar "infinite loop" problems, but only on VIA chipsets. Does anyone have a spare GeForce Ti 4600 board for me ? Wink Anyway, I'm concerned about something. If Kyodai Mahjongg wouldn't run on my machine, why should it run on yours ? I mean, it's not my fault (I'm getting crashes on all Direct3D games), but what if I simply switched to OpenGL ? "Simply" is an easy word though -- it would require rewriting the whole graphic engine. But I did just that in a few months back when I switched from OpenGL to Direct3D 6.0 in 2000, between version 10.21 and 11.00 of the game. Originally, I switched to DirectX because OpenGL wasn't widely supported on video cards at that time, but it has probably changed, because there are a lot of OpenGL-based games out there now, mostly using the Quake engine. Hey, even I was addicted to Anachronox at one point. (Never could finish it though, because it couldn't stop crashing after some time... Not because of OpenGL, mind you !)  I'll try to be more straight-forward. Please try version 10.21 of Kyodai Mahjongg. I'm not asking you to tell me if it's better. It isn't. It's slow, it's not well programmed, not optimized, I was just a beginner in 3D programming. I'm really ashamed of that version. But it's OpenGL-based. If it works for you, then you might as well play the game in OpenGL in the future if the result is exactly the same. Plus, I could even try to make a Linux version of the game. Wouldn't promise anything though. I'm aware it wouldn't sell much anyway Wink And I've never been able to install Linux correctly Wink))  What I'm trying to say is, if you're having problems with the current DirectX (Direct3D) version, and the OpenGL version is working fine for you, then please answer the poll below. In any case, I'd like you to answer, I'd like to hear your opinions about what I should do. If I'm the only one having "infinite loop" and other crashes on Kyodai Mahjongg, then I'll just switch to a GeForce card and continue my work on the current version. Otherwise I'll have to delay it a bit. But switching to OpenGL could also help me simplify my code overall. I have to say it : DirectX sucks. Microsoft always claims their API is being simplified. Yeah, that's it. Simplified. Adding an assembly-language-based vertex/pixel-shader engine is not exactly my conception of simplification. (And, yes, I know OpenGL 2.0 will include shaders too) I'm not trying to "bias" you into voting for OpenGL, I'm not even sure I want to start again from scratch, especially because I'll probably have to reprogram the GUI and drop Voodoo 2 cards support, but I'm sick being forced to consider DirectX as my only "viable" option. I can do both. I already did. I like both APIs. I just chose DirectX long ago because most people didn't even have OpenGL drivers and couldn't run the game. For the first time in my life, I won't vote in a poll I uploaded here. I used to have an opinion on every question I asked. This time I don't. I'm open.  So it's up to you. Make yourself heard Smile Feel free to e-mail me as well about the matter. (As always, I just want to remind you that I won't answer, but I will read your e-mails)  Thanks !
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October 10, 2002
October 10, 2002, 00:00:00
And today I lost another 15gb of data... Wink  'was my fault, unfortunately (?). I formatted a partition for reinstalling Windows on it, and didn't look hard enough at its contents... It had a small "C" directory which, as it names implies, contained the whole C: partition of my previous configuration... This was actually the only partition I had managed to salvage entirely. Now it's become the first partition to have been wiped out entirely... Ouch. Well, I can't complain too much. Now I have a Pentium 4 2.8ghz with 512mb RIMM4200 RDRAM. Which makes Kyodai Mahjongg run at 366 FPS on my Radeon 9700 with Realistic Tiles disabled. What's the point ? Err... There's no point in that. I'm just a poor geek, and my life is hopeless Smile I can't believe I actually lost over 35 gigabytes of data in less than 2 weeks, and nearly entirely by my fault. Well, a few hours ago I was pretty convinced I had lost my 80gb hard drive (which contains all of my data), so I like to think I actually recovered 65gb of data instead of losing 15gb today. Always look on the briiight side of life... Wink
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