A game development diary (and other stuff too)
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October-December 2001 (oldest-to-newest)
I've decided to move on from VM Labs. I will be starting
at nVidia later this month. I'm taking two weeks off in
between. I will be on vacation so cannot update the site
during that time.
Despite this, work on the game will continue. I've asked
TPTB to take the necessary hardware home with me so I can
keep working. Hopefully VM Labs can pull out of its
financial woes so this work isn't for naught.
I'm back from vacation and now into my second week here
at NVIDIA. It's quite a different environment from VM
Labs. It almost feels like going back to Intel - it has
that "big company" feel. I'm still getting up to speed
with my job which involves test generation for the nForce
I see VM Labs has released the
to the public. This is great news as now people can start
writing their own apps. It kind of stinks how you can't do
realtime debugging and must burn a CD everytime you want to
test your code. Still, it's a start. I hope they release
something soon which allows direct downloading into the
No game progress to report. I'm still unwinding after
vacation and getting accustomed to my new job. Plus now
that I'm back to coding in the evenings & weekends things
will progress more slowly. Ah well.
Whew! It took some hair pulling, but I finally have my
NUON SDK set up at home. The problem was due to my system
at home. My wife and I use a wireless network at home to
communicate with the router downstairs. So I have a
wireless network card in my PC. Since the SDK needs a
wired network this presented a problem.
I tried adding a standard ethernet card back to my PC.
I had removed it due to conficts with the wireless card.
At first I had the same trouble. I basically thought I
was SOL. After some investigation on newsgroups I learned
that having two network cards in the same PC should
work. So I tried again. I finally got the two to coexist
somewhat peacefully. The problem (I think) was some
resource conflict on the motherboard (IRQs or some such).
I shuffled the two cards around amongst the various PCI
slots and found a combination that worked.
After over a month off from programming it took me a bit to
get my code up and running at home like it did at work
(when I was at VM Labs). Two silly problems lead to
crashes and hangs. Now it's running like a champ and I'm
ready to dig into more coding.
I have decided to move a large section of code from C to
assembly. Reason being that I have one whole MPE going
virtually unused at the moment (well, it will be used for
sound effects, but that doesn't take too many MIPs). Also,
I'm not getting the performance I had hoped and am
concerned I won't be able to implement all the things I
want to. Moving code from C to assembly should help a
What's an MPE? Download the
to find out. It has all the docs explaining the NUON
architecture. I'm happy that I can finally open up and
talk about specific coding and optimization
Finding time to program has been difficult lately. The
new job is taking up quite a bit of time. Plus weekends
are spent fixing up the house and going to see movies like
Harry Potter :)
Plus, ICO has me enraptured. This is what "next
generation" gaming should be. Beautiful scenery with loads
of polys and an awesome draw distance. This is a world
that just sucks you in.
My X-Box will be arriving this week sometime (hopefully
before we leave for Thanksgiving). I did the preorder
bundle thing, but it wasn't that bad since CompUSA had a
very flexible plan. You got to choose the games and
accessories to buy so I didn't end up buying anything I
didn't want. I don't have a Gamecube yet, but that's only
because I couldn't find a place to preorder online. I'll
pick one up as soon as I see it.
I spent Thanksgiving with the in-laws and did some gaming
of the more traditional sort. We played chinese checkers,
bridge, croquet, and golf. I managed to sneak in some ICO
while I was there and ended up finishing it. Great stuff.
I guess MGS2 is next.
I finally got around to playing with the X-Box that
arrived last Wednesday. I'm short one game (Mad Dash Racing
is late), but got both Halo and Munch's Oddyssey. Halo
looks okay, but it's not *that* great. I'll know more as I
get further, but for now the graphics and gameplay are
nothing special. I'm really early in the game though so time
I allocated last night for programming, but ended up
playing Halo for much of it. I'm finding my new job is a
lot more draining than before. As such I don't feel like
programming in the evening. Kinda sucks.
Got a bit of programming done last night. Unfortunately
much time was wasted due to my stupidity. I was testing
out a new feature and was tearing my hair out trying to
figure out why it would lock up. Afterall, it was working
fine when I last left it. I finally realized that I had
overwritten two files with older copies which were not
compatible with the current program. Duh.
I reverted back to the my most recent backup which was
from a month ago. Luckily (I guess) I haven't done much
work since then so it was almost good as new.
Things are rolling now! I got lots of good stuff done over
the past week. I added what I hope are the last few
features to the API. Now I need to convert a bunch of
routines from C to assembly. This involves restructuring
some of the data. Right now I use a lot of pointers to
separate structures. I need to change this so that the data
is located contiguously in RAM so that assembly only needs
to pull in one big chunk of data rather than several smaller
I'm leaving this weekend for Christmas so I probably
won't update again until sometime in January. Happy
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