It’s been a very long time since I’ve made an update here. I’ve been working steadily on the font editor module for the Gorgon editor and it’s finally nearing completion (the last 99% of 99% of 99% etc…).
I’m quite proud of this thing. It’s supports a pretty well rounded suite of functionality for designing a bitmap font for use with Gorgon. Besides the usual standard stuff like font outlines, font faces, styles, etc… it also supports glyph brushes, custom glyphs, glyph advancement and offset editing and custom kerning pair tables.
I decided to take a break from writing the library, and have been working on the editor. Here’s a screen shot of the font editor in semi-action. Please note that this is very preliminary and there’s not a lot going on here.
I just spent the last 4 evenings/nights writing Gorgon’s font system and it was not fun. And, of course, I’m still nowhere near done (still have to create the TextSprite object, and other the font effects like gradients and GDI+ image brushes). But, I got it working. Not only that, unlike the previous incarnation, it actually implements kerning properly (well, approximated kerning, I’m not dicking around with actual kerning. Fuck that.) One of the things about the 1.x font/text rendering that I absolutely hated was while it was worked, every now and again (especially on smaller fonts), it’d screw up and a letter would appear slightly (or not so slightly) shifted. Quite annoying. Here’s a screen shot showing how awful it was compared to GDI+ and how awesome v2 is going to be (click to expand it):
Gorgon/GDI+ text comparison
Note that all text is the same font: Arial, 9.0 point, Bolded and Antialiased. Also note that v2.0 is nearly (but not quite pixel perfect) identical to the GDI+ DrawString version. I think that’s a slight improvement.
So I got custom shaders up and running in Gorgon 2.0. The new version has always had shader ability because it’s using Direct3D 11, so it’s required to use them. However, up until now the shader code has been hardcoded to use 3 default shaders. But after today, there’s an ability to use customized shaders:
In this little sample, there’s a new system at work. It’s basically a mini effects framework that can do multi-pass rendering and in this video there’s a wave shader and an embossing shader at work on the sprite. If you want to learn more, click the stupid link below
So, I’m moving to a new place tomorrow and work on Gorgon v2 is going to halt for a bit until I get my life back in order. In the meantime, here’s a screenshot of the primitives (rectangles, lines, etc…) that have been making me insane (click it to see a larger version):
You can see the line (barely, I know, you can see it when it’s running for sure) and the rectangle, but I’ve gotten ellipses to work as well. Now, what’s the big deal you ask? (You are asking that, I demand it). And I’ll tell you. Unlike the previous incarnation where the primitives were generated one pixel at a time (very inefficient), this time it’s using polygons to generate the primitives. So a line is using the line drawing on the video card, the rectangle and unfilled ellipse are using the line drawing as well and the filled ellipse is using triangles. So all in all, they’re MUCH faster than the previous version. For more details click the thingy at the bottom there…
So, to prove that I actually do work on stuff, I’ve uploaded a new video to the youtubes. This one shows off the ability to use MSAA in the new version of Gorgon.
To get this effect, in v1.x of Gorgon, you’d draw a series of fading sprites (Alpha of 0 from the start position to an Alpha of 255 for the current position). However, in this example I’ve used MSAA to simulate motion blur on a sprite. Nifty eh? On top of the nifty effect we also get full screen anti-aliasing, which is something the previous incarnation of Gorgon didn’t have.
Before you ask: no, motion blur will not be included as a function of the library, that’ll be up to the developer to implement.
I recently played around with my own library (see an earlier post about the sun effect) and I found it… well, lacking. In my day job I do a lot of framework/library code for re-use amongst my co-workers and I’ve learned a great deal over the last few years of doing that professionally. There’s a huge difference between writing a database/application framework and a graphics library, but, I’ve always been amazed how concepts from one architecture will map to another and as I developed Gorgon in my own time, I ported concepts to the framework code I write for my job and vice versa. One major difference is that our framework code at the office is always evolving from project to project (granted, the pace of evolution has slowed somewhat), while Gorgon was written, and aside from bug-fixes, it never evolved because I never really used it except to prototype small things from time to time. Until I wrote the Sun thingy….
Yep, finally. I’ve rolled up all the updates/fixes that were in the subversion repository and put up a new version of Gorgon. Version 1.1.4119.34319 is the latest version and you can get it from here. You can view the change log in this forum post.
So, I bet you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to lately… You haven’t? You selfish bastard.
Anyhow, I’ve gotten around to playing with this library I wrote for a bit. I do so little programming on my own time these days and honestly, I never much cared for Gorgon (I felt it could have been better), that I haven’t bothered to try and write anything with it. That my users actually say it’s useful and well written comes as a complete shock to me. Anyway, this last week I mustered up some spare time and I created this abomination:
It’s not much, but it’s just a little thing I threw together to see if I could get a “bloom” type effect with a star. I did. And there it is. Note how the surface of the star moves around and all that. Neat hey? No? Shut up.
I’ve limited it to 60 FPS on purpose, but it is fairly swift. I think at one point I was getting > 1000 FPS. However, my vidja card is quite beefy, so take that with a grain of salt. So… yeah…. that’s all I have to say.
I’m sure people think Gorgon is dead. Well, it’s not dead, but certainly not active either. I’m pretty much done with writing for it (bugs being an exception). If you’re interested in helping maintain it, please let me know via the forums. My day job and my social life (which I’d neglected for too long) are a priority right now and I have very little motivation (or time) to write anything related to Gorgon (or anything else).
That said, I do check the forums every day (at least twice a day). So if you have a bug, or need a question answered, I will try to help. Again, because of my “schedule” I may be a bit late in the replies (although ShadowDust702 has been doing a fine job of answering questions while I’m out drinki… er.. working).
Speaking of forums, forum member Cycor posted some code to convert GIF animations into Gorgon sprite animations. You can view the code here (sorry for the late acknowledgment).
So I’ve finally gotten off of my lazy ass and uploaded a new version of Gorgon. This version contains all the bugfixes, and enhancements that have appeared in the Subversion repository over the last few months.
Yes, I know I spelled “time” wrong. Yes, it’s on purpose.
I’ve uploaded a new version of Gorgon today. That puts the current release at version 1.1.3436.39405. You can read what’s changed by heading on over to the forum and reading this announcment. After you’ve become completely brainwashed by reading that you can download it.
Clearly I’m still working on Gorgon. I probably will be until the day I expire, which given my healthy intake of McDonald’s, should be any day now. If someone wants to lend a hand, contact me via the forums.
Edit – May 29/2009
Because I’m very dumb, I released Gorgon with a nasty bug in the Batch sprite object. When you use the batch sprite it will complain that it can’t find the vertex declaration for PositionNormalDiffuseTexture1 or some such nonsense. This of course just totally breaks the Batch sprite. It’s been fixed and the new version (v1.1.3436.39405) is uploaded.
Sorry about that folks, sometimes Tape_Worm is stupid like ox.
So I’ve been a busy little bee the last couple of days adding a couple new features to Gorgon.
One of the things I’ve been wondering about is how I could possibly improve performance. To understand, I should explain how Gorgon does its “thing”. When you draw a sprite to the screen using the Draw() method the actual data doesn’t go to the current render target (screen for our purposes) right away. What happens is the vertices for that sprite are added to a dynamic vertex buffer. If the next sprite you draw has the same texture and states as the previous (which will most likely be the case if you perform batching properly) it will just add that sprite to the dynamic buffer and the process continues over and over until the end of the frame. When the end of frame is reached the buffer is drawn to the screen and the buffer is ‘reset’, that is, all data in it is overwritten with our next frame. This is all well and good if you only use the same texture and render states (Smoothing, Blending, etc…) But let’s say we have 3 sprites. The first 2 sprites share a texture and the last uses a seperate texture. When the first two are drawn they get added to the vertex buffer and then when the 3rd sprite is drawn the system detects a change in state (in this case it’s the texture) and the buffer is flushed and process starts over with our third sprite. As you can imagine this can be very inefficient, but if you batch sensibly you’ll see excellent speeds.