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D2X-XL v1.14 Release Candidates

Posted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:31 pm
by karx11erx
The beta phase has ended by my mighty decree. The coming versions will be release candidates. I don't yet have one for you (still hoping to be able to catch Pumo's and Wolfie's in-game menu crash bug), but I have an ... interesting observation to share with you.

I have decided to give the highly optimizing Intel C++ compiler another shot. To avoid naming conflicts, I let it integrate with MS Visual Studio .NET 2003 - which forced me to convert all d2x-xl related project files back to Visual C 7 state (which actually turned out to be much less work than I had feared it would be).

That in turn had me compile d2x-xl and all required DLLs with Visual C 7 (instead of 9) just for the heck of it, and see how much faster the much newer VC9 compiler generated code would be.

It wasn't faster. It was about five percent slower! I recompiled to make sure I hadn' made a mistake. I hadn't. :shock:

Now either MS has messed up their latest compiler, or maybe the freely available Express edition I am using has optimizations disabled w/o the user being told they are. I must say that I am having the suspicion that the latter is the case. Anyway, I will stick with VC7 now again (which has the added advantage of having a complete resource compiler, which the VC9 Express edition is sorely lacking - the price of being free).

Well, on to testing the Intel compiler. I am expecting great things. :bounce:

Whoa, I'm back already. The compiler did not optimize itself to death, but actually finally came to an end. Now the results. First great result is the executable size: It has swollen from VC's 2 MB to almost 20 MB. Huh? :? The pleasant news is that the code is about fifteen percent faster on my Core 2 Duo CPU than the VC7 generated code. A few numbers (full, hybrid automap view of D2:CS level 1 using lightmaps and per vertex lighting):

VC9 - 78 fps
VC7 - 95 fps
Intel - 108 fps

That's almost 30% (in words: thirty percent!) faster than VC9's code.

Now if that isn't good news. The bad news is that I am only having an evaluation version of the Intel compiler lasting for 31 days. The good news again is that the full version only costs USD 599 (EUR 449). Provided a few Intel CPU and D2X-XL users still find something left in their wallets during the current financial crunch and are willing to donate it for a good purpose (i.e. ME! :mrgreen: ), I might be able to acquire a permanent, legal license.

Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:16 am
by karx11erx
SDL_image causes crashes in D2X-XL when reading TGA files. Reading the same files with my own code doesn't cause problems. :strange:

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:25 am
by Beltran
Just wanted to say the b44 looks great and plays really well. Looking forward to a packaged version in whatever compiler you want to release in. Although, I think it works well enough to go with what you have right now. Make those compiler improvements as a follow up later. I am not worried about 5 or 10 percent speed improvements as long as the game is stable. Lets play!!!!

Just my 2 cents...

D2X-XL v1.14 RC2 Available

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:04 am
by karx11erx
D2X-XL v1.14 RC2 is available. All bugs reported in RC1 have been fixed or cannot be reproduced (may have been fixed together with another bug). Nostalgia mode menus are all there.

Btw, did you notice that levels are loaded even faster now? I had detected that everytime a level got loaded, all it's textures were read from disk and then discarded and read another time ... :wallbash:

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:15 am
by Sirius
I did notice when running RC1 that Anthology loaded in 10-20% of the time it used to take.

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:05 am
by Sirius
There is one other thing I notice, and it kind of perplexes me. I get better-looking lightmaps when I run per-pixel lighting than advanced lighting (which still includes lightmaps), although of course it's still really slow for me so I can't keep them on that setting. BUT ... if I load a level with per-pixel lighting so that the lightmap is generated and cached, then restart with advanced lighting, I notice the lightmap persists.

Does this mean the two lightmaps use different algorithms? If so - because the results from per-pixel really are way better (was testing Enemy Within levels 7 and 26 because I know they have some fairly odd lighting setups that cause standard lightmaps to unravel) - would it be possible to use the per-pixel algorithm instead but only at load-time or something? :oops:

Also, noticed memory footprint is still sub-100 MB even with higher quality lightmaps. D2X-XL definitely appears fairly economical for memory usage now.

Smooth Zooming

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 6:44 am
by Weyrman
Can we have the smooth zooming back please. I like to play with the zoom activating when I press a button and then auto reverting when I lift my finger. It allows for a quick look and for a fast recovery after sniping. :)

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:31 am
by karx11erx
Sirius,

what? That is really weird. I am not aware of a difference here. :think: Hafta look into that ... :coding: ... well, has that been with RC1? RC1 used standard lighting even if advanced was set in the menu.

Weyrman,

sorry, no. Try to get used to fixed zooming.

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:24 am
by Sirius
Um... standard is non-lightmapped right? I'm pretty sure it was RC2 since I wouldn't have been able to experiment like that with RC1.

General approach is something like this (if you want a comparison for EW level 26):
  1. Clear lightmaps from cache directory for the level
  2. Set lighting mode to "advanced" (or whichever the non-per-pixel lightmapped one was)
  3. Load EW level 26, clear out robots via cheat codes or something if you want
  4. Go outside to the first room and look at the floor surrounding the lava. If your results are anything like mine there are going to be some weird "jaggies" in the lightmap.
  5. Exit D2X-XL, clear lightmap cache again
  6. Restart D2X-XL, turn on per-pixel lighting, note the lightmap resolution being used
  7. Start EW level 26
  8. Exit EW level 26
  9. Switch lighting back to "advanced", but retain the same lightmap resolution from per-pixel
  10. Load EW level 26 again - it will retain the per-pixel lightmap
  11. Check out that room again. The results are actually much better, even though you're using the same settings you were originally...


P.S. Brightwater caverns looks really awesome with high-resolution lightmaps turned on. Just wanted to say that.

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:32 am
by karx11erx
That would be absolutely weird because I cannot see any difference in the code. D2X-XL however doesn't compute lightmaps for destructible lights, so the lighting around these may look better with PP lighting than with per vertex (but PV wouldn't give you jaggies ... :think: ).

Edit:

I need to know which lightmap quality setting you have been using. Everything looks fine here with "advanced".

Edit 2:

You are right. D2X-XL uses more light sources for PP lighting (2X max. light range than for PV, meaning that more distant lights will still have an influence).

I think the PP lighting setting looks better, so I'll make it the standard. What do you think (may need to look at more levels than just this one).

D2X-XL v1.14 RC3 Available

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 11:07 am
by karx11erx
http://www.descent2.de/downloads/d2x-xl ... 14-RC3.rar
  • Changed lightmap calculation to be equal for advanced and best lighting quality.
  • Added "notebook-friendly mode" option to "misc & accessibility" menu.
  • Omega lightnings will not be used for mods.
  • Hires powerup textures will be loaded for mods even if 3D powerups are enabled.
  • Physics menu sliders now work properly.
  • Alt+R toggles radar usage position and range (off -> on @ top+short -> medium -> far -> @ bottom+short -> medium -> far ->off).

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:12 pm
by darkflamewolf
The RC3 link is broken.

EDIT: The link fixed itself.

[Edit karx: No, I fixed the link. :lolol: ]

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:22 pm
by Weyrman
works for me!

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 5:10 pm
by Pumo
RC3 is very nice! Good work Diedel!
I found still a few bugs (most of them on PM). Will report them and will send you a new
version of Pumo Mines to your E-Mail for testing. ;)

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:48 pm
by pyro_2009
It would be nice if a setting remained to allow the removal of robot shields... I know I can't be the only one who believes that robots don't have shields and are being physically damaged by weapon fire (it seemed that way in the original games) :D.

It might be me, but it seems as though robot damage smoke gives off a little too much smoke... :) I just watched a damaged robot smoking for the past five minutes or so; was really surprised by the large amount of smoke it was giving off :mrgreen: .

Also, I found a bug with the Render Options Menu that CTD's my D2X-XL, so I'll post it on the bug reports now.