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Product Chat / [STICKY] Rendering Engine Overhaul - Get Ready For DirectX 11

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LeeBamber
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Posted: 12th May 2017 16:47
Having taken the temperature of fresh votes from the last week, it was a pretty rapid and clear victory for the Rendering Engine Overhaul scoring over 7000 to the next nearest with 2078 for Terrain Import Maker. What you will probably not know is that I have been concerning myself with both performance and visuals R&D for the last month, and have been researching the practical migration of the engine from DirectX 9 to DirectX 11. I had originally guessed that this process would take up to 6 months, but thanks to our recent conversion to C++ and some internal support from the team, I think now is the right time to upgrade the graphics engine. To this end, I have moved the top voted feature to 'in development' to sit alongside Volumetric Particles, which means your particle effects are going to be supercharged with some DirectX 11 GPU power!

The ramifications of switching to DirectX 11 are pretty awesome. Here are some of the highlights:

* Improved performance thanks to a multi-core dispatch system (i.e. faster games, possibly +20%)
* Substantially faster loading times (all shaders can be precompiled - up to 40 seconds saved on startup of IDE & EXE)
* Prepares foundation for modern visual effects (PBR, HDR, Better Lighting, and Shadows)
* Throws off the shackles and stigma associated with an old DirectX 9 engine

Now some calming words for those in a state of PANIC. Don't Panic! The upgrade will not affect your projects (except to speed them up), and the new shaders will be upgraded to match the current ones so your games will look almost identical to how the old engine rendered it. All your assets you own, those from the DLC and the Asset Stores will continue to work normally now, and in the future, no worries. You WILL require a DirectX 11 graphics card, but these have been sold since 2009 so it's highly likely you already have one, just type your graphic card into PassMark to find out. Here is a link to the first ever DX11 card sold which came out just prior to Windows 7 if I recall correctly:

http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=Radeon+HD+5870

Combined with the engine overhaul will be full support for rigged and animated FBX models, giving you access to a larger marketplace for game making content and support for PBR rendered models for a higher level of quality. I am already in talks with content creators familiar with FBX and PBR to ensure the GameGuru import process is smooth and works 'out of the box' for most of the files you might download from the popular asset sites. You will still be able to use the Classic assets in the new PBR rendering mode, but naturally, they will not be designed for that purpose and may require some tweaking if you are using them alongside PBR content. As part of the PBR work, some extra techniques will be employed such as light probes to gather the required colors from the scene for indirect lighting, and perhaps some planar reflection rendering for realistic puddles, mirrors and other surfaces that would require high-resolution reflectivity from some flat PBR material choices (i.e. metal / chrome).

Once the upgrade is complete, I will add a number of visual effects to the voting board so you can continue to choose from a menu of cool DirectX 11 techniques, but the crux of THIS update is to upgrade the foundation and achieve a much higher level of visual quality for those users who want to use FBX and PBR content as opposed to X and DNS content from the Classic stock media.

Once more. Don't Panic! You can continue to develop your projects, create and use the content you are using now, enjoy full backward support with the previous build, no feature or format is discontinued. You only need to PANIC if you or your users presently own a DirectX 9 only graphics card. I checked the Steam stats and only 0.5% of users have a DX9 only card, and 9% have DX10 only cards (http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/videocard/). This means 87.5% of users should have no worries.

Now that 9% is of concern to me, and I want you to post here if you fall into this gap where you card does not support DirectX 11. Ideally, I do not want to support two versions of DirectX (small team) so let me know your story if you are DX9 or DX10 bound. I can of course support both, perhaps for a spell, but this, of course, means developing slows as any 'graphical' features would be duplicated across two different shader and engine paths.

One of the recurring criticisms leveled at GameGuru on Steam has been the poor graphics and the lackluster performance. Reversing this perception will likely be the hardest task in 2017, but upgrading to DirectX 11 is a mighty step in the right direction and bring with it the ability to import AAA content. As usual, I will post my progress in the main forum sticky and keep you informed of the latest developments. I have already done quite a bit of prep work so expect a good read when I post the juicy details on Monday. For now, thanks for reading this far, and enjoy the May update which goes out later today.
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granada
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Posted: 12th May 2017 16:53
That's great news all round Lee,thank you.

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Posted: 12th May 2017 17:00
Doing this job, surely GameGuru will start to be competitive with all the engines in circulation, also having simplicity.

Great news, thank you.

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Posted: 12th May 2017 17:08 Edited at: 12th May 2017 17:45
HYPE!

I reckon that the majority of most devs potential players without Dx11 should be upgraded by the time their game is fully complete

Looks like I get to slide all of my votes into High End Performance now to help nudge along 64-bit and such.
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Tarkus1971
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Posted: 12th May 2017 17:08
this is going to be great Lee, thanks
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Posted: 12th May 2017 17:19
I am really looking forward to this! Thank you!
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Posted: 12th May 2017 17:21 Edited at: 13th May 2017 19:25
Gasp!! THANX for this news! Finally world-domination! ;D

This could seriously pave the future for Game Guru as THE Game Engine for decent WYSWYG-game-design (which I personally think is the future anyway) ... The amount of people producing content will increase. For the worse (more mediocre or bad games) and for the best (more possibilities of expression) ...

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Posted: 12th May 2017 18:11
Great news!!!
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Posted: 12th May 2017 18:43
Awesome news! This should be very interesting


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gd
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Posted: 12th May 2017 19:02
Great news... Soon I will be able to use blender's PBR system to it's fullest and make some great assets.

Looking forward to the update
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Posted: 12th May 2017 20:39
Nooooooo! PANIC .........

So many DX9 shaders.

Oh well guess it'll be fine eventually
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Posted: 13th May 2017 08:10 Edited at: 13th May 2017 08:12
This will be surely the best news in 2017 about GameGuru Lee !!!
Tx for your efforts !! My last doubts about the engine, the marketing choices and the development's direction have been wiped out by your
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Posted: 13th May 2017 11:16
OMG I am so excited !!! I cant wait
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Tarkus1971
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Posted: 13th May 2017 12:14
I know Lee posted some screenshots a long time ago that appeared to be in DX11, if not 6 months to complete, lets hope it all goes smoothly.
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Posted: 13th May 2017 16:47 Edited at: 13th May 2017 16:53
WOW cant believe it someone throw me a pinch,
this is great news all round for everyone.
including TGC, pbr and fbx support will be great,
not to mention DX 11, Volumetric Particles.
this engine is going to be more desirable to many.
great news lee, break out the beers tonight for sure,
ps any idea of what version of FBX conversion you are going to use .
this is a handy tool for all for fbx conversion.

http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/pc/item?siteID=123112&id=22694909
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Posted: 13th May 2017 18:16
I was jumping with joy yesterday after reading, also quite amazed at how steep the development curve is.

Very impressive.
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Posted: 14th May 2017 14:04
great news!
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Posted: 15th May 2017 13:17
should of been done before easy building in my opinion, but hey, that's just too logical and sensible for voting lol
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Posted: 15th May 2017 15:11
After this Engine Overhaul, the icing on the cake for this would be.

Tree batching!
Hardware Instancing!
Unlimited Dynamic Lights!
more than what meets the eye.Welcome to SciFi Summer

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Johno 15
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Posted: 15th May 2017 16:09
@MXS you took the words right out of my mouth
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synchromesh
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Posted: 15th May 2017 17:15
Quote: "After this Engine Overhaul, the icing on the cake for this would be.

Tree batching!
Hardware Instancing!
Unlimited Dynamic Lights!"


Some of this may be included as part of the DX11 update...
I remember Lee mentioning before that Unlimited Dynamic Lights would be standard in DX11
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Posted: 15th May 2017 18:25 Edited at: 15th May 2017 18:26
@Johno 15 lol!

@synchromesh Yes I too remember that and he said there are features he could not do with DX9 that can be done in DX11. That why I'm so happy he finally going to get this done.
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LeeBamber
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Posted: 15th May 2017 19:26
Thanks to everyone for their patience, it may have taken longer than anticipated, but it goes to show the voting board with regular resets does reflect the needs of the most current active users, and I am personally pleased so many of you voted for the engine overhaul. It's a MASSIVE key which will open so many doors for new games that load quicker, look better and run faster than anything we could have done in DirectX 9.
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Posted: 15th May 2017 20:03
Thanks to you Lee for all your hard work

Will the features of DX11 be available straight away or are you doing them one at a time (specifically 'instancing' and 'Tesselation'), I have seen posts about tree batching but with instancing we would get 'Entity Batching' for very little draw calls.

Also does this mean we will have a new 'TAB TAB' screen or a completely new menu system?
sorry I'm just curious
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Posted: 15th May 2017 20:32
Great job I hope to get better performance at the moment I get 15 - 20 fps , soon be better I hope, thanks
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Posted: 15th May 2017 21:08
Quote: "your games will look almost identical to how the old engine rendered it"


How close is almost ?
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Posted: 15th May 2017 23:32 Edited at: 15th May 2017 23:34
Quote: "should of been done before easy building in my opinion, but hey, that's just too logical and sensible for voting lol"


Definitely - but tis OK now, Lee is onto it

The old voting system was pretty useless imo - now that the big reset happens after every update, things will progress much better I think.

Go work your magic Lee

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synchromesh
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Posted: 16th May 2017 00:20
Quote: "Definitely - but tis OK now, Lee is onto it"

As mentioned I think its all down to the Voting reset after every feature ... It allows us a limited time to get our votes in fresh without letting the voting board fester...

Although I'm not fussed what came first ... Having the EBE now is great IMHO
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Posted: 16th May 2017 00:50
I read people arguing over direct x 11. One party was saying it's not going to make any difference. I was getting all(mad) worked up over it . Because I knew it would make every thing a lot speedier! Better in every way etc. I'm glad I stayed out of it. And kept my big mouth shut. This may sound cheesy! But I appreciate all your hard work. And some of the Awesome people that help out on these forums. People like Smallg, AmenMoses You 2 Guy's Blow my mind!,Bod,Snychromesh,Tarkus1971,reliquia,GraPhiX,Honkeyboy,Bored of the rings,PCskiller,Teabone,cybernescence,Dvader,Errant AI,Gtox,Wolf,PirateMyke,Bugsy,Corno1,Preben,Arfur9,gd,Scene Commander,3com,lordjulian,Belidos,granada, And of course Lee! You should be on the cover of PEOPLE magazine. Direct x 11 here we come! Yippy
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Posted: 16th May 2017 13:52 Edited at: 16th May 2017 14:23
Quote: "I read people arguing over direct x 11. One party was saying it's not going to make any difference. I was getting all(mad) worked up over it . Because I knew it would make every thing a lot speedier!"
Clearly you were not listening, if you were to take any demo level, and move it over to DX11 it is going to pretty much look exactly the same.DX11 doesn't bring magical graphics advancements out of the box, you need the shaders, textures and most importantly the correct lightmapping to be able to improve on the graphics.

Even with DX9 on the graphical front, performed quite badly, if you consider what other games at the time looked like with DX(, good example would be crysis the graphical difference between DX9 and DX10 was minimal at best.So yes lee is going the DX11 route but we definitely not getting the barge of graphical advancements you would expect that goes with DX11, for example deferred rendering or volumetric lightmapping , considering the engine still doesn't have either directional or spot lightmapping, and it is unlikely to change any time soon with even with DX11 being implemented, what about things like tressFX, or tessellation and HBAO+. HDR.

These are honestly the ground work for wanting to move over to DX11, without it you are really just moving over to speed increases rather then graphics, which I can promise without a decent lightmapper to keep every thing in check, you graphics is pretty much going to look the same, PBR isn't going to magically make models appear better, if you don't have proper dynamic refraction and reflection probes, and this is really improved with a decent lightmapper.Additionally the lightmapper and things like HDR and tessallation, HBAO+ is some thing that should be added when you work from the ground up, you are going to find your self with a nasty surprise when this up date in done, because we will not be seeing any of that, at best PBR perhaps HDR.

You definitely need to understand DX11 isn't going to bring magical graphical improve with the first or later updates, without implementing the proper tech to deal with it first and that is definitely not the intention of this first update. I don't think lee was particularly clear with his intentions so people are definitely getting the wrong impression, what exactly this update means.

Additionally I think it's a bad idea to move over to DX11, one simple reason, the engine until recently was more then happy with a single core of your CPU.Until such time the engine is able to offload tasks to the CPU and make use of more cores, DX11 is going to slaughter the engine with or without things like GPU instancing.DX11 is suppose to run on at least 4 cores to even consider graphical advancements, while DX11 doesn't generally scale well beyond 4 cores unlike DX12 for example which can it self assign tasks to the CPU.We are likely to end up with the same meh performance we have now,Definitely some thing else to also consider is that lee needs to improve CPU core utilization in conjunction with DX11 or else you are going to get a few more surprises.
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LeeBamber
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Posted: 16th May 2017 14:53
@Bod : By 'almost' I am allowing for some small changes you might notice when the upgrade comes. For example, there is no Fixed Function pipeline in DirectX 11 (all shaders) so some of the GUI elements may have a slightly different rendering profile. In addition, the shaders need to be refactored for a higher shader level, and this might force a few alternative techniques which may or may not successfully approximate the old rendering style. That said, I do not anticipate any issues, just a lot of donkey work as I carefully migrate the shaders over. My goal is that you should not immediately see any difference in visuals from the projects you are presently working on, only an improvement in loading time and overall game performance. The 'shiny new visuals' will come from the PBR mode and the new ability to import FBX models. Beyond those two things, the first DirectX 11 upgrade is only meant to transition away from DX9 with the minimum of fuss. Let's face it, DirectX 9.0 was released in 2002 (14 years ago) and has had its day in the sun. DirectX 11 has now had six years to mature, in terms of hardware support, great white papers and technique examples and now is a good time to make the transition, not least as it will afford me the chance to remove some of the redundancies in the engine code (did you know the engine still has code to potentially support MD2 characters; an ancient format)

For those still in a panic about DirectX 11, fear not, as mentioned in the first post, there will be no detriment to the 90% of users who are DX11 capable, your projects will still run as normal, the only side-effect is that your performance and loading times will improve. As this may take a few months to complete, you should have time to check out a decent DirectX 11 graphic card, I did a quick check on eBay and you can pick up a DX12 capable GTX 760 for about £60 (clocks almost 5000 on PassMark). As I stated above too, if you do have a non-DX11 card, let me know your story so I know about the 10% I may be potentially putting to the sword.
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MK83
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Posted: 16th May 2017 16:31
Quote: " if you do have a non-DX11 card, let me know your story so I know about the 10% I may be potentially putting to the sword."
How about an option to use DX 11 or DX 9? Is that possible or too much trouble?
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Posted: 16th May 2017 17:52 Edited at: 16th May 2017 17:52
Quote: "How about an option to use DX 11 or DX 9? Is that possible or too much trouble?"


Considering peoples impatience to get updates now, I would say that is a stretch for one man. I would imagine that the last DX9 version will be left available for people to still use. You can always stick with that until you get a new graphics card, or if you really want DX9 to have as big a potential user base as is possible.

This is good news as far as I'm concerned, although I think Vulcan could have potentially been a more future proof move. It does support more than 4 cores and would help pave the way for multi-platform Still, DX11 is still a vast improvement for supporting more modern tech.

Quote: "How close is almost ?"


I think an easy way to think of how graphics will improve is a comparison to upgrading from 8-bit to 16-bit back in the late 80's and early 90's. If you take the graphics from the 8-bit machine and port them directly to the 16-bit machine, you will find it looks the same, although it runs way better. There's not a lot you can do while still using the original graphics to improve them. However if you get new graphics, specifically designed for the new 16-bit machine you will see a far bigger improvement.

I know that analogy is a little simplified in comparison, but it highlights how the graphics won't suddenly transform into Battlefield quality visuals.


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Earthling45
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Posted: 16th May 2017 18:02
I wonder how many people still use Vista or XP, as i understand it, directx11 is a part of win 7.
So besides the DX9/10 hardware the software is of importance too.
Than there are of course the updates, DX11.1-win 8, DX11.2-win 8.1
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Posted: 16th May 2017 18:02
Hi Lee I'm not worried about the hardware side of the dx11 update though am wondering if you will release the source of the new shaders along with compiled versions? Also I have quite a lot of bespoke dx9 shaders ... this is for me to work out how to update I know and so far I'm unsure as to how radical a change to hlsl this is.

Cheers.
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Posted: 16th May 2017 18:25
Thanks for the explanation Lee, hope it all works out Ok without giving you too many headaches.
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Posted: 16th May 2017 21:57
I believe this is a great move forward, and I appreciate that.

In my day job, DX11 is pretty much standard, as is PBR.

However, please keep in mind that PBR needs a lot of additional maps to shine.
Now we have 3 (N, D, S + perhaps I, if used), for PBR you have between 5 and 8, depending on the actual pipeline in the end. As GameGuru has no asset streaming / on demand loading of assets, memory will be an even greater issue afterwards.

If it would be possible to combine DX11 with 64 bit, that would be great.

I'm not saying many users will make games that eat more than 4GB of RAM, but some of us will hit the memcap sooner or later.
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Posted: 16th May 2017 22:55 Edited at: 17th May 2017 00:41
Quote: "I wonder how many people still use Vista or XP, as i understand it, directx11 is a part of win 7."

Windows vista support apparently ended April 11, 2017..
So users of Vista should really think about upgrading anyway.
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Posted: 16th May 2017 23:10
DX11 and performance... good choice
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Posted: 16th May 2017 23:37
@cybernescence: Great question and the good news is that the shader code will exist as HLSL much like you see now, in a new folder (getting rid of the last text mention of reloaded), and you can edit them to your heart's content. The engine will be able to detect changes in these shaders and recompile a new 'blob' binary to represent the shader. Only the blobs are used for shader loading, both from normal editor use and the standalone games, which has the added benefit of protecting your custom shader code
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Preben
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Posted: 17th May 2017 11:29
cybernescence: Minor changes , if you get trouble just email me the shaders for a quick conversion, already tried this and its not a problem

best regards Preben Eriksen,
cybernescence
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Posted: 17th May 2017 12:04
Thanks Lee - great news as I think having the shader pipeline open to users is a brilliant feature for those users wanting to dig deeper . I've been compiling the existing dx9 shaders with fxe and I got a nice surprise that GG just picked up the compiled versions without any problem.

Preben: Thank you for the info and the offer to help - very kind of you. I'm way way behind your skill and experience wiith shaders so might need some advice

Cheers.
Errant AI
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Posted: 17th May 2017 19:50
@ Lee

Regarding your may 16 update:

Quote: "I would like to thank the song 'Chicken Attack' and their 10 Hour Army and the Japanese Yodeller Takeo Ischi who got me through a grueling number of hours to get through to this stage (yes, I have listened to Chicken Attack for over 10 hours and joined an elite club; "


I HIGHLY recommend using listenonrepeat.com. With any youtube video, just replace youtube with listenonrepeat in the URL and it will loop the video infinitely. Even better, you can easily specify sections of it to loop. It's gotten me through many long sessions and it's great not needing to rely on a 10hr version of something being available also lets you save/favorite your favorite repeats and tracks how many times you've repeated it. Also highly useful for dissecting video clips.
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LeeBamber
TGC Lead Developer
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Posted: 17th May 2017 21:12
Thanks for the tip
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Blacknyt46
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Posted: 18th May 2017 02:43
I meant down the road when the transition to d.x11 is some what complete! Even if it takes a couple of years from now. And better graphics sure don't sell games. It Helps. That seems like the only thing a lot of g.g. users are worried about? So be it. I hardly ever seen a Indy game look AAA! But, a lot are still fun to play. I'm not to hung up on tressFX, or tessellation and HBAO+, HDR. lightmappers If we get those features? Then great! Good game play for me is the key to a great game. Such as Speed, Smoothness,Loading times and the over all Fun Factor of the game. I was happy with the way g.g. looks graphically. And I don't mind Lee improving the graphics either. I just wish that other things came 1st. For game play reasons. Such as being able to use vehicles. Land,Sea and air(drag and drop). Better projectiles(lasers,arrows etc). The ability to make our own Creatures and Characters. With a better version of the character creator. Like the Sims games. I love the engine. I have a lot of fun with it. I just don't have the time to learn Lua,coding. That's why I like to thank the people that help out in the forums.
Jim C
Ertlov
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Posted: 18th May 2017 08:55
Quote: "For game play reasons. Such as being able to use vehicles. Land,Sea and air(drag and drop)."


I believe that is best left to the LUA geniuses we have in the script section.

Quote: "ability to make our own Creatures and Characters."


As fpr creatures, partially agreed. As for characters, Fuse (whcih is still free) can't be matched by anything TGC could cook up, so investing time there wouldn't be very efficient.
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wizard of id
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Posted: 18th May 2017 09:26
Quote: "As fpr creatures, partially agreed. As for characters, Fuse (whcih is still free) can't be matched by anything TGC could cook up, so investing time there wouldn't be very efficient."


The thing is if you have a look at games like skyrim and saints row 4 maybe 3 as well, even old games like tigerwoods golf, had character systems, where you could address, skin tone, age, body weight, pretty much any human attribute, what we ended up with is the ability to swap out pre made parts, hardly a great feature in gameguru, considering the attribute feature has been available in most games for more then a decade.

No reason why it can't be done, additionally why rely on 3rd party software, that has their own license issues among other thing when you can do it in house, without a single concern for licenses or usage. ?
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Earthling45
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Posted: 22nd May 2017 21:28
Lee, i'm certainly following and enjoying the daily blog
devlin
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Posted: 23rd May 2017 12:08 Edited at: 23rd May 2017 12:32
Looking good in lees blog and sounding positive.
and a leap forward in the new DX 11 engine,
hope that the import of fbx comes as a priority
with the engine upgrade, this would be great
news for high end media and embedded textures
support, allowing great scope with media and quality
of media on a new level, especially for pbr, i do hope
that inclusion of pbr shaded material will come on release
of the new engine overhaul, and should be dealt with alongside
the import of fbx media file structure. or possible viewer and select shader
for the model similar to the importer we currently have in import of models
already in GG, this would create a great option for older shaded models we
already have, the only thing lacking in the import model option in GG is the
lack of a live view of model in an option in one of the tabs, load a GG background
or skybox and view of shader aplied, would be a great tool added,
PM
granada
GameGuru TGC Backer
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Posted: 23rd May 2017 12:26
nice to here its all going smoothly (so far) good luck with the rest Lee.


Dave
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