O-Town Graphics

Friday, April 28, 2006

IGDA meeting, FSAA, alpha

The IGDA meeting was okay. Yes, I wish I had my 50 dollars back for the yearly fee. But it was cool to hear about a few things from the president of a real game company. I have to admit I was very unimpressed with the same types of questions by everyone in the audience, who seemed more interested in the fuzzy-wuzzy details of starting a company or the challenges of one rather than the nuts and bolts of the technology involved. Indeed, fifty or more people can't all be filling that one position of being some sort of game designer / liaison, so I'm not sure what they are thinking. They may be living on cloud 9, because the questions are far removed from reality for what they would be doing, even if they were hired. I suspect and hope a few of the more quiet ones probably were just as well bored, but too shy to speak up and ask questions that involved *gasp* technology.

Perhaps the most important thing said by Erick Dyke of n-space was that the most important asset a programmer can have that most lack is personality. He says that a programmer with solid communication skills and the right personality can rise high. That is actually a very interesting point, and it follows the same lines of thinking you could read in say a Dale Carnegie or Napoleon Hill book.

Today I’ve given a demo demonstrating our avatar product. I’ve been able to add alpha channel support so when we export to AVI, you can do some really need things like import it in a flash movie. I’m also working on supporting FSAA (full-screen anti-aliasing) natively in our VRML 3D renderer, so p-buffer support will allow for the FSAA support as well. It seems, at least in my NVIDIA card, that p-buffer support isn't automagically supported just because you set the FSAA in the video card. Likely you'll need to support the WGL_EXT_multisample extension and tie it into the WGL_EXT_pbuffer extension. These extensions are really quite messy to use, and since I came on as a maintenance programmer I am lucky that much of the groundwork has been done for me.

As an example of the coolness factor of alpha support, I imported a video of Andy our avatar in a flash movie and he looked very natural with both background and foreground vector graphics. He “fit right in” with no jagged edges whatsoever. In addition, with the closed captioning I added (thanks to FreeText) we now have a little captioning system as well for the hearing disabled. Go technology.

Some of these “eye-candy” changes allow has to have a very visually pleasing product. This is great because I am "pro paycheck" so they can sell whatever they want, as long as I'm paid for it ;-)


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