What have I been doing? Nothing much. I took up a new goal of simplifying my game engine code down to the bare minimum. It is turning out to be more difficult than I expected. Code grows rapidly. I have been creating new prototypes because I am definitely not going to re-write my old games. Plus I really should be working on multiple smaller things rather than spending years hacking at one big project as is my modus operandi.
These new prototype projects rarely make it into the screenshot gallery because I am testing them on dolphin instead of the real wii hardware (which is where all these screenshots come from). This comes with benefits in that I can record some silent videos which I then upload to the NewoGame youtube channel - 77 followers so far. The prototype pictured here is a new simplified collision code that I hope to use to replace the more complicated code in NZ. However it needs more testing before I jump into that ball of fire - if it aint broke dont fix it. It would reduce+simplify the code by 80% - if it works but I am very cautious.
I created a new lib called quad.h to which you send 4 world space vectors, 1 normal and 4 colours. It then converts all the points to model space so they can be drawn in one drawn block. I am really deep into this one draw call multi-object batching life. Similar to what I did with the sprite signs+decals in NZ except this is for quads. This is how the green landscape is drawn in the prototype you see here. This lib was quickly added into NZ to replace a similar hack for the buildings - I had to do a few calcs to figure out where the 8 corners of the cube fell but it was straight forward once I worked it out. It was not as big of a performance jump as I had hoped but everything is buzzing along nicely for the upcoming NZ4 release.
The NZ codebase has gotten huge. I dread thinking about the number of systems that I have put in place over the 2 years that I have been working on it. Lots of things are happening at the same time especially in the UI to make everything work together. I need to simplify alot of the variables if I ever hope to add multiplayer. Currently the player variables are in global space and there are a couple pieces of code that check for the player's position so I need to centralize those to ensure they are multiplayer aware.
These performance tweeks that I have been making in the past couple of months have given me more head room for the future additions that multiplayer will require. NewoZero V4 is basically done, mostly casual testing. If I try to add the new track collision code I might run into delays so I will probably leave it out until the next version. NZ v4 will add a new master cup/difficulty, more decals and better performance. I will probably release it in Dec2023.
Today in the midst of doing the laundry I thought I should be able to remove the draw_line() calls that I use to highlight the current section of track. Then replace them with a single draw call made up of lines in model space. And it works! #lowpoly #gamedev #thread
Basically the track is a spline inside a giant cube that you drive along. The spline is first created in world space then the cube is generated around it. I convert all points into model space vectors centered on zero +-1. I keep both values in a array. Image Physics is in world space while most of the rendering is done in model space. The track is a single linestrip that goes up the left, zipzag down the middle and up the right side. I always render the whole track from a display list because its just easier than culling it.
The highlighted parts of the track near the player are culled and only the side lines are rendered. Texture decals and signs fill in the details only in the sections nearest the player.
The advantage of this bright ontop of dark lowpoly track is that you can see the entire track no matter how far away you are from it. Very long draw distance without needing to be constantly culling - just draw it all. Let the GPU figure it out. Image Somethings are rendered in "world space" and others in "model space" because its just easier for my limited math brain to work with. The track, decal textures, and highlighted section are model space so that I can group each into a single draw call with a single texture.
A thing to note is that I originally started coding the prototype in world space because its just easier for me to work with real numbers. I moved to the model space when I fully understood what I wanted from the pipeline. dont jump the shark by doing early optimizations! Image It only took 3 years to get to this point of understanding, lol. The #gamedev race is not for the swift but those who enjoy incremental gains. Always be improving.
Firble_Man commented: This is awesome!
Newozero is my favorite Wii game and I'm excited to see version 4 is coming out!
I've been playing this game since early on, and keep a backlog of the old versions, as there is charm to their simplicity.
But these new versions feel so much more like a fully fledged AAA game.
I just wanted you to know there are avid fans out here, and we really appreciate your work, even if you don't hear from us often. Thank you for making such an awesome game!
-Firble Man- ... read 1 more
Its a cool little device considering its age (2014–2019) and resolution (400 × 240). As I mentioned before I have never been a mobile gaming kinda guy. Of course I have modded it for homebrew and find that it holds up well for playing NES, SNES, and GB+A. I no longer have to load them up on the television when I get a brief moment of nostolgia for something retro. Combined with the ability to close the lid and pause any game at anytime makes it easy to jump into a game and jump out before anyone notices.
The good points
The battery life is not bad - 4 to 5 hours is more than enough for the types of games that I want to play on it. Third-party batteries and accessaries are also common. I am not going to be staring at a tiny screen for 8 hours at my age. With real buttons its better than a touch screen but dont expect to play fighting games on it.
I bought a hand grip for it pretty much right away because the size and weight of it was giving me major hand cramps after playing for less than an hour. If you have small hands you probably want to go for the non-XL version. But I personally wanted the bigger screens. I also had a DSOnei card I won in a NintendoMax compo and I was surprised it still worked after a bit of fiddling and a driver update. I bought a new sd card to store all the demos I could find on the e-shop. I bought a clear shell to prevent the top from scratching up. I also bought a USB charging cable to simplfy charging it next to other devices.
Its going to be increasingly hard to get these in the wild, worse if you are living in a small country. The build quality is solid. And the game library is one of a kind compared to something like the Vita.
I have never used a Nintendo DS/3DS personally but when one went up for sale I jumped at the chance. It is a rare device in my circle. I have always thought of portable games as "kiddie", shortened and simplified experiences. But with the e-shop closing and the rarity of the "New" version I said why not. If I had a choice I would have bought the super nes or a white version but one I got was fine. Locally there is not a tonne of choice when it comes to these things - so I grabbed it while I could.
The system was released in Japan on October 11, 2014. I love old tech because its cheaper and you pretty much know exactly what you are getting - unlike when you buy a ps5 and spend 6 months playing Fifa + Ratched and Clank. I purchased this one for roughly 120 USD with 2 games. This whole setup and library of games is brand new to me.
This screen resolution is super low.
the UI transitions are a bit abrupt
This UI buttons are not sleak.
the 3d feature is giving me a slight headache.
Interacting on the lower screen and not realizing that things are happening on the top screen is a new experience. And I have not even played a game yet. Still just fiddling around with the UI and going through the settings.
I did not get a SD card wth my purchase so I will have to buy one. I hopped onto the Eshop, tried to download something but no SD card so no go. I watched the StarFox 64 trailor in 3d which was interesting but I still had the headache. Hopped out of that to adjust the brightness of the screen then I realised that the 3ds could only suspend one thing at a time which is ok. Then I hopped into youtube which luckily still works and watched a few 3d videos. The 3d video is interesting but the internet browser is definitely too slow - or maybe the youtube web page is bloated. Probably a little bit of both.
Next I went into the theme library which also required an SD card. After I did some research online I discovered that system came with an SD card which makes not having one my fault. I had a 4gig SD card and I screwed off the very flimsy back plate, inserted the card, turned on the system, didnt work, no card found, went online, did some reading, then realised that I need to put the card down further into the system because it is actually spring loaded. The card then worked, downloaded a few free themes but they all seem to clutter the interface so I switch back to the default gray/silver. A pure black theme might look nice - might be the low resolution but everything looks very muddy compared with the screens we have in 2022.
The circle pad is weird and the Dpad is positioned too low for my liking. Adding the weight of the XL console I am already experiencing hand cramps. I can probably get accustomed to the circle pad but Dpad is going to be tricky.
Overall its a fun little device. The worst part is its low resolution. The XL is a tiny bit but the bigger screens make up for that. There is no room in my life for extra toys so my plan is to only play GBA games on it and maybe the odd 3ds game. It will be interesting to play these games on a portable without having to wait until the livng room television is free.
This generation of home video game consoles has not impressed me at all. It seems that people are using them as expensive netflix players than for playing video games. yes, the graphics, the resolution is great which is mostly a result of tonnes of RAM while most of the games are simply pretty versions of old stuff.
I played some rounds of fortnite and all I have to say is battle royale is beyond trash. Like noob lotto. I seriously have not felt like this since the last time I played Modern Warfare 3. I could feel my brain cells shrinking as I looted buildings looking for guns and health kits. The randomness reminds me of smartphone games that never end. Games that appeal to a part of the brain that gives a "feel good" with no substance. I generally avoid stuff like that, I instantly feel like I am wasting my time when I could be doing something else.
Played some NBA 2k but my main focus was Minecraft. I can see why little kids like the game so much. It allows them to have a big sandbox in which they can play around while feeling good and constantly making progress. It will be interesting to see what effect this has on kids that grow up on it. I spent a little over a week getting into the game, mining, running from witches until I found a good cave in which I spent a couple days digging until I found some diamond.
It was certainly fun crafting my first diamond sword then venturing off into the unknown in a boat in survival mode. Creative mode does not really appeal to me. I turned off auto-save and played one game until I found some diamond ore - quitting and restarting if died while deep in a cave. I dont see the point in auto-saving when a random witch can popup on you at anytime, anywhere and end your life. Or worse yet be stuck underground with an axe. I would most likely keep playing that one save file until I made everything I wanted then get bored with the game loop. Its definitely a choose your own adventure game. The game starts a bit slow but with a good spawn and some luck it opens up nicely.
As for the ps4 itself it crashed on me twice; once in game and once in the browser. It runs well for the most part, the PS4 interface keeps trying to sell me digital games and DLC. I could not find any free demos to download. Ratchet and Clank is pretty much the same mindless game it was on the PS2 - I never could bring myself to play it for any length of time. Rayman Legends was cool but its a older game. WRC was ok but I still could not flip the vehicle on a hard turn.
More than half my time on the PS4 was spent watching Kim's Convenience on Netflix. Not a very efficient way to watch streaming video.
Overall I give the PS4 a 6/10 - more juice, same controller, same old games but with new paint. No Backwards compatibility. This whole generation of consoles is trash except for a few games like HZD, NMS and BOTW.