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Drop 'software' graphics mode?
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04-08-2012 23:51

Posted by:
Mark Tully

TNT HQ, England

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Hey all,

I'm seriously considering dropping the software graphics mode from TNT Basic. This would mean that all games would essentially use 'Graphics Mode Hardware' instead of the vanilla 'Graphics Mode', whether they liked it or not.

The primary reason to do this is two fold: make TB more portable (OpenGL ftw!) and drop a big chunk of code (and so simplify future features and maintenance).

What is the downsides from the point of view of the users? Please shout up! The ones I see are:

* code that does a lot of drawing commands (eg lines, ovals, pixel setting etc) is likely to run slower, whereas sprite stuff is likely to run (much) faster
* hardware graphics mode never quite supported pixel perfect sprite collisions, not sure how important this is

It would be pretty cool if people could try running their projects in hardware gfx mode and let me know what the problems are.



04-13-2012 19:16

Posted by:

Great Wet North (Vancouver)

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will do...

04-16-2012 00:26

Posted by:

San Francisco, CA

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Do it

* Ovals can just be a shader and OpenGL has lines and points (pixel setting.)
* Occlusion queries could be good for pixel-perfect collision, probably would need some research though...

Hardware graphics mode was always slower for me on my old iBook, but it is really old. I've been on Linux for a few years now.

04-19-2012 08:43

Posted by:

Paris France

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User point of view : I don't understand what you mean. For a user, there are only 2 modes : Graphics mode (no more general menu line) and window mode.
Do you mean you will suppress one of them ? I like window mode which respects the size of the sprites.

04-19-2012 15:47

Posted by:

hertfordshire (England)

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No Max, it's about the 'Hardware' bit...

There are actually four modes: There is general Graphics Mode (fullscreen), Window Mode (in a window) and then 'Hardware' variations of these, Graphics Mode Hardware and Window Mode Hardware (as described here).

The question on the table is: "Should we drop the inferred 'Software' Modes?" (and let everything run on the hardware under OpenGL)

I've not thrown my hat into the ring on this one yet, so here goes...

Should we have to specify anything?
Is there still a need to put TNT into a Graphical frame of mind? Without specifically entering one of the above modes we get the modern(ish) equivalent of DOS, and apart from printing out a few test results I've never worked on a 'Text' mode project in all my years of playing in TNT. Not one, and I've written a few!
If we assume that a graphical mode of some sort will be the default, then the syntax issue sort of just "goes away". There could be a 'Set Framerate' equivalent for window sizing (otherwise it's fullscreen), and a 'Text Mode' call for legacy stuff which needs it.
This doesn't help Mark much, but if the graphics calls go through (something like) CoreGraphics then it's down to the OS to allocate resources to deal with the Hard / Soft issue dependant on the machine running the app. Also, as Jacob pointed out, OpenGL is capable of handling vector graphics in the hardware layer (and they were the only thing that software rendering was any good for).

That's how I'd play it anyway, so the answer to Mark's OP is 'YES - with knobs on".

Danny (nod the mod)

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