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Creation Date: 2002-03-26
Greetings and welcome to a continuation of AltSci3D Terrain Works 2. At the end of last episode, we saw a bunch of problems cropping up. Today, we solve those problems and begin new problems. The problem was mainly messy code and DirectX's insistance that an 8-bit greyscale bitmap is in fact a 32-bit image. We can survive this. Multiply by four and we have terrain. A bit of code later and I have a skybox. The same code that gives a skybox also gives a wonderful set of buildings. There are a few problems, though. The first one is not very obvious. Using vertex buffers that are of static size means that we must have a constant number of buildings. This is fine for the end user (since it'll be loaded from an .X file anyway), but the developer has some serious problems with that. Why don't I just set a large number of buildings to be the cap? Well, that's because I'm creating a buffer. Each building has thirty 16-bit indicies and ten thirty-two byte vertexes. Each building takes up 380 bytes of RAM. That's not much, right? But a 3d city has approximately 1000 buildings. That's how much a GeForce can render at 30 fps using culling. So do the calculations and we have 371 kB. That's about one third of the size of the skybox texture. Really, it's not that bad. But it's the principle that counts! What if you're modelling a very large city with very complex buildings, with normals for each. Each building might be 300 kB alone. Multiply that by ten thousand buildings and you get 3 gigabytes. That's more RAM than I have in my computer, more than the virtual RAM even! But now you say, you could never render so many buildings, it's a moot point. But then I say: oh yeah? What about a model of the entire west coast? Top to bottom, Washington, Oregon, California. Maybe even Mexico and British Columbia. Using LOD and zones, it could be managed. But then what about the developer? Who cares about the end user rendering it, that's some heavy shiznits for the developer. I have a couple possible solutions. The first is to have two vertex buffers. The first is empty, the second has the date. When we want to add one, we fill the first with the second plus the new one. Then the second one becomes the first and the first becomes the second. Repeat as many buildings as you want. Simple enough? I guess so. But it should be Microsoft's job to make reallocatable vertex buffers without having to copy the data.

I've been sleeping and dreaming again. Goodness knows I should stop. Last night I fell asleep immediately after dinner (8:45 PM) and woke up at 7:30 AM. Peaceful? Not in the slightest. I should wake up at 5 AM tomorrow just to spite myself. It's getting to look and feel like spring. The sun comes up at 5 AM and Daylight Savings is in two weeks. Man am I ever lucky.

I'd like to note that the video "Faces of Death IV" is not as terrible as what I witnessed on February 18. Watching a guy die on TV is so detatched. It's like watching a movie, even though you know it's real. But watching someone die across the street from you. That's fucked up. At Mardi Gras 2001, I watched people gawking over a guy beaten to death by a rowdy party-goer. Most of them couldn't help but a few could and were not able to because of the crowd of idiots. I couldn't help because I didn't see the urgency in the matter and was fifty yards from where it happened. The people who gawked could not have been impressed. TV can only desensitize you so much. It's an ill thing when a person loses their life. People who look for entertainment like that ought to question themselves on where their values are.

The value of life is such a huge thing. It's undeniable that a human life is by far the most powerful thing on Earth. It has the power to create, to move, to transform, and is really extremely able. It even has the power to destroy other human life. By that fact, it is fragile. Something with lots of power and the power to extinquish itself as well as others equally powerful is inheirently (sp?) dangerous. A person cannot wield this power without extreme care. It's not a game to be played or a race to ran, but rather a journey through wilderness and deserts where your life as well as the life of every neighbor depends on your actions. Certainly one cannot assume that his or her actions are subjective. Life and death are hardly subjective. One is alive or dead and the state at which a person is depends on their actions as well as the actions of people around them. Thus we have a simple logical argument. People ought to value life far above any other conflicting need or want.

So what does that entail? It entails forcing one's own actions as well as influencing one's neighbors' actions (by one's own actions) towards value of life. This can be taken many different ways. One could say that survival of the majority fits this well. It is also possible that totalitarianism would fit this correctly. But both of these systems miss the entire point of the value of human life. Human life is not simply to live but what I mentioned earlier: create, move, transform, and use abilities to enhance value of human life. Thus, a calcuable formula results: average value of life = (lives lived - lives lost) / population. Then we get X people per 100 people which becomes X percent average value of life. That will tell us what the average person feels about life. A rough estimate for the US would be 40%. But the idea of an island does not exist. The misery that the US emits onto the rest of the world adds to the lives lost and not the lives lived. That brings us down to around 10%. Where-as a country that feeds itself and clothes itself such as an Asian country would have 40% average value of life which raises to 45% when added in the people whose lives are made valuable by their goods and services.
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