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Creation Date: 2002-03-26
12 faces/building * 20 buildings/row * 20 row/neighborhood = 4800 faces/neighborhood. 2 * (32-1)^2 = 1922 faces/terrain. Why 32-1? That's because of the whole world of bitmaps. If I made 32 rows of faces, there'd be an odd number of verticies per row and column. That is where the bitmap comes into place. The vertex get it's height from the bitmap which is a power of 2 (512x512 in this case). If I had an even number of faces, I'd have an odd number of verticies which would mess up the mesh. It's so crazy that it took me hours last year to figure that out. Finally, 4800 + 961 = 6722 faces. That's how many faces are in the scene. However, not all of them are being drawn. Half of the buildings' faces are being "culled", which in computer terms is to hide things unseen. We don't have to render them if they aren't going to be seen. A further improvement would be to hide things behind me (unseen, of course) and hide or simplify things far away (continuous level of detail). Of course, this takes a lot of work and is only worth it for projects that require certain types of scenes. For JF, no problem. Even if the scene is 5 frames per second, I still just take a picture. It might as well be 500 fps, because the user never sees the fps. Also, I have a Asus GeForce2 GTS 64 DDR 7700 Deluxe as you can see in the upper right hand corner. That means that my fps stays high up until the faces goes up to 20,000. The Jav model is 456 faces. Add in ten DA models at 534 each and the terrain and you get around 12,000 faces. My fps stays at 30 even then at 800x600x32. But then you add lighting and it goes down to 15 fps. Static lighting of the buildings and terrain would help. A simple solution would be to cull whole characters. Doing a dot product between the view vector and the displacement vector of the character from the camera would give a definitive answer to whether it is visible and would save a bunch of fps. How many characters will be in the viewfield at a time? Only four or five max. But the thing is that if you ever want to have more viewable, it'll lose fps fast. Another possible solution would be vertex shaders. Even though I'm fairly well versed in assembly as well as the mechanics of vertex shaders, there's no way that I'm going to use a vertex shader within a year. I may eat my words soon, but not without a huge step towards ease of use. The lesson? Well, I guess given all this information, we see how pessimistic a person can get. A bunch of ugly buildings costs a GeForce 2 at 800x600x32 at 45 fps. Well, don't dispair too much. I was reading a review for a video game the other day and they said how the buildings were terrible, ugly as arse, really. I looked at the screenshot and the buildings looked beautiful. I wondered if the reviewer was blind. But he explained how the buildings were so monotonous that it drove him mad. The engine allowed for a very non-linear gameplot with a city ten kilometers across, beautiful with amazing sights to see and wonderful scenery. The level designer forgot it completely. Driving around the huge town where every building was exactly the same height, same texture, same color, and same spacing was impossible. A person could get lost so easily because there was only a radar that told you where your destination is. Your enemies' AI acted monotonously, the adventure was bland, and the story was a solid line from start to finish. You can see that the problem is that monotony does not quite save performance. In fact, take a thousand faces and make a bunch of squares out of them. Not very inspiring, huh? What if you make no two buildings look alike? Then you'll have yourself a beautiful scene. I didn't do that in this image. You can see that this is extremely monotonous. When I put in the lined-up streets like in JF, you will probably say the same thing as the reviewer did. But I'm going to make sure that JF and UAV:RR will not be monotonous. I'm going to stretch the UV map in LithUnwrap to make boulevards, I'm going to make rotated neighborhoods such as in real life Seattle, different colors and textures for almost every building, street lights, a static lightmap for the city, and parks.

Yes, parks. It's easy to forget that parks are forced to be in every city within a mile of every location. They're often put in the least pricy of land, but sometimes they're in funny places. I remember one of the main problems with my neighborhood back in Spokane, Felony Flats, was that there were only two city parks (Cannon and Holmes Elementary) and the Spokane River with Riverside State Park. One might say that is wonderful and many people have much less. But the problem is that Cannon Park was unsightly that people were afraid to go there and Holmes Elemetary was the school also not a very good place to be. Riverside State Park was too far away for anything but family excursions (which most people didn't take advantage of). So the end effect of the parks of Felony Flats were negative. Parks should be a positive experience. All of Spokane is suburbia (even though it's the largest town in Eastern Washington) yet it lacks what surburbia is supposed to give: safety. Instead most people are too afraid to do anything and too apathetic to change anything. Thankfully, it inspires a bunch of young people to leave that evil place every year as soon as they graduate from or drop out of high school. Many come to wonderful Seattle, but they often bring Spokane with them. I know that because Seattle has been unseasonably cold recently. That could only be caused by a heavy influx of Spokanites. Fast food restaurants, old cars, and apathy like none have ever seen before makes Spokane the worst place on Earth. Just look at their newspaper for goodness sakes. The entire population is illiterate (or acts that way), only in Spokane could the owner be rich enough to pull all the strings in City Hall. But back to parks. A community that cares about it's citizens will prosper. Parks that are not feared, but rather are enjoyed is a big step towards caring. Note that kids spend a lot of their impressionable years either at a park or in fear of the park. Thus I make a preliminary announcement. It will be my endeavor to reclaim parks in my neighborhood. How do people reclaim parks and who do we reclaim them from? Give me suggestions if you will. I would think that the answer to the second question is that we should reclaim them from disuse. Since I first moved here, the park down the street has been closed for construction which never happened until just a month ago. A big party would really make people more happy about going to that place more often, I bet.

If you don't like my recent lessons, here's one you're sure to like: goto ghoul.flipcode.com and check out this demo as well as all the models in 3d. It's looping, so don't keep watching expecting the two planes to crash into one another. ^_^ Also, press 1-9 to get the different views. The automatic view is too fast on my computer, but what is one to expect? Note that this runs with Shockwave 3d in a browser! Wow. If someone could do something like that, just think of the possibilities. You could download a 2 hour long 3d movie in Hi-Res uncompressed in 5 MB and watch it in your browser directing the camera. I think it's be pretty sweet. But I still have my sights set on AS3D Anime Director/Viewer as being the tool of choice.
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