Horde3D

Next-Generation Graphics Engine
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PostPosted: 05.09.2013, 12:26 
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Of course I also wouldn't be happy to leave Horde3D (I'm using it in my engine) and it's true that we don't need too much efforts to put the project alive again, but we have a serious bottleneck: no access to horde3d.org.


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PostPosted: 05.09.2013, 19:54 
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I already asked attila if he wants to have write access to the sourceforge svn. I also did say that if someone provides patches against the official SVN trunk I will integrate them. But attila prefered to use github, which isn't a bad idea at all (although I really hate git) and noone provided a patch for one of the things mentioned in this thread.

The forum is still moderated by me, the webpages are IMHO not so important. They have to provide links to informations, like source code, forums and wiki. The tutorials for setting up an application with Horde3D or implementing something special graphical effects should be in the wiki, and everyone is free to do that. It's always easy to say "they should do", but it's up to everyone to work on this engine.

For me, Horde3D was always a project I liked working on, but as I switched the job more than a year ago and currently don't use it myself at work I don't have the time to implement things. And in my spare time my two little children are not so happy if daddy is sitting in front of the computer all day long.


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PostPosted: 06.09.2013, 08:27 
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Volker wrote:
For me, Horde3D was always a project I liked working on, but as I switched the job more than a year ago and currently don't use it myself at work I don't have the time to implement things. And in my spare time my two little children are not so happy if daddy is sitting in front of the computer all day long.

Dear Volker, what me (and others?) are asking you and (specially!) marciano is just to take a part in discussions and decisions being made. We understand you are busy with serious jobs and real life, and we aren't even asking/expecting you to add a single i++ to the Horde3D source code. Just spend 20 minutes per week/month and check forums, nothing more.

And congrats on children! :)


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PostPosted: 06.09.2013, 12:09 
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What kind of discussion topics do you think have missing comments by me or marciano? For discussing something like https://github.com/bkaradzic/bgfx, I first need to dig into the source code to understand what it is at all, something I don't have the time for, regarding D3d I aggree with attila that native support is something better than just a wrapper. If abstraction layer is well enough, it shouldn't introduce to much bloating code, although error checking and verification work of course increases.
Regarding the scene graph I never expected to much from it, as most of the time you still have a scene graph somewhere in your application, so of course optimization within Horde3D might be easier when scene graph is removed, but to allow beginners still an easy beginning with the engine, I only would recommend to "extract" the scene graph part and move it to the utils library, so making it optional. Something I discussed with marciano years ago. But as the animation module AFAIK is currently depending much on the scene graph API, that's something not so easy to realize. But I'm open for any kind of specific proposals or patches.
Regarding model resources, marciano drafted a proposal but due to time and work limitations nothing happened here, but everyone is free to work on that topic and make proposals or patches.
Same answers fits more or less for any of the topics mentioned by attila.

Don't get me wrong, I really want to support you and all the other guys with your work with Horde3D. But I'm not an expert neither for GameEngines nor for modern GPU programming. So all I can do is commenting your proposals as far as I understand them, or let you discuss it and pick the resulting patches, everyone agrees on and integrate them within Horde3D. That's what I proposed in the past and I'm still willing to do.

I don't know how stable the github branch of attila is, so I still hope someone may find the time to create patches for the SourceForge SVN trunk from it, that add features or improvements that don't affect the stability or compatibility. If that's the case I promise to commit them in less then a week. If features or improvements with a deep impact have been integrated I also don't have a problem to make a new official release for the community.

If you're missing something that does not results in having me to read pages of source code or books, don't hesitate to ask me for it. But I please the community to stop from doing only general complaints about to few comments, homepage design, access to horde3d.org, outdated wiki pages or no submitted code. That does not make things better. I read the forum regularly and if I think I have something to say or discussion will improve from my comments be sure that I will answer.

I'm also depending much on the community, because I neither have access to MacOS, IOS nor do I have a working NDK toolchain for Android. All I can test by myself is windows and linux.


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PostPosted: 06.09.2013, 13:47 
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attila indeed has done a great job on Direct3D 11 and OpenGL ES ports, you can view the latest source code changes and difference from Horde3D SVN here online : https://github.com/attilaz/horde3d-x/compare/gles2_d3d11

But there is a few issues that he, you, me and others are facing right now: Nobody has access to all possible platforms and capable hardware to test them. So the solution is to have more testers as you can.

Creating a new branch on official SVN, GitHub, Bitbucket, Google Code etc or merging changes silently is not going to magically bring more collaborators, testers, bug reports, patches and pull requests for his code. So there is a need to officially announce that:

There is an official work in progress by Mr X, who is trying to bring features Y and Z to Horde3D. Please refer to his repository/official branch to access bleeding edge Horde3D and help developing.

Without an official announcement, this will be possible reaction of Horde3D.org visitors:
OK, last announcement is from 2011 and it's still in beta5 since then, should be pretty much fossilized right now. Going for next result on Google!

And if they are lucky enough to find official branches or unofficial repositories:
- Look there is a few branches in official SVN, but seems like they are dead too. Going for next result on Google!
- Hmm, a repository on GitHub, is being managed by an individual and is unofficial, probably will die soon. Going for next result on Google!

This thread has gone offtopic enough, I'm going to stop it right here. I apologize for annoyance.


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PostPosted: 06.09.2013, 15:05 
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You don't annoy anyone by giving constructive criticism. Ok so you're asking for better PR? I aggree, I announced now what you said on the front page.

I also don't think that the thread is off-topic, as restructuring of development process is also some kind of "modernization".

If someone has a news to post on the front page, he/she can mail it to me via PM or email.


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PostPosted: 06.09.2013, 15:24 
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Thank you very much! :)


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PostPosted: 13.09.2013, 10:02 
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I splitted the Git specific posts to another thread.


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PostPosted: 14.09.2013, 17:11 
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Ok, now that GitHub is up: how do we dissect things? As far as I understand the problem can be split:

1. Flatten hierarchies (getting rid of the scene graph, Model Resources): this should result in an simplification and minor speedup

2. Even more modern rendering (threaded rendering, some state fiddling, faster buffer access, etc.): this should result in an overall speedup and some new capabilites

3. OpenGL 2.0 agnostic rendering (DirectX support, new types of shaders): this should result in less pain for Windows (Intel drivers) and Mobile. IMHO: direct integration of OpenCL or DirectCompute are out of scope. If you need it (global illumination volumens and such): write a plug-in. The plug-in API might need some revision.

4. Content creation pipeline (aka. tools): I smell lots of re-write here. Nobody wants to re-invent editors such Unity, Sandbox, etc. for a tiny little project. Also artists literally hate exporting from tools such as Maya, because of exporting to COLLADA, converting, copying files, waiting for the application to hot-reload (or worse) and check the results. Painful process, especially when multiple devices are involved. It should be more like: start up an "adapter process" and connect it to the application(s) involved. After that everything simply live-updates, leaving the artist to the work she/he really wants to do.

Am I right about this/missing something? Maybe we should write up a list of "open projects" (or update the dead one in the wiki, though I really hate MediaWikis).


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PostPosted: 14.09.2013, 21:38 
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Regarding the internal restructuring I can't really tell you what to do, as I won't have the time to participate in the development. I only can say that the main goal of Horde3D to not clutter up the API or create bloated code should be always in the main focus. So I won't be happy to merge patches that introduce ugly code or makes Horde3D less stable. But of course you're absolutly right regarding the need for further devlopement and introduction of new featues.

Personally I would prefer if the cross platform capabilities regarding IOS and Android (so OpenGL ES in general) would be the primary target. There has been done already a lot of work by attila. I would suggest that there should be a full functional port of the chicago and the knight sample for each platform.
Regarding shadow and joint animations I guess there will be a need for workarounds as mobile chips are still not powerful enough to use the same techniques as on the desktop implementations.

Regarding the animations, it might be already enough to do software skinning, regarding shadow techniques I don't have any experience with it, but as a lot of android phones still don't support depth or floating point textures, it might be more work to do.

Christoph wrote:
4. Content creation pipeline (aka. tools): I smell lots of re-write here. Nobody wants to re-invent editors such Unity, Sandbox, etc. for a tiny little project. Also artists literally hate exporting from tools such as Maya, because of exporting to COLLADA, converting, copying files, waiting for the application to hot-reload (or worse) and check the results. Painful process, especially when multiple devices are involved. It should be more like: start up an "adapter process" and connect it to the application(s) involved. After that everything simply live-updates, leaving the artist to the work she/he really wants to do.

Well the editor I wrote years ago was intended to have a quick possibility to set up scenes, add scripting and hot reloading for fast shader and pipeline developement without the need to reinvent any wheel. But of course it is not developed far enough to be really usable for real productional use. Another possibility might be to use existing tools like blender or the unity editor and export the created scenes directly into Horde3D.

Maybe one could add some demo application that just uses the blender export with hot reloading of resources and shaders for an improved toolchain.
The guys of Neuland Multimedia seem to have also an exporter for the Unity editor that brings the scene to Horde3D. But I haven't seen it in action myself, so I can't really comment on it.


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PostPosted: 16.09.2013, 10:34 
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Where is the last release of the Blender Exporter (if there is one)?


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PostPosted: 16.09.2013, 11:41 
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From what I read here you will find it there


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