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The Asset Loader Class

In Turbo (Leadwerks 5) all asset types have a list of asset loader objects for loading different file formats. There are a number of built-in loaders for different file formats, but you can add your own by deriving the AssetLoader class or creating a script-based loader. Another new feature is that any scripts in the "Scripts/Start" folder get run when your game starts. Put those together, and you can add support for a new model or texture file format just by dropping a script in your project.

Josh

Josh

Vulkan Render Pipeline

Having completed a hard-coded rendering pipeline for one single shader, I am now working to create a more flexible system that can handle multiple material and shader definitions. If there's one way I can describe Vulkan, it's "take every single possible OpenGL setting, put it into a structure, and create an immutable cached object based on those settings that you can then use and reuse". This design is pretty rigid, but it's one of the reasons Vulkan is giving us an 80% performance increase ove

Josh

Josh

Leadwerks and C#

Actually it is very simple. As usual, we need to export the functions we are interested in to the Dynamic Library (DLL), and then import them into our C# program. Let's start. C++ DLL The first thing we need is to create a project in C++ for our future DLL, and of course configure it for the Leadwerks engine Configuration for Release Right-click on the project and select Property. In the window that appears, go to the tab "С/C++" / "General". Copy and Paste to a "Additional In
Textures in Vulkan

Textures in Vulkan

I finally got a textured surface rendering in Vulkan so we now have officially surpassed StarFox (SNES) graphics: Although StarFox did have distance fog. 😂 Vulkan uses a sort of "baked" graphics pipeline. Each surface you want to render uses an object you have to create in code that contains all material, texture, shader, and other settings. There is no concept of "just change this one setting" like in OpenGL. Consequently, the new renderer may be a bit more rigid than what

Josh

Josh

Single-file SPIR-V shaders for Vulkan

Single-file SPIR-V shaders for Vulkan

It is now possible to compile shaders into a single self-contained file that can loaded by any Vulkan program, but it's not obvious how this is done. After poking around for a while I found all the pieces I needed to put this together. Compiling First, you need to compile each shader stage from a source code file into a precompiled SPIR-V file. There are several tools available to do this, but I prefer GLSlangValidator because it supports the Google #include extension. Put your vertex

Josh

Josh

Vulkan Progress

Vulkan Progress

I was going to write about my thoughts on Vulkan, about what I like and don't like, what could be improved, and what ramifications this has for developers and the industry. But it doesn't matter what I think. This is the way things are going, and I have no say in that. I can only respond to these big industry-wide changes and make it work to my advantage. Overall, Vulkan does help us, in both a technical and business sense. That's as much as I feel like explaining. Beta subscribers ca

Josh

Josh

Memory Management in Vulkan

Vulkan gives us explicit control over the way data is handled in system and video memory. You can map a buffer into system memory, modify it, and then unmap it (giving it back to the GPU) but it is very slow to have a buffer that both the GPU and CPU can access. Instead, you can create a staging buffer that only the CPU can access, then use that to copy data into another buffer that can only be read by the GPU. Because the GPU buffer may be in-use at the time you want to copy data to it, it is b

Josh

Josh

Buffers in Vulkan

Buffers in Vulkan

I've now got the Vulkan renderer drawing multiple different models in one single pass. This is done by merging all mesh geometry into one single vertex and indice buffer and using indirect drawing. I implemented this originally in OpenGL and was able to translate the technique over to Vulkan. This can allow an entire scene to be drawn in just one or a few draw calls. This will make a tremendous improvement in performance in complex scenes like The Zone. In that scene in Leadwerks the slow step i

Josh

Josh

First Vulkan Performance Results

Using my box test of over 100,000 boxes, I can compare performance in the new engine using OpenGL and Vulkan side by side. The results are astounding. Our new engine uses extensive multithreading to perform culling and rendering on separate threads, bringing down the time the GPU sits around waiting for the CPU to nearly zero. Hardware: Nvidia GEForce GTX 1070 (notebook) OpenGL: ~380 FPS Vulkan 700+ FPS. FRAPS does not work with Vulkan, so the only FPS counter I have is

Josh

Josh

Uniform Buffers in Vulkan

Uniform Buffers in Vulkan

Following this tutorial, I have managed to add uniform buffers into my Vulkan graphics pipeline. Since each image in the swapchain has a different graphics pipeline object, and uniform buffers are tied to a pipeline, you end up uploading all the data three times every time it changes. OpenGL might be doing something like this under the hood, but I am not sure this is a good approach. There are three ways to get data to a shader in Vulkan. Push constants are synonymous with GLSL uniforms, althoug

Josh

Josh

Command Buffer Synchronization in Vulkan

Command Buffer Synchronization in Vulkan

The Vulkan graphics API is unbelievably complex. To create a render context, you must create a series of images for the front and back buffers (you can create three for triple-buffering). This is called a swap chain. Now, Vulkan operates on the principle of command buffers, which are a list of commands that get sent to the GPU. Guess what? The target image is part of the command buffer! So for each image in your swap chain, you need to maintain a separate command buffer  If anything changes in y

Josh

Josh

Vulkan Shader Compilation

One of the best points of Vulkan is how shaders are loaded from precompiled Spir-V files. This means GLSL shaders either work or they don't. Unlike OpenGL, there is no different outcome on Intel, AMD, or nVidia hardware. SPIR-V files can be compiled using a couple of different utilities. I favor LunarG's compiler because it supports #include directives. Shader.vert: #version 450 #extension GL_ARB_separate_shader_objects : enable #include "VertexLayout.glsl" layout(push_constant) unifo

Josh

Josh

Vulkan Shader Uniforms

In Vulkan all shader uniforms are packed into a single structure declared in a GLSL shader like this: layout(push_constant) uniform pushBlock { vec4 color; } pushConstantsBlock; You can add more values, but the shaders all need to use the same structure, and it needs to be declared exactly the same inside the program. Like everything else in Vulkan, shaders are set inside a command buffer. But these shader values are likely to be constantly changing each frame, so how do you hand

Josh

Josh

Compatibility Wrapper

While we have Leadwerks today to make our apps, Turbo is currently in development. To make my projects more long term, I decided to take a step back from my VR project and create a wrapper class that apps can use to more easily transfer to the new engine.  Keep in-mind, this doesn't cover everything and I'm used the last beta from November for testing so things can change. Regardless, as long as that bridge is made, I can always go back and edit the Turbo stuff as more things come online. The go

reepblue

reepblue

Vulkan Nitty-Gritty

I am surprised at how quickly Vulkan development is coming together. The API is ridiculously verbose, but at the same time it eliminates a lot of hidden states and implicit behavior that made OpenGL difficult to work with. I have vertex buffers working now. Vertices in the new engine will always use this layout:     struct VkVertex     {         float position[3];         float normal[3];         float texcoords0[2];         float texcoords1[2];         float tangent[3];         unsigned cha

Josh

Josh

Resizable Vulkan Window

When a window in Vulkan resizes you have to manually delete the about a dozen objects and then recreate them with the new size. It's unbelievably complicated. They've pushed all the driver complexity onto the application, in an effort to simplify the job of writing drivers. I can see the advantage to this, because OpenGL drivers in the past were always inconsistent, but it is still shocking how many little details they expose in Vulkan. Just resizing a window and swapping the screen buffer invol

Josh

Josh

Hello Vulkan

Hello Vulkan

Two days and 823 lines of code later, I present to you the Vulkan triangle of awesomeness, running in our engine: Here are my thoughts on Vulkan: It's ridiculously verbose. You have to specify every little detail of the rasterizer, there's a million classes to create, and every little variable has to be exactly right. There's really no reason for this because 90% of the code is just something you copy and paste. Shaders can use GLSL, which seems very weird, but it makes thin

Josh

Josh

Getting Started with Vulkan

Getting Started with Vulkan

The latest design of my OpenGL renderer using bindless textures has some problems, and although these can be resolved, I think I have hit the limit on how useful an initial OpenGL implementation will be for the new engine. I decided it was time to dive into the Vulkan API. This is sort of scary, because I feel like it sets me back quite a lot, but at the same time the work I do with this will carry forward much better. A Vulkan-based renderer can run on Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS, Android, PS4, an

Josh

Josh

Leadwerks Game Engine 4.6 Updated

A new update for Leadwerks Game Engine 4.6 is available on the default branch. This fixes a physics bug that would cause boxes to float into the air after the player stepped on them.

Admin

Admin

Turbo Game Engine Design Document

Subscribers can now download my current revision of the Turbo Game Engine design document in the private forum here: Here are a few excerpts: The document is still evolving so expect changes and updates.

Josh

Josh

Luawerks Updated

Luawerks has been updated to 1.2.8, making some small adjustments and fixes to the system. If you have previously purchased Luawerks, this update is available for free on the Leadwerks Marketplace. Following changes include: Fixed GUI code for Leadwerks Game Engine 4.6 Removed the feature "allowfullscreenfromeditor" as it was causing conflicts with fullscreen. Added ignoreeditorwinsettings bool setting to force the game to ignore editor launch settings. (Sorry f

reepblue

reepblue

Dev Log

My last NASA project is complete. There's a physics bug in Leadwerks 4.6 that will get resolved this weekend. Starting Monday I am going to focus on the new engine again and move us forward so we can release in 2020. I am really looking forward to getting back in the game.

Josh

Josh

Procedural Grass

Thought I'd show off what I've been working on this weekend.  I have implemented procedural grass as found here at Outerra.  There is still more work to be done on it but so far it looks promising.
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