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Hello Vulkan

Josh

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Two days and 823 lines of code later, I present to you the Vulkan triangle of awesomeness, running in our engine:

tri.thumb.jpg.e1c74183e6a44b93dd9b50fdebfcacb1.jpg

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 things easier for us. The GLSL validate tool is used to precompile shaders into SPIR-V code, which works across all hardware, which is very nice. This means that shader code can finally be made closed-source, if you want to. Shaders are compiled into binary .spv files.

After walking through the steps of setting rendering up in Vulkan, it is more clear to me what is going on under the hood inside the graphics drivers for OpenGL.

I tried running the app on both Nvidia and Intel graphics, and got the same exact results each time. Vulkan should provide more consistent results across different vendor hardware, and might not require cross-hardware testing. That's a big plus.

Khronos could have easily supplied a middle layer of C++ code to standardize this. The fact you have to look up all this stuff on a bunch of github repositories and third-party tutorials is awful. It pretty much guarantees that everyone who uses Vulkan is going to do it through a commercial game engine like ours.

You can download my test application here:

vktest.zip

  • The application will display a lot of errors when you close the window because resources are not being freed correctly yet.
  • The program will probably crash if you resize or maximize the window because this has not been accounted for yet.

I think it is still a big challenge to build a full Vulkan renderer that was doing everything our OpenGL renderer was doing, but the fact that we can reuse all our GLSL code helps a lot. Stay tuned!

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lol well done hope to see a nice beta soon of all of this when you starting getting more stuff added

 

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  • Blog Entries

    • By Josh in Josh's Dev Blog 0
      A new update is available for beta testers.
      Terrain
      The terrain building API is now available and you can begin working with it, This allows you to construct and modify terrains in pure code. Terrain supports up to 256 materials, each with its own albedo, normal, and displacement maps. Collision and raycasting are currently not supported.
      Fast C++ Builds
      Precompiled headers have been integrated into the example project. The Debug build will compile in about 20 seconds the first run, and compile in just 2-3 seconds thereafter. An example class is included which shows how to add files to your game project for optimum compile times. Even if you edit one of your header files, your game will still compile in just a few seconds in debug mode! Integrating precompiled headers into the engine actually brought the size of the static libraries down significantly, so the download is only about 350 MB now.
      Enums Everywhere
      Integer arguments have been replaced with enum values for window styles, entity bounds, and load flags. This is nice because the C++ compiler has some error checking so you don't do something like this:
      LoadTexture("grass.dds", WINDOW_FULLSCREEN); Operators have been added to allow combining enum values as bitwise flags.
      A new LOAD_DUMP_INFO LoadFlags value has been added which will print out information about loaded files (I need this to debug the GLTF loader!).
      Early Spring Cleaning
      Almost all the pre-processor macros have been removed from the Visual Studio project, with just a couple ones left. Overall the headers and project structure have been massively cleaned up.
    • By Josh in Josh's Dev Blog 6
      An often-requested feature for terrain building commands in Leadwerks 5 is being implemented. Here is my script to create a terrain. This creates a 256 x 256 terrain with one terrain point every meter, and a maximum height of +/- 50 meters:
      --Create terrain local terrain = CreateTerrain(world,256,256) terrain:SetScale(256,100,256) Here is what it looks like:

      A single material layer is then added to the terrain.
      --Add a material layer local mtl = LoadMaterial("Materials/Dirt/dirt01.mat") local layerID = terrain:AddLayer(mtl) We don't have to do anything else to make the material appear because by default the entire terrain is set to use the first layer, if a material is available there:

      Next we will raise a few terrain points.
      --Modify terrain height for x=-5,5 do for y=-5,5 do h = (1 - (math.sqrt(x*x + y*y)) / 5) * 20 terrain:SetElevation(127 + x, 127 + y, h) end end And then we will update the normals for that whole section, all at once. Notice that we specify a larger grid for the normals update, because the terrain points next to the ones we modified will have their normals affected by the change in height of the neighboring pixel.
      --Update normals of modified and neighboring points terrain:UpdateNormals(127 - 6, 127 - 6, 13, 13) Now we have a small hill.

      Next let's add another layer and apply it to terrain points that are on the side of the hill we just created:
      --Add another layer mtl = LoadMaterial("Materials/Rough-rockface1.json") rockLayerID = terrain:AddLayer(mtl) --Apply layer to sides of hill for x=-5,5 do for y=-5,5 do slope = terrain:GetSlope(127 + x, 127 + y) alpha = math.min(slope / 15, 1.0) terrain:SetMaterial(rockLayerID, 127 + x, 127 + y, alpha) end end We could improve the appearance by giving it a more gradual change in the rock layer alpha, but it's okay for now.

      This gives you an idea of the basic terrain building API in Leadwerks 5, and it will serve as the foundation for more advanced terrain features. This will be included in the next beta.
    • By Josh in Josh's Dev Blog 1
      Here are some things I did in the last couple days to fix a computer that was basically unusable.
      It seems that Superfetch was rebranded to "SysMain" in an update and automatically re-enabled. If your computer is grinding away either the CPU or disk usage while doing nothing, this is the culprit. Disable it in Windows services.
      The XBox games bar is suspect. I recommend disabling it now that FRAPS supports Vulkan.
      Some features in Visual Studio are making it unusably slow.
      In Project settings > Link > Debugging, set "Generate Debug Info" to "DEBUG:FASTLINK" (in the debug build only) for faster linking.
      Disable these two settings in the general program Options:
      Enable Diagnostic Tools while debugging Show elapsed time PerfTip while debugging
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