hey thomas,
while you're adding the game stuff, could you please check this?
whenever I duck, sometimes I seem to take random damage, even if there
is no monster in range of me
example, once I ran into a room ducking, and died
but nothing was trying to hit me

On 12/14/10, Jacob Kruger <jac...@mailzone.co.za> wrote:
> All sounds good as far as I'm concerned, and, agree that it's more important
> to make sure you're satisfied with the output than to rush towards producing
> it.
>
> Stay well
>
> Jacob Kruger
> Blind Biker
> Skype: BlindZA
> '...fate had broken his body, but not his spirit...'
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Thomas Ward" <thomasward1...@gmail.com>
> To: <gamers@audyssey.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, December 15, 2010 7:29 AM
> Subject: [Audyssey] Mysteries of the Ancients News
>
>
>> Hello gamers,
>>
>> Over the last week or so I've really become aware of the fact how far
>> out of the loop most of you are regarding the development of Mysteries
>> of the Ancients beta 17. I've been noticing small things like, "why
>> don't you put back in the 44100 KHZ sounds," or, "why is it taking so
>> long for this release," etc. Those are certainly reasonable questions
>> to be asking seeing as beta 16 seams to be a stable and nearly
>> complete release from your point of view, but as I have said I've not
>> been keeping you as up to date as perhaps I should. The answer, in
>> short, is that I've been doing a lot of low-level work on the engine
>> itself that is going to take some time to complete.
>>
>> If we take a step backwards and look at beta 14 that was the first
>> release where we attempted a fully cross-platform release. That
>> endever failed for a couple of reasons.
>>
>> Initially I had wanted to convert the engine to SDL which is a
>> cross-platform API similar to something like DirectX, but is an open
>> source API designed for Mac, Linux, and Windows. There have been a
>> number of third-party implementations such as PyGame, SDL .NET, and
>> JSDL which have extended the API to languages like C# .NET, Python,
>> and Java. SDL has also been used in several high profile
>> cross-platform games such as Quake, Civilization, Frets on Fire,
>> Flight Gear, just to name some of the more well known games where SDL
>> has been used. So obviously I felt at the time it would be a perfect
>> cross-platform solution.
>>
>> Unfortunately, some well meaning fellow developers suggested that I
>> try SFML instead of SDL. Initially I agreed that SFML was better given
>> that it supported things like OpenGL, OpenAL, and the libraries were
>> all aimed at a C++ developer rather than C. So based on that advice I
>> spent nearly a month rewriting all the G3D engine's subsystem's like
>> the window manager, input, audio, etc to use SFML and released beta 14
>> to the public. Immediately after release we got the blue screen of
>> death problem.
>>
>> After nearly a month of research we managed to figure out that the
>> blue screen issue wasn't caused by the Genesis 3D engine, but the
>> problem resides within SFML itself. When we contacted the SFML
>> developers to inquire about this problem they said they know about the
>> problem, and naturally it only effects Windows users. The problem
>> happened to be connected to certain Windows display drivers, and to
>> tell my customers to try to upgrade their display drivers. This
>> solution, however, may or may not fix the issue introducing a certain
>> degree of instability into the G3D engine and all of my games based
>> upon it.  Since this was quite obviously a no-go I quickly rolled back
>> to beta 13, made a few changes, and released Mysteries of the Ancients
>> as beta 16. That, unfortunately, hadn't resolved the bigger problem of
>> what to do with the Genesis 3D engine long term.
>>
>> After releasing beta 16 I once again returned to working on the
>> Genesis 3D engine trying to fix problems such as the issue with the
>> display drivers as well as get rid of the context menu that always
>> pops up when pressing the alt key. Both issues could be resolved, but
>> would require a massive rewrite of certain subsystems, (modules,) in
>> the G3D engine. Since I had already tried SFML and it failed, since
>> DirectX is a Windows only technology, I decided therefore to go back
>> to my original design and use SDL instead of SFML or DirectX.
>> Unfortunately, doing so means it will take me some time rewriting and
>> testing the new SDL code for the engine. So far, though, we are making
>> good progress.
>>
>> As of today we have completely rewritten the window module/subsystem
>> which essentially draws the main application window and binds the
>> audio, input, etc together. We have mostly rewritten the input
>> subsystem with fairly decent keyboard support, joystick support, and
>> we are currently working on rewriting the mouse support. All of this
>> with one important change over the previous cross-platform engine.
>>
>> As I might have explained earlier on the mailing list there are two
>> different ways of handling input. The first is an event driven input
>> system and the second is a direct input system. Microsoft's
>> DirectInput API is a fairly specialized piece of software that
>> bypasses the normal Windows events and acquires direct access/control
>> of the keyboard, joystick, and mouse providing for lightning fast
>> input. Unfortunately, other operating systems like Mac OS and Linux
>> will not allow any API to get away with what DirectInput does so an
>> API like SFML or SDL has to resort to an event driven system. In most
>> cases this is fine, but in some extremely high end games some gamers
>> will notice the input is a bit slower, perhaps a tad bit sluggish, etc
>> compared to something like DirectX. Well, I think I may have found a
>> way to resolve part of the problem.
>>
>> One of the things DirectX does is when there is a key pressed it
>> stores it in a buffer, basically an array of keyboard presses, and
>> then acts upon those key presses as quickly as possible in the order
>> they were pressed/released. I soon realised that there is no reason
>> why I couldn't emulate this same behavior using SDL, SFML, or any
>> other API I decided to use. After all, the G3D engine doesn't access
>> keyboare, joystick, or mouse input directly but instead accesses those
>> devices vicariously through an abstraction layer. To speed  up input
>> using something like SDL every time there is a keydown event simply
>> buffer the keyboard data, and every time there is a keyup event flush
>> the key from the buffer. As a result the game isn't sitting around
>> waiting for a keydown or keyup event but is acting upon keyboard
>> events already buffered in memory. I managed to play a game of MOTA
>> today using SDL for keyboard and joystick support and I found the
>> input more than satisfactory. Compared to the older cross-platform
>> engine input is fairly responsive and quick now that I buffer the
>> keyboard, joystick, and mouse events similar to DirectX.
>>
>> To make a long story short I'm still working on attempting to find the
>> right combination of libraries, tools,  and code to make
>> cross-platform development possible. I know for a fact it can be done
>> and there certainly are games out there like Frets on Fire, FreeCiv,
>> and Flight Gear available on Mac, Linux, and Windows. Commercial
>> companies do this sort of thing all the time by producing a PC version
>> while releasing a version for the play Station and XBox as well. The
>> trick, as I'm finding out, is designing my code in such a way that it
>> will run identically on all the target platforms, use as many shared
>> libraries as possible, and change whatever needs to be changed on a
>> platform per platform basis. I can say that at times this does get to
>> be quite complicated, and sometimes I have to sacrofice this or that
>> in order to get maximum compatibility out of the game engine.  At this
>> point I'm taking a hard look at how cross-platform developers and
>> cross-platform games like Freeciv address these issues head on, and
>> how they resolved them to everyone's satisfaction.
>>
>> Of course, not all the upgrades we have plannd for beta 17 are so
>> technical. For example, one of the upgrades is that we have in fact
>> restored the original 44100 KHZ 16-bit sounds to the game. The audio
>> quality is simply excellent, but it does eat up alot more resources
>> and I did notice it does effect game performance such as if you press
>> a key to get some spoken status the speech files take a little bit
>> longer to load. Perhaps one compromise here would be to leave the
>> sounds as high-definition, but keep speech at 22500 KHZ in order to
>> improve performance when getting spoken status messages or using menus
>> etc.
>>
>> Another up and coming change in beta 17 is new traps. As has been
>> requested we have decided to introduce vanishing platforms into the
>> game. This not only provides us another ttrap to avoid it will also
>> reflect nicely on the classic games like Montezuma's Revenge which
>> started this entire project in the first place.
>>
>>
>> In addition, here is a spoiler for you. Angela will be able to find a
>> new item, an enchanted spear, which will come in handy for slaying
>> certain monsters in the temple. Plus the long awaited body armour will
>> appear somewhere in the temple which will help Angela become more
>> resistant to certain attacks such as flying arrows, swords, daggers,
>> etc.
>>
>> So to answer your question, "why is it taking so long," the answer
>> simply is that beta 17 is a pretty major upgrade. There are a number
>> of extensive changes in the work with the engine as well as some game
>> play elements too. I still don't have a clear idea when it will be
>> ready. After all, this is the Christmas season and things are very
>> very busy right now. All I can say is I am working on it here and
>> there as I find the time and energy to focus on the project. Rest
>> assured when i have a better idea when it will be ready I'll say so.
>>
>> Sincerely,
>> Thomas Ward
>> USA Games Interactive
>> http://www.usagamesinteractive.com
>>
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