Programming

Discussion in 'Project: Sonic Retro (Archive)' started by Retro_Stew, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. Jayextee

    Jayextee

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    Stealth: Let the artists dictate the art, and the coder dictate the code. At the end of the day, we're looking at the most creative, highest quality 'product' possible (with certain restrictions in place only to keep the feel authentic).

    .png offers layers, translucencies... and is supported by almost fucking everything these days -- find a better format which offers the same.

    Moduled music is great, but few actually know how to make it, which cuts away a lot of potential talent. Also, in terms of EQs and other filters, a compressed real audio is the only way to go, sorry. Also, say we were to have a vocal-based tune anywhere (Say, end credits), to maintain a great quality in a module the size would be gigantic compared to, say a 192kbps .OGG file.

    Also, can I make it known to everybody involved that this is the first we've heard from Stealth since the change in leadership (Rika and Phoebius leavin, Matwek and myself stepping in) prompted by this post, of Stealth's. Well, Matwek and I wrote plans to set a clear and concise direction for the project to go in, and I personally PMed Stealth to ask his opinion on the new direction, which was totally ignored -- he only bothers to turn up when his work (E02 in this case) is insulted, and throws a tantrum to the tune of "Bawwwww, you're not using my engine, you guys have no clue!".

    I will not work with a primadonna such as this, regardless of what their abilities are, or that they're "one of the only founding members remaining". It is both immature, and counterproductive; the new project direction is largely based on the fact that any particular work is not precious, and if it can be improved, then it should.

    Let Dark Phantron put his money where his mouth is, huh?
     
  2. Ultima

    Ultima

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    Perhaps Dark Phantron should actually post some samples of his work before he (and seemingly everyone else o.O) decides that he is the be all and end all of programmers.

    @Dark Phantron: protip - a good programmer has work to show rather than words :P
     
  3. Stealth

    Stealth

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    I was waiting for you to finish this post. I didn't expect you to have anything to say like "Yeah, you insulted Stealth, get the fuck out of the entire community right now", but I didn't expect you to be a complete and total piece of shit, either. I thought maybe you had some better and more thoughtful comments on the graphics and sound issues, or something entirely different.

    The art and the code come together in that you need to know what type of art you're "coding for", or what type of art is allowed by the code. It has to do with the LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR in your list of platforms, which you don't even have. How the hell is the graphics system going to work? I think the responsibility of figuring that out falls on all three categories - leaders, artists, coders. Say, for example, you did want to put this on the DS at some point (which did come up and hasn't been rebutted with a total "no, we're not ever going to do that"). You need tiled, palettized graphics, and it would still be in your best interest to use 16-color sprites (15 colors, 1 transparant) just like the REST of even the most current 2D games. Otherwise, you need to say WHY you need more (other than "it's easier for the generic idiot to throw something together) and that you definitely are not ever going to do anything with the game that would require such "limitation". Not even bringing up the concept of such a restriction just opens the door for people to slap together whatever shit they pull out of their ass in Adobe Photoshop with colors/filters/etc flying way the fuck everywhere and nobody knows what the hell they're doing or working with, WHICH actually DOES seem to be the case in the graphics discussion currently/recently


    WHEN is this necessary for a VIDEO GAME? WHEN do you need to load a layered image into a game? What purpose does it serve? What are you doing with "translucency" that you need to load PNG data to get the point across? Please tell me, because obviously I have no fucking clue. I see absolutely NO reason that ANYTHING in a video game would REQUIRE such strange effects that need to be stored IN the GRAPHICS FILE. Yeah, people dumped pcx a long time ago for some stupid reason. Just use fucking TGA, it's practically the same thing, It's supported by enough relevant graphics programs, and do you know what it does? IT STORES A GRAPHIC

    Same as with "Sonic 2 HD", we have idiots from the far corners of the internet joining these forums JUST because they heard about the project and think it's SO COOL. In fact, that sort of thing is ACTIVELY encouraged, and as far as I'm aware, there were still very recently people SCOUTING for "talent". Suddenly, when it's a convenient way to argue with me, you're going to STOP doing that? And if you want to talk about "filters", and if I'm correct in assuming that you're talking about application at runtime, then how the hell is a full, single PCM audio stream MORE-easily manipulated than a TRACKED FORMAT? If you have the damned talent to create something that can DO that in the first place, then you damned sure have the talent to apply it to a multi-channel moduled song! And "vocal"? Other than the concept sounding utterly retarded to me, you still DO have the ability to stream a long, single channel of PCM audio with a moduled-music playing system, and the fact that most of your soundtrack is moduled does IN NO WAY hinder you from including a small number of fully PCM audio! The fact that you don't even realize that is utterly ridiculous, and makes me wonder how you can appropriately lead this project when you don't even have a firm enough grasp of the various technologies that are involved

    Well, can -I- make it known, that you've just made this more personal than you claim that even I did? You appear to have a stick shoved so far up your ass about the fact that I never made another post that you can't see any validity to my defending myself whatsoever (going so far as to make vicious accusations about the purpose when I stated very clearly in my own post that this had absolutely nothing to do with S:PR not actually using E02, WHICH is partially by my own design, as I made it clear why E02 Might NOT be the appropriate choice, and challenged the leadership to actually make a firm decision on the platform based on careful consideration of the available options, even though E02 was the current choice, and I could either have kept my damned mouth shut, or pushed harder to further ensure that it would be used), nor could you see any validity to the complaints I made at the bottom, which could have been made entirely independently of the problem, but I decided to actually get some real thoughts out there while I was already posting in the first place

    The fact is, you are now not being "impartial" in the interest of the project, and you have clearly proven that you don't REALLY know what's involved in structuring and leading a team like this

    And in direct response to your issue with me, personally, that's how I work. I'm very busy, and I have things going on that I don't feel inclined to discuss with you or anyone else. I am not at liberty currently to take a solid position with this project, or, indeed, even take a significantly active position in discussion. This is what is in my best interest, currently, and it's entirely my business. If you want to take it personally, that's your problem, but that does NOT strip me of the right to step in and defend myself from total disrespect such that I've suffered in this thread. In fact, I was ENCOURAGED by the admin of this very forum to do exactly that whenever necessary. His utter disregard for anything other than his ego has nothing to do with you, or any other feelings I have whatsoever regarding this project

    It is not immature to know my status and my ability. It is not immature to DEFEND those things when they are attacked. What IS immature, I'm afraid, is someone stepping in and declaring that they are the almighty god, stepping all over something they don't even understand for the sole purpose of sounding like a big-shot with not a thing to show for their name. Furthermore, what is even more immature, is totally rejecting anything that the victim has to say in regard to ANYTHING just because YOU feel slighted that I didn't respond to one of your PMs. SO sorry, I didn't realize that my life revolved around you or this project, or that you or this project were any more important than my own personal privacy. Had I known you were so insecure as to hold such a grudge for this long just to throw it back at me when I've already been assaulted by someone else, I would have stopped everything I was doing and disclosed it to you fully, just so you could actually life the rest of your life angst-free. You'd think the fact that I hadn't otherwise interfered to this point would say something positive about your ability to lead. I had a FEW doubts, but NONE so SERIOUS as TODAY

    Let him. He sure has a hell of alot to live up to with that kind of an entrance. I'm not stopping him, I just had something to say about his complete disrespect for me, my work, and indeed, this project, as he saw fit to criticize what he thought was the intended platform, without even getting to know the first thing about it. That's not only an insult to me, but it's an insult to everyone currently involved with this project
     
  4. Jayextee

    Jayextee

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    I'm not going to argue with you, Stealth. The fact that you've had no interest in this project until you were insulted makes me think you have no real passion for it farther than massaging your own ego.

    Want me to step down?
     
  5. Ultima

    Ultima

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    You may not want to argue but as a project coordinator you should at least take on board everybody's opinion, even if you have a personal grudge against them :P
     
  6. Stealth

    Stealth

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    You're making assumptions. But maybe you're right, if this is the way you're going to act, maybe I can't be bothered to care. I'd apologize if I felt sorry. At one point, maybe, but you obviously have no interest that this may be more complicated than you perceive, so if you can't be bothered to hear me out, and it's apparent that you didn't care to read anything that I had to say directly to you after your assault, then I can't be bothered with remorse.

    Honestly, I wouldn't be bothered if you did. It makes no difference though, it will change none of this
     
  7. Jayextee

    Jayextee

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    I have no personal grudges. I'm willing to debate any particular choices, such as .tga probably being less of a CPU demand than .PNG (Notice that the first question I asked related to .PNG was about the CPU load).

    But your doubts about my ability to coordinate a team actually mirror some of my own.
     
  8. The Taxman

    The Taxman

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    hmm... I was waiting for something like this to unfold when Dark Phantron made his post :P

    Old Skool v. New Skool programming war!

    Seriously though my thoughts as follows:

    @ Dark Phantron - No need to use 'modern' stuff like C# (bleh, at least use D or mono) and pixel shaders, this is a 320x240 pixel art styled game here. Software rasterization all the way baby! This game needs be easy to port (I know E02 is Win/DOS specific, but providing there isn't x86 asm code it could be ported easily if stealth desired).

    @ Stealth - GIF is actually quite a decent compressed format for stuff like embedded devices, the algorithm is fairly fast and it's possible to write a simple decompression routine that doesn't require dynamic memory buffer allocation (I did this in Retro-Sonic). I know the header format is a bit dodgy but hey, it's worth it since the files are compressed smaller than pcx.

    Don't diss OGG either, stylistically a musician might want total control over a composition, which may include stuff like using vocals/instruments in ways sampling can't capture, or analogue studio equipment during the mixing/mastering process. Tracker music is a style unto itself, and comparing the two is like apples and oranges. I know you're looking at this from the view of optimization, but there's not a huge difference in overhead between playback of the two*.

    *Talking about 400mhz+ comps here
     
  9. Stealth

    Stealth

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    Jayextee - I'm really not sure what you're talking about. The graphics aren't stored compressed in RAM, it would be entirely impractical to expect to decompress them during rendering for each frame, that's just too much overhead. The issue is that it's an entirely irrelevant storage format. libpng is way too bulky for just trying to get simple sprite images into a game like this. I hold the same for gif - They may do decently for what they do, but this isn't what they do, they're made for something more complicated. I've had a long-standing inability to understand the public's constant demands for over-featured alternative formats.. I mean, in my case, I guess it has to do with the surprising lack of pcx support lately, but seriously? gif/png/JPG/others? I'm fully aware that I've been asked to do support for other graphic formats by people who thought that using those formats would LIFT PALETTE AND RESOLUTION RESTRICTIONS imposed by the target system. What? No... just.... no. Conversely, I've seen even recent commercial games use the TGA format, which appears to have sufficient support in graphic editing programs

    I seriously don't know what else to say, though. I sincerely feel that that initial post was entirely uncalled-for. I'm currently unable to make any further argument in terms of your ability, so I'm not going to try. I also just don't know what else you want to hear that I can say

    Taxman - I still think that GIF is going a bit overboard. I personally don't plan on ever using it, as I can't see any possible need whatsoever, and I just thought I'd express that while I was bothering to discuss the project in any way whatsoever, since I felt it was a relevant thing to say. I've also just plain steered clear of the whole thing since the whole patent issue, much in the same way as MP3, but also in a similar fashion, I just don't agree that the format has any relevance to me (or similarly, this project). That leads directly into the tracked/pcm music debate - as I explained (or attempted to) to jayextee, the presence of tracked songs doesn't mean the complete absence of full pcm sounds. That is what the samples for the module are, after all.. and I was still speaking in terms of this project. If it ended up with a fully vocalized soundtrack, I'd have to scream... I have serious doubts that that's anything they're going to have to worry about. Also, I don't dispute that there are instances where you can hear the difference in "style", however, I disagree that the "style" of fully "mastered" music is anything of relevance to this project. That may be what they'd look for for Sonic 2 HD, but in terms of "style", I strongly believe that the "style" of tracked music is entirely relevant to the "style" of this project. There's even pretty much been an unofficial consensus that the music should follow the same "style"/"sound" of the Genesis games, and I agree entirely - my understanding of the intent of this project demands that style. I firmly believe that tracked music is the best choice in this case

    Also, you are correct in that I could probably easily port E02 to certain other platforms if I actually owned them. I used standard C, and no special environment/compiler like MSVC. Limiting the potential isn't exactly something I was interested in. On the same note, though, I'm also not unrealistically optimistic. For example, E02 could NEVER run on the DS, it's not designed that way, and that's fine. I could build something that DID, but not E02 - It would have to be even more specific and closed. PSP, sure, it has more processing power and can handle all the scripting and software rendering. That's why I don't understand why C# and XNA are any more relevant
     
  10. Jayextee

    Jayextee

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    I have been approaching discussion with you wrong, Stealth. What this actually reveals to me is the fact that this project could well do with some counsel from somebody with more technical knowledge; the people involved right now are primarily artists of a sort, so we'll probably fight tooth and nail for the freedom offered by such things as a real audio stream (Which, by the way I'm still all for. I can write module music, and I very much prefer being able to drag entire waveform tracks into audacity for processing, for example. 'Style' is a merely superficial thing which can be developed in either way really). The key here really should be compromise; I reacted very harshly to essentially being told "You're doing it wrong" because a new programmer appeared in the apparent absence of another, and have basically being bull-headed about trying to give the artists some freedom; I'm trying to balance everyone's opinions at all times, because if you look here, I'd actually prefer something on the Mega CD.

    But you see, compromise.

    I've used SonEd, I've seen your other technical achievements; they are outstanding, and certainly speak more than some bragging about what is possible in XNA or whatever. What you have to say is not being taken lightly, but remember that you're probably as much of an artist (Actually, I can't say either way) as most people here are programmers. All skills are required and must be balanced.

    Discussion is needed, absolutely. I'm very sure I've got my finger on the pulse as per the common consensus for the music; the vocal track example was purely that - an example, but given the popularity of Sonic CD's EU/JP soundtrack I don't think it should be ruled out; nonetheless, I don't think a firm decision has been made as to whether the graphics are paletted/unpaletted, although Chimpo is very sensibly limiting sprites to 16 colours or less.

    This needn't be a cockfight, and I apologise for reacting harshly.
     
  11. Chimpo

    Chimpo

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    Who would ever need more than 16 colors?
     
  12. Stealth

    Stealth

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    Some of those things spawned from discussions in different threads, but they essentially come back to the programming side, anyway, and my intent was just to target everything I had to say all at once. I was angry at the guy, which is clearly obvious, but it doesn't change how strongly I feel about those subjects. I still would have used the word "disgust" in each thread, but it probably would have come across differently without being headed-up by a complaint about some other guy's arrogance

    I've seen the platform thread and the SegaCD discussion, and had I posted in response to a firm decision to actually use the SegaCD, I probably would have promoted use of the PCM sound hardware (for tracked music, similar to the way it was used for Sonic CD's "past" songs) over CDDA, too. I've used this phrase before in discussion of this project, but I believe that leaving things wide open also increases the likelihood that any piece of content becomes "too big for it's britches". I'd hate to look at art or hear a song and think it's entirely too flashy or takes itself too seriously or something. That's not what this stuff is about. Laziness shouldn't be what it's about, either - You shouldn't strive to work without limitation JUST because it's "easier". You want a professional, polished product, you have to be willing to work for it. I've already gone into other advantages of being conservative, anyway.. it's ALWAYS a good idea. I'd rather not see this turn into some slow, bloated, blinding, loud, obnoxious piece of garbage

    You're right that I'm not an "artist" in the sense of drawn images, or even music (I'm unhappy with the way the word "art" is used strictly for drawn images - What I do is more art than a million of the images or compositions I've been the unfortunate victim of, and while nobody has any issue with "artists" being a completely pretentious lot based on their supposed "skill", I don't think that THIS particular skill receives as much recognition as it deserves), or at least, I don't consider myself one. I've made a few modified sprites for my own purposes, but I don't really bother with any of that otherwise. That doesn't mean that I don't have any taste, though, and it doesn't make the graphics format used in designing for a game any less relevant in terms of the program. A game needs graphic designers, but it doesn't mean that it shouldn't seek more suitable people just because nearly everyone has and claims to be able to use Photo Shop

    Chimpo's attempt to use a "limited" palette was the first I remember seeing, and was a nice surprise. I hope it starts a trend. Sometimes you can do alot with a little
     
  13. The Taxman

    The Taxman

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    I understand you not wanting to bother with compressed formats, but just to clarify for anyone else out there, there's no patent issues with decompressing gifs, only compressing them. What might be desirable though, is to store all the game's assets in a compressed archive of sorts, that way the data size is reduced while at the same time also reducing the clutter of files in the game folder.
     
  14. nineko

    nineko

    I am the Holy Cat Tech Member
    PCX files are compressed, actually. RLE compressed.
     
  15. The Taxman

    The Taxman

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    Oh sure, but he did mention tga as well, which isn't always iirc. Plus, there's not just images to consider, but game data as well. Compressing everything at the end saves having to have multiple compression formats I guess. I don't practice what I preach though so yeah XD
     
  16. Jayextee

    Jayextee

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    This. One of the things I'd most like to see with this project is for it to be a professional-looking affair, far and away better than what is expected from fangames. However, not at the expense of creativity; something I'm trying to coax more of from people.

    It does appear that we have the same goal, but are approaching it from different tangents. I'm optimistic that a compromise can be reached, as long as egoes are left at the door, which does include any newcomers :).

    I do have this to debate though:

    Relevant: I'm actually more of a designer than an artist, and a qualified one.

    I do see a lot of talent from the artisans here (A term I shall use from now, being more accurate than "artists" -- I see your point with that one. Escher was a designer and an artist. Mondrian was an artist. Kirby was an illustrator. All were artisans.), sometimes better than I could possibly do, but trying to ensure an overall quality and coherence to the work will take some doing with so many cooks at the pot. Also, not to brag, but my personal understanding of form, texture and especially colour are at an advanced level (Which goes with the education, I guess) and so I'm never short of insight as to what works and what doesn't from a visual design point of view. It too is a skill, one I hope to employ in order to better assist those here who may be excellent at pushing pixels around, but may lack in areas such as composition or colour theory.

    I actually have a personal mantra to this effect. It was in a tirade against ripoff minimalist "art" I was delivering once to anyone in earshot, but basically amounted to "Less is more? FUCK NO. Less is always gonna be less. But too much is STILL TOO DAMN MUCH".

    :(
     
  17. DimensionWarped

    DimensionWarped

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    Oh, I know it's possible, but I'll definitely say it's more difficult and less malleable in the end than just creating a new engine all together. And most of the advantages of having it on the Genesis format are novelties at best.
     
  18. Dark Phantron

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    Jeez, calm down Stealth. I did take a short look at E02, but no matter how good the engine I'd still be worried about running into a limitation somewhere somehow. I wasn't necessarily saying that there was any problem, and I meant to say that if I were starting a project I wouldn't want to use someone's elses engine just because I prefer to create things on my own. I didn't mean to imply that you had no skill or something. I'm sorry if I offended you.

    Still, in any case I think you overreacted. I never expected anyone to really take me seriously anyway until I had something to show for it. I actually expected someone to be developing it with E02 while I was working on it so in case I couldn't match E02 or something happened to where I couldn't work on the engine that the project would still continue.

    I know that developing in languages like C will end up with a far cleaner and faster engine, but it could also take much longer to make. C# may be a 'lazy' language, but it speeds up and simplifies development so much I'd use C# over C any day. Still, I was thinking that once we had the finalized C# engine, it wouldn't take too much to convert it to a multi-playform engine. All conversion requires is finding the language's equivalencies, and then time.

    For palette related stuff, yes I comepletely agree that even though we have the capability to use as many colors as we want I think limiting them is the best way to go, and I wouldn't want anything but the old dithering technique used for the textures. As for the palette rotations, I have an idea on how to do this without eating up the CPU/GPU, but yeah dynamic Hueing does take up far too much memory to be used reasonably. The choice of texture format and amount of colors isn't my decision to make.

    For textures and music, moduled music and .tga might be more efficient and suit our needs, it would also be more difficult to create and modify than using .OGGs and .PNGs. I personally would prefer moduled music and TGAs though, I knew that they worked a lot better, I just thought that the team might not of had the proper software to develop them. I especially would love it if the music was done with Genesis-esque instruments, but again it really isn't my choice to make.

    If this project uses E02, I really don't have a problem with it, it seemed like no one around here really knew how to use it. Since the project seemed to gather some great talent but lacked a programmer, I was worried that if they didn't get one that it might have folded, so I volunteered. I did not volunteer for the project because I thought it was 'cool', I volunteered because I thought it's members were and deserved a programmer to get this project on the move. In any case, even though Stealth should use a little more tact, he is right to question my (and C#'s) abilities. Again this is why I want to prove myself before you declare me the project's programmer.

    Still, I'm glad that there's another engine around. It'll make me try to do everything possible to outdo it (before you get angry Stealth, I'm saying try to, not necessarily declaring I will), and in the end if I finish the engine it'll probably end up better than if my engine was the only one.

    By the way, Jayextee, thanks so much for sticking out for me while I wasn't here to defend myself.
     
  19. Jayextee

    Jayextee

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    In truth, I tried my best to remain neutral, and more responded harshly to Stealth's objections. You still have to show us what you've got :(
     
  20. Dark Phantron

    Dark Phantron

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    Yeah, the way he chose to express his objections I believe was completely unwarranted. However, since Stealth is such a great and experienced programmer, I'd love to discuss programming, optimization and the like with him to make sure that the engine is as efficient and as powerful as possible. Atleast, that is if Stealth is willing to.

    I think I've said over and over and over again that I haven't yet proven myself yet. During the weekend, I'm going to get working on the engine and should have something to show for it by the end of Sunday (although I might not post it until Monday morning).