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2006-01-20 The latest developments

Posted: 2008-01-15, 15:27
by Carsten
As a lot has been going on behind the scenes during the last few weeks and months, but only little came through to the website or even the forums, so I just want to give a small update on the current Ca3DE development status.

The planned Ca3DE TechDemo is the center of all recent developments. A base map has been evaluated and chosen for the indoor parts, and the original author gave us permission to convert and use it for Ca3DE.
CaWE was properly enhanced by a map importing module for this purpose, and many related problems were fixed (e.g. increased precision and numerical stability for map files).

The new and very big TechDemo map candidate also brought up many issues with the existing tools, like for example problems by round-off errors. All these problems were addressed and fixed in fall and early winter 2005, involving for example the rewriting of the 3D math library that is underlying to all Ca3DE components.

In December and early January, the Ca3DE model rendering was thoroughly revised and improved. The well known problems at wrapping and mirror seams were fixed and the memory requirements per model significatnly reduced.

Just today I added an enhancement to the CaLight tool that dramatically lowers the memory requirements for one of its internal data structures by a factor of 32(!). For the TechDemo map, this meant a reduction from about 1311 MB to about 43 MB.

In general, I currently work on making the initial TechDemo map compile and run with Ca3DE, thereby fixing all potential problems that I encounter. (The TechDemo turns up a few issues like the above memory requirements just because of its huge dimensions and complexity. It's a lot of fun to look into these matters and to unbundle old restrictions!)

Another step that is soon to occur is the employment of the Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 compiler for Ca3DE development, which is freely available to everyone in its Express Edition. I'll also switch to SCons for controlling the builds.
The consequences for MOD developers will be minor, and I'll address them in greater detail as soon as the changes become effective.

The current development step is still to make the very basic, initial TechDemo map compile and work with Ca3DE. This process is almost complete though, as only CaLight was still missing in the chain - see above.
Then the actual TechDemo core work will begin, like mapping, modelling, texturing and of course also code improvements.

I can currently not foresee when the TechDemo will eventually be released, but I sure hope that some prerelease screenshots can be made available in a while. :)