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John Scott
Raven | Programmer | Jul 10 2000, 17:36:04 (ET) | jscott@ravensoft.com

Name: John Scott
Email: jscott@mail.ravensoft.com
Description: Programmer
Project: SoF
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Nick: Pagan
Project: Soldier of Fortune

Disclaimer - The opinions expressed herein are personal and
in no way represent that of Raven Software or Activision.

10/7

In the EF demo readme..

"A. Elite Force does not currently support the Matrox G200 due
to an incompatibility with the Bink movie codec."

This is completely wrong on two different levels.

1. Bink does not talk to the video card at all.
2. It works fine on my machine now, and did when I tested
it with the demo. (GlSetup 1.14 drivers)

The G200 is a relatively old card, so do not expect awesome
performance out of it, especially in 32 bit. But it does work
and the picture quality is good.

9/7

I have no problems running Elite Force on a G200, but QA
does - try it and see =)

The problem video cards are the usual suspects -

Permedia2
Verite2200
PowerVR
ATI RagePro
Sis

- If you have one of these, the demo may work if you are lucky.

28/6

I just slipped anisotropic filtering into Trek and Sof.

Compare - http://www2.ravensoft.com/users/jscott/trek/aniso_tri.png
with - http://www2.ravensoft.com/users/jscott/trek/iso_tri.png

- to see the improvement.

I also made S3tc work on V5500 cards for SoF. These fixes will
be in the next patch.

Addendum: Then I upgraded my V5 drivers; and texture compression
no longer works =) I'll be investigating their FXT scheme tho.

The anisotropic filtering seems to be only on Geforce cards
at the moment; but I could be wrong.

For all you Brits out there...
http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/europe/06/19/britain.fringe.sex/index.html

25/6

Referring to Mr Carmacks .plan, and presuming the XBox will
be a much larger market than the PC for games (likely). I must
also say all of the following is pure speculation =)

If the XBox does support OpenGL, then that will put NVidia
in control of the development of OpenGL for the PC. They will
be able to lead from the front and pretty much decide how the
API develops in the future. If the XBox supports feature Y,
then all other card manufacturers will have to, or get left
behind. Responsibly used, this control could be a very good
thing for OpenGL.

It is likely that the XBox will be the primary format for
most games, and the PC will be of secondary concern. I think
this will mean that the minimum spec for PC games will shoot
up to somewhere around the XBox, and then stay there until XBox
sales taper off. We can code some scalability in, but there is
only so much we can do; especially if the PC is the minor
market.

Cross platform compatability is exactly what MS do not want.
They want exclusivity to their console, or at the very least
exclusivity to their OSes. They will make money from XBox
game sales, and do not make any from PC game sales. MS could
kill OpenGL support on the XBox for exactly this reason. The
biggest reason for them not to do this is Mr Carmack's plan
update today. This was their original plan for DirectX, to
charge a royalty for its use. OpenGL saved us there too.

Not checking later versions of MS products : guilty. The last
time I looked into DirectX was over 2 years ago, but it
did leave such a bad taste in my mouth that I am not eager to
relive that nightmare, ever. I really ought to force myself
though.

12/6

Just had word from Matrox that their new drivers (the ones
released today) fix the level loading problem in SoF.

Enjoy =)

5/6

Random, completely non game related story of the day

http://www.sky.com/news/showbiz/story14.htm

12/5

A big thank you goes to Mac Medics of Madison for fixing
our PowerBook so it can be used for demoing at E3.

7/5

I must heartily concur with most people I have spoken to
on this - Gladiator is a damn fine movie. It is a good
story well told, with copious amounts of gladiatorial
combat thrown in - the best thing since the Matrix, if
not Braveheart.

I'm on Trek now, and that is about all I'm allowed to say
on the matter =(

7/4

A word on maplists in Sof. The four used in the released version
are at -
http://www2.ravensoft.com/users/jscott/sof/ravdm.lst
http://www2.ravensoft.com/users/jscott/sof/ravrl.lst
http://www2.ravensoft.com/users/jscott/sof/ravctf.lst
http://www2.ravensoft.com/users/jscott/sof/ravassn.lst

It should be quite easy to work out how to create one of your
own =)

If you put them in "user/maplists", then the menus will
auto detect them and make them selectable. The ones in the
user folder will override the ones in the pak file.

The reason we added a user folder is that we at Raven use
one exe on a network drive, and the net drive was getting
clogged up with everyones savegames and screenshots. It also
means that the base folder holds nothing but Raven made stuff,
making patching easier. Furthermore, you can set this to whatever
you want on the command line. If there is anyone else who
uses your machine, just setup two shortcuts like this

sof.exe -user father
sof.exe -user son

...and all settings, savegames and demos will go to different
folders depending on which shortcut you run.

24/3

I added some more timings, at the bottom of the page... different demo
and different machine. I didn't test all the cards I have this time
because I want to go out drinking :) I managed to dig up a 12Meg V2
aswell.

http://www2.ravensoft.com/users/jscott/sof/timings.html

15/3

Time for me to thank a few of the programmers who helped me
out during the development of SoF. Apologies in advance if
I forgot anyone!

Chris Hecker for GLSetup (all hail its might!)
Michael Gold for GL advice.
Tom Forsyth of 3DLabs
Tom Frisinger of ATI.
Omar Yehia of Matrox.
Sim Dietrich of Nvidia.
Jim Bushnell and Chris Cagle of Pyramid Peak.
Raja Koduri of S3.
18/2

http://www.planetsoldieroffortune.com/

Enjoy!

7/2

Here's a quick rundown of the Video Settings menu which
may be of some interest.

Video Driver -
Either Default OpenGL or 3DFx OpenGL. Voodoo3s use Default
OpenGL as they are 2d/3d combo card.

Resolution -
I don't think I'll go over this one :)

Fullscreen -
Not an option you get with V1, V2 or Rush cards as they
only run fullscreen without special drivers. If you try and
run a 16 bit only card on a 32 bit desktop, then it will
not work.

Bitdepth -
Auto, 16 or 32. Auto picks the desktop display depth and
uses that if it can, otherwise defaults back to 16 bit.
Several cards (I740s, Riva128s and all 3dfx cards) cannot
handle 32 bit rendering and will default back to 16 bit
if you try it.

Alternate Simple Textures -
These are more generic textures used in place of the fluff
type textures. For example, the graffiti in the subway level
will change to the texture of the wall it is on if this
feature is enabled. This results in the levels not looking
as pretty but significantly less texture memory is used.

Texture Quality -
This is the mip value of the world textures. Lowering this
setting will blur the textures but use much less texture
memory. It is a speed vs looks tradeoff.

Skin Texture Quality -
As above, but for Ghoul textures.

Texture Format (Translucent Texture Format) -
The internal formats used by OpenGL to store texture data.
As always it is a tradeoff between memory, quality and
performance.
Low - This is 1 byte per texel (R3G3B2 and RGBA2). This can
look spectacularly ugly on some cards, but not too bad on
some others.
Medium - a short per texel (R5G6B5 and RGBA4). These are regular
16 bit textures - average memory usage, good quality and all
cards are optimised for this format.
High - a long per texel (RGB8 and RGBA8). True 32 bit textures
all around. This eats memory like nobodies business and
significantly increases the load on the AGP bus, but
guarantees true 32 bit rendering.
Default - what the drivers decide is best for you. Generally,
for 16 bit rendering, this will be the same as the medium
setting. If you are running at 32 bit, then the drivers MAY
promote the textures to 32 bit, but this is not guaranteed.
Some cards let you choose this setting in their display
properties.
S3TC - Automatically compress textures to reduce the system
memory and AGP bus load. The BTC algorithm used by S3 doesn't
play well conceptually with translucent textures and so is
not implemented for them. The GeForce has S3TC in hardware but
S3 will not license the tech to NVidia (or nVidia isn't
offering enough in the way of $), which is why the GeForce
OpenGL drivers do not have S3TC but the DirectX ones do.

3/2

I've updated the dedicated.cfg at
http://www2.ravensoft.com/users/jscott/sof/dedicated.cfg
as things got added/changed.

Please keep your comments coming to sof-demo@ravensoft.com.
We do read them all - even though we don't get chance to reply
to each one.

Any technical problems, check out the messageboards and FAQ
at http://sof.ravensoft.com. Kenn is doing an awesome job
helping people out.


27/1

I've put up a list of dmflags for you server admins
out there.
http://www2.ravensoft.com/users/jscott/sof/dmflags.txt
If someone wants to HTMLise these - feel free.

http://www2.ravensoft.com/users/jscott/sof/diatrical.jpg
These are the characters we base our fonts off. If
you want to play with l33t h4x0r names, then check it
out. You'll have to manually edit your config.cfg file
though.

Anyone know what a SiS530 video is ? (Apart from onboard
and claiming to be 3D).

ATI told me they were working the decal and shadow
problems - I'll keep you informed.

Kenn's brief poll of download sites yesterday revealed
well over a 100000 downloads of the demo *grin*.

I'm not feeling too well at all, forgive me if my email
replies are a little short today.

26/1

Things are just a little hectic around here :)

First off - check these out
http://www.penny-arcade.com/modem.shtml
http://www.penny-arcade.com/soldier.shtml
http://etherlife.gamesmatrix.com/soldier.gif

Thankyou for all your comments, please keep
them coming!

For the many people that have complained about the
lack on an invert mouse function - there is one in
just under the mouse sensitivity sliders.

For those of you that can't RTFM (like me) here's
a rundown of the scalability options.

Ghoul Light Method -
* Flat - Ugly and quick. One point light source for the
whole model.
* Balanced - 4 light sources interpolated over the model
and allows specular lighting.
* High - As balanced, but takes into account dynamic
lights.
* Hardware - Uses the GL T&L path. This will be the slowest
option unless you have a GeForce.

Shadow Quality -
* Off - No shadows.
* Low - Blob shadows
* High - Real time generated shadows (very expensive)

Specular lighting -
* Off - Not shiny models.
* On - Shiny models.

Detail Texturing -
* Off - None. Use for low fill rate cards.
* Ranged - Apply up to a range specified by the slider.
* On - Apply on the whole world.

Number of decals -
Decals are the explosion burn marks and the blood
splatters on the walls and floor. The further right
the slider - the more the game will remember.

Effect Overdraw -
The number of pixels the effects system renders before
culling out. Explosions especially but effects in general
can really eat fillrate. If you have a high fillrate card
(G400, GeForce/TNT2, V3) then slide this to the right for
better visual effects. If you have a low fillrate card
(V1, RagePro) then keep this slider to the left. The best
thing to do is tweak your settings so as to get the best
visuals with the least chug.

Corpse Duration -
This is the number of dead bodies lying around before they
fade out to nothing. As bodies have the same number of
polys as player models, they can be very expensive.

Model Expressions -
The number of facial expressions the enemies have. Turning
this down will reduce the amount of textures loaded.

Skin Variety -
If you want to shoot a bunch of clones, turn this right
down. Again, use for video cards with not much memory or
machines with low system memory.

26/8

As there is a Duke SETI team, why not a Raven team ? Sign up
if you wish!

http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/stats/team/team_6644.html


Raven...
James Monroe 12/9
Zachary Quarles 04/20
Rick Johnson 09/24
Bobby Duncanson 08/24
Pat Lipo 07/10
Kenn Hoekstra 07/8
Brian Shubat 04/19
Scott McNutt 03/19
Mike Renner 03/19
Kevin Long 03/19
Kim Lathrop 03/19
Jarod Showers 03/19
Ben Geisler 03/19
Robert Love 03/19
Mike Gummelt 03/19
Jon Zuk 03/19
Matt Pinkston 03/19
Chris Foster 03/19
Jim Hughes 05/23
Bryan Dube 05/23
Clem Samson-Samuel 05/23
Rob Gee 05/23
Mike Schulenberg 05/23
Brian Pelletier 05/23
John Scott 05/23
Marcus Whitlock 05/23
Eric Turman 03/1
Dan Kramer 03/1
Eric Biessman 03/1
Brian Raffel 03/1
M. Raymond-Judy 03/1
Jake Simpson 08/16
Mike Crowns 03/12
Chia Chin Lee 03/12
Josh Weier 03/12
Jeremy Statz 03/12
Jeff Lampo 03/12
Nathan Albury 01/15
William Mull 11/27
Steve Stringer 05/20
 

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