I've been very ill since November and unable to do any coding. Anyway, now I'm OK again, I've decided to start something new. Actually starting a completely new piece of code is scary so I recycled some of my old code into the new project. [DirectDraw handling e.t.c.].
About a month ago I found a link to the homepage of Jeff Minter in the UK computer magazine EDGE [which is cool]. For those who don't know Jeff Minter is a coder who made games such as Tempest 2K and Llamatron [You would not believe how hard but addictive this game is]. I hadn't played one of his games for a long time, since 'Revenge of the mutant camels' on my Atari ST.
The address is http://www.magicnet.net/~yak and I would recommend that you go and read it. After I read it I realised that I had been writing the same fucking 3D engine for so long I had forgotton how much fun coding used to be for me. Minter's site, has some links to sound reactive computer programs. I downloaded a program called Cthugha. This, to put it mildly is brilliant - It converts sound from your PC into graphics in real time. [http://www.afn.org/~cthugha, the dos version is much better than the beta Windows version].
After feeding every CD I have to my PC I decided that sound reactive programs were a good idea. I would have a go at coding a sound reactive program myself, so I started work on a sound reactive game. By Christmas eve I had a sound engine working but I hadn't started on the game part. That day I went into Leicester town center to buy some [very] late Christmas presents. Sitting on the shelf of one of the shops was Quake 3 Arena. I bought it. I played it. Lots. It's a very good game but what suprised me most was the speed and quality of the accelerated graphics, even on a crappy video card like mine. I made up my mind to use 3D accelerated graphics for my new game.
Then came the big descision, OGL or D3D. After seeing Q3A I had almost made my mind up to go with OGL, but in the end I decided to go with D3D because it was easier to integrate it with my existing DirectDraw code. I downloaded the DirectX7 libraries, headers and documentation [about 6 megs total, Microsoft's site has this cutdown archive available for download] and I'm very glad I did. While its true that previous releases of D3D were terrable [D3D interfaces 1, 2 and bits of 3], I have to congratulate Microsoft on Direct3D 7, it's great, the interface is smaller and very easy to work with.
What the hell are you coding then?
Simple 3D shoot 'em up [in the style of the great Minter]. The graphics will be 'influenced' in realtime by whatever sound [CD's, mods, the sound effects, microphones e.t.c.] happens to be passing through the PC.
I'll go into detail on how you get your PC to give you a realtime sound waveform. [To get stable quickly updated audio data is not as easy as it first seems].
By the time anyone reads this I should have uploaded some new stuff to my website - http://www.bigwig.net/mooshtack_boorai