flipCode - Tech File - Jacob Alan McCosh [an error occurred while processing this directive]
Jacob Alan McCosh
Click the name for some bio info

E-Mail: jmccosh@vt.edu

   07/12/2000, Tech File Update

Well... my my has it been a while. I've been working non-stop for the past 3 months, and I almost forgot that I still had this spot to vent on the amgiguity of life and everything that goes on during your stay here. Since my last tech file, I'm not sure where to begin. So much has happened, let's just try at the beginning.

First, I had something of a falling out with the people that wanted to build a game with me. They didn't know all that much about game programming, and performance issues in general. Since I have always spent a large part of my money on my computer and computer related things, I always have something close to a top of the line system. This is fun because no matter how bad my opengl code is, things still run fairly smooth. However, the friends of mine I was working with don't spend much money on hardware and things, mostly just games themselves. This led to the obvious problem that most things that I wanted to make wouldn't run well, or at all, on their systems. One example was that none of them had a computer that would do 32-bit rendering, much less anything that could do reasonable 3d acceleration. This led to the obvious debate over what baseline specs a computer would have to have in order to run the game we wanted to make. At the same time, they wanted me to write an engine that had full dynamic lush terrain that could be viewed from multiple perspectives and be fully dynamic (dynamic in the sense of someone summoning a volcano to grow up from the ground and it pouring lava through a town ripping down buildings and destroying structures left and right). This obviously is not really possible without serious hardware acceleration and the most amazing code ever written (well, maybe possible but certainly out of the reach of my lowly abilities). I finally gave up arguing the point and told them I'de try to do what I could. Soon after this I found that the one I was counting on to make textures, the "artist", didn't really know where to begin. When I told this person that the fact that she wanted to use photoshop 4.0 instead of 5.5 and couldn't do anything without the eye-candy plugins, I made an off-hand remark that she might not be the right person for the job. This sort of ended our relationship as partners and as friends, she's something of a sensitive character, and no one ever tells her the truth, she always gets what she wants from everybody.

Now look what I've done, I've spent all this time talking about something I honestly didn't mean to bring up. Anyways, After that ordeal I moved on to resume work on my own project, the tribes2 clone. This one has been a roolercoaster from the very begining. I posted a very early screenshot of the terrain renderer (basically one days work) showing nothing more than hacked up brute force terrain. Since then I've scrapped and re-written 4 different engines, and I'm currently trying to decide between a ROAM or a quad-tree based engine. The problem I keep running into is that I want to take advantage of display lists for t&l hardware and compiled vertex arrays for non-t&l hardware, and neither of them lend themselves very well without some very serious homogenous frames, which i'll probably end up implementing at some point. I am trying to hav fully dynamic terrain, but just the terrain, not really any other objects other than the interactive ones. This is all well and good, and hopefully I'll have something worth showing sometime soon.

I started my new website (www.os3productions.com), which I plan to use as a forum for game developers much like this one. I'll also have daily links posted about game development and other random news. The page isn't quite finished, and doesn't have a single word of real content anywhere on it, but i'm working to finish the messageboard, screenshot, rant, and tutorial uploading php scritps and hope to finish in the next week. My goal is to set up the site so that no matter where I am, or if I can't myself add content, other users will be able to submit information and it be dynamically updated. For this reason, I am looking for knowledgable developers to post news or things to the site, the more the merrier. Anyone interested can email me at omaha@os3productions.com and I will get back to you with login information so you can start.

On top of all of that, I'm working at a company called UUCom (no, not UUNet, UUCom) doing some system design, testing, and administration tasks here and there as an intern. It's alot of work and takes a good deal of time but I'm enjoying myself there and like the people I work with.

Once again, I've managed to produce something very lengthly that took a good amount to time to write without any real content, look for that to change in the near future.

- Jacob McCosh

  • 07/12/2000 - Tech File Update
  • 05/01/2000 - Introduction

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