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Upcoming DarkXL Build 9.09 Feature – Pure Renderer November 20, 2010

Posted by luciusdxl in Uncategorized.
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The next build will introduce the “Pure Renderer.” The point of this renderer is to emulate the software rendered look of the original game, while using hardware to do it. There are several reasons to have this capability:

* Nostalgia – some people want to play the game as it originally looked but still have better compatibility, better performance on modern systems, limit removal (for modding), mouse look (but you’ll be able to use keys to) and so on. This would appeal to the “Chocolate Doom” type fans.

* When tweaking elements of the game I’d like the ability to directly compare DarkXL and DosBox, graphics, controls and all. This way I can get all the default behaviors to be correct but allow users to turn up AI difficulty or other features if they want to. This is directly applicable to the next build, when I finish up all the functionality.

Of course I expect that many people won’t play in this mode (I’ll mainly use it for testing, I prefer the clean look of the standard renderer) – but some will enjoy it and it’s good for testing. And it will be possible to play in higher resolutions with palette support, though the scaling won’t be as accurate or faithful to the DOS version.

In this mode DarkXL renders the view in 320×200, using the palette and color map for shading. I’m still tweaking the depth cueing, but this gives the same rendered result (except for bugs) as the original game. I will be adding support that would allow sprites to be rendered without clipping into floors and ceilings to finish it off.

It also fits the 320×200 resolution into the selected (ideally native) resolution in a way that preserves the aspect ratio, like Chocolate Doom, rendering pixels with a 5:6 ratio (16:10 fit into a 4:3 space). To avoid as much stretching as possible, the display is letterboxed as needed. With 1600×1200 native resolution or higher, this gives you perfect scaling. With lower resolutions, there may be some fractional scaling on the Y axis, but this isn’t generally noticeable (though the X axis is still precise).

In the screenshots, the weapon is not using the colormap/palette for lighting but everything else is. And something weird happens with the ammo text in 320×200. These issues will be fixed.

In the screenshots click on the thumbnails to see the full resolution – you can see what it does to fit the screen to my 1920×1200 widescreen display. Notice that the image is crisp, not blurry due to scaling.

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Comments»

1. guru - November 20, 2010

great work! for higher screen resolutions in both modes – have you considered add the option of scaling up the textures at load-time with upscaling routines? you can see some of the options here http://www.dosbox.com/wiki/Scaler, I suspect the dark forces textures should work well whith these filters. I have seen this in a doom port (can’t remember which one) and it can really help improve the visuals (as compared to the more blurry texture scaling).

2. luciusdxl - November 20, 2010

Yes, that is planned post-Beta.

3. Zarkiel - November 21, 2010

This project is made of pure win and PWNage.

I also second the Texture (and sprite!) Scaling idea – it looks awesome in ZDoom, and it surely will look even more awesome in Dark Forces. Algorythms are open and freely available – even wiki has them : (advMame3x is my favourite)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixel_art_scaling_algorithms

4. guru - November 21, 2010

That’s great, thanks!

5. Xenophon - November 21, 2010

I’m not a purest as far as graphic rendering and would like to see a better looking Dark Forces. One with more detailed textures like Quake 2 High Res.

6. Zach - November 21, 2010

May you live to see a thousand years, lucius. I was worried. I had felt the noose of death constricting on this beauteous project… but you have come back from death, and have brought light back to the world.

7. Anony - November 23, 2010

The pure renderer is a great idea, but I’m really looking forward to seeing the remaining weapons and secondary fire. That is going to be awesome!

Will the option be given to type the classic cheat codes right on the keyboard like the original Dark Forces?

luciusdxl - November 23, 2010

Weapons, secondary fire and other features will come online next build.


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