16 Jan 2006
(updated 16 Jan 2006 at 04:32 UTC) »
Wow... A new year. Too bad I'm still fighting aftershocks from the previous 4-5 years. My hope is that things WILL be better VERY shortly (Can't say for certain- or even the what, for that matter- YET.) and I'll be in a much better position, financially, etc... Haven't signed the papers on the note refinance on the house (ugh...) but they finally got 'em to me- so I should be getting those back to the Mortgage Company shortly.
Things are looking up. And then, I find out that there's not going to be a Linucon 3 (Yep...) this year... Sigh... Well, good thing I managed to attend the inaugural one- it was a BLAST. (You know that little piccy of the Con Chaos machine being threaded through the chandalier of the hotel? Well, I was one of the several lunatics that did that! Boy that was fun...) Seems that Rob's moved elsewhere (Pittsburgh...) and they can't seem to score a ConCom Chair in time and don't want to go and push themselves through the fun they put themselves through last year with Linucon 2. Perhaps next year, they say... Well, yeah, but it's kind of difficult when you lose momentum like this. I'm hoping that they find a ConCom Chair (Hm... If only I was in Austin or they chose to hold it in DFW... :-) so that they will come back like the Phoenix from the ashes.
Anyhow, on to various topics...
Ever have one of those projects? You know, the one that just doesn't ever go away? Well, this is MY current project of that nature...
Don't get me wrong. The game's great and the bulk of the code is, while perhaps not as efficient as I'd like it myself, clean. I keep fixing things only to have OTHER things break on me. I fix the network problem by wedging in RakNet on a moment's notice only to have a severe crash-bug on some of my machines, and not others- because of a GCC problem. Now I'm going through cross-compiler hell to get this all straightened out. Hoping to have something out before the end of the month.
If you've NOT heard about RakNet, and you're doing games development with a GPLed game, or a commercial game, you might want to go over to Rakkarsoft's Website and kick the tires a bit if you're needing network code. It's dual licensed, GPL for those who're dinking about with code to make Stallman's eyes light up and put a smile on his face, and a free of cost license (Requires an application to be sent in and approved so they know you're using it, etc...) for Commercial and other Open Source licensed projects. It's easy to work with (I got it swapped in on my OpenPlay based port of the network code for Ballistics in one night.). It's better, capabilities wise than DirectPlay and OpenPlay (It includes things like Voice Chat and Reliable UDP (OpenPlay doesn't DO RUDP...)). It handles SIP STUN-like boring tunnels through firewalls (if you've got a master server to handle the exposed IP's like SIP's STUN does it...). It's completely cross-platform to any platform that supports BSD sockets or WinSock2.
Basically, there's no good reason for someone to be doing DirectPlay code these days (Not to mention that MS themselves have been telling people that they're deprecating it- and to roll your own network layer or license a 3rd party one...). If you don't want to roll your own, there's several different ways to go- RakNet, Torque Network Library, Quake3's code, etc. RakNet stands out because the classes are clean, the code simply snaps in place, and it just works- and it's quite cheap to use... :-)
Ah, what it's like to have Broadband...again... I won't bore you all with the details, but suffice it to say that Verizon oopsed on my DSL service in a way that left me without high-speed connectivity for a little over three weeks at the house while I waited for FiOS to be installed and lit at my house. However, with how things work now, for what I spent on DSL service, a single fixed IP, I now have about 10+ times the speed from start to finish to the Internet and 5 fixed IP's. Not bad, eh? I won't tell you all that it's the best in the world, but it DOES work nicely and people generally seem to think it's good. I wasn't happy with how it went down, but the performance, so far, has mostly made up for the comedy of errors that went down over the holidays.
Well, I got NDISwrapper to load the right firmware for the onboard Broadcom WiFi- after a rather long search for the right firmware image for MY adapter. It's not the one you'd think. Got the ATI support working; sadly it's not QUITE what they made it out to be- or what it's like on Windows (At least with the Laptop chipset, that is... I've got serviceable games play (i.e. It will render Quake4's demo without any real fuss...) with my work machine.). It's not stellar, but it wasn't supposed to be. However, for some things, some games, it's decently fast. For others, it bogs down evilly. I don't know if it's due to my needing to turn on the extra 128Mb of UMA memory use to be able to use the drivers- something that Windows doesn't seem to have a problem with. I've already logged a problem report and a general complaint with ATI, not that I'm thinking it's going to be of any use there. No, I don't think they're not listening or trying to improve support- they just aren't allocating enough people to the task in question if the Team lead for the Linux driver is to be believed. This is one of those things that probably shouldn't have happened in the first place. I should have been able to use the SidePort integrated RAM by itself- there shouldn't have been this little problem where X.org hangs hard if you don't have 128Mb of UMA RAM set on. Windows doesn't have this issue. There really IS no reason why it should be any different under Linux- unless they've done something stupid to get there under Windows. If that's the case, don't bother with it next time, guys. Stick with onboard/integrated memory or UMA, but not some ersatz combo of both.