Friday, April 30, 2004

Half-life 2 to use trangluar pixel maps.

I got an interview with Target, it went very fast. I talked to this 22 year old for my job. I wanted the job because I thought it was only one opportunity for it. I’m going to do stocking in the morning 5:30 – 12:00, but I don’t know if I got the job or not? I’m guessing not. I told her that when a customer steals something, I should yell out and say Stealer! Come back! Instead of immediately going to the manager or another store attendant. They all carry around walkie talkies so one person can let the whole store know. Oops! I forgot about that part. It’s true too. I should know, I played with walkie talkies when I was a kid all the time. It was the cheap versions for kids. Dumb really, you could shout further then the range of them.

Is it just me or is PS2 games getting like XBOX. In my opinion, game developers beefed up the console so it’s “over clocking” it. Putting the Dreamcast aside, the games never looked so good on my television! Poor dreamcast, I actually thought it would have a full lifespan. Than again we will still see Sega games, so I don’t miss Sega I guess. This article is all about Half-life 2, right?

Imagination is the limit, right, so I’m going to tell you some stuff that may or may not be true, but is so good that it should be. Planet Half-life updated their Half-life 2 section again. Take what I say with a grain of salt. I just talk about this because I want to gather info on my most favorite upcoming game, Half-life 2 for the PC. And there will be millions like me who will awe at the graphical improvements as much as the intelligence of the enemies…I want to learn about the technical side of the game, because it’s the 2nd most powerful gaming engine on Earth (First is ID software’s Doom III engine). I hate to speak word per word, but in a way their just trying to just say things to get hits! That’s all, how does it expect me to compete. I can! Okay, all I have to say about Half-life 2 is that the pc version looks as good if not better than the Xbox version. So far haven’t any of you noticed that most FPS take place in the future (unreal tournament, far cry, Duke Nukem 3D, Doom, Quake) You are Gordon Freeman, a x-black mesa research facility survivor. Only one thing - I haven’t heard of Black Mesa? Valve made a side story of Half-life called Blue Shift released in 2001. Oh wait isn’t it that faculty where I was in the first game. In Black Mesa, you play Barney. Barney is a security guard. Barney and his friends attempt to get out of Black Mesa and Barney is the only survivor, aside from a few scientists and Gordon. Barney is going to play a role in Half-life 2. Barney was the good guy while the marines, black ops and aliens were the bad guys. It’s like a modern day western. Rockstar North is the first to come out with a 3D western shooter. It’s hard to believe that Valve used Half-life engine for 8 years (since 1995, when they began developing it) They’ve enhanced it with patches over the years, but Blue Shift added higher resolution textures to all previous Half-life games. (owners should know, I don’t) If Counter-Strike popularity still holds up, we may see people still playing Half-life in one way or another in 2007. I guess that Valve will package the new game along with Half-life and Blue Shift as free bonuses. Half-life costs 10 bucks at Wal-Mart. Certainly they can afford one more CD. I hope so. I generally just give blank cds a way, you can get 100 pack for only 25 dollars. Before, didn’t’ it bother you that Half-life looked exactly like Goldeneye, a popular FPS for Nintendo 64 put together by Rareware, in high resolution. Remember the paint in Goldeneye, the bare walls, hidden away by a blazing fast graphics engine, realistic explosions, stellar weapons, and a very strong multiplayer campaign. In fact, I don’t know why Half-life wasn’t for N64! I found most of my information off this weird webpage [ http://collective.valve-erc.com/index.php?faq=source_mod_faq ] You’ve got to check this out, the faq has an outstanding amount of info on Half-life 2! I knew it! HL2 uses Maya. I downloaded Maya over the internet 8 months ago. It was huge (150 MB) Maya is a professional modeling tool costing a whopping 800 dollars. It is very good at what it’s meant for. Never was able to make models out of it. I tried very hard, read online tutorials, and never could design models. This is a good webpage to learn how to make models with Maya [ http://members.shaw.ca/psyc3d/tutorials_maya01.html ] It sounds like the Source engine will be used in games for the next 6 years. Two months ago I guess I was absolutely right, Valve will include upgrade tools. Valve confirmed that level designers who made Half-life Maps will be able to update it to be playable in Half-life 2. Take it that the mod community is also willing to upgrade the textures to look as good the rest of HL2. http://collective.valve-erc.com/index.php?faq=source_mod_faq§ion=106159035033544900&question=106159124050453000 Half-life 2 will use the same level design program (Hammer) as Half-life 1 just a much newer version.
http://collective.valve-erc.com/index.php?faq=source_mod_faq§ion=106159035033544900&question=106159124050453000 The new Half-life 2 will use the same level design program (Hammer) as Half-life 1 just a much newer version.



Another interesting thing I found out about Half-life which explains it’s depth is that the Map size is 16 times bigger. The map size I’m talking about the image/texture map on any given object. The maps are going to be bigger then half-life. You know that in Unreal Tournament 2004, some of the larger maps are 50 MB or more. I’m guessing each Half-life level will be more than that. Remember all the characters, sound, lighting effects are going to be loaded within the map file. This new technology, sound and lighting is included in textures apart of the maps.

VERC says half-life 2 will have characters models that use 7500 polygons each. That’s the main characters. The smaller creatures will have half that much. Game designers call this comparison, LOD (level of detail) I’m surprised, and I thought the people would have as much polygons as Gordon’s hand does. (You see it all the time, it’s on the lower right part of your screen) VERC says that hand is about 2000 polygons.

I found out that the game will use 33 to 50 passes for each texture (filled with 2000 - 7500 polygons). 16.5 passes per second for 60 frames per second | 33 cycles per second for 30 frames if your computer can handle that many cycles. Data can only go so fast right so sometimes textures have to make multiple passes, Half-life is much more advanced than most games because it requires 33 passes. Mid-range computers may only be able to do 60 frames at 800x600 while faster computers can do 60 frames per second at 1024/968, but must be able to do the full (30-50 range) If one texture can do this than the whole level can be handled the same way.

I am going to answer the apex of all graphics engine questions. Why are triangles better than squares? Triangles are half a square so they can curve twice as much. It puts an end to squareish looking textures. I like to relate Goldeneye and Super Mario 64 with this, because I remember the box-like bodies. Hey, it was state-of-the-art in 1997. We can’t do circles because circles don’t evenly connect to each other, there would be gaps. With triangles, there are no gaps since all the edges of one triangle are parallel to the one across from it. What’s the next step in polygon evolution? Hexagons? Nvidia says it’s Geforce 6800 can do 4 quads per second. A quad is a 2x2 pixel tile. It’s too complex to put in words so I’m going to give you a diagram from Beyond3D.com. [ See the squares! They're converted into tranangles - well almost! ]



“As the diagram above suggests, rendering in 2x2 pixel quads can leave potential inefficiencies since at the edges of the triangle some pixels may fall outside of an area that requires rendering, meaning these pipelines are effectively not used as they can't operate on other triangles because some pipelines in the quad group are occupied. Yet the benefits of a quad pipeline organisation usually outweigh this pitfall.”

Talking about the game…I’m thinking I’m just going to download the beta myself. I hear from http://www.half-life2.org.uk/ (Damn British know more then I do) that the full version of half-life 2 is leaked on the Internet(SWEET!) I opened Emule (Person/Person sharing unity) Link: Half Life 2 Beta-Anon Only Hl2 100%.rar I found many hits claiming to be Half-life 2. I’m guess they’re all real. It seems that both come in 3 parts all 650 MB files – probably are cd images. That’s understandable since the game may come packaged with 3 CDs. It will be 7 months before Half-life 2 comes out commercially. I know some have Trojan horses, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take to play HL2 early. And I’ll be sure to tell everyone if it works and how stable the beta is.

Remember back to the first FMVs and how they shown characters that weren’t as bump mapped as today’s games. I agree with Final Fantasy fans when the next Final Fantasy game hits PS3, it’ll look very close to Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. In my opinion FF: Spirits looks better then Shrek. In actual gameplay if graphics looked like FF Spirits, I would become dumb-founded. FF Spirits looks better than the Final Fantasy X cut scenes, not by much though. We’re not limited by media storage any longer. To discover myself, I just had to stick Final Fantasy X into my DVD-Rom drive and under properties where it showed the GIGs used, I found it to be 4.5 Gigabytes. WOW! Final Fantasy XI is much bigger using a hard drive just to carry the space. I should know, the PC version of FFXI is 6 700 MB cds that all need to be installed to you’re hard drive and the data is compressed so I got it, it took up 6.1 Gigabytes. It would have been much cheaper to just have 2 DVDs packaged into one case for the PS2 version. If you can put music on your drive than what’s the need for it? I really want to know. Xbox 2 and PS3 aren’t going to have a hard drive for this reason. We’ll start seeing more then one DVD for one game in the future cause soon DVDs aren’t enough.

Here is what I found out

1. Final Fantasy 10 used 4.55 Gigabytes
2. Metal Gear Solid 2 used 4.3 Gigabytes
3. Final Fantasy 10-2 used 3.9 Gigabytes
4. Jak 2 used 4.1 Gigabytes
5. Winning Eleven 6 used 3.4 Gigabytes
6. R&C Going Commando used 3.8 gigabytes
7. Xenosaga used 3.9 Gigabytes
8. Gran Tranismo 3 used 3.8 gigabytes

Now how can high res games be put on one DVD if a DVD only has 4.7 gigabytes of data? Isn’t this weird how games will soon use more then 4.7 gigabytes. Making two DVDs is probably as expensive as making 4 CDs. Sony should seriously think of updating to using MP3 for audio files and MPEG 4 for movies just to conserve space. MPEG 4 has a 1/10 ratio over uncompressed video with barely any image loss. There is also this popular format called Bink Video. [ww.radgametools.com ] It is used in some videogames today. Bink Video is popular to use for games because game developers don’t have to play big bucks to register for compression programs. The BIK conversion program is free off Bink’s website, works with both video and audio. Playstation uses a format called PSS. PSS is a compressed format for video. I liked it how PSone games used MPEG1 for video. The other day I tried to get PS2play to work. PS2play is the only real Playstation 2 video reader available to my knowledge. NGemu.com has it for download. I want to see the alternate ending FMV of Final Fantasy 10. I don’t need to see it, but it would be nice to just watch it when ever I want too.

You know I haven’t seen those mini DVDs that the Gamecube uses take off. Someone at school had one of those 1.8 inch mini disc and I thought he was rich. This was before DVDs came out so I didn’t know any disc except the CD.

I now have an 80 GB external hard drive! It came in the mail today. I’m surprised, it’s much bigger then my Apple iPod. I looked recently and iPods still cost 340 dollars at Target! Expensive, but worth it for those who want to carry 20 gigabytes of music in your pant’s pocket. I don’t need a second one. There is this term that I like to use – it’s called ‘delete’, and people worried about space restraints should use it sometime. The new MP3 players have FM tuners allowing you to record FM stations to MP3. People like me! LOL! If you think would you rather spend 50 dollars on a 128MB thumb stick or 100 dollars on a lithium battery operated 10 GB MP3 player that doubles as regular data storage? Me, I have two 128 MB and one 64 MB thumb sticks. The most I ever downloaded off the schools server was 200 MB. That was last week. I’ve downloaded 200 MB over a modem from night to day one time listening to the Internet Radio service, Shoutcast. I like shoutcast. They have new songs, and all you need is an Internet service provider to listen and rip the latest music. How can you expand what music you like if you don’t try new things? There are over 200 radio stations on Shoutcast. Shoutcast is best listened with Winamp.

I’m also trying to rip audio from my tv, it works very well. I’m getting 128 kbp (high quality) techno from satellite. Want to know the secret because to some people it’s no secret. Take headphone wire and hook one end to your tv’s headphone jack and the other end to your analog input jack on the iPod. You’ll know if you got any signal because the horizontal bars on the LCD screen will light up. It’s better then having an internet station open. I’m also going to try to rip some long sessions of Country and rock. Reggie and some Soft rock....I’m not sure about.

To end this entry I like to include an updated favorite playlist….

1.) Mario Piu & Mauro Picotto - Trippin On E
2.) Binary Finary - 1999
3.) Mauro Picotto – Pulsar
4.) Bruno Fergani – Trancelation
5.) Bruno Fergani - SunStorm Extended Mix
6.) LTJ Bukem – Moonbeat
7.) Tall Paul - Wizards Of The Sonic (Matt Darey Remix)
8.) DJ Mystik vs Sasha & John Digweed – Enjoy the Silence
9.) Blank & Jones - Cream (ATB Mix)
10.) Chicane -Autumn Tactics (Thrillseekers Club Mix)
11.) ATB- Sunscreen
12.) Mauro Picotto - Komodo (Megavoices Mix)
13.) Robert Miles – Fable
14.) Ayla Liebe (Atb Remix)
15.) Seb Fontaine - Cygnus X - The Orange Theme (Solar Stone Remix)
16.) ATB – Underwater World
17.) ATB – Angels
18.) Kaycee - Escape 2000

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