Friday, July 28, 2006

Job confirmed

The Hartford building hired me yesterday. I’ll start on Monday for $11/ hour in work trials. Pretty good pay. Anywoo, been playing Gran Turismo 4 and forgot how fun it was for a last generation game. Catharton may think that PS2 graphics suck, but they have no appreciation for GT4. You can race pickups! I tried half of the tracks in time trials…used the 2003 Shelby Series 1 for the majority racing my ghost.

Saw the new screens of the new Sonic the Hedgehog for PS3. It’s alright. The cast is from the anime Sonic X. I know how much Sonic Adventure voice acting stunk like rotten milk. Disavow indeed. At least Sonic has got his speed back! If I don’t get a PS3 by December, this game may be a 360 purchase.

Another game I want for PS3 is Resistance: Fall of Man, a first person shooter set in the 1950s Europe. Always looking forward to another Gran Turismo. Problem with PS3s are those may be glitchy when it first comes out like the PS2 in the beginning.

My opinion of the military.

Our soldiers are doing well in Iraq or Iran or Afghanistan despite the 2000+ death count. We got the A1M1/A1M2 Abraham tanks and HumVs with some of the better assault rifles or machine guns. General Motors Defense even makes dumb-mine plows for A1M1 tanks. I don’t believe that they should come back until US is 95% safe from nuclear attack from axis of evil.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

PCSX2 0.9.1 out

PCSX2 0.9.1 is out at (you can download the source code). Some PS2 games are suppose to be playable. Most 2D games and menus started reaching 60-120 fps, ingame 3D was still slow. During this time, Pcsx2 started supporting dual core CPUs (frame rates usually doubled). With release 0.9.1 in Summer 2006, most 3D scenes hit frame rates of 15-30fps on a 3GHz machine. It’s 25 frames per second faster than 0.9 because PCSX2 has enjoyed rapid increases in performance since January. I found out that the FMV wouldn’t show up the MPEG2 decoder is absent despite having “ffdshow codec pack” installed. Program now comes with a PS2 and PSone bios.

Didn’t have controller set up.

X or start didn't do anything....DVD-ROM didn't want to load data.

Settings I used

Graphics: default
DVD: EEP Polling CDVD driver 0.4.0
Sound: P.e. Op.S SP2

I finally got Valkyrie Profile Lenneth (anime JRPG), I saw it under glass early last year for $100 and that’s the only real copy I saw. The PSP has potential. Why is it popular? People liking console RPGs especially Enix RPGs would be interested anyways. Only 50,000 copies were shipped before this game. Another videogame based on Norse mythlogy is Too Human for Xbox 360.

I also bought 3D Realm’s Prey. Upgraded dead project of the late 1990s resurrected by Human Head Studios and Venom Studios with added ideas and updated first person shooter game play to give Far Cry Instincts and Perfect Dark Zero a run for it’s money. Thought it was a good investment.

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Still am playing Titan Quest. Graphics are really nice, best looking action RPG out. You should buy it. The game lags at 1600x1200 so I am wondering if I should put Nvidia nTune 5 to good use. nTune 5 will overclock my Athlon 64 (possible up to 3 GHz, but that’s crazy) , 2.5 GB accessible DDR RAM, and GPU making my system faster. One thing I noticed is the RAM clock speed was 400 MHz with one gig and now 333 MHz with 3 Gigs installed . I want it back to normal and am temped to use nTune. First thing to do is use stress test for 10 minutes to see how stable my hardware is at stock clockspeeds. Picture of what it looks like.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Titan Quest (aka Dungeon Siege III)

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Am playing this Titan Quest (aka Dungeon Siege III) I've heard so little about these one. Walking in Wal-mart and kind of thought this was the one. It's standard hack 'n slash RPG fundamentals with above average replay value if your favorite game used to be Diablo 2 Lord of Destruction. Graphics are 8.5...already looks better than Dungeon Siege 2 (circa 2005 Gas Powered Games). DS2 was Febuary's favorite. This along with First Encounter Assault Recon will be my July favorites. Elder Scrolls IV (4 pc) was last month's favorite now that i think about it. It was kind of the best of hte bunch i bought last month says

Plays a lot like Dungeon Siege 2 from the user interface. [i] is for inventory. [s] is for skills. [c] is for character window. Portals are free.

newest games

* Titan Quest (Ironlore)
* Lunar Legends (Game Arts)
* Half-life 2 Episode 1 (valve)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Got used 2 PCs!

I got a free laptop, but not as fast as the HP Livestrong….it’s a 2003 model. HP Pavilion ze5170 with upgraded RAM. It was going to be my mother, but I convensed her that i would use it whenever she wasn’t using it for internet. She could take it out of my room whenever. After all it would only be one once every two weeks. Waste of it’s usefulness.

The Windows XP was very slow because it had Norton Firefall and spyware programs on it and the amount of programs so I reformatted the hard drive and now it boots 3x faster than before.

HP Pavilion ze5170 SPECS

• Penitum 4 HT Technology 2.0 GHz
• 512 MB of RAM PC2400
• ATI Radeon Mobile 32 MB DDR1
• Antiglare LCD
• 40 GB HDD

Then I replaced the CMOS battery in the Compaq Presario 5862, and it booted Win98 fine now. Slower then I am use too. The power button is shot. I need to unplug the power cord to turn it off. My version of Commodore 64 (although I have consoles that are older and outperform C64) It still had a modem and no Ethernet card. I had to install one afterwards. It’s slow, but it runs MS Office and Firefox.

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Compaq Presario 5862

• Athlon 650 MHz
• 256 MB of SDRAM
• Windows 98 SE
• 4x DVD-ROM
• 48x CD Burner
Tyan Radeon 9250 64 MB DDR (better then the original Geforce 256 by far)

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Got 2 extra computers. I bought Half-life 2 Episode 1 and Titan Quest (Diablo clone) yesterday after reading online reviewa. I thought a Diablo clone would be more fun than Spellforce 2 (RPG/RTS hybrid). Both got about the same score at

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

CIE Luv:: Best color compression!

PSINext: High dynamic range lighting - or HDR - is a term we're starting to hear more and more of these days. Can you explain to us exactly what HDR is, and what it means to people sitting in front of their screens playing a game?

Marco: Yeah, it's a very common term nowadays and it's often misused.

When we render an HDR image, we are basically storing all of the information we need to represent the amount of light that passes through every pixel of our picture, so that we can capture a scene in all its color and luminance-range richness. Unfortunately, current low-cost display technologies (common LCDs, CRTs, etc..) can't properly display an HDR image, so we need to go through a process called 'tone mapping' to remap our image to an LDR (Low Dynamic Range) image in order to display it on a screen.

Tone mapping can also be used to simulate the way our eyes slowly adapt to different light conditions. In the end it means a better visual experience for gamers, although it will take time for the industry to get it right.

PSINext: What are some examples of scenery within a game that benefit from HDR?

Marco: Compared to LDR rendering, every scene that requires a very low or very high global luminance image, or an image with a high contrast ratio, would benefit from HDR lighting.

It's a way to avoid globally saturated images where everything comes out too bright or too dark and the viewer loses all that precious lighting/color information that enriches an image and makes it believable.

Furthermore, a specific tone mapping operator can give to a developer an extra tool to improve story telling, because it can be tweaked to simulate particular behaviors of human vision. It's important to understand that HDR is not just about nice bloom effects - it's much more than that. There's no such thing as LDR imagery in our every day lives.

PSINext: People have come to associate high dynamic range lighting with on-chip hardware support for either FP16 or FP32 HDR rendering. How does Team Ninja implement NAO32, and can it be considered 'real' HDR?

Marco: The FP16 and FP32 rendering formats give a developer the opportunity to collect per pixel information (respectively 8 and 16 bytes per pixel); hence they easily enable us to render and to store an HDR image. Unfortunately, these framebuffer formats are inherently slow because they require more memory bandwidth and increased memory space: an FP16 720p image with 4X anti-aliasing requires about 30 MBytes of memory!

At the same time it's important to understand that it does not matter how we store our HDR images so long as we find a way to encode them without losing too much information.

The RGB color space is not very efficient at encoding HDR images, so after a bit of research we found another color space that is far more efficient at representing HDR images. Its name is is is , and it splits a color into 3 components: one is not normalized and represents how intense a color is (luminance), while the other 2 components are normalized between 0 and 1.

Gregory Ward, a pioneer of HDR imaging, exploited this color space many years ago to store HDR images in a file format he called LogLuv, so we built upon that work and we customized it to our purposes.

PSINext: So NAO32 is a means for you to preserve memory while at the same time retaining image quality, is that correct?

Marco: Correct. The main idea behind NAO32 is that we want to trade shading power to regain memory space and bandwidth (very precious resources on a console). So instead of encoding our HDR colors into a FP16 or FP32 frame buffer, we devised a scheme to use RSX pixel shading units to convert an RGB color in a CIE Luv color that only requires a common RGBA8 frame buffer (4 bytes per pixel, half the space of a FP16 pixel) to be fully stored.

The quality of this format is really outstanding. Even if it uses half the space/bandwidth of common HDR rendering solutions, it really makes no compromises at all in image quality.

There's no magic here: HDR rendering costs are shifted from memory to shaders, and so our shaders are a bit longer now (between 3 and 5 cycles). We believe it's a very good trade-off. Furthermore, it enables HDR rendering and multisample anti-aliasing on GPUs that do not natively support AA with floating point render targets such as FP16 and FP32.

We also developed a faster 3 bytes per pixel version called NAO24 (predictable, isn't it?) that supports a narrower dynamic range with less accuracy. And although the quality was quite decent in most cases, we decided against making any compromises, and so in the end we did not use it.

My final answer is totally positive: NAO32 can be considered a real HDR format.

PSINext: The advantages of reduced space and preserved quality seem like they would have merit in a number of environments. Do you think there may be a place for NAO32 on the desktop, or even on Microsoft's or Nintendo's offerings?

Marco: Dunno about Nintendo's offering, but it might have merit on Microsoft's console if developers wanted something that takes the same storage space as an FP10 render target, but with a much higher level of quality. NAO32 on Xenos would cost developers shading power relative to FP10, however, and they would lose the ability to use the eDRAM for blending as well. So at this time, I believe something like NAO32 makes more sense on RSX than on Xenos.

PSINext: We've spoken here about a number of NAO32's advantages. Are there any notable drawbacks?

Marco: Yes, there are drawbacks too; it's not an all-win situation. GPUs usually support hardware blending in RGB color spaces, hence hardware assisted blending is not going to work on a NAO32 frame buffer - it would produce incorrect results.

There are various ways to overcome this limitation though, such as by emulating blending operations in a pixel shader, or performing blending on a FP16 render target and then composing the result… or even just blending in LDR in a common RGBA8 buffer.

It would be nice to have a GPU that natively supports a CIE Luv frame buffer though.

PSINext: If I may ask, what originally inspired the name NAO32?

Marco: I didn't name it, actually Dean did on Beyond3D. You should ask him! Internally, we used to call it "the funky color space."

PSINext: That's right, I remember that now that you mention it. NAO32 is the better name, for sure.

Straying from HDR for a bit before we finish up, now that Sony has announced the hard drive to be standard in every console, how do you feel this might effect game development in general, and Heavenly Sword in particular?

Marco: I believe it's a big opportunity for all developers to make better games. This generation the ratio between available memory and optical disc read speeds is much higher than what we had in the previous generation, and a standard hard drive is going to help us reduce loading times and give gamers a better experience.

Regarding HS, this announcement is not going to change our plans.

[It has been confirmed that Heavenly Sword will be making use of the hard drive]

PSINext: After getting to play the game at E3, it's clear that a number of intensive effects such as HDR - courtesy of NAO32 of course - and full soft shadowing are in place. What can you tell us about the levels of anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering, if any, Ninja Theory is utilizing for Heavenly Sword?

Marco: Yep, shadowing is completely dynamic and everything can cast/receive shadows. Soft shadows are achieved taking 12 jittered samples per pixel. Antialiasing is set to 4X (multisampling), but quality wise is not as good as it could be; we need to work on it, and hopefully it will improve over the next several months.

Anisotropic filtering is being used on some specific meshes (floors, walls, etc...) and AFAIK is set to 8x + trilinear.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Cars will not look like Lexus 2054 in 2014 | Great fireworks display at Webster

Saw fireworks on the July 2nd by Webster, WI. The town had an hour long fireworks display which is suppose to improve each year. Rockets were shot over a baseball diamond. My family arrived there at 7PM and stayed for 10PM. People were doing their own thing. 250 Cars were park on both sides of the road. We had to walk up the hill, over the railroad tracks, to the diamond and there is so many people in Webster, you get lost.

Two of my cousins were there. One was 9th grader, other was 6th grader. Both like Diablo 2. Wouldn’t shut up about this RPG. Lars says he got up to level 65 in the game. I bought over the handhelds, played New Super Mario Bros. for 3 hours outside, and then stopped because there was conversation. Advanced to 4th level in NSMB. Then I played an emulated version of Gunstar Heroes, Phantasy Star IV – End of the Millennium and Shining Force 2 on PSP. Trying not to go in detail.
Watched “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada” that night Tommy Lee Jones taking a corpse to Mexico before the FBI gets him.

Then today I watched the anti-American BBC World Newcast on BBC America. They mentioned America’s Independence Day all the time and showed Discovery shuttle launch for good measure. Then I watched Fox News Channel and felt all patriotic again. But of course they didn’t come to America to show it, they showed it at Camp Victory in Baghdad because to them that was important. Then they talked about our little gas shortage because it would hurt us somehow. We do have the most roads anywhere in the world and most advanced freeway system with vehicles traveling with no or little gaps since 1955. Point is we use a lot of gas and we need corn ethanol. We really do ignore our passenger trains. We got the massive corn oil supply. The problem is conversing farmers that it’s profitable. All you have to do is fit your vehicle to take ethanol. Sorry, but the truth is Audi RSQ Concept or Lexus 2054 will not be on the road before 2015. Point is anything you see today on the street will exist in 2014 except newer models and 2 miles to the gallon better.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Good thing I believe in afterlife

2004 XP14, a half-mile wide chunk of hard rock traveling at 40 000 miles an hour, will miss the Earth by a few hundred thousand miles.

I don't know what I would've done. Probably sit in a lawn chair, some Mountain Dew/Vodka and SunChips and watch the show! I would've called Randy and invited him to watch the show! There wouldn't be any possibility to get laid until heaven! I would like to thank God, the other god and The Holy Spirit for saving humanity from Armageddon. Amen!

Now to go to Gamestop!