Christmas

Dec 21, 2007 at 8:44 AM
Christmas is coming up. This is my last day before that, as I wont be able to work on the project until after new year. I hope to see you all then.
Dec 21, 2007 at 1:17 PM
Proably the same for me (Assasins Creed, and Bioshock will demand my attention!). Have a good christmas guys!
Dec 21, 2007 at 2:54 PM
Yeah, I probably won't be getting much done in the next week or so either. Have a great holidays!
Coordinator
Dec 21, 2007 at 9:39 PM
I'm with you guys, I'll be out of town for a week. I probably won't be doing much until January as well. Have a great (whatever-the-hell-you-like-to-celebrate)!
Dec 24, 2007 at 2:18 PM
Well, happy christmas days to all of you. See you - least next year.
Coordinator
Dec 25, 2007 at 9:40 PM
Got me a 360 for Christmas, not sure if it is worth the money to use the 360 with XNa though, as we may not be doing much with the 360 and the engine. Just gotta get an HD-TV now :oP
Dec 26, 2007 at 4:10 AM
Overall, I don't regret my Creator's Club purchase. It can be very disappointing at times, but it's also fun and it is the only way for us peons to write code for the 360 (legally).
Dec 26, 2007 at 4:12 AM
Oh, and screw the HD-TV. I just picked up a Westinghouse 24" LCD monitor a few weeks ago. I connect my computer with HDMI, and my 360 with VGA cables. The thing also has component/composite/S-video input. 1920x1200 for desktop/PC games, 1920x1080 for Xbox games. Mmmm :)
Coordinator
Dec 26, 2007 at 4:49 AM
Yes, but it is for the entire living room, so it'll need to be at least 42". I found one for ~$1000 that isn't too bad.
Coordinator
Dec 27, 2007 at 4:40 PM
How are you connecting your 360 with VGA cables? Are you using a converter? Does your 360 have HDMI?

I'm wondering whether it'll be worth even getting the HDMI cable for my 360. Currently the component cable looks flawless on 1080p. It would certain take up less space as it is 1 cable instead of 5, but I won't notice that anyway. And I know HDMI supports a higher contrast ratio. I think I'm good for now. The only thing I'm pissed about is that the 360 doesn't have built-in wireless LAN, so I either need to run a 30ft Cat5 to my living room from my router, or spend $100 (wtf?!!) to get a wireless adapter.
Dec 27, 2007 at 5:03 PM
The wireless is a pain, but so worth it. I moved the xbox downsatairs to my living room, and took all of 5 minutes, On the subject of 360's, anyone got a list of ports that must be open to connect to it? Mine wont find my computer,and the 3rd party security software people dont have a clue.
Dec 27, 2007 at 5:07 PM
Edited Dec 27, 2007 at 5:09 PM
You can buy a VGA cable for the 360 for $20 or so on NewEgg. It just replaces the component/composite cable with a new VGA cable with RCA and optical audio outputs. I run the VGA line to my monitor, and I use an RCA to Mini converter on the audio cables to plug into the line-in on my computer. My computer doubles as an audio receiver. My 360 doesn't have HDMI, and I'd heard mixed reviews about using the HDMI converter on non-HDMI Xboxes. Is yours the Elite with the built-in HDMI?

The wireless solutions for the 360 are definitely lacking. Paying an extra $100 for wireless is right up there with a swift kick to the groin. This probably won't work for you since yours is for a living room, but I just connect my 360 to my computer via a switch. In my setup, the cable modem connects to a wireless router. My desktop has a wireless NIC that connects to the router. My desktop also has a wired NIC that connects to a switch, and has Internet Connection Sharing enabled. The Xbox connects to the switch and gets an internet connection through the desktop. I don't really do any online Xbox gaming, so I'm not all that concerned about NAT connectivity. As long as it can connect to Live and launch the XNA tools, I'm happy.

It's needlessly complicated, but it works. :)

Dec 27, 2007 at 5:10 PM


mikelid109 wrote:
The wireless is a pain, but so worth it. I moved the xbox downsatairs to my living room, and took all of 5 minutes, On the subject of 360's, anyone got a list of ports that must be open to connect to it? Mine wont find my computer,and the 3rd party security software people dont have a clue.


http://support.microsoft.com/kb/908874
Coordinator
Dec 27, 2007 at 6:27 PM


shawmishrak wrote:
Is yours the Elite with the built-in HDMI?


The new 360 SKUs all have built-in HDMI, whether they're Elite or not. The elite is black I believe, and comes with a larger HD. There are probably a couple of other things I'm not thinking about.

Oh, and no, mine is not the Elite.

As far as connecting the 360 for Xbox Live, I should be able to simply run the ethernet cable right to my router. I didn't think about connecting it for XNA purposes yet. I guess I assumed it would be easy (maybe I shouldn't assume).

I'll need to determine how important of a role the 360 will play in the engine before I spend the money to be able to connect it to my PC.
Dec 27, 2007 at 6:39 PM
The Xbox and PC just have to be on the same subnet. So, if both are connected to the router and the Xbox can connect to Live, you should be fine.
Coordinator
Dec 27, 2007 at 10:59 PM
All this talk about HDTVs, 360s, VGA, and other acronyms, has got my thinking I should hook my laptop up to my new TV and try out some TF2 (yes another acronym, team fortress 2) on the big screen.

When do we start working on the engine again? I nominate January 2nd, as all the major holidays will be over.

I don't even know what to work on when we start again. I think I was planning on the gamepad input system, but I remember a post about the input messaging system causing ungodly amounts of garbage, so that may have to wait.
Dec 28, 2007 at 1:46 AM
I've been spending time working with D3D 10 over the holidays. Call me weird, but its nice to do stuff in C++ again after spending several months with C#/.NET. That, and running down people in Unreal Tournament 3. There's just something entertaining about hopping in a buggy, deploying the front razor blades, and cutting the flag carrier in two. :)

For this project, the last week or so has been kind of counter-productive. Between the EULA "discoveries" and the other problems/issues/foibles of XNA 2.0, I've spent more time cursing at XNA than actually doing something productive with it. The "going forward" thread on the XNA boards is interesting, though it is sad that a decent chunk of people want built-in GUI support and D3D 10 support over technical fixes that only the XNA team can provide. Seriously, if the community can implement something themselves, let them do it. The focus of the XNA team should be on things we cannot provide, like an improved JIT'er for the Xbox, or high-performance math code. I think Shawn has stopped answering/commenting on any of my posts. ;)

January 2nd sounds good.
Dec 28, 2007 at 1:48 AM
By the way, what's your interpretation of this EULA 'gem'?

3. [...] you may not:
    * work around any technical limitations in the software;
Dec 28, 2007 at 5:56 AM

LordIkon wrote:
When do we start working on the engine again? I nominate January 2nd, as all the major holidays will be over.


2nd should be ok with me as well.


LordIkon wrote:
I don't even know what to work on when we start again. I think I was planning on the gamepad input system, but I remember a post about the input messaging system causing ungodly amounts of garbage, so that may have to wait.


The issue with the messaging system doesn't affect the messaging interface, just how the stack is handled internally, so you should be able to work on it. I'll hopefully upload a new pack quickly after the 2nd fixing the issue.
Dec 28, 2007 at 9:54 AM

shawmishrak wrote:
By the way, what's your interpretation of this EULA 'gem'?

3. [...] you may not:
    * work around any technical limitations in the software;


They just don't want you to reverse engineer the XNA assemblies and put together your own XNA, I guess (so no go for your own SpriteBatch override).
They cannot and must not limit you as a software developer to freely chose which external APIs to use in conjunction with XNA - so: go for FMOD, go for NUNIT, go for AGEIA or any other interesting API you want.
Well, just my personal opinion.

@XBOX360:
Don't have one, won't buy one - I have been a pc user since the time I sold my SEGA Mega Drive. Totally lost the ability to play with a gamepad ;)
But, uh... never say never.
Coordinator
Dec 28, 2007 at 2:11 PM

Suzume wrote:
{@XBOX360:
Don't have one, won't buy one - I have been a pc user since the time I sold my SEGA Mega Drive. Totally lost the ability to play with a gamepad ;)
But, uh... never say never.


I'm that way with every console until there are enough games that I like. That is why it took me a year and a half to get a 360. I've kept a policy of not buying a console until there are enough games because of my bad experience with the Nintendo GameCube.....great hardware at the time for the price, but the lack of games was terrible. I had it 4 years and owned 6 games for it, 1 was a gift and it sucked.

If you haven't had a console since the Mega Drive then you're obviously not seeing many titles for consoles you're interested in. I can tell you there are some games that just aren't made for a keyboard and mouse. Now that isn't stopping someone from using a gamepad with their computer, but you certainly shouldn't skip out on great titles due to the controller. I can tell you I'm pretty terrible at FPS games using a gamepad, but I still have to play some of them anyhow. For me, the thing that truly sold the 360 to me was Ninja Gaiden 2, Ninja Gaiden for the original XBox was grossly under-recognized and I have yet to meet a person that disliked it for anything other than the difficulty of it. Every now and then there is that title you just cannot wait to play, and those games can be the thing that sells the console. I guess that is why the console companies get them to sign exclusivity contracts, they want those games that bring people specifically to their console.
Dec 28, 2007 at 2:58 PM
I like the simplicity of a console. I like gamepads on the pc anyway, so its not a huge switch. For, me no worries about minimum specs or installation problems, just in it goes and im playing. Vista was meant to help with its Game Explorer (which is nice, but only a gimmick, as I could find ym game anyway) and 'Tray-and-play' (limited to halo 2 - so much fro that feature). The only thing it really added was gfw - live, and thats now on XP.
Coordinator
Dec 28, 2007 at 3:18 PM
I agree that simplicity of the console is also a great thing about it. Knowing that every game for it should work perfectly (as long as there are no hardware failures). That is the same reason why the PC is so great, the hardware is completely flexible, and upgradable, but at the expense of reliability. I must admit though, I haven't had my Vista machine have a single incompatibility, or a single crash or lock-up in the 11 months I've been using it, I guess I don't understand what all the bitching about Vista is about (although it does use plenty of RAM).
Dec 28, 2007 at 3:43 PM
Consoles are nice from a developer standpoint since you don't have to worry about hardware compatibilities. If it works on one Xbox, PS3, Wii, etc., it'll work on all the others.

I have mixed feelings about Vista. I use it all of the time now (since XP 64 sucks something fierce), but it does have its quirks. I don't mind the RAM usage since most of it is caching to start applications faster and will be freed if needed. However, Windows Explorer crashes several times a day on me, and sometimes I'll spontaneously lose my internet browsing ability and need to restart. I can ping web servers, and AIM/BitTorrent/SSH still work, but Firefox and IE (32-bit and 64-bit) give "Connection reset" errors whenever I try to browse to any web site. Hopefully SP1 fixes that issue. Other than these issues, Vista 64 boots faster and is generally a little "smoother" than XP 32 for me. The only driver incompatibility is with my HP devices. For some reason, HP refuses to release drivers for my laser printer and scanner. Though that's not really a fault of Vista.
Coordinator
Dec 28, 2007 at 4:29 PM
Wow, apparentely not all Vistas are created equal. I wonder if our differences is reliability are because of the 32 - 64bit difference, or hardware....or both?
Dec 28, 2007 at 4:45 PM
My vistas like yours Ikon. It works, but hogs memory. I like it, but can understand why people call it 'XP with a facelift'. I had wireless issues though. A registry setting was changed that meant I had corrupted connection details for my network. I had to manually find the registry entry adn change it back to get it working, and thats without knowing it was a registry problem in the first place. Thank god for google.
Coordinator
Dec 28, 2007 at 5:14 PM
Shaw is right about the memory though, Vista is only using that extra memory for caching.

For example:
I can be running nothing but two instances of VS and be using 1200mb of ram. And then I run something that hogs up memory on any OS, like Google Earth (with settings to use as much RAM as possible), play around with it for a few minutes and shut it down, and then all the sudden my RAM usages drops to 750mb, which is lower than it was before. Then after playing around in VS for awhile I'll be back up to 1200mb.
Dec 29, 2007 at 3:14 AM
Even with 4 GB of ram, Vista is currently reporting 40 MB of it unused. And that's with only two instances of Firefox, one instance of IE, and AIM running. Then again, I can play Unreal Tournament 3 for a couple hours, alt+tab out, and be at a usable desktop in less than 2 seconds. So, it's doing something right. ;)
Dec 29, 2007 at 12:24 PM

shawmishrak wrote:
Even with 4 GB of ram, Vista is currently reporting 40 MB of it unused. And that's with only two instances of Firefox, one instance of IE, and AIM running. Then again, I can play Unreal Tournament 3 for a couple hours, alt+tab out, and be at a usable desktop in less than 2 seconds. So, it's doing something right. ;)


Thats a lot!! Im running 2gb of ram and vista only uses 785mb of it. I would get a tool and have a look at where its all going.
Dec 29, 2007 at 5:30 PM
Edited Dec 29, 2007 at 5:32 PM
As reported by what? According to Task Manager (in the Performance tab), my physical memory usage is as follows:

Total:   4093 MB
Cached:  3115 MB
Free:    43 MB

A quick calculation shows that only around 935 MB are actually being used. Over 3 GB is just in caching. I really don't mind, since whenever memory is needed it'll just free up some of the cached memory. The caching is actually very nice though. I can click the Visual Studio 2008 item in my quick launch bar and have it open in just under a second.
Dec 29, 2007 at 6:29 PM

shawmishrak wrote:
As reported by what? According to Task Manager (in the Performance tab), my physical memory usage is as follows:

Total:   4093 MB
Cached:  3115 MB
Free:    43 MB

A quick calculation shows that only around 935 MB are actually being used. Over 3 GB is just in caching. I really don't mind, since whenever memory is needed it'll just free up some of the cached memory. The caching is actually very nice though. I can click the Visual Studio 2008 item in my quick launch bar and have it open in just under a second.


good point, my gadget only reported memory in use. Ive got 23 free apparently :)

How do you get the caching to work? Is it automatic or do you have to change something? Only asking as even firefox takes a few seconds to load.
Dec 29, 2007 at 6:35 PM
Caching is enabled by default. Even Windows XP has caching, though its more primitive and less useful. There's a Windows service that controls it that you can disable if you'd rather have the free memory, but I can't remember the name of it off the top of my head.

On a fresh boot, it takes a couple of seconds for Firefox to start up. But after that, any time I press the quick launch button its up instantaneously.
Coordinator
Dec 30, 2007 at 3:11 AM
Stupid XBox Live has been down for over 24 hours for new gamertags or recovering gamertags, and because I just got my 360 it doesn't have a Live registered gamertag yet, so that means I can't play any of my games on Live, ARG!
Dec 30, 2007 at 5:10 AM
Don't feel bad. I haven't been able to connect to Live for over a day now. And since the XNA team requires us to be connected to LIVE to deploy/test non-LIVE XNA games, I can't do anything XNA related on Xbox. I've had my GamerTag for a year now! And I had just found out how to P/Invoke directly into the .NET runtime, too. ;)

Vista's been flaking out on me lately, too. Unstable wireless connection, random UI freezes. I don't want to go back to XP, since then I'd be back in 32-bit mode and it takes forever to boot up anymore.

Coordinator
Dec 30, 2007 at 5:16 AM
Have you tried a 32-bit Vista? Boot-up isn't too bad on my laptop. But then again that is all relative. I'd estimate boot up to be around 20-30 seconds. Then another 30-45 seconds before all the startup stuff calms down. Then again I don't have a desktop core duo overclocked. Never had a bit of unstability with 32-bit Vista. No freezing, no internet issues,....nada.

I've read reports that said in some regions XBox Live has had issues for 6 days now! Figures the first time I try and connect my brand new 360 is the one time Live is down.
Dec 30, 2007 at 5:31 AM
Vista boot-time is fine, it's XP that sucks. I'd rather stay 64-bit, if for no other reason than full access to my 4 GB of RAM. I originally had Vista 32 and it didn't run as smoothly as Vista 64. Unfortunately, none of Microsoft's 64-bit OS offerings are "good." I need to run Memtest86 to make sure its not a memory issue, though I can run games for hours without a single problem so I doubt that's it.

A favorite quirk of Vista has to be the "search" text box in the start menu. Sometimes I use it as the old "Run..." option on the XP start menu for quick access to folders or programs. It works, but about half the time I type in something like "k:\projects\quickstart\", and when I press Enter it launches PIX or Control Panel. Something's not quite right there; they're not even close. :)

Oh, and I updated to a Core 2 Quad Q6600 this week. They're getting very cheap on NewEgg; it's less now than what I paid for my E6600 in June. No overclocking yet, but there's a significant difference in Unreal Tournament 3, especially in the special AGEIA levels demonstrating the PhysX effects.

As long as the LIVE issues are fixed in a few days, I'll be happy. I'm going to be on linux setting up a Cell development environment for the next couple of days anyway. I'm taking a research seminar next quarter on high-performance code optimizations for Intel processors, the Cell processor, and GPUs. Should be fun.
Coordinator
Dec 30, 2007 at 6:38 AM
Unfortunately since I have a laptop I can't do many changes to the hardware. I'll be getting a new desktop in a few months though. Likely a quad-core, not sure which one yet, but probably not a QX because I don't need something that extreme. The main reason I'm waiting for a new computer is for the 9 series GeForces which are rumored to be out in the next few months. Not to mention if I wait for that the price of everything else will either go down a bit by then, or get faster, either way is good. I'm not sure if I'll go for anything more than 2gb or ram, I've never actually used more than 1200mb, even with 7-8 programs running (not including the ones in the tray like anti-virus), with the exception of Google Earth, which will use it all if you let it, for caching of the maps you've seen that session.

I'm contemplating whether or not to get an Ageia card just yet. I wouldn't have a huge use for it. I'd probably get more benefit from a performance raid and a couple of raptor drives.

More about the NVidia. The 9 series will support DX 10.1, which I did hear will have new features that will not work on the 10.0 cards. I'm guessing the feature difference is not big enough to warrant a version of 11. It sounds to me like the 9 series card is being timed to release with Vista SP1, which itself will support DX 10.1. Also, it doesn't seem like NVidia is in a huge rush to push out the 9 series card because they're not being pressured by AMD/ATi competition. If ATi was right on their tail I think NVidia would push out a new card just to say they've got the newest thing.