Cityscape – part 3

The march towards photorealism continues ever onwards:

Look, okay, one day I promise it’ll look more like real buildings. Today’s (first? we’ll see) update isn’t such a big one, but it adds a couple of useful bits and bobs.

Firstly, there’s that there framerate counter. To do that, I’ve added a new GameComponent, and in the Update() method simply keep track of the number of frames and the elapsed time (and have a ‘resettable’ counter that resets on 1second intervals, to get an idea of the ‘current’ framerate, as well as the average). This provides a service for the main Game engine to use to get the current framerate (which might be useful later for doing adaptive LOD cleverness). The display of the counter is achieved using a simple SpriteFont – the XNA Content Pipeline handles all the heavy lifting in turning a .TTF into something you can draw in your SpriteBatch, and there’s a handy utility method to draw the text to the screen.

(the reason for adding the counter was that I was running the code on my Samsung NC10 netbook, and whilst it looked like it was coping reasonably well, it was hard to tell exactly how well. Turns out it’s getting about 40fps, which is quite respectable, but with a lot of jitter and tearing. For what it’s worth, the machine I’m doing most of the dev on is a Dell laptop with GeForce 8600M GT, which is where the screenshots are from – it hovers around 60fps; I assume XNA is locking Update()/Draw() calls to vsyncs.

Next, I’ve added procedural texture generation. This is extremely early days for this yet; the texture generator class has a single static member that creates a 1024×1024 texture, grabs the data into an array, overwrites it with a checkerboard pattern and then sets the data back into the texture. Simples.

(actually, whilst doing this, I ended up bashing my head against a brick wall for a while – with texture sizes above a certain size, I was getting entirely black models, and couldn’t figure out why. It turns out that in texture creation, I was specifying the texture should be created with mipmap levels all the way down, but had turned off autogeneration of mipmaps, so only the highest resolution version of the texture had mipmaps. The textures were of sufficiently high resolution that the objects were being rendered using lower mipmap levels of the texture – which were all black! Turning on mipmap autogeneration fixed the problem.)

Oh, and obviously, I’ve added a few more buildings, moved the camera back slightly and added some ambient lighting. The latest revision in the bzr repo is 11, if you’re following along.

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