Monday, 30 June 2008

New toy breaks game, and not much other news

I have a new laptop!

This is good, as it means less sharing of the home PC with my better half and consequently more time to play and write games. However, I have learnt two things from my weekend spent with the new toy:

  1. Vista is really, really horrible

  2. I bought the wrong laptop

The first is something I can work on, the second is interesting. I intended to buy a model with a relatively competent ATI graphics chipset, but due to either poor indication on my part or incompetence from the sales minion I ended up with a cheaper model containing an Intel integrated chipset.

However, I've decided to stick with it. For one, it actually runs most of the games I play quite acceptably, and the beefier desktop is still available should I feel like boring myself with some Bioshock. For two, the relatively full feature set but miserable performance provided by Intel should help me keep my own game scalable down to quite modest hardware requirements, which is I feel a very good thing in a roguelike-like. Plus it gives me another hardware platform to easily test, which is always useful.

Predictably enough, of course, there're some problems to overcome. For starters the framebuffer object extension isn't supported, which my shadows use. As accurate lighting is a big part of the RL genre, this could be difficult, not to mention somewhat upsetting as I just got them working. Bah. There are other solutions, but they involve either considerably more faffing around or a bit more grunt-work from the GPU. There also seem to be some problems with a few of the core OpenGL 2.0 features, but I think those can be blamed on out of date drivers or my own stupidity and should be easily fixed.

In far better news, Andrew Doull over at ASCII Dreams very kindly linked to the Oblong recently. As I've been following his most delicious blog for quite a while now and consider it to be a great source of news and ideas for both procedural generation of content and general game design (especially roguelikes!) this is quite an honour.

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