Sunday, January 29, 2012

Episode 2 - Death of a Hard Drive

This week, out of the blue, the hard disk in my trusty Vaio decided to die on me in several subtle ways. So in between the figuring out why the heck it kept locking up, heavy cursing, reinstalling my work environment on my travel laptop, and nightly tours of the house walking off the little cries of my 3-week old youngest daughter... I've not exactly been very productive.

The good news is my little Dell Inspiron on-the-train laptop, despite having the whole cardboard look-and-feel going on, is happily running my Delphi XE2 environment. Even the shoddy HD 4225 is more or less handling the trivial 3D stuff I'm throwing at it. For now it seems I'm sorted.

Rounded cube
For our Board Game Machine implementation of Maria, we needed simple cubic pieces. As with many real life objects, the pieces have a nice little rounded bevel going on at the edges.

After a fair bit of fiddling around with the geometry generation code, the final result looks quite acceptable in the prototyping app: 

From comparing the screenshot to the real deal, it is immediately clear that (apart from a higher resolution texture of the game board), a realistic visualisation of the game pieces will require:
  • A wood-like texture on the block, perhaps a subtle normal map to accentuate the wood grains would suffice
  • Fading, glossy reflections on the game board
  • Very subtle shadows directly under the block, mostly to enhance contrast.

- Added a debugging setting to the 3D engine that renders all vertices as 4.0 sized points. A real must-have when painstakingly handcrafting geometry from vertices and indices, as I can now debug vertex and index buffer setup individually.

- Tried to use Crinkler to link & compress a trivial FPC application, with minimized system "rtl"units. So far no luck, can't get the linker to resolve DLL binding symbols.


  1. It's such a bummer when your hard drive dies and leaves you just like that! Mine died one time and I had to recover my files for a few days. Luckily, I managed to save a copy of some of my files, which made it a whole lot easier. Your board game machine is looking good! Great job!

  2. Yeah, it's such a drag collecting all the bits and bytes and reinstalling those applications. Oh well, I'm up and running again, so no more complaining. Thanks for the kind words!