February 4th, 2007 by Sharky

kick it on GameDevKicks.com 

G’day folks. 

A couple of people reported that the last release of “Air Legends” was crashing for them.  I’ve just uploaded a new build containing some small tweaks, and one fix that may help.  If it doesn’t fix the problems outright,  this release may at least assist in diagnosing the mystery problem(s).

Here’s what’s new…

  • I discovered and fixed a compiler warning (doh!!!) that was suggesting two of my textures might not work on some video cards.
  • I added the ability to change from Fullscreen to Windowed mode.  At this stage it is not an in-game setting.  Just edit the settings.xml file (in Notepad is fine) and change the <FullScreen> element to false. Then try running the game again.

e.g.

<FullScreen>false</FullScreen>

As always, you can get this new release from the Latest Builds page here.

Contrary to what my wife seems to believe, I can’t actually read minds.  So please do let me know if this build crashes for you.

 

Update:

Just so you know…  You may have discovered my screenshot functionality (PrintScrn key or controller “Y” button). It is not really ready for public consumption, but I forgot to comment it out.  You’ll find the results do not match what you see things on screen.  All the alpha blended stuff comes out funny.  I’m working on this one.  ;)

Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 218 user reviews.

11 Responses to “”

  1. BlackICE Says:

    Hey Sharky,

    Things have moved on slightly since last time, I’ve disabled multisampling which now gets me to the main menu, then changed to windowed. The menu opens and I can select between two places, if I choose one pressing return, or space, after a few seconds of thinking the error pops up again.

    Im sure this is more a hardware issue!

    Thanks anyway, title menu looks great =D.

  2. Sharky Says:

    Hmmm… I’m really not sure what it could be.

    I remember you needed the MultiSampling bit disabled (back in October).

    After the menu, there’ll be sound effects loaded and a whole lot more textures. I haven’t learned to be careful with texture sizes yet, so I suppose that’s a possibility on some hardware.

    Or, I wonder if it could be sound related. Random thought really, but take a look at this

  3. BlackICE Says:

    Just to let you know, I installed .Net 1.1, it made no difference.

  4. Sharky Says:

    dang! :(

  5. Ultrahead Says:

    Sharky, are you using textures with different width and height? I mean, instead of 64×64, 128×128, and so on, you use, say, 96×256, etc. … I’m a bit lazzy this days so I didn’t check in the latest build … :)

    If so, BlackIce: you should check whether the gfx card you have accepts this kind of “arbitrary” textures or not.

    Since you changed to window mode this seems not to be a problem of gfx card vs. monitor refresh rates (issue that I faced with previous builds of Air Legends).

  6. Sharky Says:

    Perhaps Ultrahead. I’ll have to take another look.

    A couple of my bigger textures were, so I fixed them. I’d appreciate some guidence on acceptable texture sizes, dos & don’ts etc…

    My Skybox textures are quite large. 1024×1024 (formerly 1024×768). But I think they need to be – it’s the background! I wonder if that’s just too large for some hardware though?

  7. Ultrahead Says:

    In a bottom-up manner …

    “I wonder if that’s just too large for some hardware though?”

    Not for “now-a-days-standard” hardware … What is more, brand-new-top-of-the-line-sell-all-your-goods-to-buy-one gfx cards support textures sizes other than power of two … So, in a couple of years or so this shouldn’t be an issue anymore …

    “I’d appreciate some guidance on acceptable texture sizes, dos & don’ts etc…”

    Some subject! If I say it depends you’d probably want to meet me in any online-videogame session and kick my @$$ … At least, two schools here:

    1) Pursue high resolutions in case you look for “more-than-good” detailing, because you can always scale it down if needed when needed. This would be mostly desirable for “static” rendering (i.e.: animated movies) when we are talking of objects that will remain close to the eye (camera) for certain amount of frames enough for the eye to perceive that something maybe wrong with the object’s detail. Of course, the higher the resolution the more the time needed to render each frame, and
    2) Set resolutions on a case-by-case basis: so as to avoid any sort of “thrashing” (term that one can use in this case when the gfx card’s video memory gets exceeded and starts swapping textures more often), which would cause performance issues (specially when anti-aliasing is on). If you’re making a car game, where the speed of the game is ultrafast, you may then only worry to set high resolution textures on your car models and medium-to-low ones on surrounding objects (like buildings) since the player will spend most of the time watching his/her car (maybe Benjamin talks about this in his upcoming book). Also, when using textures for say, 2D animations, it’s better to tile all of the frames for a character animation in the same texture, so as to reduce texture swapping when rendering.

    So, it’s a trade-off. Maybe someone with more experience in the field than me could collaborate adding its thoughts on the matter, since this worths more than a simple post. Guys?

    “Perhaps Ultrahead. I’ll have to take another look.”

    Maybe you could downsampe the textures (perhaps XNA does that by default when importing textures through the pipeline) and let the user choose a “pre-made combo” in the settings in case of problems (or just for testing purposes) …

    Hope this helps!

  8. Ultrahead Says:

    BTW, for your game, if I were you I’d just leave it “as is” by default since there’s plenty of time for further optimization (if needed), most cards accept 1024×1024 textures and the type of game does not create pressure to gfx cards (only two models, a skybox, some bullets).

    Meaning, if the background’s texture size is a problem you could give users the choice of setting 512×512 textures for the background in the game’s settings XML file. But only if that really brings a solution to issues like BlackICE’s one.

  9. Sharky Says:

    Sweet. Thanks for the advice. May just do that. It’s on the ever growing list of todos anyway. ;)

    I wish it were easier to diagnose problems on end-user systems. It’s hard enough on my own PC, but when it’s a release build on someone elses machine I’m flying blind at the moment.

    Some sort of log file would help narrow problems down at least. I wonder if Log4Net works well with XNA games? Probably not on a 360 build, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t be a good logging option for a windows build.

  10. Ultrahead Says:

    “Some sort of log file would help narrow problems down at least.”

    Indeed.

  11. Ultrahead Says:

    Ok, read the comments on this post: http://amapplease.blogspot.com/2007/02/acceptable-texture-sizes.html

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