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Heroes Community > Heroes 4 - Lands of Axeoth > Thread: First thought on behind the scene of development (technical issues about HOMM 4)
Thread: First thought on behind the scene of development (technical issues about HOMM 4)
DarkVenom
DarkVenom


Adventuring Hero
Grandmaster Daywalker
posted November 07, 2002 04:24 PM

First thought on behind the scene of development (technical issues about HOMM 4)

Warning: only game techies read this thread, please!

Hey, I didn't develop HOMM 4 of course but I will guess how it was developed and I will also list some technical enhancements that I think HOMM developers used. (If I am wrong about some facts presented here, please feel free to write to this thread. Also if you think it is worth to mention something here please do post it here)
One thing I notice when I first run HOMM 4 is that the graphic is very smooth even at the low resolution like 800x600. So I thought there must be some anti-aliasing apply to it. (Anti-aliasing is to make image smoother when it is shrink in some graphic program). So first thought comes that some 3-D capability is used to apply anti-aliasing. So HOMM 4 will use DirectDraw as well as Direct3D. But on second thought they might use OpenGL because of its built-in anti-aliasing capability. OpenGL is a high possibility. I donít know any other else. They may also use DirectTransform to create their own anti-aliasing engine.

As for game loop, I think they implement the famous PeekMessage() vs critical game drawing. It works like this: programmer will use PeekMessage() function instead of GetMessage() not to relinquish CPU to other program. If the program doesnít receive any message it do drawing or painting the screen. The reason is that if you run it in a really slow computer there is some gaps between each consecutive drawing when you click mouse really fast. If you implement this using threads, it shouldnít behave like this!

One thing I hate about HOMM 4 is that it loads City sprites (bitmaps) at run time. You would have to wait some time just to enter into a town screen. I think the town screen sprites is not that big to store in virtual memory. The entire screen is 1024 x768 that is 1.5 Mb and other creature dwellings will cost say 2Mb. For four alignments, the total is 16 Mb which is a typical VRAM on most system. But hey you can switch between VRAM and system memory (of typical 128Mb) and itís really fast too.

When you recruit troops from creature dwelling it show a different sprites than the ones used in battle and itís just a sheer waste of RAM. (For this matter I like HOMM III). If I were the developer I will rather use the same sprites.

However, the enemyís turn is really fast (to compare with other turn-based games)! Itís because they introduced FOW (fog-of-war) concept. In un-seen terrains, the sprites move only in memory and not on screen (like most RTS game). But it requires a great deal of calculation so as to where be the sprites located and I think 3DO is not much successful in this. You can notice that at some time the enemyís hero disappears before he go into FOW completely!

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aces170
aces170


Hired Hero
posted November 09, 2002 06:57 PM

i havent read ur full post, but i would like to inform u that i run the game smoohly on a 4mb sis 6326 card hence anti aliasing is out of question
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DarkVenom
DarkVenom


Adventuring Hero
Grandmaster Daywalker
posted November 10, 2002 09:18 AM

Quote:
i havent read ur full post, but i would like to inform u that i run the game smoohly on a 4mb sis 6326 card hence anti aliasing is out of question


Hey, I also try HOMM IV on that same sis card. But I have seen that OpenGL anti aliasing works even on a VGA card! You don't need a 3D card with built-in anti aliasing and you can just apply anti aliasing in software rendering. And if you have a fast CPU, it will work just fine!
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aces170
aces170


Hired Hero
posted November 10, 2002 06:48 PM

Quote:
Quote:
i havent read ur full post, but i would like to inform u that i run the game smoohly on a 4mb sis 6326 card hence anti aliasing is out of question


Hey, I also try HOMM IV on that same sis card. But I have seen that OpenGL anti aliasing works even on a VGA card! You don't need a 3D card with built-in anti aliasing and you can just apply anti aliasing in software rendering. And if you have a fast CPU, it will work just fine!
is it? i didnt know, bout that but, none of the open gl games like q3 or others work on the card though..
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DarkVenom
DarkVenom


Adventuring Hero
Grandmaster Daywalker
posted November 11, 2002 09:57 AM


is it? i didnt know, bout that but, none of the open gl games like q3 or others work on the card though..


You are right! Q3 never works on that card. It's not completely OpenGL fault though (check out the log file). However then it is sure that HOMM is not a OpenGL app.
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