WK28-32 Lack of progress update

      Comments Off on WK28-32 Lack of progress update

There has barely been any game development going on this week and we breaking for 2 weeks holiday in Tenerife next week! 😄

Hopefully we’ll come back refreshed and ready to go! We’ll need to be, as otherwise the game will take an eternity to finish! 😂

Anyway, I’m off to pack! Laterz ppl

WK27 Progress – All hands on deck (kinda)

      Comments Off on WK27 Progress – All hands on deck (kinda)

Well… not quite 🙂

Still working on the the controller initialisation and controls, however we have widened the scope considerably to ensure that once complete we don’t need to revist them in the future.

We are now using the latest version of NewtonVR and SteamVR as planned last week. We have also changed the hand models to a unity store asset that has plenty on animations to help the in-game experience.

The cartoon hands were selected as they provided a way to justify the differences from your own hands in game. The theory is that you are better off with unrealistic but well pressented hands, than trying too look realistic and failing. Anyway, ultimately you can be the judge :).

Quick list of updates in bullet form:-

  • NewtonVR updated
  • SteamVR updaged
  • NewtonVR/SteamVR script modifications tagged to support simple upgrade procedure
  • Pause scripting improved
  • Controller initilisation working in all game modes
  • Loading scene processing improved
  • Oculus rift controls added

https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/65978

WK26 PPAC game developments

      Comments Off on WK26 PPAC game developments

It’s been a frustrating week! We have spent an entire week modifying the control system to improve the way controllers are initiated in game. After hours of modifications we had them working almost flawlessly, but have since decided to go back to the drawing board!

Much of the controller code used had come from a combination of the SteamVR code base and a very early version of the NewtonVR code. Since implementing this over 12 months ago, both have had several updates which our code ignored, because we naively chose to modify code rather than building separate scripts to interact with the base code as required.

Anyway, long story short is that this week will also be lost to updating and rebuilding the controller mechanics. It’s a painstaking task which will show no visual improvement to the game, but will help later should we port to other platforms beyond the HTC Vive.

We continue, steadily, but with renewed optimism and passion. Let’s hope we find the time to make some more visual improvements too!

WK25 Progress report

      Comments Off on WK25 Progress report

This week in the big brother house… development continued.

A huge list of bug fixes and improvements to report. I’m pleased to report that the In-game play is now almost flawless. It really has been a busy week!

I can’t say that the long working hours haven’t taken a toll though. I’ve been snappy all week and write this dreading the sight of another line of code. Next weeks report will contain a shorter list I expect, and will probably focus on elements which are enjoyable to develop (not bug fixing).

One of the more notable changes in the game pliability from this weeks changes is the anti cheat system (shown in gif). There is an invisible wall that prevents interation with the ping pong ball beyond it, you can still pass through it, but you can nolonger interact with the ping pong ball. This will ensure a fair system for the high score system, which is essential to ensure true masters of the game get their rewards.

Full list of changes below:-

  1. Prevent bat pickup before round starts
  2. Balls go red before exploding in out of bounds area
  3. Controller enabled during game (hand/controller issue)
  4. Delay “Ping pong arcade classics” intro announcement
  5. Add Invisible wall appear when at table bounds
  6. Add white lines on table
  7. Add optional table net for Hard difficulty level
  8. Add “At boundary” announcement when at centre of table
  9. Destroy balls when over centre table line for more than x seconds.
  10. Move all announcement audio to GM
  11. Restrict past centre of table (prevent cheating)
  12. Increase Blindfold size
  13. Speed up intro animation in main menu
  14. Fade in on Game scene load
  15. Destroy PPAC banner after menu fade in
  16. Change loading image to Nextgenclassic
  17. Intermittent announcement stop when level load
  18. MainMenu menus higher in UI than score boards.
  19. Align table with edge of play space
  20. Game crashing on load on menu scene – possibly when user has score on HS list
  21. Add game load fade in (walls that fade out)
  22. Don’t destroy “lets begin” audio from main menu load)
  23. Limit volumes to 100% in sliders (menu + ingame)

Back to work on PPAC

      Comments Off on Back to work on PPAC

And the work on Ping Pong Arcade Classics (PPAC) continues

One bad thing about being GreenLit is that the work required to complete the game now feels worthwhile! Whether we ultimately see a significant enough return to warrant the hard work is debatable, but at least we know the game can make it to market.

Anyway, it had been 6 months since any development work and much had to be done just to get the game working again. After resolving those, we played a few rounds of the game, and was reminded just how fun the game is! For the rest of the weekend, we have focused on minor improvements and bug fixes. We had 43 at the start of the weekend and have reduced it by 6. A pretty solid effort all things considered.

Key progress this weekend included:-

  1. Fixed issues from Unity, SteamVR and plugin updates
  2. Add ripple effect, sound and growth to impact velocity.
  3. Resolve judder when time shifts.
  4. Fireball collider growth to match graphic
  5. Fix breakout ball passing through bricks
  6. Change high score and menu fonts

We have vowed to keep a development blog from herein, but on our first weekend, we failed to take a single meaningful screenshot! Doh, we’ll do better next week!

Here’s one I’ve slapped together to fill the empty space!

Unity development screenshot

Polynomial 2 VR Review

      Comments Off on Polynomial 2 VR Review

Polynomial II Steam headerNextGenClassic review ‘Polynomial II’ for the HTC Vive.

“A thing of beauty”

 

Polynomial II is a game that works better in VR than it does in the standard monitor mode. An unusual and rare achievement! It’s ambitious custom engine creates a unique experience that should be enjoyed by anyone wanting to sit back, relax and enjoy their favourite music while gaming.

Polynomial2 VR Review Scorecard

Polynomial VR in-game screenshot

Polynomial VR in-game screenshot

Polynomial VR in-game screenshot

Polynomial VR in-game screenshot

Polynomial VR in-game screenshot

Polynomial VR in-game screenshot

Polynomial VR in-game screenshot

Polynomial VR in-game screenshot

Polynomial VR in-game screenshot

Polynomial VR in-game screenshot

Polynomial VR in-game screenshot

Polynomial VR in-game screenshot

‘Ping Pong Arcade Classics’ Greenlit!

      Comments Off on ‘Ping Pong Arcade Classics’ Greenlit!

‘Ping Pong Arcade Classics’ has been Greenlit!

It’s been a long journey, but ultimately a successful one. We have been greenlit!

Unfortunately there is much to do before the game goes live. After a year on greenlight and little sign of being approved there didn’t seem much point continuing development.

Anyway we are delighted and will get back the hard work this week. Watch this space for more information. We’ll ensure we keep everyone informed of developments this time!

Ping pong arcade classics greenlit

SUPERHOT VR Review

      Comments Off on SUPERHOT VR Review

SUPERHOTVR Steam HeaderNextGenClassic review ‘SUPERHOT VR’ with the HTC Vive.

“An experience not to be missed!”

No real introduction into the game left me feeling a little confused to start with. After about 20mins of gameplay I was getting the hang of things and starting to have a lot of fun. The experience was awesome, throwing a knife at one enemy, catching his gun and then shooting the next. It really does make you feel like James Bond.

The campaign was over a little too quickly! I’d completed in about 1.5 hours, however the game modes you then unlock are better than the campaign.

SuperHot VR in-game screenshot

SuperHot VR in-game screenshot

SuperHot VR in-game screenshot

SuperHot VR in-game screenshot

SuperHot VR in-game screenshot

SuperHot VR in-game screenshot

SuperHot VR in-game screenshot

SuperHot VR in-game screenshot

SuperHot VR in-game screenshot

SuperHot VR in-game screenshot

Nvidia unwittingly compromise gaming performance

      Comments Off on Nvidia unwittingly compromise gaming performance

Nvidia made significant changes when launching Pascal

Several major improvements were made in the latest Nvidia Pascal graphics family. The smaller nm design reduced the TDP (thermal design power) significantly. As a result Nvidia were able to optimise their manufacturing process, by combining mobile and desktop platforms into a single design. The same GPUs are used in both Mobile products like laptops (MXM modules) and high-end desktop systems (PCIeX16 cards) .

This was exciting news, many news articles were published reporting that performance would be the same for both mobile and desktop formats. However the journalists overlooked the impact of the down-clocking required to develop a reliable solution within the confined space of a mobile product.

How do the Nvidia Pascal base specifications compare?

On paper, there is little to chose between the specs. The 20% reduction in power consumption is the most notable variation between mobile and desktop products. The TDP is dependant on implementation, so this is really a red herring. In theory with sufficient cooling the manufacturer is able to clock the GPU to the same speed as the desktop variant. This achieves similar performance, which explains why techpowerup.com report the desktop variant with less performance than the mobile counterpart.

Caption GTX 1070 Mobile GTX 1070 Desktop GTX 1080 Mobile GTX 1080 Desktop
Graphics Core GP104 GP104-200-A1 N17E-G3 GP104-400-A1
Manufacturing process 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET
CUDA Cores 2048 1920 2560 2560
Transistors 7.2 Billion 7.2 Billion 7.2 Billion 7.2 Billion
ROP units 64 64 64 64
TMUs 128 120 160 160
Core clock speed 1442 MHz 1506 MHz 1566 MHz 1607 MHz
Boost clock speed 1645 MHz 1683 MHz 1771 MHz 1733 MHz
Memory clock 2002 MHz
8008 MHz effective
2002 MHz
8008 MHz effective
1251 MHz
10008 MHz effective
1251 MHz
10008 MHz effective
Memory interface 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Total memory bandwidth 256GB/s 256GB/s 320 GB/s 320 GB/s
Total GPU memory 8 GB 8 GB 8 GB 8 GB
VRAM Type GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR5X GDDR5X
TDP 120W 150W 150W 180 W
Computing Power (FP32) 5,906 GFLOPS 5,783 GFLOPS 7,967  GFLOPS 8,228 GFLOPS
Memory Bandwidth 256.3 GB/s 256.3 GB/s 320 GB/s 320 GB/s
Pixel Rate 92.3 GPixel/s 96.4 GPixel/s 99.6 GPixel/s 102.8 GPixel/s
Texture Rate 184.6 GTexel/s 180.7 GTexel/s 249.0 GTexel/s 257.1 GTexel/s
Data source link GTX-1070-mobile  GTX-1070 GTX-1080-mobile GTX-1080

How does true performance of mobile and desktop GPUs compare?

Actual performance paints a very different picture to the specs above. There is a significant performance gap between mobile and desktop products in real world tests. The GTX 1080 mobile product is outperformed by the desktop GTX 1070 according to Futuremark. This is a significant ~25% performance gap which is being overlooked.

The average buyer is unlikely to identify the drop in their hardware’s performance. After all, few consumers carry out and compare benchmark scores. In my opinion many consumers are being short changed. The GTX-1070 sells for 30% less than the GTX-1080, yet mobile GTX-1080 devices perform closer to the GTX-1070 spec.

Futuremark.com/hardware/gpu Img

Futuremark Nvidia Pascal Mobile vs Desktop performance comparison

Why is there such a performance difference in the same Nvidia GPU core?

How the manufacturer configures the card has a huge impact on the performance gap. There’s few technical limitations which prevent the mobile GPU being clocked to match the speed of the desktop counterpart. But with the comparatively huge heatsink and fan assemblies allowing the average desktop card to be configured >10% over base frequencies, it begins to explain why we see such a significant performance gap.

The GPU selection process during manufacturing could have an impact in the performance gap. Understandably the professional cards get first dibs on the best performing GPUs. The Quadro and Tesla products carry a price tag as many as 10 times higher than the commercial counterpart. As a result these professional cards see a 20-30% performance increase, despite the clock speeds being sparingly applied. If the mobile are lower in the selection process than desktop it would help to explain performance drop further.

Notebooks are not the only devices using Nvidia mobile GPUs!

Powerful small form-factor gaming PC’s are flooding the market. comprehensive ranges of small form factor computers are being manufactured by Zotac, MSI, ASUS, Alienware and Syber. The computers are aimed at the growing number of gamers that want to play from the comfort of their living room. The first entrants used desktop cards within the design. However the drive to have the smallest most compact design has led to the use of mobile GPUs.

Steam have helped the small form factor gaming pc market grow. Their ‘Steam Machines’ initiative has helped develop the demand. The new form-factors has also sparked the interest of industry. Industry sectors such as hospitality and simulation are using solutions based on the technology to reduce size, weight and cost in various applications. I am currently working on such a project, which is why I have developed an understanding of the solutions and the market.

Mini Gaming PC Img

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s inside a Steam Machine?

There are many manufacturers of small form-factor gaming computers, each of them have different designs which use a whole range of processors and GPUs. The smaller mobile based solutions are using small form factor boards similar to the Mini-STX footprint. Most of these boards are bespoke to the product. One notable board is the ASRock H110-STX MXM, it will allow system integrators to build small form factor units.

I toredown a Zotac Magnus EN1060, one of the smallest high-end gaming computers available. To my surprise I found a MXM GFX card installed. I had reviewed the specs on multiple occasions and saw no indication that it was equipped with a mobile GPU. In fact the Zotac specifications page doesn’t include details of the GPU or memory clock speeds, so it is difficult to tell what performance level to expect! A worrying development! Particularly when there is little to no benchmark data available (especially in comparison to desktop equivalent setups).

Zotac EN1060 Nvidia GTX 1060 mini PC teardown

Zotac EN1060 Nvidia GTX 1060 mini PC teardown

 

To give Zotac credit, the design is well constructed. The use of an MXM module allows higher volume manufacturing of the motherboard. Reducing  cost by consolidating the design across the series. The design is very compact and runs very quietly. If I had one complaint, it would be that the unit runs quite warm. The unit intakes air from all sides including the two where it exhausts, this results in warm air circulating which will not help performance.

Was the mobile GPU configuration in Zotac unit compromising performance?

The GTX 1060 inside this system isn’t as powerful as the desktop card. The GTX 1060 in the unit runs at 1,405MHz with a boost clock of 1,671MHz; on the proper desktop card those figures sit at 1,506MHz and 1,708MHz. The mobile GTX 1060 version scored 8,578 in 3DMark Fire Strike, a PC with the desktop card would score nearly two thousand points more!

Conclusion

Despite Nvidia’s Pascal using the same GPU for mobile and desktop products, consumers should expect a 25% performance gap. It is concerning that a mixture of both mobile and desktop solutions are being advertised as the same product. Buyers must tread carefully to avoid disappointment and not buy based on the ‘GTX-10XX’ model number alone.

Nvidia have presented manufacturers an opportunity to up-sale mobile designs as full fat desktop products. Ultimately this will create disappointment with the consumer and lead to damaging consumer trust and brand reputation. System manufacturers may lose sales once consumers understand the performance sacrifice that is being hidden from them.