Koios Works, at it again..

So amongst the other mails I got today, i also got one from Marshall Belew from Koiois Works.  You may remember them from my posts way back since they were one of the first commercial MDX games out.

I’m sure you can guess that since i’m blogging about it now, that game #3 is coming soon.  It’s called “Panzer Command: Operation Winterstorm” and the engine they’ve done has come a *long* way since the first Tin Soldiers game..  I’m quite impressed with the screenshots i’ve seen thus far.

You can see some of said screenshots in this forum post from Matrix Games (the publisher of the 3 games).  There is also a public forum for the game here.

One of the best quotes I have from Marshall which pretty much sums up my feelings on MDX and managed code in gaming?

“We continue to be complemented by our peers in the industry for what we have accomplished with the time and budget of our games.”

I posted about the first game they did in October 2004.  It’s now Feb 2006, a mere 17 months later, and not only have they published a second game, this is going to be the third.  Big congrats to those guys.  It’s looking great.

February 2006 SDK Available..

I’m always the last person to announce these things, but.. Hey.. Did you hear?  The February SDK is out!

While the MDX2 assembly is still in beta form for this release, it’s still pretty exciting for me currently.  The time in which it will be in release mode is rapidly approaching, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m quite excited about the future.

For this release, there was more of the same as the last release.  Missing functionality implemented (you can actually save your textures/surfaces again!)  Bug fixes, performance improvements, the majority of the D3D samples were ported to MDX2 as well.

Obviously I can’t promise anything right now, but we’re hard at work trying to get this up to the quality required to be called “released”, and I’m confident of our ability to get it done. Everyone’s on board, the documentation is coming along nicely, and things are moving at a nice pace.  I’m excited because it seems to me that soon, we’ll be starting the revolution of managed code in gaming.

As always, please provide any feedback in the API you feel needs more polish.  I believe David has been deleting/locking posts in the public forums on the beta, so make sure you post them in the beta newsgroups. I try to monitor that relatively often (and when I forget, David’s there to remind me).  I’d recommend getting any suggestions/comments/feedback/bugs/anything else in quickly though. Time’s a-tickin!

The COMPLETE Effect and HLSL Guide

I just recently acquired a copy of “The COMPLETE Effect and HLSL Guide” and I must say, it delivers *exactly* what the title implies.  It also included a little ‘abbreviated version’ that is a few pages long and the size of two credit cards that makes an excellent quick reference.. I’m not entirely sure if the little quick reference is included with the book or not (it appears to be a separate companion piece), but the addition is welcome.

My only complaint about the book would be it’s all unmanaged code (for the non-HLSL parts).  Considering that’s a relatively small portion of the book (and the ‘port’ of that code to C# is pretty straight-forward), it’s a very minor complaint.

I wouldn’t want people to go get the book expecting to see lots of cool demos and samples of these awesome shaders you can write, because that’s not what you should expect (and based on the title, how could you?)  What this book gives you is the down and dirty details of the Effects system and HLSL.

I’ve noticed a lot of people that bought some of the ShaderX books because they have all the cool samples of ‘awesome’ shaders, and after getting the book realizing they have no idea what these ‘awesome shaders’ do, or how to make them do anything else.  If you’re in that boat, or simply want/need to know more about HLSL, I’d highly recommend this book.