I was contacted on facebook to say that Player was trying to get hold of me on the mecca to get his Big50 back.
I have an issue though in that I cant log in to the mecca to contact him, can someone at least let him know I have replied, and possibly contact Pete W to ask him to check why my account is 'suspended'. I dont remember doing anything heinous, though its been a year or two so I could just have a selective memory.
I'd spent too much time writing Amber, putting pressure on myself to deliver and not putting enough focus on real life. When Chris released a new MFME it gave me the perfect opportunity to take a break and it sat gathering dust for quite a while.
I went and got myself a job on the back of writing Amber and have spent the last year and a half working some silly hours, thing shave now gone too far the other way and I am in the process of readdressing the balance.
I have been tinkering with Amber, but not the emulation so much as the graphical side.
I wanted to make it as realistic as possible and have been working on a hybrid 3D designer and 2D player. But its been a long path of learning.
But if you're interested...
I started off wanting to implement a fully 3D system, which knowing nothing about 3D graphics at the time led me to just doing some online tutorials and having a play with it, which took ages to understand but eventually I managed to cobble something together.
It was around that point that I released the video of the 3D JPM cabinet which was met with a rather cold reception. I decided to go for DirectX 11, which opened up a world of options graphically with the more direct access to the GPU, but also restricted the final product to those with DirectX 11 graphics cards.
The problem with fruit machines is that they support 512 lamps in some cases and rendering that many lamps on a PC in real time isn't really possible if you care about realism. 512 lamps is possible but not with shadows, which I am sure you can see would detract from the realism somewhat.
Which brought me to learing about ray tracing, backward ray tracing, path tracing, and finally global illumination with photon mapping. With any of these real time goes out the window as the computational requirements are sky high compared to the rasterized images we see in normal computer games.
However it is possible to make a 2D version from a ray traced 3D scene. So you can set up a machine in a room in 3D, choose the position of the camera and lamps using a rasterized 3D engine, then ray trace the single image using a physics simulation for all lights in the scene, which takes several minutes to render the single frame. This can then be played in 2D like a normal emulation.
Why go to all that trouble? If you have shiny surfaces on the machine such as the frames of the machine, or mirrored parts of the glass, or indeed the glass itself at certain angles it will reflect the light as the real one would, plus you also get the ceiling and walls of the room changing slightly in colour. It's photo realistic.
It also reduces the need to be an amazing artist as the lamping just sorts itself out in the physics engine. Get a cabinet lazer scanned, import the .obj file, scan the glasses in and stitch them together which can now be done on 'the cloud' using AI, create the vaccuum mask in a 2D texture, mask the glasses (unmasked, diffuse lighting, mirrored, masked areas). Feed that in and you have a photorealistic machine to play on. No need for photoshop, ms paint is plenty.
Not that I have anything against the great layout artists we have here, they have done amazing work over the years. But even they have tried to do things like the chrome surfaces over the years, but without the ability to control the lighting properly, it never looks quite right, it cant do, its physically impossible to do that in MFME. Not a knock btw, just a simple fact. Another simple fact, I am not a good artist, and I think my 'drawn' JPM cabinet will back me up on that.
Writing the tools to do that sort of thing in a hacky way is almost more work than just simulating the real world physics.So that's what I decided to do
Of course while all that was happening nVidia announced their new RTX 2080TI (Ray Tracing Xcellerated) cards, and of course this happened just after I bought a pair of 1080TI's (7000+ cuda cores to play with, fun). But looking at RTX its performance isnt that great and its actually another rasterization layer which ray traces specific parts of a scene as required at a very low sample rate (1 sample per pixel). It's just another rasterization hack, but it's an important step. Ray tracing is the future of computer graphics and graphics cards finally starting to move towards it but will have to do it slowly to keep compatibility with current games.
For a better understanding see this video, it explains the graphical stuff better than I just did. If you are thinking 'what the hell does rasterized mean' this is the video for you
So that's pretty much what I've been up to, it's progressing steadily, but slowly. If I ever get it finished I will release it but we may have the graphics cards to run it in real time by then (not soon!).
Glad to see your fine and life's treating you good!
Good news on your emulator even if it sounds far to complicated for my tiny brain lol.
I know it's highly unlikely but, I still wonder what if yourself and wizard got together what emulator would we get?? An online 3D version of amberMFME?
The more I do today, The less I do tomorrow.
Fme is alive and screaming into the 21st century!
Enjoy FME and Happy Gaming!!!!