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Poll
Question: Software Renderer... Still Needed?
Yes, I need it Very Badly - 3 (27.3%)
I occasionally use It but it is not crucial - 2 (18.2%)
I couldn't care less. Please Drop It - 6 (54.5%)
Total Voters: 11

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Author Topic: Software Renderer... Still Needed?  (Read 9275 times)
jorrit
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« on: August 20, 2005, 09:55:16 am »

Crystal Space has always supported both OpenGL and Software rendering but currently the software renderer is lagging behind. It is no longer working properly as nobody is maintaining/fixing it and it will never be able to do everything the OpenGL renderer can do. In fact at this moment the software renderer is mainly a big stumbleblock in the further development of Crystal Space. To get an idea of how many people still would like to keep the software renderer I added this poll.
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Debugger
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2005, 02:13:24 pm »

I do need the software renderer and I use it almost every day, because my notebook lags 3D support and I cannot affort bying a new machine. Anyway, I understand, that keeping the softwarerenderer up to date causes new features and bugfixes for CS to be delayed. I would prefer a solution, where the softwarerenderer stays as a part of CS but only with basic features - it's enough if objects are visible and the software itself works. We dont need every feature in it. It's o.k. if we have no fog, no bumpmapping, no shadows, no reflections, ..... It's ok. But please, keep it working, if possible.


Martin
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mark
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2005, 02:34:39 pm »

The softrenderer is a good feature but if it's slowing down the development that much, you can kick it.
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Gentoo Linux ~x86, kernel 2.6.11-cko9 smp, gcc 3.4.4-r1, binutils 2.16.1, glibc 2.3.5 NPTL
CS+CEL Pseudo Stable 2005.09.03
jorrit
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2005, 02:46:51 pm »

I do need the software renderer and I use it almost every day, because my notebook lags 3D support and I cannot affort bying a new machine. Anyway, I understand, that keeping the softwarerenderer up to date causes new features and bugfixes for CS to be delayed. I would prefer a solution, where the softwarerenderer stays as a part of CS but only with basic features - it's enough if objects are visible and the software itself works. We dont need every feature in it. It's o.k. if we have no fog, no bumpmapping, no shadows, no reflections, ..... It's ok. But please, keep it working, if possible.


Martin


The problem is not only the issue of keeping it but finding someone who has time to keep it working. At the moment (current CVS) it is not working properly.

Greetings,
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2005, 05:55:04 pm »

I am (as jorrit already knows Wink very strong supporter of removing software renderer.

The main reasons for me are
  • The software renderer have special requirements on input (to be efficient) which in turn leads to a lot of ugly code in other locations, such as thingmesh (but also in the opengl renderer..)
  • Software renderer is from time to time (lately more often than not) broken. It take resources (in developer time) to keep it working.
  • Software renderer (and support-code in shader system and thing among other places) is a lot of code which both makes CS bigger to download and makes it look harder to understand for new users

-M
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morgul
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2005, 06:22:58 pm »

I honestly say it's time to remove it.
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jorrit
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« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2005, 06:24:49 pm »

I do need the software renderer and I use it almost every day, because my notebook lags 3D support and I cannot affort bying a new machine. Anyway, I understand, that keeping the softwarerenderer up to date causes new features and bugfixes for CS to be delayed. I would prefer a solution, where the softwarerenderer stays as a part of CS but only with basic features - it's enough if objects are visible and the software itself works. We dont need every feature in it. It's o.k. if we have no fog, no bumpmapping, no shadows, no reflections, ..... It's ok. But please, keep it working, if possible.


Martin


What exactly are you using CS for? Just curious where you need CS that doesn't need OpenGL.

Greetings,
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RS
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« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2005, 06:43:57 pm »

I am using CS under Linux in a multi monitor environment with Xinerama (in my workplace... at home i am using GL).
Xinerama enabled -> Direct Rendering is disabled... this is the sad truth.

so I really using software renderer every day.  B-(

BTW few months ago when me and my colleagues choosed the Crystal Space as our 3D engine the exists of the software renderer was a heavy argument in our decision.

Thank You
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RS
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teike
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« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2005, 07:06:27 pm »

Is there a way to 'detach' the software renderer of the main Crystal Space development?
I mean SR would be just like a 'pluggin' (or a 'patch?' to CS) developed apart.

For ex. when version 0.99 be released, a different package as addon to CS will be released, its name would be SR 0.99.
It wouldnt be released at the same time of the CS release but whenever someone is able to update it til it works with CS 0.99.
Ex. when CS reaches version 1.02 we may still only have a SR 0.99 working so if someone needs it, just install CS 0.99.
I mean SR would be released less often so when CS 1.05 is released then, may be, SR 1.05 be released also.

In other words, SR version means just the matching CS version that it will work with.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2005, 07:20:43 pm by teike » Logged
jorrit
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« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2005, 08:33:20 pm »

Is there a way to 'detach' the software renderer of the main Crystal Space development?
I mean SR would be just like a 'pluggin' (or a 'patch?' to CS) developed apart.

If the software renderer remains in CS or is a separate project, that doesn't solve the problem of finding someone willing to work on it. If we have such a person then he can just as well keep working on the software renderer in CS itself. I think that would be prefered to a separate project.

Greetings,
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Caedes
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« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2005, 10:01:15 pm »

hi!

i'm also of the ones using software renderer every day as the graphics card from my laptop is heavily broken and the only way i can use my computer is disabling 3d acceleration (and even then sometimes gives problems).

for me the software renderer is what lets me develop other aspects of CS unrelated to rendering and still be able to test them on my computer. of course i would not use it for production, projects always end in a computer with good 3d acceleration.

i think it's quite impressive that even the big celtestdemo.zip runs with almost no visual artifacts on software renderer, i think if it is abandoned now it would be later more difficult to recover. even if it is removed from crystal it should be maintained as a separate project as long as possible.

in any case i understand it's all a matter of finding somebody who can work on it, but im with martin in wanting to have it, even if it doesnt display everything correctly. I feel it mainly helps developers who do not have opengl on their laptops (like me).

also for me it has always been a strong point in using CS that it had software support.

 pablo


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R. King
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« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2005, 08:36:21 am »

As a final part of the package, the software renderer is effectively useless. Anyone in to gaming on even a semi-serious level will have a 3D card wth a decent throughput. However, as a development tool, the software renderer is actually quite invaluable. There have been far too many occasions where something will fail throught the OpenGL pipeline but work properly using the software renderer (SR).

SR is really a proof of concept type of debugging tool. If it works with SR, then it should definitely work with OpenGL. While that's not necessarily true the other way around, worrying about something failing in SR when it works in OpenGL is kinda pointless. No one should expect the SR to do everything that OpenGL can since there are too many hardware features for any SR to try and emulate. However, if it does work in SR, then that means that the developer's code is correct from an API perspective. If it then fails on OpenGL., then either the developer failed to make the proper feature checks, or there's a bug in the OpenGL pipeline.

Long story short, the SR is a debugging tool that saves many a developer the cost of a separate computer with different hardware in trying to solve issues related to missing or buggy functionality. I'm not saying don't remove the SR. But I am saying that you probably shouldn't be too quick to dismiss it off-hand.

R.

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xhyldazhk
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« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2005, 02:50:02 pm »

if you really wanna drop the SW renderer, at least please add some kind of support for an OpenGL ES renderer so one could write a OpenGL ES SW implementation and 'connect' it to CS... OpenGL ES is much smaller than full-featured OpenGL, and is thought for realtime content in plataforms where maybe not only there is not 3D accel, but there is not even math coprocessor. And that will make CS automatically compatible with PlayStation 3....
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deckerego
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« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2005, 05:36:15 pm »

Agreed - I don't use it in any final builds but I use it extensively when developing. When doing code tweaks for things that are non-model related (i.e. camera angles and the like) I'll use the software renderer. Easy to use for multi-monitor support, sometimes exposes model glitches that are hard to see with hardware rendering, etc.

That said, multi-monitor hardware rendering is becoming more practical as driver support becomes more robust (thank you nvidia) and 3d rendering is becoming standard on even low-end laptops. Once Vista comes out everyone and their mom will have a GeForce 7800, which will make the software renderer even more moot.

Still, I think the software renderer has its place. Being able to run your CS app on five year old hardware is nice.

Now I'm arguing with myself. Nice.
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Nicholas Fox
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« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2005, 09:06:58 am »

Well, why not make the renderer a CVS module with anonymous write access Smiley See what happens and if it's crap, delete it. Just my 2,6 cents
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