More comfortable transformation of scenes, fixed-function disabled by default

Posted on

  1. We have a new class TCastleTransform that can be used to group and transform scenes, using properties like Translation, Rotation, Scale, Direction, Up.

    • This class replaces previous classes T3D, T3DList,T3DTransform, T3DOrient, T3DCustomTransform, merging all their functionality. The ability to “group and transform” is so basic feature that the previous split into multiple classes was uncomfortable.

    • This way you can freely switch between adjusting rotation directly (using Rotation, as axis vector + angle) or Direction and Up (that specify rotation versus a default orientation of your models, which is of course configurable).

    • The TCastleTransform class is now an ancestor of TCastleScene. So you can easily transform TCastleScene e.g. by Scene.Translation := Vector3(1, 2, 3);.

    • The TCastleTransform class is also used as the ancestor of SceneManager.Items list. So you can easily transform your whole world, e.g. scale everything down by SceneManager.Items.Scale := Vector3(0.1, 0.1, 0.1);. (Be careful though — transforming the SceneManager.MainScene is not supported yet, so you cannot use the above example if you use SceneManager.MainScene for default camera.)

    • Also, TCastleTransform has a nice name, correctly suggesting that it’s useful for both 3D and 2D games 🙂 As usual, 2D in our engine is just a special case of 3D, and I’m writing everything to be comfortable for both use-cases.

  2. The GLFeatures.EnableFixedFunction is now false on desktops with modern GPUs (with OpenGL >= 2.0). This means that the rendering, by default, uses modern implementation that is more flexible and can be even faster.

    Remember that, in order to see even better shading, you can use “Phong shading”, either for the whole scene (Scene.Attributes.PhongShading := true;) or only for a particular shape (Shape.Shading := shPhong;), see shading methods documentation. By default we use Gouraud shading, which is uglier but faster.

    The new rendering method (based purely on shaders) should generally produce the same or better results as the old method (which was using a mix of fixed-function and shader approaches). It is more flexible, and may be even faster on modern GPUs. But there are some possible “gotchas”:

    1. If you have implemented custom rendering using immediate-mode OpenGL commands (in overridden LocalRender, or Window.OnRender) then you possibly depend on some deprecated state being set by the engine.

      The simplest solution is this case will be to reenable GLFeatures.EnableFixedFunction for now. Just set GLFeatures.EnableFixedFunction := true in Window.OnOpen or Application.OnInitialize (you want to do this early, but after OpenGL context is created).

      The more long-term solution is to upgrade your custom rendering to work with the new system. In most cases, you should not render things yourself using OpenGL — instead handle everything by loading appropriate 3D models into TCastleScene. The models can be in X3D format, with shader effects and many other fancy stuff. In general, let us know on the forum if you have a specialized need and are not sure how to upgrade.

    2. The fixed-function Gouraud shading was using two-sided lighting. The new shader pipeline makes one-sided lighting in case of Gouraud shading, for speed.

      One solution is to flip the side that receives lighting by flipping the ccw field at your geometry node (like IndexedFaceSet). The other solution is to use the “Phong shading” (that always does two-sided lighting), either for the whole scene or only for the particular shape — see instructions above.

    3. Finally, some old GPUs with buggy OpenGL implementations may be affected by this. We tried to protect from this (GLFeatures.EnableFixedFunction remains true if OpenGL version is less than 2, even if GL supports extensions for GLSL)/ But if you find a case when GLFeatures.EnableFixedFunction really needs to be enabled even on OpenGL > 2 (because otherwise rendering using shaders is buggy), please submit it to us (through the forum or as an issue on GitHub).

      Please attach the OpenGL version (and renderer and vendor) on your system — you can see it in the output of GLInformationString function, which is also dumped to the log file if you use InitializeLog in your game. You can also see it in the view3dscene message for Help->OpenGL Information.

    Note: If you use shadow volumes, they will still use fixed-function pipeline. This, and some other planned improvements to renderer, is documented here — contributions to improve this are welcome!

Comment on this post ➤

Good things: The Unholy Society, getting published, and various engine improvements

Posted on

  1. We already posted about our new upcoming game “The Unholy Society”. Some more background:

    Our little indie game studio “Cat-astrophe Games”, making games using “Castle Game Engine”, has just signed a contract with a great Polish publisher “Fat Dog Games”. That means that we have someone who will pay our bills while we develop games using “Castle Game Engine” !

    And this means that I, as of today, can work 100% of my time on “Castle Game Engine” and games using it (“The Unholy Society”, and also “Escape from the Universe” for iOS soon). Many things will happen, in more-or-less this order:

    • Expect some iOS improvements in November, for “Escape from the Universe” for iOS.

    • Expect Delphi compatibility in CGE. I know I did not post about it lately, but it is still the main feature of the upcoming CGE 6.4. release! More plans about CGE are listed here — I “live by this list” since a long time, trying to prioritize my life to achieve these engine features.

    • Expect various engine improvements caused by “The Unholy Society”: Steam integration. Spine support improvements (animated meshes, shearing, probably Bezier curves). And I will make (probably as a separate project on GitHub) a Yarn dialogue reader and player (Yarn dialogue was used e.g. in a fantastic “Night In The Woods” game).

  2. Engine improvements that happened lately:

    • (Work in progress) We have a new class TCastleTransform, that unifies and simplifies previous classes T3DTransform, T3DOrient, T3DCustomTransform. It is also the ancestor of TCastleScene, so finally you can just do Scene.Translation : ... without the need to wrapp the TCastleScene in a T3DTransform instance.

      There are still some bits in-progress here. I’ll write more when it’s finished.

    • Improvements to setting X3D fields comfortably: SetXxx on various TMFNode classes, e.g. SetParts, SetShaders.

    • Partially workarounded Lazarus CodeTools problems with new generics. Unfortunately, Lazarus CodeTools do not handle Delphi generics OK, yet. So Generics.Collections cause problems. Also CastleUtils unit on FPC 3.0.x causes problems (but not with FPC 3.1.1.)

    • Sound engine sources are now updated better (without the need for TCastleSceneManager).

    • Lazarus packages always use inline now (it was disabled for some time). So things will be faster.

    • TCastlePrecalculatedAnimation was removed from the engine. It was deprecated before 6.0 release. Simply use TCastleScene to play *.castle-anim-frames or *.kanim files.

Comment on this post (1 comment now) ➤

Skeleton code to start a new renderer (Metal, Vulkan, Direct3D…), OpenGLES improvements

Posted on

It's a skeleton, symbolizing the "skeleton code" of a new renderer. Get it? Get it? I'm so funny... Human Skeleton by glendonwaldner from .

1. Adding new renderer to the engine

I sometimes get questions “Will there be another renderer available in the Castle Game Engine?”. My answer was always this: “Yes! Contributions for this are most welcome. It is just not my own priority now, because the current renderer (using OpenGL / OpenGLES) works great, and it works on all platforms.”

To make it easy for everyone to actually start experimenting with a new renderer, I wrote a simple example code that shows how you can start a new renderer. Just fill the TVulkanWindow.Open and TCastleSceneVulkan.LocalRender and test on any 3D model 🙂

And if you have something (even just a start!) ready, don’t forget to show it on our Discord or forum (bonus points if you will already show a CGE fork on GitHub where it can be tested). This will make Michalis extremely happy:)

2. OpenGLES: suggestions for new contributors

If you know your way around 3D coding, and you’re looking for interesting tasks to implement in the engine, please take a look at our OpenGL ES (Android and iOS) TODOs. This page describes 6 features that are implemented in OpenGL, but are not (yet!) implemented in the OpenGLES version.

Some of these tasks are “relatively easy (and fun!) with high reward“. You can make a cool graphic effect working on Android and iOS. The groundwork is already done (since it’s a feature already working for OpenGL), and your job is to adjust the code to work also on OpenGLES. E.g. you can activate shadow volumes on OpenGLES just by changing the current fixed-function shadow volume rendering to use shaders (the desktop OpenGL rendering will be upgraded by this too, of course — we don’t need a fixed-function implementation of shadow volumes at all).

3. Renderer improvements implemented lately

  • Gouraud shading in the shader pipeline now honors ccw field correctly. The Gouraud shading performs one-sided lighting, and now you can control which side receives the lighting using the ccw field, see the link for details.
  • 2D rendering (TGLImage, DrawPrimitive) since some time uses shaders by default on desktop OpenGL.
  • Occlusion query (Scene.Attributes.UseOcclusionQuery) does not use the fixed-function pipeline anymore.
Comment on this post ➤

Apple Game Center integration – achievements, savegames in the cloud on iOS

Posted on


Castle Game Engine is now integrated with the Apple Game Center on iOS! The new TGameService class handles both Google Play Games (on Android) and Apple Game Center (on iOS) with a common API.

New documentation how to use iOS services, with apple_game_center, is here.

A working example is within the examples/2d_dragon_spine_game/, in particular see the Game.pas that implements the game logic and achievements.

Also, CastleMessaging unit was ported to iOS (this is used by various Android/iOS services), and various other “infrastructure” changes were made to enable implementing “services” nicely on iOS.

Comment on this post ➤