I-War

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Screenshots - I-War

I-War atari screenshot
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I-War atari screenshot
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Information - I-War

GenreShoot'em Up! - 3-DYear1995
PublisherAtari (USA)ControlsJagpad
Players1, 2 (alt.)DeveloperImagitec Design Ltd
Programmer(s)

Seed, Andrew / West, Karl

CountryFrance Germany United Kingdom USA
Graphic Artist(s)

West, Karl / Seed, Andrew
Noble, Andy

SoftwareEnglish
Game design

Best, Emerson

Box / InstructionsEnglish, French, German
Musician(s)

Imagitec Design

LicenseCommercial
Sound FX

[unknown]

SerialJ9043E
VersionDumpdownload atari I-War Download

Cartridge - I-War

I-War Atari cartridge scan I-War Atari cartridge scan

Trivia - I-War

Development
On I-War we had to have separate passes - 3d transform- clipping and drawing because we "could not "run the code from outside GPU. It was a pain but the games were done.

Source: Andrew Seed



Memo
These documents are converted from the contents of Eric Smith's development hard disk, originally written in AtariWorks STW format.

File dated 31.8.1995

To: John Skruch, Ted Tahquechi
From: Eric Smith
Subj: Some Notes on Netwar

Here are some ideas on how Netwar might be sped up. These are first impressions, and I haven't had time to
go through all the code, so obviously these ideas might not help. Take everything with a big grain of salt. My
overall impression is that the biggest room for improvement is in the polygon transformation code rather than
the polygon drawing code proper. Have the programmers tried to profile the code at all, to see how much
time is being spent in the various pieces of the program? That would probably help them to find the "hot
spots" where careful hand-tuning can give a big performance boost.



Global Optimizations
--------------------

(1) Stopping the 68000 usually improves the performance of GPU code, especially
for bus intensive things like rendering. This can be accomplished by putting a
stop #$2000
in the inner loop of the "waitgpu" function, and changing the GPU code to send
an interrupt to the 68000 just after clearing "semaphore" to indicate that
the GPU is finished.


(2) It looks like surface normals are re-calculated every frame. Obviously if these
were pre-calculated and stored with the object data it would save a lot of time.
I confess to being a bit puzzled by the "view vector" calculation and visibility
check. This looks like it's a backface removal operation; if so, then using a
constant view vector (the direction vector for the viewer) would work, and would
save the re-calculation of the view vector for each polygon.


(3) For small polygons (e.g. such as appear in enemies), pixel mode rendering can
actually be faster than phrase mode, since much less set up is required per line.
It might be worth doing a pixel mode version of shaded.s and using it for small
objects (i.e. pretty much everything except for arena walls and floors).


"Micro" Optimizations on the Code
---------------------------------

(4) Quite a bit of code in shapes.s seems to be concerned with normalizing the vectors.
This can be done without branches via the "normi" instruction. For example, if
(r14, r15, r16) is a vector to be normalized to 14 bits, and r0 and r1 are scratch
registers, the normalization code goes:
move r14,r0 ; find absolute values of x,y,z
move r15,r1 ; and or them together
abs r0 ; so that we can find how big they
abs r1 ; can possibly be...
or r0,r1
move r16,r0
abs r0
or r0,r1 ; the highest bit of r1 gives us a rough
; estimate of the vector's magnitude
normi r1,r1 ; find how much to shift r1 to make it
; 24 bit
addqt #10,r1 ; now normalize it to 14 bits
sha r1,r14
sha r1,r15
sha r1,r16


(5) Interleaving GPU code is really important for performance. Generally the GPU
interleaving in the renderer (shaded.s, textured.s) looks pretty good, but there
are a few places where it could be optimized a bit more. Two consecutive stores
to internal RAM can incur a wait state, so re-coding


store r18,(r14+15) ;sets B_COUNT
store r22,(r14+14) ;sets B_CMD

movefa r8,r25
jump t,(r25)
nop

as:

movefa r8,r25
store r18,(r14+15) ;sets B_COUNT
jump t,(r25)
store r22,(r14+14) ;sets B_CMD

gains more than 3 cycles.


(6) I noticed some divide code that does:
abs r17
div r18,r17
jr cs,.fdu_zinc
neg r17
neg r17
.fdu_zinc:

Changing this to:

abs r17
jr cc,.fdu_zinc
div r18,r17
neg r17
.fdu_zinc:

will allow the divide to operate in parallel with other code in the
case where r17 was positive to begin with, i.e. about half the
time. Even better is to duplicate some code in both branches:

abs r17
jr cc,.fdu_zinc
div r18,r17
... stuff that doesn't depend on r17 ...
jr .fdu_divfinished
neg r17
.fdu_zinc:
... stuff that doesn't depend on r17 (same as above) ...
.fdu_divfinished:

Divides are slow, so quite a lot of useful work can be done while they're executing.
The only thing to watch out for here is to make sure that two divide instructions
don't overlap; in cases where they might, just put in a spurious read (like "or r17,r17").


(7): In shapes.s the interleaving isn't quite as well optimized; for
example:

movefa r0,r19 ;scale polygon points
movefa r1,r20
movefa r2,r21
movefa r3,r22
movefa r4,r29
sub r19,r14
sub r20,r15
sub r21,r16
sub r22,r17
imult r29,r14
imult r29,r15
imult r29,r16
imult r29,r17
sharq #14,r14
sharq #14,r15
sharq #14,r16
sharq #14,r17
add r19,r14
add r20,r15
add r21,r16
add r22,r17

would run nearly twice as fast if re-coded as:

movefa r4,r29

movefa r0,r19 ;scale polygon points
movefa r1,r20
sub r19,r14
sub r20,r15
imult r29,r14
imult r29,r15
sharq #14,r14
sharq #14,r15
add r19,r14
add r20,r15

movefa r2,r21
movefa r3,r22
sub r21,r16
sub r22,r17
imult r29,r16
imult r29,r17
sharq #14,r16
sharq #14,r17
add r21,r16
add r22,r17



(8) If there is room left in GPU RAM, it might be worth re-coding shaded.s to
eliminate jumps (which are slow and expensive) at the cost of duplicating some
code, particularly in the innermost loop.




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