Cool, It Works! - Issue 01 - Introduction
by (25 August 1999)

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General Info

Here we go. The opening of "Cool, it works!" Basically, this column is for all the coders out there who are like me... confused by 3D math... whose eyes glaze over when reading explanations of things like volumetric fog or lightmaps... whose stomach turns at the sight of trig equations... who really want to make something cool, but just don’t have the knowledge...

Well, this column is for you.

I’ll just be frank about it... I know almost nothing about math. I don’t like it, and it doesn’t like me. We never get along... it’s tragic. So when I go to code something, I very often need to find an alternate route then the traditional math-based ones... and it is this information that I want to share with you.

Coders who want to make it happen, but don’t know how, and can’t follow the math-based explanations.

The column name? It derives from how I do things in my engine... The process is usually something like...
  • Think of something cool to have in the engine
  • Read resources on the net about it
  • Become confused and frustrated by the explanations I find - but I DO pick up the basic concept
  • Think of another way to do it... something within my grasp
  • Eventually my head clears enough that I can see what needs to be done
  • Try a few things
  • Eventually exclaim, "Cool, it works!"
  • And there you have it.

    I'm NOT advocating this as the best way to do things... it's most definitely not the best way, nor the "proper" way. But hey, it works, and that’s what I care about...


    What you will see here over the coming months is spurts of inspiration and revelations as I work on my little game engine. It’s not an FPS, but it has many of the same problems ahead of it... lighting, visibility culling, rendering speed, models, sound, networking, etc... The engine is NOT done yet. Far from it. But you’ll have a front row seat as you watch me stumble through it... and hopefully I can teach you something as I go along.

    Please understand that the game/engine itself is sort of a secret, and I won’t be talking about it directly... but rather just the code I’m putting into it. But then, that’s all you’re really interested in anyway, right? I thought so...

    Honestly, I’m not a John Carmack or a Tim Sweeney. I don’t propose to know more than other coders. Most of my solutions are going to be "how can I make it work with minimal effort" type scenarios. But at the very least they should be easier to understand than the standard docs you find on this stuff. And even if you don’t like my solution, it might just stimulate your brain enough to come up with one on your own... something better or faster than mine... which you will then share with me. Right? Right!?

    The engine already does some good stuff, so that is likely what I will talk about first as I work on new code... possibly things like model rendering, lightmaps, volumetric fog, OpenGL do’s-and-don’ts, DirectSound, DirectInput, particle systems, etc .. stuff like that. Done in a format that the common man will be able to understand. It has a full level editor as well, so I’ll probably talk about that at times too ...

    I know some of the stuff in that list sounds like complicated stuff, and it IS normally... but not the way I’ve coded it. ;)

    Remember... this column is for newbies or people who are just plain confused by this stuff and want an alternate way of doing things. If you’re a hardcore 3D coding veteran, you won’t like the blasphemy you find here. This is not for you. Go away. :) Or stay and have a chuckle. Whichever you like. Heh.

    Next Time

    The updates to this column will be sporadic... as I find things to write about, I will. This could be daily at times, weekly at others... it just depends how things are going.

    Until then..

    Article Series:
  • Cool, It Works! - Issue 01 - Introduction
  • Cool, It Works! - Issue 02 - Linked Lists, Overloading Operators, Sprites, & More
  • Cool, It Works! - Issue 03 - Files, Texture Effects, Coronas, & More
  • Cool, It Works! - Issue 04 - Handling Textures & Effects
  • Cool, It Works! - Issue 05 - 32-Bit GL Textures & Log Files

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