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26Aug/14Off

Dark UI Controls Part 2

All of the dark user interface control designs are using a minimalistic approach with mostly solid colors and few gradients or shadows.
This minimal design style also improves the dialog painting time and interface response.

The TextBox control

 

The GroupBox control

 

The ScrollBar Control

 

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25Aug/14Off

Dark UI Controls Part 1

Designing a new WPF-based user interface is a significant amount of work.
New code has to be written that specifies all of the control elements and their properties, the user interface color palette and control painting, and management code for each the control's visual states and state triggers.
For just the basic Windows user interface controls this is thousands of lines of code and typically a few months of work for a single programmer.
Some of the individual control designs were iterated multiple times.

The next few blog posts will be a multi-part showing of the dark user interface controls and their visual states, for the upcoming version of TerreSculptor.
I chose to do this multi-part so that the blog posts wouldn't be scrolling on for many pages.

The Button control

 

The Checkbox control

 

The RadioButton control

 

The Label control

 

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25Jul/14Off

Dark Theme 2014-07-25

For those readers who may have missed the news, and for those who are new to this blog, the following changes are coming to the next alpha build release of TerreSculptor:

- from VS2008 to VS2013
- from .NET 3.5 to .NET 4.5
- from WinForms to WPF
- from standard theme to dark theme

The change to WPF and the dark theme will also include various changes to the user interface and proper support for any screen scaling.
This will also include changes to many of the dialogs so that the software can be used on smaller displays such as netbooks (minimum supported resolution will most likely be lowered to 1200x600).

The changes being performed are requiring a substantial amount of time to complete, so accordingly, the next alpha release will be late this year.

Since the current available alpha build expires in October, a re-issue of that same build will be released soon with an extended expiry date.

I will be posting screenshots over the next few months of the updated application window and dialogs showing the change over to the dark theme under WPF.
The images shown here are the updated About and Welcome dialogs.

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27Jun/14Off

Under Development 2014-06-27

This is what I have been currently working on in TerreSculptor:

- The temporary Extractors dialog is being replaced by the set of individual Extractor type dialogs and a new Composite Extractor dialog that is more intuitive.
Each Extractor type will still be available in Immediate Mode through the toolbar menu, and each Extractor type can be individually added to the Terrain Stack for automatic mask extraction during a Terrain Build.
Two additional Extractor algorithms are being tested which will add additional extraction types to the list.

- Numerous classes are receiving additional re-organization in order to allow for better future management and extension of code and features.
Some classes are being organized into sub-Namespaces for improved code organization.
This can be time consuming as in some cases it can take a few weeks to refactor a single set of related classes.

- Code and dialogs are being verified that they are correctly supporting multi-language globalization, color theming, and screen size and font variations.
It is planned to eventually have TerreSculptor available in at least English, French, German, and Spanish.

The main features of TerreSculptor that I am working on getting completed over the next few months are the Extractors, the Terrain Stack, and full project file load and save.

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3May/14Off

Random Bits 2014-05-02

I recently purchased two new video adapters for two of the office workstations.
An AMD Radeon R9 270 2GB GDDR5 in the form of an ASUS DirectCU II OC, installed into one of the i7-2600K Win7 workstations, sale priced at $215 CDN.
And an AMD FirePro W5000 GCN 2GB GDDR5 30-bit pipeline Workstation Graphics card, installed into the AMD Opteron 16-core Win8.1Ult workstation, priced at $540 CDN.
Here are the TerreSculptor benchmark results just for fun:

Radeon R9 270 OC

Lines:          326.50 fps     6.53 M lines
Immediate:       61.80 fps    12.81 M tri's
DisplayList:  1,718.90 fps   356.43 M tri's
VertexArray:    403.50 fps    83.67 M tri's
VertexBuffer: 1,998.70 fps   414.45 M tri's
 
Score Total: 902

 
FirePro W5000

Lines:        264.30 fps     5.29 M lines
Immediate:     34.90 fps     7.24 M tri's
DisplayList:  779.70 fps   161.68 M tri's
VertexArray:  214.80 fps    44.54 M tri's
VertexBuffer: 785.20 fps   162.82 M tri's
 
Score Total: 416

 

The FirePro has a less than stellar price to performance when used for basic 3D geometry and rendering.
Future TerreSculptor plans include possible leveraging of OpenCL, it will be interesting to see how the various cards compare on that API.

April was a busy month as it is also company accounting and tax time.

The TerreSculptor software development is continuing at a regular pace.
There are various changes to the user interface in addition to the dark color theme.
I have been working on updated scene navigation controls, and the ability to choose a 1:1 heightmap chunk for modifier preview.
I will be posting updated interface screenshots on this blog soon.
The next update build release is still a ways away.

-eof-

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