Latest release : v1.31
Released on : 25.02


   Crashes in FF9 1. April 2001   

Having just returned from a "relaxing" skiing holiday in Val Thorens (French Alps), I've done some investigation in to the reports of random crashing in FF9.
The good news is I think I've got to the bottom of it :)
Until the next release of my plugin, the work-around is to disable Dynamic Texture Caching in FF9. The DTC code is passed a bad parameter, which causes the crash :( If you still suffer crashes, a more "sledgehammer" approach would be to disable OffScreen Drawing, but this would mean a lot of spell effects would disappear.
I would like to thank Alexey Galiulin for providing me with a save-state which would consistently reproduce a crash.
It's worth noting that FF9 makes subtle use of the MASK bit, so you need to enable MASK Bit Emulation to get a proper display.

   Obsolete Options 17. March 2001   

I want to remove some options from the menus, that I believe are now obsolete. These are :-

1) BF - Adjust Sprites -> should be always on
2) BF - Adjust Quads -> should be always on
3) Texture Correction -> should be always on
4) Banshee Code -> should be always off
5) MDEC Format -> should be always Textured

If there are any of these options that you need to currently set to another setting, then please email me with a good reason to keep the option, in 10 words or less :)
With the "Banshee Code" option, I am _only_ interested in reasons such as "It crashes all the time if I don't enable this!" or "The blending is wrong if I don't enable this!".

   Progress 17. March 2001   

I've been doing various things over the last couple of weeks:-

1) I've fixed alpha-blending of 16bit textures. I have been inverting the STP bit for _ages_ in 16bit textures, as a result of investigating alpha-blending problems. The problem I was investigating appears to have been fixed when I fixed the problems in the blending mode caching a few versions ago, so I've now corrected 16bit textures.

2) Investigated the problems with FF8, where scenes with action on top of MDECs was not working. This is a problem with Experimental Flipping, so you need to switch that off to get those scenes to work properly. You need to enable it again though to get the battle menu to work. This is now fixed, so in the next version you can leave Experimental Flipping enabled.

3) Investigated the flickering seen in some of the fading scene transitions in FF8. This is due to the game copying the front buffer to the back buffer, which I didn't support. I've now added support for this, _BUT_ at a penalty: it takes a noticeable amount of time to copy 1280x1024x32bit of pixels from one buffer to the other (this is how my Voodoo5 is set up). Older Voodoo cards have a very low buffer READ speed, whereas the buffer WRITE speed is fairly fast. I remember figures of less than 10Mb/s being stated for buffer READs, whereas WRITEs are closer to 100Mb/s. This means there is a noticeable pause before the transition, but then the transition itself is smooth.

4) Investigated the spell effects in BOF4, or lack there of! Turned out to be two things: a bug in the detection of off-screen drawing primitives, and the lack of implementation of off-screen drawn lines. I've corrected the detection bug, and I've implemented a Bresenham line-drawing algorithm for off-screen lines (flat and smooth). This corrects the spell effects, and may well help other games too.

5) I've added little status messages that appear on-screen for 2 seconds when you either toggle a save-state, or when you change the controller type. These only appear at the moment if the normal on-screen display is disabled.

I think that covers it, for now :)