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The Force -> SEAL = SEAL 3 (propose)
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BadSector
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2003 12:30 pm    Post subject: The Force -> SEAL = SEAL 3 (propose) Reply with quote

Remember me? Some of you may, some others may not. I'm one of the first developers for SEAL, since it's first versions.

Some years ago i left SEAL because everyone is arguing with everyone and the forums were full of trolls and, anyway, it wasn't a good environment to work on. At the same time i decided to create The Force, a GUI with the same vision as SEAL. The Force went well, but soon i understood that the time wasn't with me, so i stopped it for a long time. 1-2 years before i started working on The Force again and i made a new version. But i got no respone. These days i'm thinking to come in The Force development again, however i'm not sure if it is really needed.

I decided to take a look to see how SEAL goes and i saw that the development hasn't gone too far from the day i left. Also i saw that the maintainer left. So, i'm proposing:

1. Myself as a maintainer. Someone proposed that to me a long time ago before i leave SEAL (even before SEAL has moved to sourceforge.net). These days, i denied. But now i feel that i can handle the task.

2. Use The Force's source code in order to make SEAL 3. The Force is a lot faster than any SEAL. Before some minutes, i runned The Force in a AMD K5 at 133Mhz. Then i opened two instances of "Flame" and i set the one flame to be 50% translucent. If you try to do that in any seal (first you'll have to port flame.c of course), i'm not sure if even the first instance will have the same speed. Also The Force is built in a more modular API and -as far as i know- SEAL's API contains a lot of patches which should be removed.

3. Use C as the programming language. C++ is a good one (my current programming is done in C++) but C is better for system software.


Anyone can take a look at (and his hands on) The Force by visiting http://theforcegui.sourceforge.net/

If you agree with these, the abone site will stop functioning and just point to this one.
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_xduffy_
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2003 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like it, you are capable enought for this.

Please everybody support Kostas in this!

It is a very good idea, indeed a really good one!
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biggyp



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2003 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

certainly, i have not objections, so, where you been all this time Kostas?
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poundsmack



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2003 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sounds great...but what about the guy trying to build seal 4 will you work fith him? can you guys put your heads together?
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2003 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

xduffy: the first months i was working on The Force. Then i got busy with many stuff like Demoscene, articles in magazines and diskmags, creating a new diskmag (which will have it's first issue announced at January 2004), studying 3D graphics and effects (OpenGL and software), creating many kind of tools for many reasons (f.e. site generators for some of my other projects), creating (and dropping because i just can't make everything in a 3D game) Nico Tuvla 3D, creating the Slashstone gamedev team for shareware games, etc. Right now i'm working in: a) partial help for our demogroup's next demo for ReAct 2004 (Patras, easter 2004), b) SlashTile 2D game library for Nico Tuvla, a game for Slashstone, c) SlashSound sound and digital music library, d) OSP-3 (codename) a 32bit OS, just for educational purposes, e) some minor stuff.

My idea is very simple: i'll "transform" The Force to SEAL 3 and i'll continue with it. I'll also support other coders who want to develop with SEAL3. However, as you can see it's not the only project that i'm working on, so don't expect from me to be here all the time.

A plan that i have, besides SEAL3 itself, is to port my game libraries to SEAL3. This would be good for both me and SEAL: i'll have a nice bridge for those who have very old computers in order to run my games and SEAL will have it's first commercial products, which will raise it's seriousity in end users' eyes. I was thinking to use The Force for that purpose, but then The Force compared to SEAL is unknown.

poundsmack: i can't work with something i don't know. I don't know SEAL3 or SEAL4's sources. SEAL4 doesn't exist for me (i haven't seen anything about it) and SEAL3 existed only in these forums, so this is why i prefer to use the name "SEAL3" for the new SEAL. We can't go to version 4 *before* announcing SEAL 3.

If everything goes normal, i'll release the first codebase and binaries inside the next week.

Some plans that i have for SEAL3:
* (important) A good widget library. The Force doesn't use the approach of SEAL 1.x and SEAL 2 for drawing windows. It just 'asks' for the window to draw it's contents and nothing more. This method is *very* fast and it allows applications who just doesn't want to use widgets to be faster. However this also forces the need of an external (or embedded to SEAL - doesn't matter) widget library. The Force has ForceLIB, which has many bugs. I don't recommend the use of ForceLIB and the first codebase release will not contain it. This one is needed to be rewritten.
* Add real multitasking and memory management. This would not be an easy job and it will require to write our own DOS extender, malloc and free functions, etc. The Force codebase is almost prepared for multitasking by having a transparent way to execute tasks. However i think that a thread approach will be better
* Network support. I think that everybody agrees that this is needed. Since SEAL is a GPL project, we can use code from Linux (which is something that someone should think years ago).
* Games and direct hardware access modes. This will be a definitelly good thing for game developers.


after the first codebase release, i would like to ask from everyone to respect GPL rules (which is something that even i didn't) when it comes to coding:
a) every binary release must come with it's sources
b) every source change must have notes in it's revision history about the changes (more information about that when i release the codebase)

also it would be good to comment a lot your code in order to be understandable for others and especially for those who don't know the code. Currently my code isn't that commented, so before i do the first codebase release i'll start commenting it.

About the documentation. General comments in separate text files from the developers should help those who write end user documentation (this is needed!). The API documentation will be inside the source code and i'll write a small program that 'extracts' this documentation in order to generate HTML or Text files.
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BadSector
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2003 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

another thing that i would like to do is to make SEAL indepedent from Allegro. The Force, like SEAL has many references to Allegro, but if SEAL gets ported to a new OS (like linux) or becomes an OS itself (which is something that i think that is very interesting), it definitelly cannot rely on Allegro.
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crashfourit



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2003 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It may be wise to have the apps not able to draw out side their respective windows.
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Fenix*NBK*



Joined: 29 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2003 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BadSector: - I really like that Seal will be something major.

I looked at "The Force v0.30" - it is MUCH weaker than seal,
besides the mouse flickers when moved over an animated windows. But this can be solved with double buffering.

One question: While would you like to drop Allegro ???
Is it for DOS only? Or it works under Windows and Linux?

Anyway - The Force v0.30 can't be converted to Seal 3.0, because it is not ready yet.

=======================================
Considering Graphics API:
Well, I point the way to my own engine at: (Pre-Last)

http://sealsystem.sourceforge.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=749&start=15

Maybe I will use GPL or BSD license for it.
(I haven't used anything yet)

With such an engine for a major start, Seal 3.0 will be able to
get new apps quickly.
=======================================
And yes - I believe that Seal 3.0 *MUST* be able
to work under DOS, Windows and Linux.
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Fenix*NBK*



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2003 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By the way:
Working under: DOS, Windows and Linux.
Is quite achievable if we use Crystal Space.

Then we will get a new headache:
(Disadvantage)
learn this technology. It is written in C++.

Advantages:

- No problems with fast, double-buffered 2D graphics, 3D graphics, Windows with elements like buttons, and other APIs.
- Platforms: (DOS, Windows, Linux, MAC OS/X supported),
- besides they have something called VFS (Virtual File System)

CS was started as a 3D engine, and now it's a cross-platform framework.

For me, Crystal Space is far more than engine. Actually, it's somewhere between 3D Engine and a separate OS (!).

If we use the Crystal Space approach, then we'll have to port
only the Seal desktop, and the Seal apps (Since APIs are provided by CS). It is licensed under LGPL, so no problems here too.

http://crystal.sourceforge.net
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poundsmack



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2003 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love the crystalspace idea! one problem has anyone noticed the engine hasn't suported DOS for a very loing time and is way out of date compared to the current? we need soemoen to get it ot the current before it would be very useable. but i think crystalcpace would be a GREAT way to go
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BadSector
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2003 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It may be wise to have the apps not able to draw out side their respective windows.


it's not possible to draw outside of their windows. I'm using a clip list to achieve that...

Quote:
I looked at "The Force v0.30" - it is MUCH weaker than seal,
besides the mouse flickers when moved over an animated windows. But this can be solved with double buffering.


If you dig at the sources, you'll realize that the major problem of SEAL is it's overuse of "double buffers". Do you know how SEAL draws the windows? Simply by drawing *all* of them in an offscreen video memory area and then blitting the result to the screen (which i think that makes the process a lot slower in cards where Allegro cannot use hardware accelerated blitting).

The Force uses double buffering only in title bars just to avoid some flickering.

Quote:
One question: While would you like to drop Allegro ???
Is it for DOS only? Or it works under Windows and Linux?


Allegro works under DOS, Windows, Linux, OS/2 and many more. However i think that it's not a good idea to rely much on 3rd party libraries, especially when they're not licensed under GNU GPL. Allegro will still be used as a graphics, keyboard, mouse, etc driver.

Quote:
Anyway - The Force v0.30 can't be converted to Seal 3.0, because it is not ready yet.


The whole idea of SEAL 3.0 was to rewrite it from the scratch. So from this point of view, The Force is more 'complete' than SEAL. Except that, The Force (and i think that you'll agree with me, except if you have a fast AthlonXP 2800+ or a similar Intel and if so make your tests in slower computers such as P200MMX or PII333) is a lot faster than current SEAL versions.

Quote:

Considering Graphics API:
Well, I point the way to my own engine at: (Pre-Last)

http://sealsystem.sourceforge.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=749&start=15

Maybe I will use GPL or BSD license for it.
(I haven't used anything yet)


SEAL, as a GPL project, can only be used with GPL code *except* if this code is distributed as a separate library. By thinking that, you can also use your graphics engine as a graphics driver, thus expanding the possibilities for SEAL to run on some devices.

Quote:
With such an engine for a major start, Seal 3.0 will be able to
get new apps quickly.


I don't want to harm your feelings, but Allegro is the ultimate engine for 2D graphics applications (and games, mostly). However a system like SEAL needs it's own engine, or at least a wrapper around other engines (using drivers).

Quote:
And yes - I believe that Seal 3.0 *MUST* be able
to work under DOS, Windows and Linux.


I agree that SEAL should run under DOS, but i think that Windows and Linux doesn't need SEAL. Windows is a GUI itself and Linux has many GUIs and doesn't need a new one.
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BadSector
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2003 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well i'm mostly waiting for _xduffy_ (as the ex-maintainer) or the current maintainer to say the "OK", before i start my work...
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poundsmack



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2003 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

what about crystal space though whats your thoughts on that
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BadSector
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2003 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crystal Space can be used as a set of drivers too.

I don't want to 'lock' SEAL in some specific drivers. One driver (f.e. Crystal Space) can use the latest technology (3D hardware, super acceleration, trillions of colors, etc) for the newest PCs and another driver (f.e. WeakSEAL -imaginary driver-) can be used for very old PCs and provide stuff like true color emulation in 256 shades of gray or dithering in 16 colors and similar stuff.
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poundsmack



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2003 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i think thats a good plan. but crystal space could do amazing things for dos. you seem like u realy know what your doing so i trust u will do a good job. I liked the force i actualy contacted u a long time ago asking if the project was dead and u said u may turn in t into a whole new operating system hehe. well i think thats this could work out nicely with u as maintainer. by the way talk to ucosty (the guy working one seal4) see if u guys can work together, if so this could bea wonderfull thing
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