Toy Engine Devlog #1 - DX12 and Imgui

2 minute read

It’s been a while since last time, mostly because I spent my last months working a lot and trying to find time to finish this project, so I hadn’t the time to write new posts. The good news is that I finished it! :) I am officially a bachelor in Computer Information Systems!

In this post, I will briefly describe how I implemented my DirectX 12 renderer and integrated Dear Imgui and a profiling tool with the engine. In a future post, I intend to write about what I found out by comparing DX 11 and DX 12 performances (the actual outcome of my project).

DX 12 Renderer

My renderer is not an impressive work on graphics techniques, right now it only renders diffuse textures and applies basic Phong lighting. But the things that I am most proud of are on the “backend” implementation, as DX 12 follows that recent trend of “bare to the metal” API’s, I need to handle things like memory management and CPU-GPU synchronization by myself, but I am also able to parallelize my rendering tasks with less pain and get a flexible API for anything that I want to do.

Most of the renderer design is based on Microsoft’s MiniEngine, a great sample project with a lot of cool graphics techniques. I spent a lot of time working to figure out a good way to implement dynamic resources, e.g. constant buffers and dynamic vertex buffers, a great resource that I found is this article about Dynamic Resources on Diligent Engine 2.0: Implement Dynamic Resources on DX12. The basic idea is that we allocate a big buffer on the GPU and use it as a ring buffer, allocating small chunks as needed and deallocating them when the GPU finishes executing the associated render commands.

ToyEngineRender.png

Dear IMGUI

One thing that I wanted to have from the beginning of this project is a good debug UI system. After some search I found the amazing Dear ImGui library, it’s the perfect example of a good library, really simple to integrate, has a lot of samples, it is simple to use, but powerful. For now, I am using it for performance statistics and lighting parameters tweaks, but I intend to implement some basic scene editing tools using it.

ToyEngineImGUi.png

Profiling

Another thing that I wanted to have is a good profiler, with support to multithreading and an easy to use API. I ended up using EasyProfiler mainly for its easy integration. It’s good enough for my use right now, I can easily profile a running executable, dump profiling data to a file, and see what task each worker thread is running.

Profiler.png

What I will work on next

  • Cleanup: As I implemented most of it during weekends and had a tight schedule, I am not really satisfied with most of the codebase, so I will spend some time cleaning/refactoring that code.
  • Remove SDL dependency: I decided to use SDL to handle window creation and input events, but after all, I found out that Win32 API is not that difficult and I may be able to remove that huge dependency from the project.
  • Input implementation: After SDL removal, I will spend some time working on a simple input system.
  • Shadow Mapping: I never implemented proper shadows on my class projects, so I will study more about the possible techniques and implement a basic implementation.
  • Physics: I intend to integrate a physics API, probably Bullet or PhysX.

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