Sorry to say there is not much to report, save that I have now prepared all my materials for the two day meeting and everything is ready on my USB stick and Ultrabook. I set off at 6:30AM so that gives me a few hours sleep before I start off back to the real world.
I did continue to knock down my email inbox and organize some other bits and bobs such as an easier piece of grass code for later integration and cleaning up my dev area to give me some breathing room for continued debugging. I am also in the process of upgrading to Visual Studio 2013 as I have learned that the new NVIDIA NSIGHT visual debugging tool is suited to this version and that their improved support for DirectX 9 will be there - fingers crossed.
I did get a nice chat with the guy who basically writes the NSIGHT tool when I was at GDC and I added my vote for the ability to debug shader scripts from within the graphics debugger, so hopefully we might see that!
I also jumped into the forum as well to make sure all answers where forthcoming from the team and also ensured that this blog went out, despite being a little thin on the ground.
Also remember I had a nice long chat with Ravey who has been doing the software CPU occlusion stuff while I was away, and it's looking pretty good with the hierarchical z-buffer rendering 10K polygons under 1ms (without too much optimization at that) and his next stage is to create a mip-chain from that data and then run the occlusion query on the appropriate buffer slice. Once he is there, I can integrate that into the engine and replace the GPU dependent one (you remember, the one that creates that massive stall and halves your frame-rate).
I also learned at GDC that a new 'direct to GPU' evolution will eventually allow us to take results from the GPU memory without any significant stalling so there is still hope for an entirely GPU occluder (but not today for me). I also learned from the Intel graphics guys that as the video memory is pretty much shared with the system memory in parts, that I could effectively avoid a stall by using that common area for my occlusion texture results for a unique 'integrated' solution to occlusion, but again this is all theory, smoke and mirrors until I roll my sleeves up and see if it works.
For now, I have a week of brainstorming and planning, and then Friday onwards I barricade the door, take the phones off the hook (do they have hooks any more?) and dive into the remaining performance tasks in the direction of a new 'much anticipated' version.