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Pixmap Class and DDS Saving



Textures in Leadwerks don't actually store any pixel data in system memory. Instead the data is sent straight from the hard drive to the GPU and dumped from memory, because there is no reason to have all that data sitting around in RAM. However, I needed to implement texture saving for our terrain system so I implemented a simple "Pixmap" class for handling image data:

class Pixmap : public SharedObject
    VkFormat m_format;
    iVec2 m_size;
    shared_ptr<Buffer> m_pixels;
    int bpp;

    const VkFormat& format;
    const iVec2& size;
    const shared_ptr<Buffer>& pixels;

    virtual shared_ptr<Pixmap> Copy();
    virtual shared_ptr<Pixmap> Convert(const VkFormat format);
    virtual bool Save(const std::string& filename, const SaveFlags flags = SAVE_DEFAULT);
    virtual bool Save(shared_ptr<Stream>, const std::string& mimetype = "image/vnd-ms.dds", const SaveFlags flags = SAVE_DEFAULT);
    friend shared_ptr<Pixmap> CreatePixmap(const int, const int, const VkFormat, shared_ptr<Buffer> data);
    friend shared_ptr<Pixmap> LoadPixmap(const std::wstring&, const LoadFlags);

shared_ptr<Pixmap> CreatePixmap(const int width, const int height, const VkFormat format = VK_FORMAT_R8G8B8A8_UNORM, shared_ptr<Buffer> data = nullptr);
shared_ptr<Pixmap> LoadPixmap(const std::wstring& path, const LoadFlags flags = LOAD_DEFAULT);

You can convert a pixmap from one format to another in order to compress raw RGBA pixels into BCn compressed data. The supported conversion formats are very limited and are only being implemented as they are needed. Pixmaps can be saved as DDS files, and the same rules apply. Support for the most common formats is being added.

As a result, the terrain system can now save out all processed images as DDS files. The modern DDS format supports a lot of pixel formats, so even heightmaps can be saved. All of these files can be easily viewed in Visual Studio itself. It's by far the most reliable DDS viewer, as even the built-in Windows preview function is missing support for DX10 formats. Unfortunately there's really no modern DDS viewer application like the old Windows Texture Viewer.


Storing terrain data in an easy-to-open standard texture format will make development easier for you. I intend to eliminate all "black box" file formats so all your game data is always easily viewable in a variety of tools, right up until the final publish step.

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