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Submitted by , posted on 09 April 2002



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This is the first demo of the game engine I've been working on for the past four months, part time, mostly. At the moment, I am the only person working on it, doing both the artwork and the coding. The engine is intended to be used to develop an action/adventure game that I'm currently designing.This demo can be thought of as an early prototype of the game, based on the current design treatment.

The engine was programmed in C++ using MSVC 6. It uses Direct3D 8 at the moment, although, Im working as API-independent as possible so that in the near future I can throw in OpenGL support easily. Visibility culling is done using octrees, as well as some line of sight tests and collision detection. Scenes are exported from 3D Studio Max to the ZCB file format, which is then imported by the engine. The engine also supports lightmapping, but a bug somewhere in the code is making the lightmap calculation time quite large, so I decided not to use it in the demo until all bugs in it are worked out, even if it did improve the visual quality by a lot :(

Some of the features included in the demo are:
  • Sky Dome
  • MD3 character support
  • 3D Positional Sound (using DirectSound)
  • First / Third person camera
  • Animated Textures (caustics, as seen on the fountain's water)
  • Data driven particle system
  • I'm currently in the process of designing a better architecture for the engine that makes use of a scene hierarchy, most likely, a scene graph, but Im experimenting with different options to find the one that suits the game's needs best. The complete engine will feature lightmaps (without the time consuming bugs!), animated characters that use bones and skin, dynamic lighting effects, dynamic shadows, and I'm sure more features will find their way into the engine along the way.

    Although, I am enjoying coding the graphics engine, I am looking forward to working on the game specific areas, but I am aiming to have a basic feature set before I work on the actual game. That is why the game is being designed concurrently with the engine's development, by the time the engine is ready I should also have a solid design to work with.

    There are some known bugs, but I won't spoil it for you, if you want to find them, you'll have to download the demo at:

    http://www.spheregames.com/sgedemo.htm

    I must apologize for the rather large download size (20megs), It is mostly due to the use of a rather large sound file. I am working on resolving this issue soon.

    Finally, I just wanted to gratefully acknowledge the help of the folks at GameInstitute who have been an invaluable source of knowledge, help, ideas and at times even motivation. Thanks guys!



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