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Submitted by Bernhard Glück, posted on October 18, 2001




Image Description, by Bernhard Glück



This is an early shot of our in development game „Startrek Realspace“ it will be a completly free game, and is under active development. It is based on our own “Realspace Engine” a completely modular game engine, which allows to create any game with no or little C++ coding. It is the basis for my book "Game Engine Design and implementation with DirectX 8.1" which is due out in Q1 2002 , by the German publisher "Markt & Technik"

Here are some features and facts:

General:
  • Modular architecture due to use of plugins for almost everything.
  • Runtime loading of plugins.
  • Resource manager for caching, loading and unloading data as needed making optimal use of present RAM. Also makes sure every file is only loaded once.
  • All data files [ except really standard ones, like WAV,MP3,TGA ] are saved as XML documents, making them easily understandable / convertable.
  • Abstracted inter object communication using a compact messaging system.
  • Event system using messages as backend.
  • Object system, managing all runtime created classes, and allowing standardized access to their properties.
  • Easily write new object classes in plugins and export them to scripts and the main engine core.
  • All systems are designed to be easily extendable by 3rd party plugins.
  • Easy to use debugging console. Support library: [ Useable in any project, not just Realspace ]
  • Sophisticated DLL aware RTTI System.
  • Extensive debugging support with callstack traces, memory leak detection, smart pointers and the likes.
  • Automatic bug report over the internet.
  • Detailed debug log.
  • Safe array and linked list templates [ to be independent of STL ]
  • Template and DLL aware support for Singletons.
  • Support for dynamic binding of DLL files.
  • Dynamically resizing data buffers.
  • Vector, Matrix and Quaternion math modules.
  • Multi threading primitives [ Thread class, with mutexes and semaphores ]
  • Unicode aware String class.
  • Window abstraction class.
  • DirectX helper methods.
  • Graphics:
  • Entirely written with DirectX 8.1 in mind, completely optimized for it, making heavy use of state batching, triangle strips and other optimization techniques to achive maximum performance on todayÂ’s and tomorrowÂ’s graphics cards [ geForce1 class card is required]
  • Hierarchical Scenegraph with hierarchical view frustum culling.
  • Some numbers: Pushes about 18 million triangles / sec on a P3900 with geForce3. [ using fixed function pipeline without any hardware lights ]
  • Using vertex shaders for almost everything form lighting to special effects
  • Using DirectX 7.0 style multitexture pipeline for per pixel effects
  • Highly configurable shader system supporting Textures, Detail maps, Glow maps,Per Pixel Bump mapping using Dot3 Product blending.
  • Configurable and extendable particle system, using DirectX 8.1 Point Sprites.
  • Xml based mesh format, supporting attachment points, shaders and other things.
  • Custom 3DSMAX 4.x plugin to export meshes to the custom format.
  • Skybox support, for space backgrounds.
  • Additional support for using DirectX X File meshes, and adding shaders to them.
  • Several additional special effects [ lens flares, glares ].
  • Collision detection and response.
  • Trilinear filtering.
  • Configurable alpha blending.
  • Full screen Anti Aliasing.
  • TrueType Font rendering.
  • Static Level of Detail system.
  • Standardized Orientation system allowing to control objects with so called “Orientation providers” can be anything from scripted to dynamically calculated.
  • Sound:
  • Support for WAV,MID and ADPCDM Compressed wav files.
  • Full 3D Positional sound using DirectSound3D.
  • Streamed playback of MP3 and WMA files.
  • Speech synthetization.
  • Networking:
  • Transparent networking system, automatic serialization of all objects
  • Totally transparent to the user.
  • Support for TCP/IP communication using DirectPlay.
  • Planned: Voice communication using DirectPlayVoice.
  • Planned: Messages are packed and encrypted for sending over the network.
  • Input:
  • Completely abstracted input system, allowing arbitrary input device to be assigned to different actions.
  • Keyboard and Mouse input using DirectInput.
  • Planned: Joystick support.
  • Planned: Speech recognition input device.
  • Scripting:
  • Easy to use scripting system, allowing complete customization of the engine as well as implementing complete games without writing a single line of C++ code!
  • Embeds the RUBY Scripting language [ Version 1.6.5 ], a fully object oriented, fast scripting language.
  • Derive from any of the C++ classes defined by the engine, and extend their functionality.
  • Respond to arbitrary messages, or even send out your own.
  • Internet:
  • File system accepts not only local filenames but also URLs, files are transparently loaded from the web.
  • Embedded Internet Explorer browser for display of standard information [ embedded into the graphics engine, can even be drawn as a texture on an arbitrary surface. ]
  • A demo will not be released very soon, since DirectX 8.1 is required. For more information go to http://www.realspace.at

    Ps: We are looking actively for graphics artists willing to help with the game.


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    Message Center / Reader Comments: ( To Participate in the Discussion, Join the Community )
     
    Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.
     
    meZmo

    October 18, 2001, 02:42 PM

    Nice pic!!

    The book sounds interesting!

     
    =[Scarab]=

    October 18, 2001, 02:49 PM

    It's Star Trek related, so it rules by definition! :P
    Seriously though, that's one mighty impressive feature list. (Respect!) That project ownz from a programmer's / modmaker's perspective.

    But how about the gamer? You say nothing about the gameplay itself and the screenshot does not either: a not very cubic Borg Cube and an Sovereign-class Starship (presumably USS Enterprise-E).

     
    Jesse Chounard

    October 18, 2001, 02:52 PM

    eek! It's a webpage from the future!

    On the page, when I went to read about the engine, it said that you got the idea to design the engine in November, 2001. I'm curious when you got the idea to design your time machine.

    I'm just kidding, of course.. nice screenshot you've got there.

    Jesse

     
    Herr_O

    October 18, 2001, 03:15 PM

    "which allows to create any game with no or little C++ coding" so I can do games just by thinking about them?? cool ;)

     
    sagacity

    October 18, 2001, 03:24 PM

    Using "Star Trek" stuff, eh? I guess the Paramount lawyers'll kick your ass then :)

     
    Gildorin

    October 18, 2001, 03:39 PM

    Be careful using Star Trek stuff without their written permission.
    For example: The swedish popsynth group S.P.O.C.K got attention of Paramounts Laywers, trying to suit them for using the name Spock.
    Another example (don't know if this just a rumour or the truth): The famous programmer of the classical Elite and Frontier (among others) awakened paramounts anger by using the word: Warpspeed... Huh...

    Besides... that engine looks really promising (understatement ;)... How much is it gonna cost to license the engine?

    cheers,
    Gildorin

     
    David Olsson

    October 18, 2001, 04:11 PM

    I believe their real name is "space Pilot On Channel K" :)

     
    David Olsson

    October 18, 2001, 04:16 PM

    I welcome any book on the topic game engine design !
    IMHO game engine design is one of the hardest part of makeing a game and it's a topic where I have found almost no info about.
    I would be quite interrested in such a book.

     
    Gluber

    October 18, 2001, 04:28 PM

    The engine will be free for non commercial use ( and will be downloadable from the site after a short registration )
    Commercial use will be very cheap to with RS1.0 ( about 100 $, a commercial license of the engine is included when buying the book)

    I also thought that a book on GAME Engine Design would be the best thing to do, since there are many books showing some bits and pieces, but none ( to my knowledge ) which show the whole picture..

    About Startrek Intelectual properties:

    I thought that using Startrek in something that DOES NOT generate any revenue ( STARTREK REALSPACE is a game based on REALSPACE, but the game itself will be FREEWARE ) is ok with Paramount... But if not then heck we will design our own scenario..

    The game itself is in its design phase, but since I am an avid player it will mostly be story based with a intense immersion of the player into the world through scripted Actions.. However the game is still a while of, and more info on it will be postet on the Website as soon as it becomes available.

    Writing games without C++: Not by thinking ( of course it would be nice) but one can write a whole game just in the scripting language customizing nearly everything. If performance is an issue one can also write C++ Plugins with the supplied SDK ( which enhance the engine at runtime ) See the feature list :-)

    Ok that should be all
    Hope that helps
    Bernhard Glück

     
    fluffy

    October 18, 2001, 04:31 PM

    Regarding Paramount's lawyers, they're horrible ass-pirates. They sued IBM over using the name "OS/2 Warp," they're always suing people for making Star Trek-themed fonts and such, and even by having this "unauthorized" picture of a Federation-looking ship on Flipcode you are increasing the likelihood of Paramount's lawyers swooping down on Flipcode. :(

     
    Rasmus Christian Kaae

    October 18, 2001, 04:32 PM

    I made a small article about my thoughts on designpatterns in game engines, read it here : http://www.daimi.au.dk/~kaae/design_patterns/

     
    Gildorin

    October 18, 2001, 04:41 PM

    Yes, that is correct... =)) They made that name up when paramount attacked them... =)

     
    Politik

    October 18, 2001, 04:53 PM

    I think parodies/satires are "fair-use", i.e. its ok to violate copyrights or trademarks.

    so claim your engine makes fun of star trek and its kosher. maybe.

     
    dkgamez

    October 18, 2001, 05:19 PM

    Hey there. Cool looking picture. Looking forward to the game.

     
    maddoc

    October 18, 2001, 05:29 PM

    Will the book be available in German ;-)
    Sounds really cool but I couldn't find a link on the
    homepage of "Markt und Technik" so I asked them kindly to inform me
    'bout the book

     
    Da Wolf

    October 18, 2001, 05:30 PM

    Impressive feature list!

    good work

     
    Anders Haglund

    October 18, 2001, 06:03 PM

    All your base are belong to us

     
    FireFoX

    October 18, 2001, 06:05 PM


    Wow!! What a features. How long are you already working on this?

     
    Politik

    October 18, 2001, 06:16 PM

    "I thought that using Startrek in something that DOES NOT generate any revenue ( STARTREK REALSPACE is a game based on REALSPACE, but the game itself will be FREEWARE ) is ok with Paramount... But if not then heck we will design our own scenario.."

    Even if this was true, which I'm almost positive it isnt, you ARE using it to generate revenue. You're using it to help sell the book. Just like you write words and diagrams and put them on lots of pages to help sell the book.

     
    ZEN

    October 18, 2001, 06:23 PM

    about paramounts lawyers being ass pirates. i doubt they will sue you if you do use the star trek theme and here is why:

    they will only sue if they are going to make money. and you won't have any, your giving it away.

    and i doubt your game will be popular.

    i'm not saying your game will be bad, i just doubt it will be popular because it will have no marketing and such. i know people will say, but look at CouterStrike, ok, so there was one mega hit free game out of 1000's, but it wasn't really free since you had to have the half life engine to run it, and being half life was one of the greatest selling games of all times, this tremendously helped CS acheive its popularity, enough rambling...

    keep up the good work, and F*#$ the lawyers, if they do sue you can always claim bankruptcy and start over. now that would make a great postmortem...

     
    Gluber

    October 18, 2001, 06:29 PM

    The engine has been in the works for half a year right now, and looks pretty stable right now. I was the only programmer, with one other guy helping with some debugging issues ( some nasty bugs which were hard to track down )

    Hm about the book using Startrek as a revenue generator. The book does not contain a single reference to it, in fact there will be a small example game in it using RS engine, but it will not be STRealspace...

    Anders... I could not understand your comment, sorry :-)

     
    disableddan

    October 18, 2001, 08:08 PM

    Now THAT, my friend, is a lot of features!

    Looks pretty sweet!!!

     
    fluffy

    October 18, 2001, 09:02 PM

    Revenue (and legality) has nothing to do with it. Several shareware font authors have been sued for simply copying the ST:TNG console "look and feel." Paramount's lawyers are bigger than yours.

     
    incinx

    October 18, 2001, 09:45 PM

    WHOA... nice features...

    But I must say, that is a crappy image considering what your engine CAN do =). I mean, that picture is so modest when showing off your engine. Add more triangles and some particle effects and some blending... can't wait for a demo =)

     
    plughead

    October 18, 2001, 09:51 PM

    "I thought that using Startrek in something that DOES NOT generate any revenue ( STARTREK REALSPACE is a game based on REALSPACE, but the game itself will be FREEWARE ) is ok with Paramount... But if not then heck we will design our own scenario.."

    Do yourself a favor and design your own scenario from the start. Otherwise, the assh*les at Paramount will descend on you like a swarm of locust. (Keep in mind that these are the same people who've harrased _free_ websites for using their copyrighted material, or anything even remotely like it.) As someone pointed out, they'll probably sue flipcode, if they notice this IOTD...

    (Damn, I wish I could remember that "Picard" quote about the borg, so I could substitute "Paramount" for "the borg". Something like "In their colective state, the borg are the closest I've seen to pure evil." It fits them perfectly...)

     
    Ron Frazier

    October 18, 2001, 10:11 PM

    I just wanted to jump in to say that Paramount will most probably threaten you with legal action should you generate any revenue from the project or use any copywrited or trademarked material (including ships, characters, names of people places or groups, sound clips, etc). There was a big fuss 3 or 4 years back where paramount lawyers sent out threatening letters to a bunch of websites. Some had ad banners, some just had copyrighted material. But the letter they sent out even prohibited:
    "artistic renditions of "Star Trek" characters or other properties, sound files, video clips, books or excerpts."
    which basicly means if you make something that looks or sounds like their stuff, you may be in trouble. If you arent in a position to work out a deal with them, I would avoid it all together. Thats not to say you cant make something similar, just avoid using the term Trek, names of people/places/things, similar graphics styling (fonts/ships/species/insignias).

     
    Anthracks

    October 19, 2001, 12:53 AM

    Cool features and pic, I'm definitely interested in the book! The real reason I'm responding though is because I'm bored and feel like ranting about legal things ;) This is longer than I meant it to be, I really should sleep sometimes.

    Where do people come up with these ideas of what is/isn't legal? As far as I know, it is NOT legal to distribute something that contains copyrighted material, whether or not you are making money from it. Think about it...a pretty high level court ruled that it was illegal for Napster to distribute music (for free!) to other people who did not own the rights to the music. A game based on Star Trek is the same principle. You are giving the player access to the Star Trek world that they would otherwise have had to pay Paramount to enjoy. I think lots of time people get away with it because the copyright owner either does not care, or it isn't worth their time to persue it. But with a property like Star Trek, worth a LOT of money, if the company is really anal (and it sounds like Paramount is) I think it's in their right to do whatever they can do protect the copyright. I wish they wouldn't, but it's how I think the law is.

    Anthracks

     
    Thomas Young

    October 19, 2001, 03:37 AM


    I think the image looks really cool. It has a certain style to it that reminds me of the original Startrek.

    I think that it would be a shame to lose the Startrek theme. How about if you officially released the engine but a Startrek mod got posted anonymously to some newsgroup or turned up on some russian fileserver? :)
    Point is that if no revenue is required from Startrek Realspace then why does it have to legally attributed to yourself?

    I say keep going as you are but make sure that Startrek Realspace is really well separated from the rest of the engine (sounds like it already is). As soon as (and if) Paramount tries to break up the party just give in and say that ok you are stopping development on the game. But the mod was always available for free download so hey who knows who might continue the development underground?

    But I guess if you really want to take credit for the game then you might be better off to lose the Startrek theme from the start or else approach Paramount now to get some agreement that it is ok..

     
    raiderr1

    October 19, 2001, 03:37 AM

    Wow, the pic looks great and the book sounds even better. I'll definitely have to pick it up, as long as its more than 10 pages ;)

     
    Arne Rosenfeldt

    October 19, 2001, 04:40 AM

    There is something like intellectual property,
    and I guess that paramount payed a lot of money to artists,
    and designers to produce the tng-art.
    Copying this art in any way (by hand or by copiing a DVD) is stealing.
    At least you steal them the possiblity of merchandising.

    But I do not understand why they don't offer a simple license
    for small people. Because a community also increases sales.

     
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