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Submitted by Kristian Olivero, posted on November 23, 2001

Image Description, by Kristian Olivero

This is several screenshots of my game. Its a great concept, with truely 3d gameplay added to a classic...almost a new genre I would hope! I'm proud of it, and it really is my game. I've done virtually everything for it top to bottom: coding, sounds (I use quack for these, they deserve a plug, a great little program), some modest 3d modelling, skinning, and animation (Milkshape 3d, again a plug), textures, did I mention coding, and I've attempted all the business garbage too...ick! I got some of the textures, and all of the midi's from free sources on the web, so many thanks to those talented individuals as well. None of these assets were specifically made for the game though, so it was still quite a bit of work integrating them. The game was featured in the student showcase and the indie games festival last year (thanks guys), under the name Break Away 3D. I've since switched the title to...Orbs of Attrition.

The game started as a directx self tutorial, and the orignal version was a modified dx6 sdk sample, free cookie for whoever guesses which one! First I said, let there be light, and there was light, and it was good. Then evening, then morning, the first day. Then there were small animals (mouse control), followed by physics and noise and such. Somewhere along the line I decided it really was a lot of fun, sat down, did a proper design document, and rewrote everything from scratch. It was my first piece of really beautiful code, laying things out, object orienting, and organization really paid off. At the end things got a bit ugly, just getting everything in and making it work on those silly voodoo 3's.

Features: This isn't quake 3, but there is some good stuff in there. Nice fast particle system, versatile scripting system, environment mapped bump mapping (thanks ATI), VERY real physics (phd in engineering paid off a little), networking, shaders, animation, adaptive ai, multiple skill levels, swell level transitions with no load times. I have also done some exciting work with the user interface-you've never seen menus like these, I can play with them for hours. I am VERY proud of the scalability, you can play on a 2 meg, 1st generation 3d card, and it gets better, faster, and prettier all the way up to todays best hardware. I also have done some animation with the level instructions, stopping everything ever so briefly, and just a bit of motion in the right spot really does a great job of coercing people to read the messages. I have some of the dx7 code modules (input, sound, particles) from the game source available on my web site, .

I hope to jump into the exciting world of e-commerce with it in the near future. I'd really appreciate it if a few of you guys could try things out and do a last run beta before I upload it anywhere else. Please don't distribute the demo beyond this, a better one will hopefully be the product of your great feedback very soon (never, ever put code on the web too early, you will get support questions from it forever!). For iotd only, . I'm especially interested in getting feedback about win2k, voodoo 3's, and matrox g400. I've had a few problems, and don't have access to the hardware to do a proper debugging session myself.

Image of the Day Gallery


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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.

November 23, 2001, 12:40 PM

Whoo this is nice lighting [2nd row, 1st image]



November 23, 2001, 12:45 PM

looks neat!

keep up the good work

Alex J. Champandard

November 23, 2001, 12:50 PM

From PhD in engineering to hobby game development in Direct X!

Nice jump ;)


November 23, 2001, 12:51 PM

Looks trippy with all those colors :)

Wim Libaers

November 23, 2001, 01:01 PM

Ummm... Nice description of the engine, looks good, but...

What's the style/story of the game?


November 23, 2001, 01:01 PM

reminds me of glover.

Edwin Jakobs

November 23, 2001, 01:23 PM

I don't like the colors.


November 23, 2001, 01:30 PM

Looks good, but still suffers a bit from programmer art syndrome. : )

I'll try it when I go back home.


November 23, 2001, 02:10 PM

Makes me think about Last Corridor.. a very old, but seriously fun game.



November 23, 2001, 03:20 PM

I played it for about 10 minutes. It is very well implemented and it does have great physics. It takes a while to get used to what plane you hit the ball on. I have a few suggestions...

Add another small 3d window in the corner of the screen which shows the overhead view. This way you can quickly see how far the ball is from your paddle.

When you press the shift key or hold down the middle mouse button increase the game speed by 1.5x or so, this is good to have to get you through slow balls or times when the ball is just back in the level breaking stuff.

The art is very trippy and could be better, but were only human, and a one man project is a lot to handle, I know. Good job.

Brandon Wood

November 23, 2001, 03:20 PM

Darn! I want to play the demo, but it's unbearably slow for me because for some reason it is using software rendering, because D3D decided not to use hardware acceleration for some reason. I'm running Windows XP Professional and have a Voodoo3. The only thing I can think of is that I'm using one of those strange doctored driver kits to get Glide/OpenGL acceleration in Windows XP, which could be breaking Direct3D. Dunno.. Looks good though!

Tane Piper

November 23, 2001, 03:31 PM

Very nice!

Reminds me of a trip I had once :)

The gameplay itself is quite simple and fun.

Manuel Astudillo

November 23, 2001, 03:44 PM


its only me or this guy really lacks modesty? Where is MC BAXTON to bring him back to earth?




November 23, 2001, 05:36 PM

no, it's not only you, but who gives a shit let him brag. As for baxton, I'll be he's off in the hills with a goat. And to the dude who said it reminded him of a trip, what's that called again?


November 23, 2001, 05:45 PM

I'd like to properly thank Matrox, not ATI for bringing EMBM into the realm of real time graphics, on another note, goodbye Matrox, hello ATI, as I've just replaced my trust G400 with a brand new Radeon 8500.

Kristian Olivero

November 23, 2001, 06:16 PM

Hey guys,

Thanks for the feedback!

Story-I'm a coder, what story :). I initially put in the ability to play avi's that I used as little cut scenes, but it really just turned out that a bad story is much worse than no story. I threw in a few jokes and "save the universes", but there really isn't any story. Style, its a 3D Breakout type game.

What's glover?

Zen-thanks for the most constructive feedback so far. I like the increase speed idea. I tried a few things showing the depth of the ball, but people are so busy looking at the main screen they really just didn't have time to look at it, and it takes away from the play area. Same with the instructions.

Voodoo 3-It may be your drivers, as you said. It should work fine on voodoo. I really have no XP feedback though, so trouble could be there as well. Try and see if you get a hardware choice.

Modesty-sorry...I thought I was just excited and enthusiastic, but I'll try harder to be humble :).

Matrox may have brought embm to the world, but ATI brought it to Orbs :).



November 23, 2001, 07:16 PM

All I can say is watch out - I've been having a hell of a time with my 8500 (I even made sure it was one of the retail ones!). ATI of course won't back it up with tech support either. It's a pity, since even their newest drivers don't install.



November 23, 2001, 07:22 PM

I remember seeing this at the GDC Student IGF last year. It was pretty cool, though it seemed to play somewhat differently. It could just be my preference, but I wasn't really able to play it for more than a few minutes. In any case, kudos for keeping the project going - are you planning on entering it in the IGF again this year? If so, see you at the GDC.



November 23, 2001, 07:47 PM

The main grumble I have is that the mouse sensitivity is too high, also i can never tell which balls are glowing green, also it's hard to tell if your orb is in the right place to hit the ball as in distance, i think there's a bit of a perspective problem there, otherwise damn swanky, can entertain you for quite awhile

Rag on a Stick

November 24, 2001, 01:45 AM

It ran, which surprised me since I have a really low end system :)

The fps was reasonable (interactive), but not good enough to be called playable. For the record, I'm using a PII400 128mb ram and what is a 3d accelerator? :)


November 24, 2001, 02:00 AM

I just wanted to let you know I ran this under Windows XP Professional, and it worked perfectly. This was with a GeForce 3.

I love your menu system, it's a little dizzying (the mouse moves FAST!) but other than that, it's really innovative and a fun change from most games. This game wins huge points for creativity.

Good job!



November 24, 2001, 06:53 AM

Note, everything stated herein is just my opinion.

May sound rude, sorry about that, but first impression of this game was it made me feel somewhat sick. And when a game does that it's usually a sign of something not being right about it. In this case, there are simply way too many phychedelic colors and wobbling stuff around. It seems like you wanted to implement every single trick you know of. Although it's good to know all kinds of stuff, it's no use putting all ingredients you have in one cooking pot. The result will taste bad. You have to know what to leave out. That's part of game programming too.

The second thing bothering me is that it's lacking a sense of 3d. You could make the orb go darker when goes further away from the screen to make it appear more 3d. Now it's hard to recognise distances. And though I'm sure the stuff you've done is pretty deliberate, the shading seems pretty random to me. The wobbling multi-color textures in the background and the walls surely contribute to this feeling. Design a solid theme for each level ie. make one a brick-wall and don't go crazy with the colors. Make the textures make sense. The player has to now what's going on.

The menu interface, though it's something new, isn't supposed to confusing. Yes, it does its job, but it didn't make me wanna go and see if there were options I should change. I don't know if anyone likes an info screen on a rotated and textured polygon, but I know I don't.

I tried not to sound too harsh here. My critique is mainly things you could improve and there are good things, too, but I decided not to repeat them since others have already said them.

The game runs fine on my AMD Duron 800 MHz/Matrox G450/256 MB/Win98SE. It installs fine, runs fine and I didn't find a single bug. So that's good work and keep it up and improving!


November 24, 2001, 07:58 AM

Respect for finishing a game but I can't look at the IOTD for longer than 2 secs. as it hurts my eyes and I get a headache from it :)


November 24, 2001, 08:39 AM

Pretty good graphics. Especially lighting and texture routine. Bring us some new games on this engine - I think, something like arkanoid or Doom 3;). I'm not joking.

Kristian Olivero

November 24, 2001, 11:36 AM

I really appreciate the criticisms guys. No more nice stuff.

It took about 100 people telling me, but I'm finally realizing that I need some serious detox and moderate the intake of acid.

I'm turning up ambient light a bit. This will decrease the effect of the dynamic lights a bit.

Switching out some wall textures to some more realworld ones with realworld colors. Bricks, stones, etc.

Slowing the shader motion speed down to 20% its initial value. Will reevaluate any shaders that are more than decals, and at very minimum use these less (white stars).

Give me some good depth ideas-tried darkening it, tried alternate views, may look into wall markers, but it seems so artificial!

Zen-you get two cookies. The increased speed button REALLY rocks!

I'll get version 1.02 out as soon as possible (maybe on the secret.html page tonight). I'd really like it if you guys could check my progress.

best regards,


November 24, 2001, 06:33 PM

The game run fine in my win2k/duron800/geforce2...
I like the menu system even if it work well only with keyboard.
Are you sure you can include a "The Corrs" midi file in it??
I don't remember the title but it is in the light-spot level.
I think it would look more professional if you don't put your head there... : )
What about a Halloween's marrow?!

Kristian Olivero

November 24, 2001, 09:18 PM

I don't know "the corrs", I assume its professional music? Are you sure that is there's, these are supposedly all originals...gonna have to talk with somebody!

thanks a lot!


November 25, 2001, 08:02 AM

"The Corrs"? They were in the top ten last year at european mtv.
Yes, I'm sure about the song, I have a cd with it.


November 26, 2001, 03:26 AM

Nope, it's a satyr this time.

Kristian Olivero

November 26, 2001, 07:44 AM

I changed a ton of stuff, implementing a lot of feedback from this list. Thanks a lot. Lots less trippy, better depth perception, and all around a lot more fun. Thanks, it really is better. Try it out if you'd like!

best regards,

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