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Submitted by Luis Sempé, posted on April 09, 2002




Image Description, by Luis Sempé



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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    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.
     
    davepermen

    April 09, 2002, 04:29 PM

    this image is BAD because of these points [[LIST]]

    how about this?

    it looks quite well yet, but try to get this bether: [[LIST]]
    if you can change this it would possibly get even much much bether than before

    whats the difference?

    first hurts, makes angry, creates OT posts about good and bad talkin, is not political correct (polite i ment;))
    second tells the same, in flowers, and like that does not hurt, but gives a good feeling. no OT talks about other things AND IT SHOWS THAT YOUSELF ARE INTELLIGENT. why? wise men don't need to hurt not-as-wisies... they only show how to improve stuff with ideas they know themselfes. only young unadvanced guys wich want to show how good they are make other stuff bad

    or in billgates words:
    a second-best-class guy only takes third-class-guys to show he's bether than them, because he is scared of the first-class-guys who are bether than him and he knows it.

     
    than

    April 09, 2002, 04:46 PM

    Yay, something neat :) Looks like some nice work there. I just love these one man game projects, they are so cool... in fact, I'm working on one myself (although it's for a uni project, so I have a deadline (boo hoo.)) The screens look nice, and the feature list, although hardly packed, is encouraging for four months work, especially part time. I'm going through hell with my project (mainly because I'm not really a coder), but it looks like you are getting on well, Luis.

    As for programmer art, screens look decent, especially the model, but if you want to see bad stuff just you wait till you see my artists code :)

     
    KieranIsOK

    April 09, 2002, 04:57 PM

    I agree with you about the tone of some of these posts, but I think you should let them say what they want.
    You're just insighting more boring discussions about etiquette by chastising them.
    It really has nothing to do with you or I what comments people make here.
    It's refreshing to see people being a little more honest about these images...maybe their language is a little agressive.

     
    davepermen

    April 09, 2002, 05:06 PM

    its childish play of them and its simple to see..
    the work of this iotd is quite good and i guess they could not reproduce this in one year and thats why they are fooling around.

    well i can't find any point to critise at those pictures.. i definitely think its worth a comment, a good one.

    what i'm not sure is, are the trees billboards or sort of 3dplanes in eachother? at least they look cool so far. hope you get a descent shading over the whole sceen. with correct lighting it could rock (and if i could start downloading it could even rock without;))

    and i like the sky. looks like the air over a city when its perfectly blue sky (and the whole scene gets a little foggy, so it looks like they have too much cars at all around;))

    all in all nice colors.. any chance to see a lightmapped version, even while the lightmaps are not yet perfect?

     
    Jeff Kiah

    April 09, 2002, 05:08 PM

    It really does look good, especially for a one person project. The difference between this demo and some others is that you actually have subtance, it's artwork applied to a game rather than just some walls or a heightmap. Ignore those posts that suggest you're not doing a good job, half of them don't even speak english well and the other half probably have never developed anything worth looking at themselves, they just criticize others' work. I can relate because I'm making a game in my spare time too, in a similar stage of development, yours is looking good.

     
    Rand704

    April 09, 2002, 05:09 PM

    AND I AM THE WINNER of these reply to first poster-contests. so eat it.

    I am cool

    kthxs

     
    Rand704

    April 09, 2002, 05:10 PM

    oops that was supose to be an arrow point to first like this

    FIRST

     
    stefan/dxm

    April 09, 2002, 05:13 PM

    yes it was a joke, stupid.. :)


    and what i meant with "add more pollys" was simple.. SUBDIVIDE thats no time for graphician but makes dynamic lightning nicer since it interpolates linear .... MORON :)

     
    Hiro Protagonist

    April 09, 2002, 05:23 PM

    Does calling me a moron and stupid make you feel smart? That is a shame.
    If your text had such obvious context, you would not need to explain to me "what you meant". Like I said, I assumed it was a joke. What I said further was that making the joke undermined any legitimate points you were trying to make.
    I am sorry that your ego is so small that it cannot handle criticism of the lightest degree. Especially since I recall you saying earlier that you prefer negative criticism.
    Grow up.

     
    CyberVenom

    April 09, 2002, 05:36 PM

    I had the same thought. :)

    Can't wait for Morrowind... I've had a pre-order in for it for months.

     
    Luis Sempe

    April 09, 2002, 05:48 PM

    Kick ass, it's worth a comment... so where IS the comment? or is "WORTH A COMMENT" also THE comment? and, what if it had been "NOT WORTH A COMMENT", does that not constitute itself as a comment? especially since "WORTH A COMMENT" does not include an additional comment.

    Ok, enough of that, there are some other posts that are "WORTH A REPLY", oh wait... nevermind, that's stupid.

    Luis

     
    Luis Sempe

    April 09, 2002, 06:03 PM

    Im not sure if you downloaded the demo, or just saw the screenshots, regradless, there are several particle emitters throughout the demo, there's one in the water fountain, one for smoke coming out of a chimney in a house, one for the fire inside the chimney, and there are two candles inside the church that also use the particle system.

    The animated texture can be seen if you walk up to the fountain. And yes, the skydome's texture is a simple texture with shades of lightblue and white. Personally, I like how it looks.

    And no, this is not a tech demo, unlike most tech demos, I intend to make my engine into a game, and at this moment most of the work I'm doing is on the engine's architecture itself, making sure it all fits together, runs efficiently and is scalable, as opposed to concentrating all my time and attention to getting just one feature perfect.

    Finally, as I said in the description, this is an early prototype, and yea, I do have a long way to go. I expect to have more robust, more feature rich and overall better looking engine by the time the next demo is released.

     
    Luis Sempe

    April 09, 2002, 06:08 PM

    Although I do support using sky boxes in the engine, I feel that sky domes are a bit more realistic. And the realism you can achieve with them doesnt rely 100% on the texture, with a skybox, you need a very good looking texture. And since usually a smaller texture gets stretched over a big quad, the textures tend to look somewhat pixelated and low quality. Instead, I intend to use procedural textures to apply a nice animated cloud texture over the dome. IMO, it looks a lot better.

    Luis

     
    Gareth

    April 09, 2002, 06:09 PM

    Hi.

    I'm impressed by the screens, will try the demo lately.

    But I have to ask, why export to ZCB files, then write a converter to your format ? Pierre's exporter's whole point is to be easy to add your own format to. It can't be harder to write your own plugin to Flexport than it is to write a converter ?

    Funny this is, as far as I remember anyway, Pierre didn't want to release the source code for the ZCB files, he just wanted them as a sample, his intention was for people to write thier own plugins.

    BTW, real cool character model :)

     
    Luis Sempe

    April 09, 2002, 06:12 PM

    That is quite strange, I also have a GeForce2 MX and have not had any problems. Do you have Direct3D 8.1 ? if so, are your drivers up to date? and the last thing I can think of is, you could try changing the D3D installation from "Debug" to "Retail" and see if that helps.

    Thanks for trying it out, let me know if you still have any problems, I would very much like to find out what the problem might be.

    Luis.

     
    AticAtac

    April 09, 2002, 06:13 PM

    It's a natural (but not necessary good) thing that some people try to be "special" by giving comments which are completly different than the other comments. Let's say it is the "cheap" way to express your opinion w/o being constructive. It's like you make a comment because of the comment itself and not of the material you should comment.
    Such people should better post comments in the "wanna-be-funny-smartass" forum, maybe Kurt should create one for those people.

    IOTD:
    the screenshots look very promising.
    If you intend not to go multi-platform then there is no need to support also OpenGL if your primary aim is to finish the game itself.



     
    stefan/dxm

    April 09, 2002, 06:14 PM


    i still say you suck and is a moron... now what did you NOT understand? i said WHY you sucks > youre a moron.. now thats constructive criticism!

    !!!!!!!!

     
    Kurt Miller

    April 09, 2002, 06:18 PM

    ">>you could try changing the D3D installation from "Debug" to "Retail" and see if that helps. "

    That suggestion makes me wonder: have you had problems with the Debug runtimes before? I ask because some users of my game reported some odd problems when playing it with the Debug runtimes. One such example is that when my DX7 app is running on some (not all) machines with DX8 Debug runtimes, the 3D objects (in vertex buffers) don't show up at all. The Retail work properly. Have you found any documentation on known problems between the Debug/Retail runtimes?

     
    Luis Sempe

    April 09, 2002, 06:25 PM

    The only thing I can think of, assuming your nvidia drivers are fine, is that you could try changing the D3D installation from Debug to Retail and seeing if that fixes the problem. Im running XP Pro as well, and did have some problems with the Debug version and nvidia's latest drivers.

    Thanks for trying it out.

    Luis

     
    Gareth

    April 09, 2002, 06:27 PM

    Kurt,

    I wouldn't know if he is finding problems, but a good idea ( always ) is to save OutputDebugString spew to a log file. In this case it is doubly useful, as in your specific case, the users with problems could crank up the DirectX and D3D debug output levels, run the game and forward the spew to you.

     
    Hiro Protagonist

    April 09, 2002, 06:28 PM

    You spell like Popeye talks.
    What a newb.

     
    Gareth

    April 09, 2002, 06:30 PM

    Ofcourse, reading further down, Luis Sempe does have the D3D Debug spew.

    So maybe the poeple with debug runtimes and problems can spit out the high debug level for him.

     
    Hiro Protagonist

    April 09, 2002, 06:30 PM

    I originally ran it under retail bits. I ran it under debug bits to see if I could isolate your problem. Yes my nVidia drivers are fine.

     
    Luis Sempe

    April 09, 2002, 06:35 PM

    Thanks,

    I definitely intend on writing my own exporter, but I just havent gotten around to it. But it is on my very long TO DO list. I like the ZCB file format, but the conversion does take a rather long time, which is why I had plans for exporting to my own format. Just gotta find some time.

    Also, thanks, but the characters are the only art assets I can't take credit for, I got them from www.polycount.com, I forgot to mention that in the IOTD description, although I do mention it on the demo's readme file.

     
    Gareth

    April 09, 2002, 06:38 PM

    Heh,

    Sorry about the character then :/ I'm still impressed by IOTD though.

    Out of interest, where did you get the MD3 tutorial from ? I basically use Character Studio for my own stuff, but sadly my abilities as a modeller makes most programmers look like Picasso.

    But lately I have been thinking of trying out MD3 characters, since the Quake III Arena mod community spawns so many of them :)

    I haven't search for many MD3 things, but you implemented it already, so whatever tutorial you recommend is preferable to what I would find alone.

     
    Kurt Miller

    April 09, 2002, 06:43 PM

    ">>In this case it is doubly useful, as in your specific case, the users with problems could crank up the DirectX and D3D debug output levels, run the game and forward the spew to you."

    Yeah, I asked someone to send me his debug log, but my problem was that I'm (reasonably) sure the code was correct. I haven't touched it for a while, so I don't remember the exact error, but at the time I couldn't find anything I was doing wrong that'd cause the error returns I was getting from some DX calls. We went back and forth a little with a few patches, but nothing seemed to fix it. A few other developers I've talked to have reported strange experiences with the debug runtimes as well, which is why I was wondering if there are known problems. But perhaps I just didn't check my code well enough :).

     
    Luis Sempe

    April 09, 2002, 06:46 PM

    I hadn't experienced problems with the Debug version until the last time I updated my video drivers, then all sorts of strange things started happening, the engine ran slow, the character did not render, which didnt use happen, all the problems were resolved when I switched to the Retail version.

     
    Luis Sempe

    April 09, 2002, 06:49 PM

    The demo generates some log files, they are located in the installation folder in the folder "logfiles", they are errors.txt, stats.txt and info.txt. If it's not a problem, perhaps you could email them to me (visual@spheregames.com) so that I can see if I recognize any problems in them. Thanks.

     
    Luis Sempe

    April 09, 2002, 06:55 PM

    The reason why I chose to use MD3 characters is the same one you mentioned. I beleive the tutorial I used was the following:

    http://www.cfxweb.net/files/Detailed/1116.shtml

    It is written for OpenGL, so if you intend to use it for D3D, make sure you convert the matrices into their appropiate form. Maybe after I clean it up a bit, I'll release my code.

     
    voodoo_john

    April 09, 2002, 06:56 PM


    we have a saying for people like you in glasgow:

    what a cunt.


     
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