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Submitted by Mal Duffin, posted on February 03, 2005




Image Description, by Mal Duffin



These are screenshots from an app I'm currently working on. It is aimed at courses who are teaching 3D modelling to new students, especially creative ( non-techie ) students.

The main goal of the app is to allow students to learn basic 3D modelling skills, and to be able to easily export their environments into a game-style app. The other aim was to support as many different 3D modelling packages as possible.

The solution has a number of unique features...
  • The user levels can be played ( and peer reviewed ) online, via a single web link
  • The engine uses Shockwave 3D, and Havok physics, to create a realistic gaming environment
  • The physical drive model is similar to a number of car racing games currently online
  • The game logic is set up entirely within the 3D modelling application
  • A simple export process ensures ease of use
  • Student levels can be linked to each other online, by naming the object as a URL

  • The top 5 screenhots show the tech level that ships with the app, and that you can edit.

    The next three show a level created by a fellow Shockwave 3D artist and good friend, Psychic Parrot, in under an hour.

    The last two screenshots show some of the new features I've been adding to the engine, such as particle effects and driving models with large wheels.

    Some other non-visual features are that the app's interface ( title screen, music ) can all be quickly customised simply by placing the files beside the app ( either the .EXE, or if online, beside the .HTM file ). A .SWF flash file can even be used to create an interactive front end for the game.

    One of the non-obvious, but really difficult to get going, features of the app is the automatic support for various 3D modelling packages. Most of them export to Shockwave 3D with little quirks, which I had to discover and write code to detect the app. Then, depending on the app, the co-ordinate system might have to be transformed, de-crypt hierarchies, or normals of models might have to be inverted etc. It wasn't a lot of fun, but it was very satisfying to get it working!

    If you have basic 3D modelling skills, and would like to try to create your own level, you can get more information and download the pre-release version of the application for free at http://www.candointeractive.com/gamedesign/car. The site also contains a forum for feedback or posting your levels etc.

    Feel free to send this link to your 3D artist friends and colleagues for them to try out!

    Mal Duffin
    CanDo Interactive


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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.
     
    Volker Schoenefeld

    February 04, 2005, 01:38 AM

    Looks very interesting, I wonder how well the (upcoming) artists will be able to work with it. Another idea I had when i read your description, what about a drag+drop texture feature. Just pick a texture in explorer, and drop it on a triangle to change the corresponding texture.

    Good work,
    Volker

     
    RAZORUNREAL

    February 04, 2005, 03:57 AM

    Very interesting, if only I was a skilled enough modeler to do more than duplicate boxes all over the place.

    A system like this avoids all the hassle with getting things to work in game, so in that sense it's got for teaching game artists but the down side of that is they might never learn to wrestle and hack things into the game, which is a very important skill. Worse, they might get the idea games are always that easy to make when in fact you did all the hard stuff. It should be a very good teaching tool as long as it's made clear it's a simplified environment.

     
    malCanDo

    February 05, 2005, 09:30 AM

    Thanks for the comments.

    > Looks very interesting, I wonder how well the (upcoming) artists will be able to work with it. Another idea I had when i read your description, what about a drag+drop texture feature. Just pick a texture in explorer, and drop it on a triangle to change the corresponding texture.

    The focus is on having them learn how to apply the textures in the 3D modelling app ( Max, Maya etc ), so we didn't want to have the game engine have too many modelling-style features.

    > Very interesting, if only I was a skilled enough modeler to do more than duplicate boxes all over the place.

    Hehe, I can do both spheres and boxes :)

    > A system like this avoids all the hassle with getting things to work in game, so in that sense it's got for teaching game artists but the down side of that is they might never learn to wrestle and hack things into the game, which is a very important skill. Worse, they might get the idea games are always that easy to make when in fact you did all the hard stuff. It should be a very good teaching tool as long as it's made clear it's a simplified environment.

    It's aimed very much at students learning basic 3D modelling, and allowing them to preview their work with as minimal effort as possible.

    With some of the game logic, a complete overview of developing a small prototype game ( from game level design, interface design, music ) can be achieved by an individual student, or a group of students working together.

    Mal

     
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