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Journal of Lee Stripp



vortxEDIT : Cocoa

Posted by , 30 September 2012 - - - - - - · 681 views
vortxGE, Editor, Cocoa
After making my first ever Cocoa app for cataloging my fish I catch, yep I love to fish. I had to start somewhere.

I just jumped right in the deep end with the vortxGE Scene Editor called vortxDEIT, this follows my old editor written in Nokia Qt using C++. But I really wanted to make a native Mac OS X app (Cocoa) for scene editing as this is my main platform these days.

So far it displays all scene node objects and the main Game View.

Attached Image

Left : The Scenes TreeView
Top Middle : Game View
Bottom Middle : Properties
Top Right : Asset Viewer
Bottom Right : Asset TreeView

The interface may change a lot from this design, my aim is to get something up and running fast. Later I'll redesign or even remake the app.


Interview

Posted by , 27 September 2012 - - - - - - · 599 views

  • How many games have you worked on?
About 10 all up, last 4 were: 2up, Bi-Yo, Lolly World and CrossFate.

  • What do you work on in games, and how did you learn to do it?
Well I work on many areas, 3D Modelling, Animation, Programming etc... I'm self-taught from the age of 12, once at school I found like minded friends who really helped focus my learning (Not the school :-) ).

  • How many people typically work on a game, and what did they work on?
Most of my projects have been 2 people but I have worked in a team of 12. In the team of 12, some people started on what they thought their strengths were but they soon found out they could do other things even better. Someone may be waiting on other team members to finish a: model for example, so they help out and find they did a better job. You must be willing to try new things in a large team, unless its a 100+ size team I guess.

  • What are the responsibilities of those people?
One team leader will set out tasks to perform. Then most people take set tasks to complete, with any luck they finish them and move on to another task (if they have other skills). Others are set one role for example, writers cant normally help out with programming etc...

  • Have you worked on a team?
Yes

  • How well did you cooperate with them/did you ever have any problems with other members? Did you interact with them outside the workspace?
I get along with others very well thankfully so this hasn't been an issue for me, Yet :-)
Yes I have had drinks outside the workplace with some people but not all, only in the 2 team member scenario.

  • What kind of lingo do you use when talking to people savvy in your field?
I'm a strong believer in K.I.S.S. I try to keep it simple even with other techies. If you keep things clear, the project will run much smoother.

  • What kinds of problems did you have to overcome in the parts you worked on?
I would say the main issues were always cross-platform related, second is keeping up-to-date with API changes. This is one reason I started writing my own game engine. Some APIs just break a lot, and your not in control so they could take weeks or even months to fix.

  • Did anyone help you overcome them?
Most of the time you can find an answer online through forums etc.. So yes, never be afraid to ask for help.

  • What kinds of tools do you use, and what do they do?
I can use many tools, too many to list so I'll just give a few examples.

3D: Blender, XSI, 3ds max, Lightwave.
Film/Video: FinalCut, Motion, MediaStudio, Avid, Shake.
IDE: Xcode, KDevelop, VisualStudio.
2D: Gimp, Photoshop.

To explain how these all work would take to long :-)

  • Have you ever helped someone else with a problem?
So many I've lost count.

  • If you've worked on a project that isn't your own, how does it feel to work towards someone else's idea?
You have to LOVE the project or get paid very well to keep your interest up. I know thats blunt but its true.

  • What is your workspace like?
I work from home, I like a very clean workspace so I don't spend half an hour looking for notes etc...

  • Are you paid? If so, how much?
Most projects yes, as for the amount, this could be anything from $500 - $1500. All depends on the work.

  • Do you work under a deadline, and if so, what is it like?
Yes you will have to deal with deadlines. I think this is one of the biggest pains on any project, knowing you must stop work on something that isn't perfect yet :-) You must be willing to stop or even pass something on to others to finish so the project has an end date. Very painfull.

  • What do people think about your work on these projects?
I've had some good and bad comments, don't take them to heart! If your able to redo the work just do it. Sometimes a group just wont see eye to eye, its best to say up front that its not working and move on.
Most projects I do I've been in control, so its not really an issue.

  • What do you think the "typical" game developer is like, in terms of personality?
hmmm, thats a hard one. All are very different. Some are outgoing and some like to be left alone.

  • Which demographics/backgrounds do game devs tend to fall into, based on your experience? Age, race, sex, class, location, etc.
I would never pigeon-hole anyone like this, you just never know what someone is capable of until you give them a chance. Game developers come from all walks of life.

  • On what basis do you consider a video game "good"?
If I knew this I'd be worth billions, the age old question. Tell me if you find the answer. :-)

  • Do you ever sacrifice the integrity of the original idea for something that more people will like?
You have to if your running any business. If you doing it for fun/yourself then no I wouldn't.

  • Do you take what people tend to like into account when making a game? (excluding basic things like working controls, a visible screen, etc)
Well not at first, remember you must get the game up and running first then listen to what people say about it, make changes that will make the game better and try not to destroy you vision in the process.

  • What is your opinion on the different kinds of platforms offered to developers?
They all have their good and bad points. Could go on for ever here.

  • What kind of elements do you think influence a child to grow into being a game dev?
I think playing lots of games as a kid helps but also having people around you that tell you you'll never finish that game really helps too. This really focuses me.

  • What were your first experiences with video games and how did they affect you thereafter?
I got an Atari for Christmas, what a machine. After that I begged my mother for a computer for maybe 2 years until she caved so I could learn how these games were made.

  • What do you think pushed you to becoming a game developer?
I'm the first in my family to program so I really don't know. I've always liked to pull things apart and see how they work from an early age. I started making games before I knew anyone else doing it, I did buy a lot of programming magazines maybe they helped.

  • What personal rewards do you get from developing games?
Seeing a finished product is the greatest thing ever. All that hard work finally paying off, what a feeling. For me the money is secondary, if your in it for the money find another job.

Hope this helps
Cheers
Lee


vortxGE : Lighting

Posted by , 16 September 2012 - - - - - - · 764 views
Bump, Normal, Mapping, Lighting
Took a few days off to go fishing, now I'm back and hard at coding.

I worked on :
  • Lighting
  • Tangents
Lighting
I added back in the light manager for scene objects, shaders only support 3 lights at the moment for forward renders.

Tangents
With the new mesh system I had to rewrite the tangent calculations, good time to make some nice improvements.

Image 1 : iPad simulator
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Image 2 : iMac 2010
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vortxGE : Culling

Posted by , 07 September 2012 - - - - - - · 489 views
Culling, Frustum, Occlusion
I now have culling back in, sadly even after finding an extension for occlusion on IOS. I think its only available on iPad2, I just couldn't find any info on this... so here's what I added.

iPhone/iPad
  • Frustum Culling

Mac OS X
  • Frustum Culling
  • Occlusion Culling
Frustum cull is just a given with both camera and light objects, to add occlusion all you need to do is add the Occlusion pass before your render scene pass.

Image shows the Occlusion in action, large cube set as Occluder hiding a smaller cube behind it.. Console shows the results.

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vortxGE : Mesh loader

Posted by , 06 September 2012 - - - - - - · 690 views
vortxGE, mesh loader, texture
Okay where to start... Because I rewrote the Mesh/Batch classes I had a little more work to do with the new Mesh loader. The new loader now supports texture and shader loading automatically, mesh files are text based at the moment so their easy to edit and try new options... hmmm not so bad.

Engine is running on Mac, iPhone and iPad with all new features. Mac OS X OpenGL 2.1+, IOS 5.1 OpenGL ES 2.0

Attached Image

EDIT: And here is the Leaks test for app going in and out of Active/Background IOS state.

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vortxGE : iPad and iPhone test

Posted by , 05 September 2012 - - - - - - · 617 views
vortxGE
Most of the new redesign is in place and working, I now have Mac, iPhone and iPad code in sync.

Added
  • Bullet Physics
  • Animation system - Cubic curves, Transforms and Materials.
Slow rotation is due to the screen recorder.

http://youtu.be/XDRWkGfOi28


vortxGE : Custom Composites

Posted by , 03 September 2012 - - - - - - · 512 views

Well I have started testing the so called composite Control, this control is just a scene render pipeline which makes it very powerful. Basically you can setup any type of scene and point fbo textures to an object. All the feature of scenes are the same (culling etc...), its just a scene.

Anyway the image below shows 2 scenes that connect from a quad in the composite scene to the Viewer scenes fbo output texture. The border around the quad is only there for debugging.

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vortxGE : Render to Texture

Posted by , 03 September 2012 - - - - - - · 533 views

I'm done adding render to texture, this is a full rewrite of the old code making it more generic and self contained. I've also added a new Control for rendering simple scenes/objects, very usefull. The pic below shows OpenGL Profiler with the FBO attached texture, showing the output of the viewer Control.

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Render Pipeline

Posted by , 01 September 2012 - - - - - - · 780 views
Render, Game Engine, Flow
Just thought someone might like to see my flow chart for the basic render pipeline. I created this before I started working on the new engine. This is all implemented now and working well. As you may guess its a little more complex then whats shown here but you get the idea.

Attached Image

Added support for Retina displays and have done all tests, all scales work fine. Support for FBOs is in place and seems to work, I'll be running lots of tests first before I move on to the next TODO !

Overall things are progressing well.





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