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Member Since 10 Nov 2006
Offline Last Active Dec 16 2014 03:06 AM

#5191061 Is there a cheap okay rigging/animating tool that isnt blender?

Posted by Ashaman73 on 04 November 2014 - 12:03 AM

I don't have thousands to spend on 3D Studio or Maya, but is there any alternative to Blender?

Do you think, that using 3dmax or maya is easier, that you simply press a few buttons and have a rigged,skinned,animated model ? smile.png
Since blender 2.6 the interface has changed a lot, and that 3dmax/maya is superior over blender comes often from professional artist (but most advantages are not really helpful/necessary for beginner !).


Blender has auto-rig scripts, blender have an autoskinning features (this works like a charm, I do not have skinned a single model by hand in my game), blender supports lot of constrains (you dont animate your rig manually, you let it be animated by drivers ).



Is there a cheap okay rigging/animating tool that isnt blender?

Yep, I'm sure that there are some alternative tools available, but it will not help you a lot to create your own decent looking,rigged,skinned,animated model, because this process is a lot of work which can't be done automatically.


Personally I've searched for years to find this kind of magic tools, but eventually it was a lot easier than I thought to get used to some tools and learn modelling,rigging,animation,texturing, and believe me, blender is not the barrier to create decent,animated,textures models tongue.png 

#5190880 Isometric game and 2D or 3D characters

Posted by Ashaman73 on 03 November 2014 - 05:00 AM

Hard to say. Both approaches have technically challenges (eg. skeleton animation system vs memory consumption). The artist work could be almost the same (eg. in both cases model and animate the objects in a 3d tool, then either export as 3d model or render as sprites) or could be totaly different (hand painted sprites vs low poly models).


Without further specification it is really hard to tell you which one would be the better version. Here are some hints which could help you to decide:

1. Rendering style (pixelate/retro sprites, voxel like, billboard style, toon style, painted style, rendered style, photorealistic style).

2. Implementation difficulty: a skeleton animation system is very challenging if you don't use an existing engine/lib

3. Number of models: how many different model are you planing to use ? 5, 10, 100, 200 ?

4. Model customisation: fix models or customizeable models, how about equipment ?

5. What are visual comparable games ?

#5190313 VBO listeners for buffer updates

Posted by Ashaman73 on 31 October 2014 - 02:39 AM

This raises issues when buffers are changed in such a way that could break the mesh, e.g. having one buffer with position, color with N vertices and anoter buffer with texture coords that was changed to contain M vertices which is different. I was wondering how you guys are dealing with this in your games\engines.

Keep all vertex related data logically togehter. That is, position,normal,color,texture coords are all attributes of an according vertex, therefor keep them together in a sinlge data structure. In my engine these attributes are all divided into different classes, but are combined/mappied into a single VBO.

Idea/Pseudo code:

class Mesh {

  int m_numberOfVertices;

   class NormalSet {
   } *m_normalSets;
   class PositionSet {
  } m_positionSet;
   class UvSet {
  } *m_uvSets;


#5190100 Evil genius (how it works?)

Posted by Ashaman73 on 30 October 2014 - 03:14 AM

I never player EG, but considering its age, that is seems to be grid based, I would bet, that they use standard elements:

1. A*

2. Grid based (each grid represents a single waypoint)

3. Waypoints/grids enriched with additional data (eg. this door is currently locked).

#5189874 Has this game, or something similar, already been made?

Posted by Ashaman73 on 28 October 2014 - 11:55 PM

The Idea could be summerized as "procedurally generated GTA"


Has anyone seen anything like it?

Since this is a game design related question: yes, it already exists, its called GTA


The average player most likely does not play through a game (maybe getting bored after 75% ), so from this player perspective it is just GTA with content, regardless if some designer made this content or if a computer generated it. Eventually it is just a clone, because there's no real new innovative gameplay, just an other way to generate the content.

#5189083 SSAO banding problems with FOV variation

Posted by Ashaman73 on 25 October 2014 - 09:17 AM

It is all about bandwidth. Using a single 4x16f bit texture for normal and depth uses 8 bytes per access, the same if you use eg 32f for depth and 2x16f for normal (thought two texture accesss). So, if you want to optimize, you should take a look at the bandwidth when using deferred rendering. 32f vs 16f is a matter of compatibility. Older hardware will have more issues with 32f (blending/multichannel support etc., thought only one channel and no blending is needed for depth). You need to decide which hardware you want to support, then take a look at the bandwidth.


The cost for encoding/decoding is negligible in my option, here's my encoding/decoding code (thought GLSL) for 2x16f float channels:

void packDepth
	in float _depth,
	inout vec4 _target

	float tmp = _depth * 2048.0;
	_target.z = floor(tmp)/2048.0;
	_target.w = fract(tmp);
 float unpackDepth( in vec4 _source)
	return dot(abs(_source),vec4(0.0,0.0,1.0,1.0/2048.0));

#5188887 Large Terrains, Day-Night shading process?

Posted by Ashaman73 on 24 October 2014 - 03:54 AM

If my knowledge is correct, Shadow Maps are only usable, for static worlds. Should the lighting change then the Shadow Maps would look incredibly unnatural. I tried looking up some processes of how this was circumvented but no luck.

No, baked shadows/lighting (lightmaps) are mostly for static worlds, whereas standard shadow maps are dynamically calculated each frame and therefor useful for day/night cycles.


But for the life of me I couldn't figure out what I am supposed to do for the land or sky.

A simple start:

1. use one directional light source (sun)

2. use one shadow map for the sun

3. profit

#5188878 SSAO banding problems with FOV variation

Posted by Ashaman73 on 24 October 2014 - 02:19 AM

You can encode the depth in two 16 floats channels, this is sufficient in my engine. In combination with compressed normals, you need one 16f 4-channel texture to store the depth and normal.

#5188858 [4X / TBS] Space Game - No ship Customization?

Posted by Ashaman73 on 23 October 2014 - 11:25 PM

but there wouldn't be an actual choice between each tech is the most pressing to implement (I need better weapons vs I need better speed)

This could be mapped to ship classes too. You need other resources for building light fighter as for ion-cannon battle ships. The economy behind your empire will limit the choice of your fleet.

I want to capture ships instead of destroying them

This is an interesting feature which could be countered by customization.

combat is pretty much a stand-back and watch.

That's pretty cool, I like it. It reminds me of homeworld, when you watch a large battle evolving, your plans succeed or failed.

If you capture ships to research new technology (like Xcom), it would work. But if you capture ships to add them to your fleet, then customization could easily counter other game experiences. Customization gives the player lot of freedom, but lot of freedom reduces the desire for some interesting goal. It is the difference between "Wow, I want one of thos alien fighters, lets think about how to capture it" vs "Nah, it is easier to customize a ship similar to this alien fighter". Strategy lives on limited options, because the decision you need to make have more impact. Therefor customization could counter some other strategy related features.

That being said, I'm a bit scared of lacking depth.

This is an effect of knowning our games to the last detail. As game designer we are bad game testers. A strategy game have lot of knowledge based challenges (no skill challenges), therefor you are more or less already a master of your game. An other player will have an absolutly other game perception. If you would make your game challenging for yourself, it would be impossible for others :P So, less is often more.

#5188853 SSAO banding problems with FOV variation

Posted by Ashaman73 on 23 October 2014 - 10:41 PM

16 bit actually

16bit for saving the depth is quite low (I dont mean the z-buffer!). Best to test the depth buffer first. Just output the z-value and compare the images. Do you see machband-effect or other artifacts when using a low fov value.

#5188726 String Split With Different Milti-Character Delimiters

Posted by Ashaman73 on 23 October 2014 - 05:55 AM

Using pure Java, without 3rd party libraries

Java is not only a language, but a framework and a DOM (document object model) for reading xml files is part of java core since jdk1.4. Take a look here.

#5188725 SSAO banding problems with FOV variation

Posted by Ashaman73 on 23 October 2014 - 05:50 AM

To me it looks like depth artifacts, that is, by changing the fov, you move your object into a depth region with a bad resolution. Therefor check the following:

1. Resolution of depth buffer ?

2. Are you using linear depth ?

3. What does the getViewPosition function looks like ?

4. What happens if you only use the z-difference as base (use step/smoothstep) ?

#5188693 [4X / TBS] Space Game - No ship Customization?

Posted by Ashaman73 on 23 October 2014 - 12:40 AM

I'm not a big fan of abstraction. I find that, imo, what prevented me from trully liking some of the best 4X games out there (MoO series for example, and even Civilization) is that there was too much abstraction and I ended up lacking the proper feel of managing my army.

Abstraction is vital for games (take a look at how children play games, it is all about abstraction, or look at chess) and I'm sure that you already use a lot of abstraction in you game design. Nevertheless, I think I got what you want to say wink.png 


Sid Meier once said, that his first game (more or less) failed, because he tried to put two different games into one. I made a similar experience (resulting in heavy refactoring sad.png ). What I want to say is, sorry about repeating it, that a game should be build around a single, powerful core concept. Everything else just supports this concept, therefor use abstraction to remove complexity (not depth!) from support parts and leave more details for the core concept.


I dont know your whole game design, therefor I can't really evaluate the ship customization feature. But for example, if your core concept is space/fleet battle, then ship customization would be a good support, whereas if your core concept is conquering new solar systems, planets, building up an empire and economy, then a higher abstraction layer in ship customization (eg. from customizing single ship to customizing battle groups from predefined classes) would support the core feature more (less complex).


I can't shake the feeling that it's just too much.

Remove it. As game designer we often regard only isolated features, pimping them, then process the next feature. This leads often to adding a lot of complexity to the final product. The player will only play the whole product and often will be overwhelmed by the complexity. The hard part about game creation is to get a working game out first, then add more features over time.


This seems to be hard these days, because the player expectation is often really high (eg WoW growth over years, yet it is expected, that each new MMORPG includes and tops all the feature WoW has + some new innovations).


Nevertheless, 4x is a good niche and many 4x player seem to love complexity, therefor you have a lot of freedom here smile.png


Per faction? Woahhhh

My concept currently has approximately 50 units total, but that's got 6 very different factions (some ships get reused). I anticipate that the global unit pool will never exceed 70 for all factions involved, and that in an average game, players will only get to see 40 or so (depending on players' choices). Most of the time, they would be likely to be confronted to only 5-10 beyond their own (depending who they are at war with, or close to for example).

My game is not a 4x, it is more like DungeonKeeper or DwarfFortress, that is, lot of autonomous entities with little to no direct control (this is one of my abstraction layers to remove unnecessary complexity). Nevertheless, you can equip single minions individually and I think now, that less would be more. unsure.png

#5188498 smoke & transparency

Posted by Ashaman73 on 22 October 2014 - 05:13 AM

You need to turn off z-writes (only z testing) and you need to render them from far to near.

#5188497 Light theory - radiance vs material exitance?

Posted by Ashaman73 on 22 October 2014 - 05:10 AM

Why then does equation 5.4 then calculate the radiance Ldiffuse as a function of the exitance value? How are they not the same thing?

The medium in which the light travels might change the light (fog, atmosphere).