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Member Since 04 Aug 2012
Offline Last Active Nov 09 2014 10:53 PM

#5153674 What comes first, artwork or code?

Posted by 3Ddreamer on 14 May 2014 - 05:44 PM

In the development of many AAA popular game titles, the artists went to work first in creating concept art, sometimes in illustrated scene by scene fashion.  If it is done very well, then some of those artworks can be used for attracting more investors and for advertising the game once it is done. The more experienced the game development organization, then generally the more feasible it becomes to have a choice in whether to commit to some art assets first or to begin coding.  Both could begin literally on the same day, as well. A highly skilled single person Indy developer could likely start with a 3D model or start with assembling some game source code libraries with a bit of coding.


If the first 3D model is exported from the 3D software in one of the standard model file formats according what the game engine will use, then this likely is no problem. One could begin to create a game that is very art asset driven from the start. To get a "map" or "level"  rendered by the game engine would be an early priority so all art and coding can build in relation to it. 


However, if already existing code libraries are to be used, then it could be preferable to tie these libraries together as a game framework upon which art assets would later be imported. Next, further coding would be needed to make game functionality and gameplay features. It is not unusual for placeholder art to be used until all fundamental game source code is ready.


Some game development companies have been blasted by gamers for using almost the same game engine, game functionality, and similar game concept in consecutive releases from the company. Here is a case where a company feels desperate for improved development cost to sales ratio.  In this case perhaps all the basic coding is done and used as placeholder while the company puts new art assets in to the framework and will later add coding as needed.


In my opinion, most beginners to game development should start with coding first and add art assets later.  An exception might be the highly skilled 3D artists who needs to build on a level that he or she has made.


My conclusion is that what is made first (art or coding) depends on factors such as personal preference, skill set, available existing framework, and business pressures.

#5153480 Suggestions to a wannabe!

Posted by 3Ddreamer on 13 May 2014 - 11:50 PM



You need to choose a language, maybe a game engine later down the road, and make 3-5 simple single player console application type games (Not to be confused with console video games, a console application only uses the basic drivers and graphics API of your computer - the bare minimum - to display the game on the screen.  Examples are Tic-Tac-Toe, Crossword Puzzle, Pong, and so forth.


After you make and finish 3-5 nicely done games, then return here for more help in going to the next level.    

#5153269 need artistic view on lightening and texture

Posted by 3Ddreamer on 13 May 2014 - 04:00 AM



The norm is that 2D and 3D art assets are created in a comprehensive software with settings for lighting which are standard in the industry or at least standard to the target game engine.  As an artist, if the game engine allows, then I may control the parameters of lighting for each model or even for each individual surface polygon of each model in extreme customization if I desire and the performance of the game and game engine will allow it.


Examples are that I can make a surface translucent or transparent as I manipulate it in the 3D software (such as Blender or Maya, for example). I could also select all surfaces of the model to apply a light feature.  In this case, a common one is to control the color and/or amount of diffuse lighting of an object. This setting is the total basic lighting that is reflected or emitted from an object, but not the shine or transparency which are two other settings. The settings are applied to the model and saved in little files, usually within the model folder itself but sometimes external if the game engine calls for that. The model folder is typically dropped into a class folder to be read as a class. The game engine will read all contents of the model folder and rasterize to screen. Animations, collision, and damage model can potentially be included in the model folder, as well.  Other characteristics of the model can be contained in the model folder, too, such as textures, bump mappings, and custom vehicle or character physics.  These can be internal or external to the model in theoretically any combination that the game engine allows.  Generally if a feature is not used by the game engine then it simply ignores the folder and files since it does not recognize them.  Your game source code is what ties everything together in actual game functionality that the end-user and operating system needs for a game to be compiled, executed at runtime, and manipulated by the end-user gamer.


If the workflow pipeline is assembled correctly, then the game engine will accept the art assets well.  The game developer then writes coding in the game source code which tells the game engine what to do. In some game engines, it is also possible to write game source coding automatically in WYSIWYG fashion, such as with the Blender game engine that uses nodes to show the developer what is going to happen in the game functionality and writes coding according to it. On the other extreme, some people write all low level and high level coding, but why try to reinvent the wheel?

#5151526 How much time do you need to finish a beginners book?

Posted by 3Ddreamer on 04 May 2014 - 09:26 PM

I know a bit of java, html, and php (I made a basic website once) and after 2 weeks and I'm in chapter 6. Am i too slow? too fast?


Thorough study so you understand each step and travelling at your own pace is the ideal. If you follow this and do not unnecessarily repeat steps, then you are doing very well. Comparing to the pace of other people is not reliable in many ways. You will forget most of what you learn and need to return to those chapters anyhow, so don't worry about anything.  In reality, all programmers take years to make everything stick permanently in memory and to make all the endless relationship connections.  I've been at it a couple years and have a long way to go in declaring myself an expert.  By the way, added to this, some of what you are learning will be rarely used by you. Don't sweat it.


Work at your pace and be thorough.

#5151048 Preparing before i indulge myself into Game Development!

Posted by 3Ddreamer on 02 May 2014 - 08:04 PM



A game engine fundamentally is a framework for developing and implementing game source code. They vary in size, complexity, and capability.  A game engine can be part of the total workflow pipeline or in some cases the whole pipeline and implementation libraries. The extremes are that some games are distributed with only the implementation libraries for the game to function plus the game coding, while at the opposite extreme some games ship with the whole game engine so modders and third-party game developers can work with the game engine and/ or extend (mod) the game. In the case of modding, there are art and also coding mods, so don't underestimate the value that such as community could have to you for understanding game structure in general or in developing your own game.


Ideally, the game developer should be able to clearly parse game engine source code from game source code that taps those libraries, though in reality there is almost always at least some blending on the borders of these two software systems ( game engine coding and game coding ).  Game source code, likewise, is a framework but specifically the implementation aspects and the game-source-code-only types of tools.  Obviously, the more modularized you are, then the better it is to extend coding and debug.  Already published game engines typically are great for setting the framework that you need for particular types of games.  No game engine is efficient at everything. Remember that almost always a game engine that was developed was done so for a particular game in the beginning.   This is why you see game engines that attract certain genres of game developers mostly.  This is a huge clue in your deciding on a game engine, because if you see many successful hobby and pro games in the genre that you want being made with a game engine, then that should get your attention.


Making a game engine yourself is doable but you need to spend a couple years making games first, then after you understand effective game source code structure it will lead to the possibility of your leading a team that makes a good game engine.  Usually it takes a team years to develop an efficient game engine, let alone the years to create the typical complex and popular game.


it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel, unless you are fascinated with game engine development as a hobby. For a hobbyist, then do what makes your happiest, but if you ever want to go pro, then get into the habit of relentless pragmatism in your career.

#5150840 UV Unwrapping: Ugh!

Posted by 3Ddreamer on 01 May 2014 - 07:42 PM





Hey, we are really talking about an area here that is really an art!  Great art typically is not easy for the artist!


My absolute favorite program for UV mapping and applying normal mapping of textures is Wings3D.  It imports and exports in a bunch of standard file formats. 


Blender is next on the list for these two areas of modeling.  If you want good unwrapping, then it just takes a lot of practice. 


Skill and hard work are far more important than the software used. Part of the skill is to learn to focus on one area of the model and texture at a time. For example, if you draw or otherwise make a temporary outline of lips or eyes as a layer in a 2D program such as GIMP, then you should see that outline of the character part in the UV map viewer of the program that you are using.  Next you align all the completed part outlines (sometimes called a void) with the 3D surfaces by moving those surfaces in the UV map viewer.  Later you can hide the outline layer in GIMP (or other 2D image manipulation software) or even make it barely visible as a guide to add your own face or other body parts.


There are plug-ins for different software, for example, baking textures and painting, and some come with such features.  More research is needed by you to find the right combinations of available features for this particular workflow pipeline. 


Look more closely at Blender.  Take a look at Milkshape3D http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MilkShape_3D  A friend of mine who is also a pro 3D modeler uses Milkshape3D for much of his work. It has a huge export file format list.  I can't remember if you can bake textures, but take a look.


Extreme high quality, even "photorealistic" characters can be made using these manual techniques.   They are difficult because this is an art form.  The advantages are extreme photorealistic quality with the potential of no money cost to the artist.   


When it comes to custom art (made by you) it simply takes research and very skilled artwork.


I hope that I helped you with information leading to the right exchange of model file formats so you can get all that you want in this.




#5150677 Game Animation Resources?

Posted by 3Ddreamer on 30 April 2014 - 09:46 PM



I don't know if you can actually use Collada, but it or the plug-in for it would teach you some things about animation issues. Beginners to pros use something like Mixamo Fuse if they don't want or can't spend the time on elaborate custom animations made by themselves.  Blender is a good learning tool and is actually scalable in the sophistication of the animations, especially with plug-in like Collada.  By the way, if the export file format does not suit your game coding, then you may export to another 3D program and almost always get the correct export file format that you need in the conversion. You will really need to be very conscious of the whole workflow pipeline and be prepared to do a lot of research and practice to get your workflow going.  Another issue is to think in terms of model file format more in making serious progress at a more efficient pipeline for development and creation.  This is true for 3D model, 2D graphics, and animations.  The ideal is to land on a good 3D modeling software that includes animations (with or without plugins for animations) which will package all these components into a nice, comprehendible model folder.  Typically this model folder is the whole model, though there sometimes are reasons to dangle data outside the model folder, such as some specification in a configuration file which is outside the model folder. More specifically,  3D character "mesh", rigging, UV or other texture mapping (could include bump-mapping), rendering, lighting, materials, and animations all included in one export from a 3D software program.  Trust me, using a 3D software which packages all this for you is a huge time and coding saver.  There are software development kits (SDKs) to tie these model folders to your game source code.


Now, if all this sounds frightfully complicated, what you do is start with only very basic character or other model features and gradually add more in the future if you want.  Even with a simple character, you get much capability for the effort compared with manually coding every character instead of letting a graphic software write the coding files in the model folder for you.  The most efficient way from a coding standpoint is to create a class (file or folder) for a category of model and put the model folder in the class folder. Have your game draw from that class file when the gamer selects it. This shows the importance of modular coding and using interfaces as a kind of switchboard for coding.


The great advantage of using SDKs, IDEs, and/ or a game engine with a 3D software (creating the correct model folders for these software) is that so much coding and organization if done for you.  After a while of working on games, then you will begin to see the relationships of game structure, which are mostly standard in the game development industry.  It wil become more a matter of tying existing libraries together with coding, configuring them, and then adding game content to the files and folders of the game.


It is possible and common for beginners to code a game in a spaghetti fashion, but a nightmare to debug em and extend them.  dry.png


I hope that this helped.


#5148387 a cheap and easy way to make animations

Posted by 3Ddreamer on 20 April 2014 - 12:27 PM



In my opinion, if you want to stay with custom animations made by you, then there is nothing out there which is both inexpensive and easy.  Custom animations take money to make them easier, otherwise you must make them manually.  Some software allows you to create paths which avoids much of the frame by frame work, but if you want things easier across the board, then that takes money.


Blender is probably the best no cost way of animating, but many find it not so easy. Mixamo/ Mixamo Fuse is one of the "easier" ones and has nice quality, but it takes money.  Look at the license - perhaps they let you use the free version if you don't include it in a sold product of yours - I don't know.  There are no cost student and/or indy developer versions of 3D softare, but here again that takes effort on your part to create art.


Real artists are those that make things themselves rather than taking others' work and claiming credit as an artist, just as food for thought.  Sorry but there is very little out there that is both easy and no cost.  No free ride to glory exists as far as I know in the animations area.

#5148171 Great laptop for game development? (Budget of +1200,- euros)

Posted by 3Ddreamer on 19 April 2014 - 10:58 AM

I prefer a laptop in all cases, because it means I am not chained to a desk. Sometimes I want to write some code at the bar, relax on the couch while I play a game, or watch netflix from bed... None of those use-cases are fulfilled by a desktop.


I could not have said it better.


Anybody serious about power and portability: As for price, relatively good gaming laptops (therefore probably good in general for game development and other high demand uses) can be had sometimes for around $1200 USA if somebody shops, maybe waits, or is at the right place and the right time.  This last winter I saw laptops in that range with 2.8 Ghz or better multi-core CPUs and dedicated graphics cards able to handle even high demand AAA game titles. They are NOT really heavy because you only carry them maybe from the car to indoors or to the next classroom.   


Added to this, an area that Swiftcoder touched - you can watch movies or TV, listen to internet radio, do game development or course assignments in most places, and usually by using no cost WIFI in public or school places.  More and more places are having broadband WIFI, so there is no reason not to have a laptop if you can afford one.

#5147633 What is your definition of done?

Posted by 3Ddreamer on 17 April 2014 - 08:11 AM

These kinds of issues are sorted by leadership, help, or both. As mentioned earlier, the individual company policy and culture control this.  What is considered finished in one category often is a principle which does not work in practicality in another. Other factors are the stage of development, investor involvement (A lot tends to emphasize accountability and appearances.), business model, development software used, skill level of the team members, and so forth.  There really is much variance.  

#5147214 what do i need to learn?

Posted by 3Ddreamer on 15 April 2014 - 04:09 PM

Since English is not your native language and you are a beginner, I recommend Blender and GIMP which have some support for other languages.  YouTube has many tutorials for these two, sometimes even in languages other than English.  Some countries have websites focused on these two with online communities of persons helping each other.

#5147016 Great laptop for game development? (Budget of +1200,- euros)

Posted by 3Ddreamer on 14 April 2014 - 05:20 PM



I feel that most laptops are great for game development, obvious that some much more than others.


Multi-core processor (Quad or more is great but at least Dual), Gigabyte motherboard, and NVidia dedicated graphics card are my personal recommendations. Processor needs to be at least 3.0 Ghz these days, get DDR-5, and look for plenty of ports such as for USB 2.0 and USB 3.0


You will use storage faster than you now realize, but not an urgent issue for a while. Getting a 64-bit has performance advantages while 32-bit might be compatible with more legacy applications and software.  If you are not going to dip into legacy issues then no problem - go 64-bit.  The higher bit is the way of the future sooner than people realize.  Microsoft, for example, is turning the "32-bit needs to die" drumbeat up and more frequently, as are a number of other industry leaders such as the creator of Mantle.

#5146030 My project for customizable 2D game characters

Posted by 3Ddreamer on 10 April 2014 - 12:05 PM



An incentive to try your system is very important.  Most dev companies offer a free trial, samples for free, and more price options - often rewarding someone for at least trying the product.  The business aspects of a product can sometimes be a very major effort with upto 30% or more of cost going to promotion and advertising (such as a dedicated website and advertising costs to gain search engine ranking), so you might want to look into that, as well, and set a certain rate of budget toward marketing.

#5145576 How to make a Game Engine For Super Beginners?

Posted by 3Ddreamer on 09 April 2014 - 12:03 AM

This is what beginners need to understand:


The more complex the game, then the more complex the game engine which exists as the layer between game source code and assembly/machine language. Often the game engine layer becomes exponentially more complex to meet the demands of the game coding above it.

#5145321 How to get to AAA company ?

Posted by 3Ddreamer on 08 April 2014 - 07:21 AM



There are several major ways of getting into an AAA game development or game publishing company. I mentioned the game publisher because sometimes a person thinks that the publisher is a game developer. It is worth mentioning because there are ways of getting at the AAA game developer thru the publisher, for example, by becoming an UBER coding and/or artist modder of one of their AAA games.  This sometimes gets a person noticed and invited or by reputation is accepted by applying or networking their way into a company. In my case, I am all about social networking (both public and private) and I have found a couple strongholds only by this strategy without publishing a portfolio as such. I do highly recommend a portfolio, however, especially if you can provide it in your own professional looking website for your little business.


Most importantly you need to research what those companies need or realize by inference or deduction, then build your value in that direction. Next you must aggressively look for any opening to make contact with the person who does the recruiting for the company. If you finish a degree with a "gaming university", then that school should also have contacts, which is a major advantage of completing a study.