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Where I am now

XNA graphics engine racing game
4: Adsense

Here be a new journal... so what's it about this time? Recently I've been getting back into the GameDev community while I'm sleuthing for answers to my problems, and I've been in the hobbyist game for years now. I currently run a blog with the same name, for about two years, so if you would like a feel for where I am you can go there for my older articles.

Over several years I've coded in C++, Java, some Processing, HTML, PHP (which I do for a job right now), and currently C#. I got into the XNA when it was entering its middle years, and my first game with that framework is still a goal that's not close yet. So I am not sure how I would feel about releasing an Xbox Indie Game well into the twilight years, but for now I'm sticking to XNA. I've already managed to build a basic graphics framework while learning DirectX 9, and moving to XNA helped me approach more advanced concepts without a lot of the low-level fuss.

With that said, I'm building a graphics engine and a game to go with it. They will be worked on at the same time, so if there's something my game needs from the engine, for now I will give that feature a priority for the engine if it helps on finishing the game.

Engine thingies include:
  • Component-based rendering system, meaning each rendering step is contained in its own class. The steps are chained together with inputs and outputs, just in code for now.
  • Mesh instancing and frustum culling by instance (I plan to add quadtrees eventually but brute-force culling isn't a botteneck right now)
  • Blended cascaded shadow mapping for directional lights
  • Post processing effects like FXAA and soft-focus DOF (again, as discrete rendering step components)
Without further ado here are some screens of my engine at work:

Attached Image Attached Image

I plan to make an off-road racing game, which will be more quick arcade-like action than sim racer. Think MotorStorm with a bit of Excite Truck. I have already started a separate project for the game, but for now it's nothing more than an empty terrain with a first attempt at getting the physics engine (BEPU Physics) working with the graphics. Here's the current list of my important things to do.

Racing game
  • EVERYTHING!!! (but especially starting on the physics)
  • A rudimentary level editor (at first), will not have a very visual interface at first
  • A controllable physical body, just as another way to move the camera for now
  • Easier manipulation of mesh instances
  • Forward rendering
  • Impostor/billboard drawing
  • Easier-to-configure shaders
That's all for now. I will probably explain more about how I will tackle the issues that come from making my first 3D level editor. This will be the biggest challenge, but my productivity should skyrocket from there.

Feb 22 2013 08:41 PM

Wow this looks as good as Unity.

Feb 22 2013 09:16 PM

Thanks for the comment. This has been from almost a years and a half of using XNA (but I took breaks for a few months sometimes). I don't know much about Unity's stock graphics features, but my project is probably not as flexible as theirs. There's still a lot I need to learn about rendering, like global illumination, BDRFs, etc. But for now I want to focus more on a level editor for my game.

Incidentally, I presented this over email to a company that uses Unity at work, and they're interested in having me for an interview.

Feb 23 2013 01:34 AM

That is sweet. A custom engine can offer some serious advantages if the designed tailors it for a set game. Best of luck and I hope you continue to post more images.

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