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I've been hashing over a lot of things in my head recently. I think I'm a little confused because I'm not exactly sure of any specifications for my engine. And because I'm bad at doing that kind of a thing, I'm not going to stop and write a specifications document.

Here's the problem. I've been doing graphics for 3 years. But I've waned in and out, sometimes taking 5 month breaks. I've never taken a graphics course (college didn't offer any). I've never even really met a graphics programmer. I do programming at a great computer company, but it's nothing close to what's required of graphics.

I've learned everything in my spare time the past couple years. But that's not a whole lot. I have a solid understand of the basic graphics principles, and a couple of advanced techniques such as terrain LOD and vertex/pixel shaders. Those were all small sample programs though. Each time I got closer to a unified framework (eventually incorporated loggers, renderers, etc.).

But when it comes to writing an engine, I'm afraid I have no idea where to go after a certain point. And that point isn't very far. It's because I don't have the experience of using an advanced engine, so when writing the Renderer I have no idea what kinds of things I should incorporate. I know that I can write a Renderer, but when I go to use it, I'll probably say, "this is unusable!" It's happened many times...

I have written material systems. Video memory management systems. Scenegraph and spatial partitioning systems. Terrain engines. The problem is incorporating all of this into a unified framework that is easy to use.

It's good to write this out... it made me realize that maybe I should try using a couple different engines and see how they feel. That would probably help a lot. I may try OGRE. I just hope it doesn't take too much time to learn how to use it... I'll also probably look into getting some books. Books are pretty much the only way I can learn about things (besides personal experimentation). Any recommendations?

All this dawned on me last night when I was working on my Renderer. I really how no idea how I should write it. Should it be a simple interface straight to DX, where it basically provides the same functions and parameters with slight simplification? Or should it be more powerful and actually do stuff for me? I just know that if I write it to do stuff, at some point I will say, "I wish it didn't do it that way!" I guess I need to be careful of over-engineering though too.

Blah. Enough. I have an engine to write.
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Everyone thinks that "3D Game Engine Architecture" is a good one. I've been wanting to get it myself. I'm in the same boat as you. Never taken any actual graphics courses.

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Thanks for the tip, Neil! I looked at that book on Amazon, and it sounds great, though it doesn't sound like it actually covers architecture very much. Sounds like it explains a lot of advanced elements that an engine requires, but not how to actually put them all together. I'll see if I can preview it at a bookstore to see if it delves in the design problems that I need help with!

If you haven't taken any graphics courses (good to hear, btw), how long have you been doing graphics programming? More importantly, how are you so damn good? [grin]

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I have the book, and I highly recommend it. It goes over in (sometimes excruciating) detail the WildMagic 3d engine, and how it was designed, which gives you a very good idea on how to implement several things into your own engine and how to create a good design.

Also, Neill, seriously, how are you so good then?

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Quote:
If you haven't taken any graphics courses (good to hear, btw), how long have you been doing graphics programming? More importantly, how are you so damn good?
Quote:

Also, Neil, seriously, how are you so good then?
I've been doing graphics for the last 3 or 4 years. My wife says that I have S.I.M.TM (Strong Internal Motivation). But I don't think I'm that good yet. Really! And that thinking is probably what motivates me. I'll probably never be good enough. And no my father didn't beat me. [grin] You guys are so nice.

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