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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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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?

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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