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RajanSky

How long will it take to code this demo?

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Hi, I am working on an employment demo right now, for a junior level programming job in the game industry... The only games I've finished so far were all 2D, but I think 2D won't impress employers. So my goal is to create a simple car racing game, and the deadline is 1 month from now. I was wondering if someone would be kind enough to give me some feedback or suggestions about the idea and its feasibility? I already have most of the basic junk coded like skyboxes, animations, 3D sound, interface system, etc. Also I already have all the models, art, music, and sound effects. So, in the next month, I just need to code the following: * Terrain... probably 512x512 heightmap, plus some optimization such as quadtree w/ frustum culling. To make it "pretty", multitexturing and lightmapping * 3DS models for the cars and objects (trees, etc.) * Semi-realistic physics... (I have some articles I saved on vehicle dynamics and so on). * Probably I will have to write a terrain editor too... I mean, I could just use a paint program or terragen to make a heightmap but then it's too difficult to sculpt the exact look of the terrain * All the game logic and AI That's it... And, it'll just have one level they can play through, short and sweet. I'll probably spend 6-8 hours a day on this project, so over 30 days it'll come to about 200 hours of work. I think it sounds like a reasonable goal, but it's hard to know what to expect, since this is my first 3D game I'm making by myself... So any wisdom from some more experienced coders out there would be much appreciated :) Thanks very much in advance! Raj

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well im not sure exactly, but i strongly reccomend just to use paint for your terrain generation, although this wont be as easy as "sculpting" the terrain with an editor, writing the editor itself is a massive waste of time unless you are planning on making many many terrains, which your not.

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IMO, that sounds like it will take about 2 months of solid coding. Don't forget to plan for weird bugs that will totally eat up your time. Also, tying up the AI with a physical collision detection/response system will probably be a bit tricky (and by 'a bit' I mean 'very'...)

Good luck anyway tho!

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Guest Anonymous Poster
When just_haps says 2 months of solid coding I'm fairly sure he's implying "on top of design time". This sort of project, just like most, will need a fair amount of thinky-thinky time before you sit down and code.

With a bit of luck, you'll narrow those 'weird bugs' down to just the completely esoteric ones. ;)

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Guest Anonymous Poster
if you don't do optimization on the terrain (or verry minimalistic) you can hgave the terrain engine wuie fast but 512*512 is quite at the limit of what is possible without optimization esspüecialylly if your modells are detailed... (so you could have your terrain engine in a couple of hours if you are experienced in 3d programming...
I suggest using lot's of librarays premade stuff if it is not somehow forbidden in your contract or so...

What will be the most difficult i suppose is getting your physics and ai right... If you really work night and day on it you might be able to do it in one month but only if you don't encounter some nasty heavy to debug bug....

Terrain editor is not really needed there are some free ones out there (or you can use the farcry one for example it outputs uncompressed 16 bit heightfield...)

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Guest Anonymous Poster
They'll also be interested in the quality of your code, not just the output. So I'd write the simplest level renderer possible - brute-force, but so you can later fix it if you have the time. At the most, build it in chunks and use a quadtree as this is very easy. Do NOT build an editor as it's totally un-needed. Except perhaps a very simple console program which generates a random map. Editing a level is a lot of work to get to a point where what you want to do with the editor is possible!
The physics is the big thing. You can simulate a box on springs and a force for engine/brakes/air resistance reasonably easily, but were you planning on realistic wheels, engine, gears etc? There is also a LOT of tuning needed for physics, a very simple script for your vehicle will save compiling every time you change - it's also something good to mention since scripting is used a lot. As for AI, I would be tempted to ditch that and have 1 car round a track. Leave it till last anyway and at least you can try to throw together something. Even at months of development, proper AI can screw up if not tuned for each track.

Good luck - I think it's achievable but only if you stay motivated and very clearly prioritise every task you have to do in a big list. Don't get carried away tweaking ANYTHING as you want a rough demo with everything in.

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Thanks for the suggestions!

OK I will ditch the terrain editor.

Yeah... I'm still not sure if a 512x512 heightmap is a good idea... So I guess like d000hg said, I'll write it to handle a 256x256 heightmap with brute force for now. If there's time later, I'll optimize it so it can do more detail.

Good suggestion about libraries... It seems like the physics is gonna be a b**** to code so I'll see if there's some good free physics library that can simplify things. It'll probably be just simplified physics (box+springs+wheels). I mean, I just want the "feel" of the physics to be right, realism isn't important.

I feel a bit better about this now.. At least now I have some idea of what to expect. Thanks again :)

Raj

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Has any company asked for a demo?

I work at a leading game company, and I'm not sure we even look at demos.

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