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gbittar

GUI-driven IDE's

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I do not want to start a flame war, but I would like to know more about whether professional game dev shops are predominantly using programming languages or is there a migration taking place towards GUI-driven IDE's (integrated development environments) which specialize in making 3D animation relatively easy by using mouse clicks, drag-dropping, and scripting?

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I think you may have your concepts a little mixed up:

The core (game engine, etc.) is written by programmers, in a programming language, just like it always has been.

The content is produced by designers and artists, and is made in (mostly) GUI apps, scripting languages, etc.

Edit: there are all-in-one click-and-drag game creation systems, but I can't really see a professional studio going within a mile of one [smile]

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Asset creation (animation, models, etc): Maya / 3DS max / etc

Game engine: C++ / VB / etc

Programmers also then program a way to import assets into the game.

-me

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I see. It just occurred to me that what you described must be the existing situation, since the guys I know creating games are not programmers.

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Well professionally teams are made up of both programmers and non-programmers. You have the programmers working on the engine and game logic and assets importing code, etc. You have the artists working on models & sound and stuff. Then you have game designers tweaking numbers in files that the programmers have hooked up for them for that specific game.

Each new game requires the full team of implementers: programmers to make new code for improved graphics capabilities, new game features, etc; artists for new models/sounds/animations; designers for new design & number tweaking funtimes.

-me

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Regarding automated film, I suppose the situation is a little different, since there isn't any game engine. Is C++ used in that scenario at all, or are we looking exclusively at the "asset creation" of visual models and script movements?

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3d animation and 3d gaming are two totally different things. In 3d animation (like toy story), the scene is the same every single time, so a snapshot is taken of the scene for each frame. In gaming, input is taken from the user, and applied to game logic, so that the world is rendered on the fly by the computer every frame.

This creates a divide between the two. In animation, you can have infinite polygon detail because you are rendering the scenes up front and then taking a snapshot, the movie theater just plays your pictures. Also, you can do keyframe animations and have the 3d program move the frames in between on its own.

In gaming, every polygon that is created has to be rendered by the GPU during the game, which means that there are limits to how detailed your models can be without experiencing severe slowdown.

C++ is the tool that a programmer uses to take a 3d model, and manipulate it inside a game (manipulation being position, logic, collision detection, physics, etc.). C++ is useless for animation because the setup happens in the scene editor of the 3d modeling program.

Hope that helps (I'm not a 3d guru so keep the flames to a minimum).

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At my studio, the programmers create the game and any special purpose tools and exporters, and write code to plug in our custom scripting language to the game code.
The designers, artists, animators, etc use Maya for creating models and maps, which then use a custom exporter written by the programmers to convert into a file format that is read by the game.
The designers also write a lot of the code in the form of scripts, which are then compiled and reference data from the Maya exporter, and are loaded by the game.

The closest to a "GUI-driven IDE" is using Maya with our vustom exporter.

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