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Chad Smith

Your first 3D Game

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Lately I am have learning simple 3D Programming in OpenGL. I have a pretty ugly camera class, and I can move it closer and furter away to some geomtry (like cubes and that stuff). Now I know I am not even close ready to go and program even a 3D Pong Clone, but I was wondering what was y'alls first 3D Game? Do y'all remember how long it took y'all to finish it? I am really just asking cause it sparks my interest and so I can set some realistic goals maybe. Also, if you have any tips to a beginner in 3D, then I wouldn't mind having them eithier. Thanks a lot! Chad.

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My first? That would be a 3d asteroids game, back when I was 15. I gave it to my brother for christmas. It had really nice particle effects, and I even hacked some bump mapping in. And it had big memory leaks, and a resource manager that was pretty smart, but really stingy, so it would delete textures if they weren't in use and load them again shortly after. :) It took me about 3 quarters of a month, having worked on my engine for... I don't know, a long time. Less than a year though.

Tips? Just don't give up. You will find that bug.

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I think I did a couple. My first real released game took about ten months to finish, and that was my latest release.

I did a couple of 3D demo games and those took about a month and a half apiece before I got bored of 'em.

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I started on my first game somewhere between 01/02 and haven't finished yet. Worth to note is that I changed the gameplay somwhere between 2004/2005 and threwed out all code and changed languae and style(all styles(including spaghetti) in C -> OOP in C++). In short is the game a mix between half-life and resident evil.

My second game though was a lander inspired game where you had to go from a-b, featuring simple physics(gravity and force) and simple particle system(point based). Used a free engine(genesis3d) and a comercial(lesson learned) space-ship model so the game couldn't be released. Took about a few months to finish IIRC.

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A really good way to start is to actually do a 2D game just in 3D :P If you have your camera looking straight down the Z axis, then have your game run on the x/y plane it works really well. Then you can have 3D scenes in the background, and all your character models can be 3D, its just their always on the z origin (eg, every update set all entities z to 0). You can do some relativly simple games like that which look really impressive. Scrolling space shooters are the best, simple sphere-sphere collision on a 2D plane with 3D spaceship models and some asteroids in the background looks awsome but its pretty easy todo.

As for my first 3D game - it was knockoff, but I'd done a heap of other 3D demo's/sims befor I wrote that (such as antHive, Marbles, pFlock etc). Knockoff took me about 8 months to write, but half of that time was polishing, bugfixing and adding levels, game modes and effects. I had a semi playable version going after about a month.

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Quote:
A really good way to start is to actually do a 2D game just in 3D


That's actually a great idea. It'll introduce you to some of the primer 3D concepts, and obstacles, while still not abandoning some of the simplicity of 2D. And besides, nobody says it has to be crappy. I made a bomberman clone, which is technically 3D, but for all intents and purposes, it's basically a 2D game.

- Andrew

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yeah, working with 2D helped me develope some general gaming concepts that i use in 3d.

My first 3d game was made with VB and openGL, took me about 2 weeks, at least it took me 2 weeks to abandon it. It was about a red sphere, that hits other spheres with a cone shaped bat. It consisted of a terrian that was very bumpy. A pyrimdal structure in the center. When the other spheres were hit with the bat, they'd be transported to a random position.

Since then i perferred c++. Before that i made a kinda 3D game, that consisted of sprites being scaled down along the z-axis.

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From what I can remember my first 3D game was a space sim written in Basic on the Tandy CoCo 2. The graphics consisted entirely of different coloured filled circles which represented either planets (used as refuelling stations) or mineral rich asteroids (which you had to fly into to collect), both of which were randomly generated to make a new solar system. Basically you had to fly from base to base looking for the asteroids and trading minerals for fuel. When you landed at a planet it would switch to "text mode" to do the base operations, and then back to "graphics mode" for space. Well, an abstract representation of space; I think it was green with blue for planets and yellow for asteroids [grin].

Now that you've mentioned it I wish I remembered how I coded that, because I was pretty young at the time (eight maybe?), so this was before I knew vectors or trigonometry. I haven't a damn clue how I represented 3D movement, angles and position back then. I wouldn't be surprised if there were some mighty big bugs in that department.

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My first 3d game was last semester for game design class. It took about 3.5 months to do. However, this was in a team of 4 programmers and an artist. However, I would say that a FPS is probably the easiest 3d type game to make. You can check out the game at: http://gdiac.cis.cornell.edu/2006sp/RestlessMoon2/index.php We do some pretty inefficent stuff so you need a decent computer to run it.

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My first 3D game was actually more like a pretty, interactive simulation. I started it in 2001, and met my original goals by the end of that year. Then I ported it to Linux, and like any good hobby, it's never been 'finished'. It takes a good obsessive week or two to add any major functionality to it.
If you've written games in general before, there's still a bit of a learning curve for the 3D libraries, but that should be your only real obstacle.
My best advice: don't try to make a giant, monolithic engine the first time around. Don't be afraid to use hacks, and focus on making one thing 'good'. Then move on.

The first 3D game I made was a simluation of the solar system. The initial goal was to successfully leave the orbit of the Earth and place yourself in the orbit of Jupiter. First, everything was a hack. The planets were represented in a table, and I had a fixed camera. I just focused on making the mechanics work. Everything was untextured gluSpheres. Then I made a nice camera. Then I setup my input so you could move the camera around freely. Then I made a model loader and put in a little ship which was subject to the mechanics of the system. Then I moved the planetary data to an XML file. One step at a time. Then when you're done, you have a nice framework to build other things.

I'm sure some people can plan everything out and made their first game look suave, but most people need to learn one thing at a time. So don't be afraid to use hacks, and then come back to them once you have other things working.

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3d pong. Not that it actually ran in 3d. It actually had all the logic done in 2D, and just ignored the z axis all together, but the graphics were technically 3D. Used a graphics engine to make it that I made for something totally not pong-related, but used pong to bug-test my engine. It was made with the same engine i'm using for my current project [which was one of several projects that the engine was actually made for].

Took about 2 hours to do [excluding the huge amount of time dedicated to building the engine], and the game itself consisted of fewer than a hundred lines of code [again, excluding the many thousands that were in the engine]. That 2 hours even includes the huge amount of art that is required for a pong game [a blue ball and two green paddles, technically only 1 paddle shot from two sides].

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