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weirdozinc

Creating a game from scratch

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Howdy, A friend and I have recently teamed up to create a 3d game from scratch, him being the programmer, and me being the graphics guy. We've previously worked on 2d games, both together, and separately, but a 3d game is a completely different ballpark, and definitely something new to both of us. As a gamer, I know a very limited, general idea what is needed, but have no idea what EXACTLY is needed to start and complete a project of this complexity. So I'm gonna rant a little bit to explain what info my friend and I need to work together on this project. Being the graphics guy, I can only assume that I'm in charge of creating the models, animations, levels, textures, and probably more that I'm not aware of. Now while I know how to create such content in Photoshop, 3ds Max, etc. I don't know how to export them (bar textures) from said programs, for use in a game. Sure there is plenty of tutorials to explain how to do this for specific games as a mod, like the Quake's, Doom's and such, but I need to know how to do these things for a homemade engine that doesn't really have any specifics as of yet. Basically, being the graphics guy, I need to know a few things: What file formats should I export to, and what processes should I take in order to export? What are the separate things I should export to, and what would be a good format for each(ie. character meshes/animations, static objects, levels etc)? Do I need any additional things, such as exporters, plugins, programs, etc? Should I use an existing format, such as .md5mesh/anim or .mdl? If so, which? How much does the graphics crew and programmers have to work together? *Anything else that is crucial and I haven't mentioned or taken into account* I'm currently working with 3ds Max 9 for modeling, and have very limited programming experience. Also, if I'm being too vague, specific, or annoying, please let me know, 'cause I don't wish to be a burden, I just need to be pushed in the right direction to work on this project, and any help is greatly, GREATLY appreciated. [Edited by - weirdozinc on May 12, 2007 1:47:18 AM]

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Well, you're going to have to export all your stuff to a format your engine can read, and this will be determined by the programmer if he's building an engine or what engine you'll be using.

I'd recommend using an existing engine, unless you want to spend ages and ages on it.

Me and my friend are the same, I'm the programmer, he's the graphics guy.

I bought the Torque engine for $100 USD so that we could make games and it's pretty good. You only need to buy a license for the programmer.

However there are free engines out there and open source ones too, but I found that Torque is pretty easy because you can do alot of things by scripting and the community has heaps of resources with alot of things done that you can learn from.

Heres some links to engines etc:

Torque:
www.garagegames.com

OGRE 3D (Graphics engine):
http://www.ogre3d.org/

Irrlicht:
http://irrlicht.sourceforge.net/

More:
www.devmaster.net

So basically you'll have to talk to the programmer and see what engine you're going to use or if he's going to make one and what formats the engine will read.

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Thanks for that advice. I've actually been looking at stuff like Torque for my own personal stuff, but since I'm definitely NOT a programmer, I've usually ended up passing on them.

As a group project, I did suggest using an existing engine, like Quake or Unreal, but my friend said that he want's the experience to build a game from scratch, since, 1. he's taking a programming course at Uni at the moment, 2. he's built simple 2d engines from scratch before and 3. he simply want's to be able to make professional 3d games in the future.

The advice is much appeciated on my behalf, and as a last resort, a premade engine will be the solution. But since my friend is the programmer, and not me, it's not my decision to make.

I am well aware that we'll most likely have to work together quite tightly in order to bring this project to life.

I suppose my next question would logically be: How do we go about making an appropriate file format for the engine, and the proper tools for 3dsMax?/Which existing file format should we build into the engine?

[Edited by - weirdozinc on May 12, 2007 2:58:17 AM]

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You definately shouldn't design a new format, you can tell your programmer friend that. It's just ALOT of unneccessary hassle. Preferably you should be looking into using a binary format though, because they save space.

Here's a few links:

The Sims 2 Mesh Format (GMDC - Geometry Data Container)

Quake 3 Mesh Format (MD3)

The Sims Binary Mesh Format

Edit: If you look around a bit, it's also possible to find exp/importers for each of these formats, and many more, to 3DS Max and other programs on the net. One program I reccomend is Milkshape 3D, it has a shitload of formats supported with a clean install, and a gazillion plugins available to download.

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What graphics API is he using? Just ask him that. If it is DirectX, then y'all could use DirectX's own format which is .x. He wouldn't have to write an importer for it, since DirectX already has funtions to load it. Though this will only work if he is using DirectX.

Other then that, the Quake 3 model format seems pretty good to me.


Chad.


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He's using OpenGL/Glut as the API. As for file format, while those suggested are cool, I appreciate it, I want to use one that is skeleton animated, and comes in 2 part, one for the base mesh, and one for separate animations. So what would be the easiest format to deal with, with those key points in mind?

Sorry if I'm being picky.

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