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building an all purpose game editor

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i've had an idea, i know not unique to myself, of making a much more intuitive suite of game development tools than anything currently available, including crytek's sandbox 2. i'd like to bounce around some ideas with everyone here and generated some interest without writing up a formal help wanted request. the first reference point is garry's mod. though it's certianly not fully featured in the way i'm talking about, i think it's the way game editors should operate at a basic level: as intimate and 1:1 interactive worlds. abstracted functionality is still needed, but it should coexist with the ability to make on the fly changes very simply and easily. so imagine an editor that exists as a blank fps game world with full modeling, texturing, animation and scripting functionality built-in. imagine that functionality but while allowing the user to interface with it as a physical entity in the editing space. it would make many of the more annoying apsects of abstracted modeling, texturing and animation a relative breeze, depending on your skill level. part the dream for me is being able to model and texture at the same time, in 3d space without having to worry about setting up a UV map or anything like it, instead just having the model there in 3d as all the UV map i could need. the same goes for animating and scripting. i want to be able to capture data very easily, and this kind of setup is especially ideal for capturing camera movement data and then tweaking it for cutscenes and whatnot. but with ragdolls or more complex kinematic setups, character and general animation could be done in a similar manner. the simple fact is that i want to be able to create most if not all game assets in one intuitive physical world, making game development more fun in the process. i don't see this as too ambitious, either, though i'm certainly not the programmer to tackle it alone. considering how close tools like sandbox 2 have come, it's just in reach. and once the crysis sdk is available, i'm sure it'll be possible to extend sanbox 2 into just what i'm talking about with a lot of work. but i'd like to get some feedback anyway, of course, on the feasibility or the willingness of anyone to pursue something like this.

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Original post by applecross
part the dream for me is being able to model and texture at the same time, in 3d space without having to worry about setting up a UV map or anything like it, instead just having the model there in 3d as all the UV map i could need.


zbrush uses AUV or GUV tiles which allow you to automatically have a UV map without ever creating one. It's great for painting on the model in the editor, but has the downside that you cannot paint on the model OUTSIDE of the editor because the UV map is a jumbled mess of tiles that you can't visualize.

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Original post by applecross
i suppose that downside could be rectified pretty easily, though. i'm surprised it hasn't, but then again i didn't know that was possible with zbrush. i wish i had some zbrush skill.


It's not possible to do good quality UV mapping automatically now and probably never will be. It depends on what you mean by rectified. It is possible to create a second UV set by hand, and then render the texture from the tile-UV's into the hand-made UV's, thus allowing you to later edit them by hand.

Generally, though, the UVs are created by hand before taking the model into ZB.

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i basically meant the second option, but i guess that's as much work as or more work than doing it by hand first. if i had my way, though, it wouldn't ever even be necessary for the editor i'm proposing. which wouldn't mean that more fully featured image editors would be obsolete, but that anything done with them could be easily layered and rendered in and etc.

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Original post by applecrosspart the dream for me is being able to model and texture at the same time, in 3d space without having to worry about setting up a UV map or anything like it, instead just having the model there in 3d as all the UV map i could need.


You can do this in Maya as well. assign a new material to an object. Create an empty file texture on the color channel. From the rendering menu set, goto Texturing->3D Paint Tool with the options box. Start painting. It uses the current UV set, which if you don't want to set up, you can just go to the modelling menu set, and select Polygon Uv's->AutomaticMapping. Unlike Z-brush this will create a fairly decent texture map, and a fairly usable set of UV coords.

Quote:
i want to be able to capture data very easily, and this kind of setup is especially ideal for capturing camera movement data and then tweaking it for cutscenes and whatnot.


You can do this in maya as well, just turn auto-keying on, move to the frame location, move the camera. That's it.

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but with ragdolls or more complex kinematic setups, character and general animation could be done in a similar manner.


The nima maya plug-in.... (PhysX within Maya)

Quote:
the simple fact is that i want to be able to create most if not all game assets in one intuitive physical world, making game development more fun in the process.


Maya falls short in one respect, it's not a game engine :( however modelling an entire 3D scene with all of your level triggers, collision primitives etc can fairly easily be done. I just use a tonne of custom plug-ins to mark up all of the custom game data.

To view whats going on in the game, i hit a little button that exports the data that has changed (using a custom export plugin), and do a geometry build process (converts game assets from intermediate format into final game formats). A network link between Maya and the engine then gets set up which allows me to modify positions of objects etc within Maya, and it will automatically update the data within the engine.

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