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Merowingian

OpenGL VS Level Editor

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Hi, my question is about motivation rather than about how to use OpenGL. Let's say my main interest is to create an interactive scene where I can just navigate through, just to have a look at the world I've created. No shooting, no opening doors, no interaction with objects, just "walk through the world" and watch the beautiful world I've created. What exactly are the benefits from using OpenGL for that as opposed to just using a level editor from - let's say - Far Cry? Isn't it much easier and faster to create all those complex geometries by just "clicking them togehter", using ready-made complex objects rather than having to specify all those vertex commands plus generating code for loading textures into memory and specifying texture coordinates and on and on...while I could just load the texture by means of a dialogue and let the level editor do the coding? Let's say the level editor doesn't allow me to specify such things as bump mapping, specular highlighting etc., but isn't this just a thing that could be implemented into the level editor's GUI in the course of time? Just right click the object, choose "use texture x as bumpmap for this object" or "use this material properties for this object". In some main menu just select "use the Cook Torrance model for this scene" after specifying the fresnel coefficient etc. for each object in a right-click-and-type-the-number style for each object besides other material properties? To me it looks like there are a lot of routines that could just be automated in a level editor, especially the specification of complex geometries, speeding up a lot of things. What real benefits remain if I really just want to create a scene to navigate through in real time? Cheers Merowingian

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Hey Merowingian,
I would not recommend using OpenGL "instead of" your level editor. Usually OpenGL or DirectX is used to create your level editor and graphics engine. Once you have a working graphics engine capable of loading and displaying your level files, most of the scene building will be done in the editor.

If you already have an editor and engine you're happy with, you don't need to write your own openGL code.

However if you don't have an editor and graphics engine and your project is fairly simple, you may find it easier to work directly with OpenGL/DirectX instead of investing too much time in writing your own editor/engine.

Hope that helps,

Mav-Eric-K

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What exactly are the benefits from using OpenGL for that as opposed to just using a level editor from - let's say - Far Cry? Isn't it much easier and faster to create all those complex geometries by just "clicking them togehter", using ready-made complex objects rather than having to specify all those vertex commands plus generating code for loading textures into memory and specifying texture coordinates and on and on...while I could just load the texture by means of a dialogue and let the level editor do the coding?


Well this comes down to whether you want to program your "game" or just make it. If you don't care to learn about programming in 3D using OpenGL, then just use a level editor from a game. If you do want to program your game then it will require a lot more time to learn 3D graphics and OpenGL, and you will have to start from scratch (I'm assuming).

Yes it is much faster to create your "game" by "clicking them together," which is why programs like GameMaker 7 exist.

Sorry if I didn't give responses to your other questions, thought I'd just answer the big one. Good luck!

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hmm... Game maker 7 games seem to be running slower though, since they are interpreted.

Sandbox seems to be a very good choice though, except for the fact that the level won't run independent of the "host game".

I've come across some article claiming that even architectural companies use those level editors to get a preview of their buildings before they are built (like Sandbox)

But I understand that for ultimate long term control including all possible modes of interaction with scene objects I might still gain from programming from scratch with OpenGL.

Furthermore I will be much more platform independent that way.


Anyway, why I'm asking is, if I was to do this professionally one day, let's say if I was to work for companies to help visualize their environment (hotels, sites etc.) in a navigatable 3D scene, what would I use? Do professionals use level editors for that or would they rather program those things manually? And if yes, why? I mean provided they have some kind of time schedule and they can't afford to loose too much time?



Thanks for your answers so far ;-)

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Original post by Merowingian
hmm... Game maker 7 games seem to be running slower though, since they are interpreted.

Sandbox seems to be a very good choice though, except for the fact that the level won't run independent of the "host game".

I've come across some article claiming that even architectural companies use those level editors to get a preview of their buildings before they are built (like Sandbox)

But I understand that for ultimate long term control including all possible modes of interaction with scene objects I might still gain from programming from scratch with OpenGL.

Furthermore I will be much more platform independent that way.


Anyway, why I'm asking is, if I was to do this professionally one day, let's say if I was to work for companies to help visualize their environment (hotels, sites etc.) in a navigatable 3D scene, what would I use? Do professionals use level editors for that or would they rather program those things manually? And if yes, why? I mean provided they have some kind of time schedule and they can't afford to loose too much time?



Thanks for your answers so far ;-)



I can guaranty you they aren't using far cry or far cry's level editor. They are using something like 3d smax, modo,maya or something like autocad, sketchup. People who do arcviz for a living are artist not programmers and probably don't know more about opengl than your average bumpkin. Sorry, but this the funniest thing I have read all day.

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Original post by stonemetal
I can guaranty you they aren't using far cry or far cry's level editor. They are using something like 3d smax, modo,maya or something like autocad, sketchup.


I can guarantee you that the Far Cry developers are using the Far Cry editor to make their maps. [smile]

The process is:

1) build a mesh in Maya/Max/whatever
2) build textures in <whatever>
3) animate in <whatever>
4) export all data to game format using custom written exporters
5) import data into editor
6) place on map

-me

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Original post by Merowingian
Anyway, why I'm asking is, if I was to do this professionally one day, let's say if I was to work for companies to help visualize their environment (hotels, sites etc.) in a navigatable 3D scene, what would I use? Do professionals use level editors for that or would they rather program those things manually? And if yes, why? I mean provided they have some kind of time schedule and they can't afford to loose too much time?

An environment is data. You don't want to 'program' that, you want to use an editor or modelling package for it. Perhaps you'll need to write a custom exporter or something to convert the output format of an editor to a desired format, but that's usually it. After all, an editor makes things visible, so when something doesn't look right, it's a lot easier to fix. Compare that to digging around in a bunch of vertex arrays... no thanks.

As for building your own viewer, that will take a lot of time and experience to get right. Is it worth your time, or are you better off using a game engine, or perhaps another rendering engine or framework? And how important is platform independency in this case?

As for companies, a smart company will take the most cost-efficient route. In most cases, that's using existing tools and viewers, perhaps with some in-house modifications.

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Original post by Palidine
Quote:
Original post by stonemetal
I can guaranty you they aren't using far cry or far cry's level editor. They are using something like 3d smax, modo,maya or something like autocad, sketchup.


I can guarantee you that the Far Cry developers are using the Far Cry editor to make their maps. [smile]

The process is:

1) build a mesh in Maya/Max/whatever
2) build textures in <whatever>
3) animate in <whatever>
4) export all data to game format using custom written exporters
5) import data into editor
6) place on map

-me


you missed the post just above mine where he says he wants to do architectural visualization not anything game related.

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hmm...okay, well, then obviously knowing how opengl works remains useful for game development only.


or can you think of any other field were that knowledge could be applied usefully?


cheers

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hmm...okay, well, then obviously knowing how opengl works remains useful for game development only.
No. You misunderstand.

OpenGL is an API that works with your graphics card hardware. Let me put it another way, if you want to use your graphics card to do something, you would use either OpenGL or DirectX.

Obviously, game development involves graphics, which in turn involves OpenGL. But are games the only thing that involve graphics?

Spend a minute thinking about all the things on your computer that involve graphics, that are *not* games.

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