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University project looking for advice

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Hi all, I'm entering my honours (4th year) as a Computer Science undergraduate next year. I am thinking about learning a 3D library and writing something along the lines of a game + level editor for my project. Currently I am leaning towards programming for Linux in C++ using SDL, OpenGL, Lua and some sort of mark-up language. What I would very much like, is to be able to seamlessly export a model from one of the artistic programs (such as blender, a piece of software that I fail completely with) and have it imported directly into a scene. Is this possible, and what is the best way to achieve it? Although I have a good foundation in the theory of computer graphics (I.e. a 1 semester course with a good grade) and ample hands-on playing experience, I would like to read some game code with embedded scripting etc if anyone can suggest an open source project to have a look at? Thanks, any other comments would also be appreciated!

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Original post by iNSPiRe
What I would very much like, is to be able to seamlessly export a model from one of the artistic programs (such as blender, a piece of software that I fail completely with) and have it imported directly into a scene. Is this possible, and what is the best way to achieve it?


There are many different model formats. Blender can export to quite a few different ones. You could write a loader for any of those formats for your project. Obj might be a nice one to try; it's an open format so finding the specification and examples is easy. Alternatively you could come up with your own format and write a blender plugin to export to it. There are also some libraries to load models but I have no experience with them so can't suggest any.

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Original post by Matt_D
we're talking 3-6mths, solid.

I think even that estimate is overly generous and optimistic ^_^;;;

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Original post by iNSPiRe
Currently I am leaning towards programming for Linux in C++ using SDL, OpenGL, Lua and some sort of mark-up language.

Just checking, but you already know C++ like the back of your hand, right? You have no trouble using anything from the standard library, or boost? Templates don't scare you? Otherwise, you'll be in trouble with all the new stuff coming your way. At the very least, I'd drop the scripting language. You Ain't Gonna Need It.

Quote:
Original post by iNSPiRe
What I would very much like, is to be able to seamlessly export a model from one of the artistic programs (such as blender, a piece of software that I fail completely with) and have it imported directly into a scene. Is this possible, and what is the best way to achieve it?

Blender exposes the entire scene tree in script. You can get at any object, face, vertex, and coordinate, and do whatever you want with it. However, you will have to learn a bit of Python (this is ridiculously easy if you have ever programmed in any language, which I assume you did seeing as you're in a CS degree). You will need to write your own importer, too, either for a common format or for whatever you exported using Python.

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Original post by iNSPiRe
Although I have a good foundation in the theory of computer graphics (I.e. a 1 semester course with a good grade) and ample hands-on playing experience,

I'm not sure what they taught you, but from my university experience (which has been dragging on for longer than I want), one semester is usually not enough to learn anything important. Fortunately, OpenGL is relatively straightforward once you grok it, but you better know your coordinate spaces, vectors, matrices, and (ideally) quaternions. OTOH, you need a lot more than just 3D stuff to make a game. Physics, AI, interface, scene management and game object management can be equally important and complicated.

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Original post by iNSPiRe
I would like to read some game code with embedded scripting etc if anyone can suggest an open source project to have a look at?

Can't help you as far as FLOSS games with embedded scripting are concerned, but there are many FLOSS games out there. One you might want to look at closer is Vega Strike. It's fairly complete, so the source should give you some idea about the scary stuff coming your way.

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This all seems perfectly dooable in a single semester if you put a lot of effort into it.
The only problem is that it isn't very suitable for a final year research project. Writing a 3d game with an editor may at first seem like a really cool idea as you can make a fun game and you'll also have a demo to show off for an interview.
Unfortunatly as far as a degree goes theres not much new or ground breaking about writing a game. Don't expect to get a really high grade for writing a game.

If you have a new games concept or idea fair enough do your research project about this but then use an open source game to show off your concept as the person marking your project will only be interested in marking the section of your game that shows off your idea.

For example you said you want to import a model directly into a scene. This would be enough to base your whole research project around. Use an open source game/engine and implement your research ideas using the engine. You won't get any extra marks for writing your own engine as the focus of the project will be importing the model

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