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PdG

Space Sim

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PdG    125
Some years ago i've started a project by scratch, using C++, to learn how the directx works. The idea was to build a clone of David Braben's Frontier. Then, due to lack of time, i've stopped all. Now i'd like to try to restart but i've understand that is impossible for me to write an entire 3d-engine. I should have YEARS of spare time, and i've only minutes. So i'm thinking to use some free engines. Like UDK or similar. I've tried to install UDK, and it's huge.. i've difficult to find documentation about starting from scratch to create a totally new game, without FPS behaviour, but i want to use the engine only for rendering the scene, i want to create a game that is totally different to the classic unreal tournament. So i cannot only create levels, i need to implement starship movements, inertial, solar system and so on. Is it possible with udk? Where can i start to learn something? Any suggestions?

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Ashaman73    13715
Quote:

Is it possible with udk?

Yes, but the question is: how much of the present engine can be utilized and how many work arounds must be used to reach your goal.

Quote:

Where can i start to learn something?

Download a sdk of your choice and start playing around with tutorials and demos. That's a good way to get in touch with an engine.

Quote:

Any suggestions?

UDK is a superb engine with very good tool support, but not entirely free, atleast if you want to create a commercial game (take a look at the licenses).

A space game have other requirements than a fps shooter, so choosing an engine which is open source could be helpful, if you want to implement special features not supported by the used engine. Take a look at Ogre 3D for an open source engine. Choosing an engine which looks amazing, but doesn't have good support for your requirements, could become more of a burden than a benefit.

And a last advice: When you think about an engine like UDK, you will most probably think about games based on this engine. What you see is amazing art done by professional artists and not only the capability of the engine. So, make a requirement list of your game and check different engines like Ogre3d,Irrlight,UDK etc.

A requirement list could look like:
- need level editor
- need shader editor
- need support for blender/max/maya
- need build in shaders for normalmapping, ssao
- need radiosity/lightmap support
- need build in physics support
- need source code modifications
..


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PdG    125
Quote:
Original post by Ashaman73
Quote:

Is it possible with udk?

Yes, but the question is: how much of the present engine can be utilized and how many work arounds must be used to reach your goal.


Yes, indeed is the meaning of my post :)
I've no experience with open source engines, i've started by scratch my little project, now i wondering if should i continue to write my own engine (but i thint it will be a suicide) or use a third party product.
I don't want to make commercial stuff..

Quote:

A requirement list could look like:
- need level editor
- need shader editor
- need support for blender/max/maya
- need build in shaders for normalmapping, ssao
- need radiosity/lightmap support
- need build in physics support
- need source code modifications
..


- no i don't need a level editor.. the levels should be procedural, not pre-built, and all the level editor i've seen was fps-based. Not applicable with a classic "solar system" enviroment
- A shader editor would be fine
- I use blender, not max, maya or others.
- Yes, i use shaders for normal mapping, shadows and so on.
- no radiosity or advance lighting.. into my experiment i've only a pointlight (the sun), with lens flares and bloom effect.
- physics should be fine.
- i hope to avoid source code modifications. I don't need a very complex 3d support.. i think that mesh animation, some good illumination (in space it should not be so complex), particle effects, sprites and some UI should be ok. I'd like to invest my time in the gameplay and delegate the rendering to an engine.
UDK pheraps is too much complex. It has a very good sets of tools but it seems ok for fps but a nightmare for building something of different.
I'll try to look to ogre.

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Katie    2244
"with lens flares and bloom effect."

Could I suggest that doing this stuff first is possibly the wrong approach?

And that a better one may be to get the game running with boxes and spheres and nothing fancy.

Once you have the structure in place, it's easier to spread out from that point -- quite apart from anything else, having other people "drop in" and help out with advancing the rendering is much more likely to happen if the main structure of the game actually works.

Should it be difficult? Well. No, not really. Frontier was written in 286 assembler. It has a software renderer. It's probably quite near the envelope for possible performance on PCs of that era.

Writing something of that complexity in modern C++ with STL/Boost and hardware rendering support should be a much smaller project -- You don't even have to hit the same order of magnitude of efficiency. (You could probably write it in flash these days, never mind needing C++ :-).

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flodihn    281
I have used Ogre3d in my project and I think it is great. It not "only" a rendering engine you so have to plugin your own physics, gui etc.
Ogre3d has a great community and lots of documentation, beginner tutorials are here:
http://www.ogre3d.org/wiki/index.php/Ogre_Tutorials

Since Ogre3d is only a renderer it does not have any assumptions whenever the game is an FPS or RTS for example.
The Ogre3d SDK's are about 30 MB, if I remember correctly.

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