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helium

Turning cyberspace from Gibsonian fiction into reality

2 posts in this topic

Long ago, I used a message board used by several people who went off to start this site. Back then, I used the handle "Razorblade". I realized that I''m not good at art (and art is a major part of computer games), so I left for the world of the Usenet. After I left for the world of the Usenet, I stopped using handles at all. I became a regular reader of Slashdot. I''ve just come back here, using the handle "helium", because I''m working on a major project which is not a game, but is quite similar to many games in many ways. This site would be an excellent source of information critical to what I am currently writing. I am working on a large, large project. The ultimate aim of this project is to turn cyberspace (not the idiotic journalistic use of this word, but the science fiction usage of this world) from something in books by Gibson and Stephenson to reality. I am essentially writing a 3d game-like program (it is like games in that it uses many of the same programming techniques, but it is not a game) which is far more open-ended that most (if not all) network games. This project is much larger than most computer games, for it consists of a 3d engine tied to a specialized scripting language. The scripting language is like Java in that code is downloaded to your machine over the Internet, but it is very unlike Java because it exists on multiple machines at the same time, and all the code, no matter where it is executing, is always in sync. *Everything* in a zone (a division of this cyberspace, for performance and privilege purposes) is made up of code in this language. This includes things such as avatars, objects, structures, etc. Actually, these are all the same thing in the eyes of this program. These objects made of code are not tied to any one machine. These objects do have things such as privileges. For example, the creator of a zone might have full control over a zone, while objects in a zone might only be able to directly affect one another when they collide with each other. It is this delocalized and synchronized code that will make this much more versatile that games such as Quake3 or Unreal Tournament. In those games, all the code and models exist separately on each machine. In the program that I am writing, all the code, models (which are actually implemented in code), pixmaps, etc. are transmitted over the Internet. This stuff only has to be sent once to any one machine, for it is stored on a machine until that machine leaves the current zone. The only stuff that is sent for most of the period of time when someone is in a zone is messages coming from the outside world. I am currently writing the 3d engine for this project. This project is a long term project. Long term means that it could be quite a while before the project fully stabilizes (this could be when I''m in college - I''m currently a sophomore in high school). I don''t need any people to work with me right now, but it would be nice to have beta testers in the future. The current version is being written for the Mac, but I''m planning to port it to Linux as soon as I save up enough money (this should be about two months from now) to buy a new hard drive and a copy of LinuxPPC (I just got a job). Travis "helium" Bemann formerly known as "Razorblade"
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Ok,
I am going to try to refrain from being harsh here, but I live in reality. You say that you are going to write a scripting language like java "but it is very unlike Java because it exists on multiple machines at the same time, and all the code, no matter where it is executing, is always in sync." Ok where I live(like I said..reality) everyone has different speed computers. I seriously doubt code running independently on different machines is going to ''sync''. Do you know how perfect that would have to be? Thats like me saying that my girlfriend is three feet tall and has a flat head in which I can sit my beer can while she ''makes me happy''.
However, I dont want to sound completely negative. Your idea of using a 3D engine for something other than a game could be a good one. We need people trying to do new things...thats how we advance. However, through EXPERIENCE I have learned that a good design doc ultimately determines the success or failure of a project(of course with some exceptions). Before you do anything I suggest writing a design doc. If you find that writing the design doc is difficult, then you should expect the actual implementation to be near impossible.

Good luck anyway,
skitzo_smurf
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quote:
Original post by skitzo_smurf

Ok,
I am going to try to refrain from being harsh here, but I live in reality. You say that you are going to write a scripting language like java "but it is very unlike Java because it exists on multiple machines at the same time, and all the code, no matter where it is executing, is always in sync." Ok where I live(like I said..reality) everyone has different speed computers. I seriously doubt code running independently on different machines is going to ''sync''. Do you know how perfect that would have to be? Thats like me saying that my girlfriend is three feet tall and has a flat head in which I can sit my beer can while she ''makes me happy''.


Actually, synchronization is possible, even though different people have machines that run at different speeds. This is because this code is in the form of a compiled bytecode, instead of being compiled into machine language. The virtual machine on each computer controls the speed that the code executes. Of course, the lowest common denominator is used, or otherwise slower machines would be out of sync with faster machines. Of course, the creator of a zone could institute and enforce restrictions that don''t allow slow machines to enter the zone.

quote:
However, I dont want to sound completely negative. Your idea of using a 3D engine for something other than a game could be a good one. We need people trying to do new things...thats how we advance. However, through EXPERIENCE I have learned that a good design doc ultimately determines the success or failure of a project(of course with some exceptions). Before you do anything I suggest writing a design doc. If you find that writing the design doc is difficult, then you should expect the actual implementation to be near impossible.


I haven''t written a design document, but I have thoroughly thought through things such as protocals, as well as the scripting language that the 3d engine is tied to. I am doing this even though I am not close to implementing those things. The scripting language used will be very close to Python, but it will be a different language because Python is not well suited to such delocalized execution. This is because Python scripts are able to obtain information on the machine on which they are running. This is also because Python isn''t designed to execute a partially executed script (scripts have to be able to be fully transferred while executing and without disturbing any information stored by the script).

quote:
Good luck anyway,
skitzo_smurf




Travis "helium" Bemann
formerly known as "Razorblade"
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