3D engine


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Post Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:49 pm

3D engine

You know, I've been thinking for a long time that, what truely needs to happen is a jump into the complex world of 3D. I don't know why we're pretty much still stuck trying to kick such an old style of display, especially when doing something in OpenGL surely isn't that hard. So, I set off on my merry way to do some OpenGL programming. I just don't see why the project has to keep to it's old style of 2D view, when with todays cheap computer parts and having most machines able to run even the most basic level of OpenGL. Why not take the game further?

This isn't really a debate on what looks good, vs what looks bad. Because the way I see OpenGL, it doesn't just have to look pretty. It offers potential to break away from some of the restrictions that are present in the game. When you design something in 2D, with flat graphics, you end up with restrictions such as terrain having to go up and down in giant 10 pixel steps. They look ugly, and I don't see why it has to stay like that. Given a good OpenGL engine designed primarily around the purpose of this project.

Okay, so, I've started my own small project, and called it Terran. It doesn't have a website at all, and it's a long way off. One of the many things I want to try and do with this engine is get rid of the grid completely. I've mentioned previously in the other forum, my ideas on making the game look unique by not forcing everything into grids. The first thing you'll say to me, is that it cannot be done. I'm going to challenge that completely.

The way I'll get around this, is by making tracks and roads curved, and not in the prefabricated set radius style fashion. I'm talking about the type of tracks you'd see in Trainz 2006. The game itself allows for curved tracks, and if it's possible to do that in Trainz, then why can't it be done in something like this? The best feature I want to promote about the engine I will design will be the terrain. I want to get the user designing stuff around the terrain, rather then working against the grain.

Take buildings for example, if you imagine a complex terrain generated from a real heightmap, and full of polygons, then you have to place buildings on that terrain. I want to design this engine so a building isn't just a bitmap, it's a complex series of parts which assemble on the land. First you get the foundation, which in itself edits the terrain slightly, and then so that you aren't using grids, you give buildings the ability to use multiple prefabricated parts that come together to form buildings that never look the same.

I'm going to give this a go, and see what I can come up with. It's going to be completely different thinking.


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Post Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:31 pm

Re: 3D engine

I often thought along those lines myself but such an undertaking won't be easy therefore I never made an attempt at it. The grid based system is so popular because it is so simple to conceptualise and realise in code.

I do agree that landscapes should be much more defining in this genre of games. You rarely see large volumes (i.e. entire hillsides) moved in real life but in these kind of games it's the rule rather than the exception to transform the land to suit your needs.
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