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 Choosing a programming language

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PostSubject: Choosing a programming language   Sun Apr 27, 2008 12:03 pm

I've been looking at our options as far as programming language/platform goes, and here what I've come up with...

1) We plan on using low-poly models (with moderate amounts of polys for the terrain), we can use sky-boxes from terragen, and I can create some algorithms for volumetric dynamic clouds. If we follow this approach the game would be low-poly (what some would call "low quality") but still have a relativly nice graphical appeal. We can use a program by the name of VizUp to reduce polygons.

2) We plan on using mid-to-high polygon counts in our 3D models then we will need to reduce the number of polygons in our terrain meshes (which will DRASTICALLY) reduce the quality of the terrains. If we plan on mapping high-quality bitmap textures to the terrains then it really doesn't matter. We can still include the sky-box, and the volumetric clouds may or may not have to be nixed.

If we go with solution 1, then our best bet is probably our own client (options are open for Java3D although I don't have much experience in Java) The client and server would be written in Euphoria.

If we go with solution 2, then our best bet is probably Java3D. We could do a java applet for the client, or a widget (which would be much cooler, but far more limited). The server would probably still be written in Euphoria.

In all cases the server code will be translated to C/C++

I'm thinking AI/GUI interface/etc will be written in a intermediate language, maybe Tcl/Tk, or Lua b/c Euphoria has pluggable libraries for those two languages.

Also we have the matter of deciding what 3D modelling program we will be using.
Because CB Model pro is a higher end application and creates models with larger sets of polygons (even though it is easier) it does not provide a lot of modelling-flexibility so Wings 3D would probably be the way to go. That aside, option 1 fits us best b/c I'm not familair with Java, CB Model pro probably is ideal considering only one of us have used it (I've used Wings 3D a few times), and if we use large amounts of polys for models then we are going to reduce our player base.

Is that tl;dr or what? Smile

Anyway, what are your thoughts on it?

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PostSubject: Re: Choosing a programming language   Sun Apr 27, 2008 1:07 pm

I'm not really looking at crazy high poly models, but high poly enough that detail isn't really sacrificed. It's kinda' hard to say exactly what I mean without getting some poly counts, but were not doing Crysis or even C&C3 here.. Think more like DOW level poly counts. Perhaps a bit higher on somethings. And with plenty more effects, what with the extra room created.

So I'm opting for option A, though I do believe there has been a misunderstanding. I meant a full game, as in full screen, clientside, installed from disk kind of game. Not a browser based widget/flash client kind of game. I'm not sure what this means to coding, but in my experience, at least, a full engine is far easier to deal with and far easier on system resources than java applets and such. I'm not sure. But what I mean is like any other RTS you might buy from FutureShop or wherever and install. You'll have to tell me if that really poses a problem, because I'm not quite sure.. That aside, if the clouds are fluffy and pretty and changing, I'm happy as can be. I wonder if it would be possible to have them dynamic, as well? That is, if a fighter craft flies right through some clouds, it will affect the clouds a bit? I wonder if it's possible to instigate some sort of fluid dynamics for this. And leave it as an option in the graphical settings.

I don't know, really. Let me hear what that kind of engine means. There's always the option of using a graphics engine like Ogre3D to do the rendering, leaving the coding more to the game itself. Ogre3D won't provide cutting edge visuals, but the kind of work it would take to achieve them anyway would be rediculous. Thoughts?
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PostSubject: Re: Choosing a programming language   Sun Apr 27, 2008 3:21 pm

What I MENT to say was "CB Model pro probably IS NOT ideal." Wink
Anyway I'm glad your goign with a fullblown client, installer and all, because I really wan't looking forward to dealing with Java Razz

As for dynamic clouds, absolutely. Not sure about the fluid dynamics part; only if you want true dynamic volumetric clouds, but I was thinking more along the lines of fudging it a bit (not the best at math), using a standard model of a cloud, then doing mesh deformation on instances of it.

What your thinking of is the effects seen in this game >>
http://intihuatani.usc.edu/cloud/

It's a really beautiful game too...
Ogre3D is always an option, although I'd have to find a method of integrating it with Euphoria :\

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PostSubject: Re: Choosing a programming language   Sun Apr 27, 2008 7:20 pm

Oi' glad to hear you're cool with the full client deal. Razz

Not to mention hosting it on-site like that would require a rediculous amount of bandwidth. Full client just offers so much more freedom.. I'll have to check out that game, though. Does look pretty :X

As for how the cloud deformation is done, it's up to you, really. Whatever is the most reasonable. I just think it would make for a pretty effect Razz. Although ideas have popped up for being able to hide your units inside clouds as well. The clouds would provide visual cover, and other units would not detect them unless equipped with scanning equipment (such as some of the frigates or any of the cruisers). Otherwise, they would be invisible to units without detection equipment because they're obscured. But should, say, some great explosion send a shockwave through those clouds, the cloud structure would be altered, blowing them back, and revealing hiding units. The deformable clouds wouldn't really be instrumental to gameplay, though, so it's perfectly reasonable to put it under the "for a rainy day" list. Just thought it would provide yet more interesting gameplay options Razz

Finally, as for Ogre3D, I'm not hellbent on using it. Really, I'm just suggesting some sort of free render engine to deal with rendering the graphics, so you can focus more on developing the game, and less on developing the graphics engine. Figured it would really make your life easier, so it's really your choice on which to use, if any at all. Of course, pretty graphics are still an aim. But they don't need to be jaw dropping or anything. As long as the player thinks "Oh, that's neat." Or, "Wow, those clouds look so fluffy." and not "Lol mario's ass sticks out Mad" if you get what I mean. :X

Anyhow, I'll take a look around for more engines and whatnot, but I doubt I'll come across anything you don't already know. If I catch something interesting, though, I'll share it :3
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PostSubject: Re: Choosing a programming language   Sun Apr 27, 2008 10:28 pm

As the game takes place largely in the sky, and has a strong element of stealth/intelligence, I think the gameplay element of using the environment (especially the clouds) an exceptionally good idea.

Not only does the feature integrate well with one of the main focuses of the game, it also provides a means of interacting with the players environment, and the objects said environment is composed of (instead of the clouds just being something pretty, taking up system resources).

Again, excellent concept.

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