Blender Game Engine

So what to do? (Blender Game Engine)

Firstly let me say that if I was further along re-learning how to code, I’d try to help out with the BGE. At the moment I think my only possible usefulness would be as a guinea pig. Trying to change the direction of some big organisation is just not time and energy efficient given my current skillset. I hope it all turns out well, but just in case….

Remember that long time I spent researching before I even began PlanetGardenShed? Well most of it was looking at what joins to what. Blender’s big advantage remains the accessible source. I figured even if the Game Engine stayed stalled (as it was even then), I can look at the source generated by my Blender prototype and learn from it to build and extend my own solutions.

Commercial solutions to game creation with a free starter kit don’t appeal to me because I know I’ll be paying for them at some point, and I’m not planning big earnings to justify that. I’m doing this for fun. If it goes anywhere, fine, but it’s not an aim, goal or worry. I don’t care – basically. Earnings is cake on top of the cake!

People working with the Game Engine already find their own way when they hit some barrier (and there are many) to their workflow, so this is just one solution of many – it’s the direction I intend to take. Apparently assets created in Blender do belong to me to dispose of as I wish so I will. I will convert them to XML and use them from a python script, parts of which can then be optimised for speed to any extend required (via C/C++ or whatever else it takes). I’ve a long way to go before I can try it and see where the problems are, but that was the plan and is why I’m already learning python and will at some point start learning whatever variant of C I need to know in earnest (at the moment just messing about). It’s why there aren’t loads of GardenShed pics on the blog, just one or two. I’m mostly learning things, not creating things – plan to be doing that for ohhh, a year? two? who knows. I enjoy.

If anyone else is thinking about going this direction, here’s a good thing to read. Dredged from prior research and the reason I chose this direction, all beautifully explained in a sample chapter. I do not know if the book itself is up to date – mainly this just gave me direction – (the rest I can figure out myself):

http://oreilly.com/catalog/pythonxml/chapter/ch01.html

I’d be interested to know what other people are planning, if any happen to stop by here. I’ll still be hoping things work out for the Game Engine too and if I spot a way to help, I will. Blender remains a remarkable and wonderful thing which has enriched my life and enabled me to do things I never would have thought possible a year or two ago.

Categories: Blender, Blender Game Engine

Why it just refuses to die (Blender Game Engine)

In the new Blender Roadmap http://code.blender.org/index.php/2013/06/blender-roadmap-2-7-2-8-and-beyond/, it is admitted that not much time or effort has been spent on the Game Engine. Well, as with governments spying on ordinary people, many people suspected that it was happening but it’s still sad to see it confirmed. Starving the Game Engine of development and resources hasn’t killed it though,  just annoyed its users a lot.

Another paragraph in the Roadmap serves to illustrate why this happened:

“On the positive side – I think that the main cool feature of our GE is that it was integrated with a 3D tool, to allow people to make 3D interaction for walkthroughs, for scientific sims, or game prototypes. If we bring back this (original) design focus for a GE, I think we still get something unique and cool, with seamless integration of realtime and ‘offline’ 3D. (quote) .”

and

“Instead of calling it the “GE” we would just put Blender in “Interaction mode”.

If starving it of resources doesn’t work, I suppose you can always try trivialising it and then absorbing it.

Again, I for sure and many others, thought this was probably how the Game Engine part of Blender is regarded – a neat little toy for artists, a frill, a grudgingly maintained prototyping tool for game makers –  but I’m afraid seeing it written down makes me realise all over again that I think they are chasing the wrong doggie.

The Indie scene is very lively indeed just now (as I predicted at begining of year) and showing no sign of slowing down. It is a bona fide growth industry now with a huge mainstream outlet (apps and handhelds, tablets, consoles) plus there is Steam and its variants, browser use is growing too. Tradional formats for Indie games are still going strong too like the pc. Small developers are now not so niche.And there is a LOT going on.

Indie is, in short, getting very big, very influential and creating a lot of money. It is painful to watch Blender deliberately missing this particular boat. This is a field it could easily have dominated if the effort had been put in.  Not bothering with the Game Engine was a bad choice. I am glad for the inroads into film, but film just isn’t growing as fast and big as development for handhelds and apps – and consoles. The Ouya should be along soon too.

Not dealing with the licencing issue didn’t kill the Game Engine either. Enthusiasts will go to the lengths required to sidestep this limitation, though in all honesty it should have been addressed ages ago.

Plans to subsume the Game Engine into Blender and redefine it as “interactive mode” has caused some debate as is evident in the comments on the link I gave and on various forums. Something of a hornet’s nest. Apparently this surprises some people. Well I think it’s good to get the issue out into the open at last. It’s about time the people at the top had a look at user demand, user experience and saw how their plans and outlook are regarded by Game Engine Users. I don’t see any need for vituperation, but honestly…. “interactive mode???”. It remains to be seen whether this will kill the Game Engine at last.

I hope not. I can offer some insight into why it hasn’t died yet, despite all efforts not to support or sustain it. It hasn’t died because there is a void, a market gap the size of the San Andreas fault, for just such a thing. Here is a magnificent, accesible graphics editor and creation suite, there is a vast crowd of independent game makers, and in the middle are some engines. Blender Game Engine sits in amongst this group like a little island. The others grow bigger and prosper whilst the one that fits best with the graphics stays small and ineffectual under a weight of apathy and quite possibly dislike.

The other engines, (I know, I’ve looked), are buggy/expensive/cumbersome/unsupported/untutorialised/undocumented/don’t integrate with other applications – sometimes all of the above. But most important, they aren’t in pole position to take advantage of Blender’s massive graphic power. What is happening is that game makers who like the BGE use it as far as possible then seek out their own solutions for all the things it does not address (and there are many). This means that the BGE never gets to be in the final credits, never gets to be the big name. It also means there are as many solutions as there are people looking for them. I also will be following this route. Another uncapitalised advantage being that the Engine’s source is accessible. That is such a plus for an Indie. At the moment, it’s a mess, but all this hasn’t killed the engine either, just fringified those who still use it despite the limitations and incredible annoyances of doing so.

It’s needed. That’s why it survives.

In my view, the Blender Game engine, with it’s old code needs a complete rewrite which would be a perfect time to sort out a serviceable licence. It should be integrated more closely with the graphics as planned, it should become feature rich, supported, sustained like the rest of Blender which already operates beautifully as a modular system. What has happened is that one of the modules hasn’t been worked on and has fallen out of step. This can be fixed. But the will clearly isn’t there.

If the Blender Foundation does manage to kill off the engine, something will spring up to fill it’s place simply because something is  needed in the position it currently occupies.

Film is all very well, but it doesn’t have the kind of big future that games do.  It’s amazing how well Blender otherwise covers the 3d field. It is easily used for visualisation, teaching,  a million other things. But on games the Blender Foundation is dropping the ball badly.

As in any gold rush. the people making most money (and publicity)  from Indie gaming are not so much the developers, but any company that integrates with their efforts. Publishers, platform makers, tool makers, publicists, lawyers etc. But apparently… not Blender.

Categories: Blender Game Engine

Revision…

Revis

fun 🙂

Categories: Blender, Blender Game Engine, PlanetGardenShed

Why aren’t you all making your own games?!!! (for me to play…)

I come across people all the time with such good ideas…. if only they all made games out of em I’d be in heaven!

Here’s yet another great tool (in development but very far along). No need to fear LOD no more. I don’t know quite what to say. It’s magificent.

http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?256768-Terrrain-LOD-UPDATE-physics-!!-huge-open-world-for-all-(glsl-custom-shader)

0nly 260 or so lines of script… wow

Categories: Blender Game Engine, Game Design and Creation, Oddments

Spin-off game

Belting through these while I have time. (Might not hear from me next week, it’s going to be a busy one.)

Anyway. Yes. We have the idea for our first spin-off project solid. We’ll be working up one of the game systems we need and extending it to be itself whatever that turns out to be. Jolly exciting!

Using that as a farshore, we know what we’ll need to know to make our first stab at a coherent Thing that we can even (possibly) market if we like it. But that’s not the actual aim in this case, it’s a sort of fake aim.  Really we want more to develope some kind of work ahm, don’t know what you call it – sequence that we can build on and use in future – the steps from idea to finished thing. (Is that a “pipeline” then?)

(Related – I keep losing all the links/names for all the little games I come across and like and it’s a pain to trawl through here looking for them so I’ve taken advantage of WordPress and set up an extra blog for Indie, Unusual and Older games. Mainly Indie, and mainly small. I won’t be selling our stuff there either by the way – it’s more just keeping fave games together and saying why I like them. Still setting up, will post the name here when it’s got something on it. It’s a quickfix because I know this blog needs a Graet Tidy Up and part of that is that there’s too much going on in one place…)

I diverge! Back to our spinoff. It will be single-player and we can spit it out in Unity 3 Free if necessary (Flex? HTML5?), will not require dedicated home-grown source, or very complex graphics. But an easy-to-implement ui would be nice. Might use Blender but this is a little project and probably not worth all the workarounds. Might even use it to try out various languages, hmmm not sure about that …maybe.

Time is an issue. 2013 is not the kind of year for us where there is a lot of extra time and learning the “real” stuff (coding and graphics) takes total priority. I think best to regard our spinoff as a sort of practice run and learn what we can from it. It’s a side-issue but a nice one and it’s exciting!

Right now, we’re into diagrams about the gameplay 🙂 hehehe – fun…and no, not saying what it is here and today. If it goes anywhere there’s time enough for a reveal. We’ll think up some unreasonable codename probably.

Categories: Blender Game Engine, Forge of...Dooo, no... The Forge of... aaaahmmm...The Forge of Aaaahm., Game Design and Creation, Oddments

Getting posh now

Not been writing much about PlanetGardenShed because relearning languages doesn’t lend itself to storytelling much – ya just do it really, and that’s mainly what I’ve been doing. Python and C++ for now. There will be more because I’m curious and also because though I can’t multitask for peanuts irl, I don’t seem to have a problem keeping several languages/interpreters earthly or computer in my head. Swings and roundabouts. Just don’t ask me to walk and talk at the same time haha – disaster. Walk, talk and eat? Food splatter and probs get run over by bus.

Aside from some heavy but dry learning, though, I’ve been digging into stopping the Hobo dropping through the terrain – boils down to the beginner scripts used in tutorials really which teach you to move things in a very basic way. If you tell a thing to move to x,y,z co-ordinates it’s going to do just that regardless. It will merrily go through unhorizontal things,  into space – so it falls. That kind of basic movement is fine on a flat plane where both y’s (ground and object) are safely = and your Hobo will not therefore be able to break through.

There are more advanced ways of moving things (setlinearvelocity and more) which is what I’ll be looking at next, another whole wee world there. And I’m not sure just where when and how (in the script) an object figures out if it’s going to hit anything and reacts, overriding those x,y,z co-ordinate (increments usually) you fed in – that’s a whole missing piece of information. …I’m gabbling. Anyway, detective work ahoy!

Which I shall duly enjoy. Finding that all that out led me to an interesting blog, and I wanted to put a link. This link is to a better method of making the python scripts, I think (and takes a little more effort to set up). I haven’t tried it – I just found this link, but that’s what I’ll be exploring next when I need a break from the duller stuff.

http://solarlune-gameup.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/using-python-in-blender-game-engine.html

and just because I happen to like the look of my faceted in-development terrain, here’s the stage I use to mess about with scripting, in all it’s sort-of metallic stripped downness. I’m just putting the pics bercos I like ’em – it’s the same old terrain by the way, it is easier to compare results that way. I do many things to it as I go – just imagine what that poor wooze has in store !!

PtgsFeb1

PtgsFeb2

Categories: Blender, Blender Game Engine, Game Design and Creation, PlanetGardenShed

Inadvertant caves and a surprise (Blender, PlanetGardenShed)

Nevermind I’m sure they’ll come in handy.

Caveint

As it turned out, going through the terrain was irritating me so I’ve been messing about with terrain, physics and scripting again. I won’t really be needing much bumpy terrain for TWoFB (Part I), though it is needed. In the other 2 parts it will be needed more = might as well sort it out. So I was working on that and then….

Erklife

Erk! OM!G! I’ve inadvertantly done  …… LIFE!!!

And thus (with far too many calculations going on for practical use just now) was born our first Giant Primal Wooze. Oooooh!!!! (Blender Game, physics, soft body – actually Blender did it, it’s a very basic uv sphere/soft body combo, but I’m the one seeing the possibilities). There was dancing around the living room. Children were dragged from serious home decorating in EQ2 to be hugged and kissed and forced to look.

You can’t see in a still but it woozes beautifully down the hillside seeking rest and then meanders around on the plane. The low poly hillside is a shrunkwrapped ANT terrain I’m using to see if I can figure out how to stop my WASD overriding collision detection. Collision detection (convex hull on shrunkwrapped terrain) works fine if you just drop things. They spang about in a very satisfying way. I want that for WASD too. And I’ll definitely be simplifying and using that wooze.

Yes, it’s pink 🙂

(of course I do pink to annoy the boys, you don’t think I’m holy do ya?)

Categories: Blender Game Engine, Forge of...Dooo, no... The Forge of... aaaahmmm...The Forge of Aaaahm., PlanetGardenShed

Link for Python scripting tutorial

Python scripting may not be deep, deep code, but it stretches the capabilities of the engine a huge amount.

The mooc is teaching me an old version of Python which is interesting, but not up to date (and Python 3 is not backward compatible). This is current. http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDFB7FFF90EE6F0C1

Categories: Blender Game Engine, Game Design and Creation

Not a dead parrot (Blender Game Engine)

It is a pleasure to see this thread.

http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?248538-New-BGE-Features

We know the Game Engine is in outer darkness with very little attention given to it, but it surely has some determined supporters and what’s more they put their time in. When I look above me in this world I see nobut a morass of incompetence and spite it is true. When I look around though, at my level, I see that people know perfectly well how to get things done and work together without being directed or supervised or ridden or threatened with destitution.

While the people working on Candy are primarily artists, (and the Candy branch is about eye-candy) – Blender as always remains moving and alive, and the artisty people are helping out the Game Engine. Remarkably, within the thread are offers to donate, and not just one or two either.

You don’t see that very often.

There is talk of a kickstarter project, but I’m not sure it’s up yet. I will check and when it is you may be sure I will be writing about it here. It’s great that there is a way people can give directly to the engine and not necessarily to the whole foundation, worthy though the foundation is in itself. It’s a way of voting, really. If money is seen to be coming in, perhaps interest in the engine will revive at Blender HQ.

I think it’s something I’ll look into too – the Blender code. Graphics people aren’t too likely to sit and optimise, they might not venture into physics or game design either. I can’t do anything of any significance yet. However I do want to have a look. Maybe able to help out later when I know more, who knows.  Keeping eye on.

Wonderful thread, and that is such solid support being voiced. Ahhh does the heart good 🙂

Categories: Blender Game Engine, Game Design and Creation

Joy (BGE)

At least this is all going well (pardon lack of textures). I think the scale will do for now. Since 2.6something Blender has an addon that generates terrain called ANT, which I have spent some extremely happy times with. To  my joy the Hobo wasd(zx)es just fine in this environment (and does not fall through the ground). If not flying it flips on bumpy terrain : Edit: oooer wait, it does still go through – something something modified mesh collision … fascinating side road, will have to leave for now because all I’m after is nice scenery to look at while I work, in scale).

Hehehehehe!

Sea

Omigosh! Please tell me that is a sea up ahead!

I wonder if I can localise noise… Incidentally pink is a very practical colour! It is easy to spot your tiny spaceship in big untextured terrain primitives with huge mountains when it is pink!

Categories: Blender Game Engine, Game Design and Creation, PlanetGardenShed

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