Hello Thomas and List,
I'm not a programmer unless you count web pages, but I'd like to say I
think this is a great idea! I've got resources I can make available to
game developers for alternative windows platforms, ranging to the
ability to compile code on any Linux you might want, thanks to virtual
machines, to a dedicated Internet Server I can do as I please with,
and would be more than willing to set up accounts, version control,
web sites, compile code, whatever.
Just my two cents.
Dave.


On 7/15/10, Thomas Ward <thomasward1...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> Since we have been doing a lot of talking about game engines and
> toolkits like BGT I thought I’d bring up one of the current projects I
> have in the wings. I’d like to get some end user feedback and
> suggestions on it as I plan for this to be more or less a community
> driven project not only to help aspiring game developers to get
> started with creating games, but also to begin cross-platform
> development of games for currently unsupported operating systems like
> Mac OS and Linux as well as the latest Windows releases too.
> The project is named Open G3D. That basically stands for Open Genesis
> 3D. A purely open source and free version of the Genesis engine that
> will be cross-platform as well as uses open source APIs such as SDL
> for game development. That’s the basic overview.
> However, before I begin releasing beta versions of the engine it would
> be helpful to know what features you potential game developers would
> like to see in the engine. For example, I have two different versions
> of the Genesis Engine.
> The first is the newer C++ version of the engine that is currently
> written in pure C++ which could be ported to Mac OS and Linux via SDL,
> OpenAL, and other open source libraries, but would be more difficult
> to program/use since it is written in pure C++. The Disadvantage here
> is that you would have to manually compile it on every single
> operating system and platform you intend to support. So if you wanted
> to support Mac OS  and didn’t have a Mac, for example, you couldn’t
> support the Mac platform until you purchase a Mac and use the Mac
> C/C++ development tools. This is, in my opinion, the principle problem
> with using C or C++ for serious cross-platform development.
> The other issue is at this time I haven’t added a user friendly
> scripting engine to the game, such as BGT has, so at the current
> moment if you don’t know C or C++ you can’t easily use the engine. I
> could easily fix this by creating a self-contained core like BGT and
> then use an open source script language like Lua to give the open
> source game developer something easier to tackle as well as speed up
> development time However, on the good side writing the Open G3D engine
> in C/C++ you have full access to native libraries such as
> Speech-Dispatcher on Linux, Sapi 5 for Windows, and the Mac OS Speech
> API. Not to mention access to the default graphical toolkits like GTK,
> Win32, or Cocoa. All are things that would probably be a good idea to
> have, but not exactly cross-platform friendly.  SDL has its own GUI to
> use instead so supporting individual graphical interfaces isn’t
> necessary most of the time.
> With C/C++ you can get better game performance, but usually at the
> cost of doing your own memory management or clean up. As pointers etc
> are an advanced programming technique and this is intended to be a
> community project I see this cutting both ways. Good in a way but bad
> for newbies in a big way.
> The other version of the engine is the .Net version of the game engine
> which MOTA used clear up to beta 10. It was written in C# .Net and is
> more or less stable except for Managed DirectX which could be removed
> and replaced with an open source API like SDL easy enough. It is
> already fairly along in development and with perhaps a month or so of
> work could be ported over to the open source Mono Framework and SDL
> which is cross-platform. This is in my opinion probably the best
> choice and solution for something like this.
> For one thing since Mono is open source and is supported on Mac,
> Linux, and Windows you don’t need to recompile your application to run
> the game on Mac, Linux, or Windows. You create it in the Monodevelop
> IDE, compile it for either 32bit or 64bit mono, and that’s it. Someone
> downloads and installs your game and runs it provided they are using
> the same version of Mono for their platform you are. This makes the
> task of creating open source games that you build once run anywhere is
> why runtime environments like this are important for software
> developers. It simplifies the task a lot.
> The other reason I think this is a good idea is the .Net languages
> like C# are very newbie friendly and are far simpler to learn and use
> than C++. You don’t really need a scripting language when using C# as
> the language is pretty simple in of itself. Plus having something like
> the Mono Framework it wraps the core libraries of Windows, Mac, and
> Linux giving the developer a single object oriented API to work with
> that is the same on all three platforms.
> For example, the Mono dll, System.Windows.Forms.dll, is used to create
> windows, buttons, list boxes, and so on. The nice thing about this
> library is that it uses the operating systems default GUI when
> actually rendering a window. On Windows XP, Vista, or 7 it would draw
> a window using the Windows API. On Linux it would render that same
> window using GTK. That makes the app screen reader friendly as well as
> uses the default color scheme etc of the operating system. On Mac I’ve
> heard they had some access problems with Mono, but as for the other
> two platforms it is a simple way to render graphical games etc with
> ease without having to support three different graphics toolkits
> directly.
> The primary disadvantage of things like C# .Net and Java is you need
> to download and install a large runtime library. For those Windows
> users running Windows Vista and Windows 7 don’t have to worry about
> this as they come with .Net Framework 3.0 and .Net Framework 4.0 so
> there aren’t any dependencies to install except for SDL .Net which is
> like 5 MB or something like that. For Linux users it isn’t hard to
> install as apt-get and yum can be used to download and install
> dependencies, but is still a pretty big download/install. I’m not sure
> about Mac, but I know from experience with .Net products before a lot
> of problems come up just from people not running the latest and
> greatest .Net stuff. Although, as Mono is designed independently from
> Microsoft it might be a bit less of a headache as they aren’t
> releasing new versions constantly.
> The next topic of interest is an audio library. There are really two
> to choose from here. SDL’s SDL Mixer and the OpenAL API. Both have
> advantages and disadvantages from a programming aspect.
> SDL Mixer is a simple mixer with basic stereo panning, sound
> positioning,  and some built in support for ogg, wav, and some other
> file types. It is extremely easy to use, but is also a bit limited. It
> really doesn’t have much in the way of virtual 3d audio support, but
> will let you position the direction of the audio by passing it an
> angle of the sound and setting the volume. While primitive there isn’t
> any reason a game developer couldn’t create a wrapper function that
> uses some virtual 3d calculations to come up with the correct angle
> and volume and pass that off to SDL more or less emulating a virtual
> 3d audio environment. Still it is generally not really made for really
> high-end games with advanced audio environments.
> That leaves us with the alternative. There is OpenAL which is
> supported on Mac, Linux, and Windows. Unlike SDL it was designed for
> high-end games using virtual 3d, some DSP effects, and so on. The
> problem is that it is a bit harder to use and I’d definitely have to
> create some kind of wrapper library to simplify it and add support for
> ogg, mp3, or any other compressed file types if we wish to support
> them. On the plus side though we can have 5.1 and 7.1 3d audio almost
> equal to XAudio2 or DirectSound on Mac, Linux, and Windows with this
> engine. Although, at the cost of a more difficult and advanced library
> to use.
> Another issue I would like to talk about is speech output.
> Traditionally, I use prerecorded speech files to speak messages.
> That’s fine as far as it goes, but I also wonder if it might not be a
> good idea to try and support some sort of tts system like Sapi as
> well. Sapi, Speech-Dispatcher, and so on would definitely come in
> handy for RPG games and so on where there are hundreds perhaps
> thousands of messages that need to be spoken. In other words in games
> where prerecorded messages would be in a very real sense unrealistic
> do to size or the number of messages that need to be strung together
> to produce speech output. .So what do you think about TTS support?
> Finally, I’ve noticed a greater demand for networked games and more
> player verses player type play. The obvious choice for this would be
> something like SDL’s Network API which covers the cross-platform
> angle, but how many of you are really into pvp type play. I’m not so
> that’s one reason I haven’t added network play to Genesis 3D, but
> apparently some are and having this feature seams almost necessary for
> a community driven engine. So any thoughts, suggestions, etc on this
> topic is welcome.
>
> Smile.
>
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