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Author Topic: Considering a coding project to experiment with game design  (Read 3512 times)
Kageru
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on: November 06, 2011, 07:44:30 PM


Yeah... It's another "desire" likely to hit the mountainous wall of reality and amount to nothing.

That said I want to see how big the wall is. I'm primarily interested in playing around with RPG / multi-player game mechanics so while I want to display a "world" to play around in its not my main interest. I really want to work with the world as a logical construct that has space and actors. I'd like to be able to visualize it in action but I'd much prefer to borrow that functionality. Either having a super-crude interface I write myself, borrowing a display engine or maybe being a component in a larger project. I'd be perfectly happy with geometric shapes in the world representing "art assets would go here". I'd prefer to be programming in c++ too. Of course this is based on the assumption that "world" and "displayed world" are somewhat independent entities in a well structured game, which may not be valid. It would certainly be nice if I could isolate the two so that I'm not bound to a single display engine (since these projects come and go).

I've looked at worldforge who have been trying to build an open-source MMO for many years and I'm somewhat dubious. The amount of resources required to get a playable world seem to present a large barrier even for a theoretical team, and you won't get a large contributor buy-in until there is a playable game. Of course the idea of there being a 3D world to play in is tempting, and maybe it would one day build up to something functional. You can certainly see the genius of mine-craft in making a workable 3D world with an inherent cap on the graphic and world asset demands. And the more detailed the game world the less amenable it is to auto-generation of content, which is pretty much required to populate the bulk of the world.

Taking a step down there's some isometric engines like Fife that would let me display a world without quite as extreme media resource demands and are quite good for tactical combat. Or step down further to 2D with something like Mana world. Those would be enough to display a space with much lower asset demands. There's a lot of them out there though (so they certainly don't need another) though I'm sure a lot of the projects are comatose. Heck can even take another step down and work in curses and text as per rogue / muds.

So basically wondering if anyone has done a similar exploration of frameworks or has the experience to comment on the general approach?

Is a man not entitled to the hurf of his durf?
- Simond
KallDrexx
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Reply #1 on: November 07, 2011, 07:32:07 AM

I'm surprised worldforge is still around.  They've been around forever making almost no progress on anything.
Kageru
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Reply #2 on: November 07, 2011, 08:07:12 AM


"around" is a very relative concept. It doesn't take too much effort to have a web-page up, but getting a feel for progress and momentum is a lot harder. It's a very good example that trying to generate a fully fledged MMO as a hobby isn't easy though.

I'm realising my goal has a pretty natural break point in terms of the client server protocol. I'm assuming the client manages maps and assets while the server has a much simpler map (for pathfinding and hack detection) and sends it coordinates of visible mobile objects and events. So if I was going to use world-forge leaving the client as is (and they appear to have one), adding placeholder assets, and focusing on the server side of things would meet my goals.

Of course it would be nice to know if world-forge represents a sane architectural approach to study. Given it's 10 years old and the product of many hands I suspect not.

Is a man not entitled to the hurf of his durf?
- Simond
Mrbloodworth
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Reply #3 on: November 07, 2011, 08:14:02 AM

Time and time again I keep coming back to one engine. Torque 3d or 2d. It has a great art pipeline, and many fundamentals already built in. And for the price you also get the source code, leaving you the option to scrip initially, and migrate to C++ for speed if needed. It also comes jam packed with assets already, and also they sell assets in the store. Torque 3d also already comes with a client/server, even a single player game is run as a client server. There is even an IDE built just for it with all definitions for 20$. There were also two MMO frameworks out there for the engine I am sure you could glean some insight from.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2011, 08:15:44 AM by Mrbloodworth »

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Ghambit
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Reply #4 on: November 08, 2011, 11:45:58 AM

I'm surprised you glossed over HeroEngine.  As for coding in it, supposedly there's plugin architecture for C++ if you dont wanna mess with HSL.

"See, the beauty of webgames is that I can play them on my phone while I'm plowing your mom."  -Samwise
Viin
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Reply #5 on: November 08, 2011, 12:40:19 PM

If you don't want to do graphics, and would rather focus on mechanics and systems, I'd recommend working on a MUD instead. I know it's not as flashy, but you will get into mechanics much quicker than trying to deal with graphics crap just to see how your mechanics work out.

Edit: though I must say, Torque 3D does look interesting .. hmm ..

- Viin
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Reply #6 on: November 08, 2011, 02:36:01 PM

You could always create your own UO/<insert favorite MMO here> emulator ;) Assuming you live in a country that doesn't burn people at the stake for "circumventing" client/server-protocol encryptions.

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Kageru
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Reply #7 on: November 08, 2011, 08:08:16 PM

Torque looks good, and there's also Unity. I like toolkits but had assumed they'd be out of my price range. Shame they don't run on linux though. Not that I blame them though, a tiny market. I'd still rather find a project that has a working client, but Torque makes that more possible too. There's also Ogre which is free but looks more like just a graphics engine.

I'll probably use a text front end to start with. There's enough fun to be had on the back-end and network before anything meaningful is going to happen on screen anyway.

You could always create your own UO/<insert favorite MMO here> emulator ;) Assuming you live in a country that doesn't burn people at the stake for "circumventing" client/server-protocol encryptions.

It occurred to me that someone probably already had.. Iris2, even [http://sourceforge.net/projects/exult/]Exult[/url] an ultima 7 engine. Likewise while they don't emphasise it the Fife isometric engine I linked clearly started as an engine to use the fallout 1 and 2 resources. If you want to go in that direction Ryzom was actually open-sourced as well, though even getting it back to runnable looks to be challenging.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2011, 10:00:03 PM by Kageru »

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- Simond
Viin
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Reply #8 on: November 09, 2011, 11:54:17 AM

Torque 3D seems to have a Linux version, but I'm not sure what that means.

- Viin
Mrbloodworth
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Reply #9 on: November 09, 2011, 12:31:46 PM

Publish to web somewhat removes the need. I'm not aware of any stable Linux support. However it does support Mac OS's.

Here are my export options. Its a one click packaging solution.




By the way, I could use some Programming/Scripting support on my project. As an option.


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Viin
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Reply #10 on: November 09, 2011, 01:03:27 PM

Is there not a Linux server for the Win/Mac clients? Lame ...

- Viin
Mrbloodworth
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Reply #11 on: November 09, 2011, 01:24:25 PM

No, Torque IS a client/server. There are not two different pieces of software until you publish.

Reference.

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Viin
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Reply #12 on: November 09, 2011, 04:33:11 PM

Heh your link doesn't work, but I did find it. It does look like you can run a standalone dedicated server, but for a networked game I'd want that to be Linux-based. Windows will work I suppose.

Here's there real link, but outside the nice frame:
http://docs.garagegames.com/torque-3d/official/content/documentation/Scripting/Advanced/Networking.html

- Viin
Margalis
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Reply #13 on: November 09, 2011, 07:22:01 PM

If you are worrying about what OS your server runs on when the point is to do gameplay prototyping you are really missing the forest for the trees.

vampirehipi23: I would enjoy a book written by a monkey and turned into a movie rather than this.
Viin
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Reply #14 on: November 09, 2011, 08:54:33 PM

Who said I was only doing a prototype? why so serious?

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Kageru
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Reply #15 on: November 09, 2011, 10:33:22 PM

I'd be happy to ever get to prototype stage. And being able to run on my linux desktop is an advantage.

The closest linux equivalent seems to be Ogre3D. which is a foundation for Gamekit which has been borrowed as the foundation for a more commercial looking Massive Engine project. It's all painfully amateur compared to the shiny of Unity or Torque of course.

That said I really don't want to be writing a client unless I have to, and I can't find that many projects where I can re-use bits. The closest is probably one of the clients from the WorldForge project named Ember (which is also Ogre3D based) and appears to be under active development. If I can get the client running, the protocol for communicating with it isn't too bad and I can have a look at the server code it's probably not a bad starting point. And they actually have something running even if it is a long way from being a game. If I can get placeholder graphics in the world that's probably all I need.

And if things do go really well then I can donate some code to worldforge and people who like playing with graphics can monkey with the client.

« Last Edit: November 09, 2011, 10:36:11 PM by Kageru »

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Margalis
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Reply #16 on: November 09, 2011, 10:58:45 PM

IIRC Torchlight was done with Ogre3D.

vampirehipi23: I would enjoy a book written by a monkey and turned into a movie rather than this.
Mrbloodworth
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Reply #17 on: November 10, 2011, 08:16:58 AM

You need to ask yourself though. Do you want to develop and engine, or a game.

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MahrinSkel
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Reply #18 on: December 07, 2011, 12:43:47 AM

You could take a look at the Spring engine.  It's designed for RTS, but they've done FPS with it and everything outside of the core rendering is Lua, so it's easily modified.  And it runs on Linux.

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Kageru
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Reply #19 on: December 09, 2011, 01:09:55 AM


That looks interesting, and pretty, thanks.

Certainly the WorldForge ember client build system was a fascinating exercise. It has an impressive set of dependencies, many of which I've never heard of but which might be interesting in their own right, and one of the most ornate build scripts I've ever seen. I guess it's not surprising considering its age and open source in general.

Is a man not entitled to the hurf of his durf?
- Simond
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