Friday, November 24, 2006

BlenderGE


Remember the good old blender :) yes.. I am still looking at blender and its' wonderful game engine. Till yesterday i was still wondering how people write complex games using such simple open source game engine. Today i realized i was wrong. The blender game engine is so complex and yet so easy to use. I was able to get my hands on some of the examples showing off the physics engine and the rendering capabilities based on GLSL shading language. The examples provided are very impressive and would instantly make anybody want to use it. Through the past few days i have been modeling a character model. With the help of some tutorials on 3Dtotal.com. It has been an amazing learning experience for me. All that seems to be left to be learned is how to provide GUI and how to show dynamic text (score, ammo, etc) on the GUI. This is plan to learn during the weekend. I would recommend all graphics lovers to go through blender examples at least once just for the viewing pleasure.

Me and my friends always found it difficult to manage animations in the games we created. It was a daunting task to search and find the right textures and models for our games. During my graduation.. i found this awesome ascii 3D file format called AC3D. This was the best thing that could happen to me. I instantly downloaded the trial version from their website and started learning it. I should say i have learnt all my modeling from the tutorials provided on their site (www.ac3d.org). This enabled me to over come the limitation of finding the models. I was quite comfortable with gimp so making textures was a cake walk. This is exactly why my last game was satisfactory from my perspective. I created all the 3D models and textures and wrote the game all in just under one weeks time for the pyweek2. This was a great achievement for me. Even though i was able to create my own models and textures.. there was something missing in my games..(except one) and that was animation. The animation of characters in a game gives a very good visual effect to the players. I wanted to address this issue and the best way was to use md2 models.. but then.. no free modeling tools for creating md2 animations.. And then i found Blender. I did hear about blender when i was learning Ac3D but people said that it was a bad tool for modeling.. well here i am.. 3 years after that .. modeling in blender and creating animations and more importantly .. learning the game engine features. I am now sure that anybody and every body can create stunning games with a little hard work. The current blender version does not have a renderer for the game engine. So the developers need to write their own shaders for creating special effects. This will be done away with soon, coz blender's developers are working towards integrating the ogre graphics engine into blender game engine. Just imagine what it would do to the development time for games. There will be an explosion of games big and small. The most common complaint against Blender is that it's very painful to handle big games while development.. that's quite true. It could be a little difficult to manage all the scripts and the connections between the objects once the game becomes complex. But .. remember no pain no gain.. This is a completely free game engine with a complete solution for the game developers. No pipeline costs for converting models from one format to other. Just model them and use them in the same tool. Thats' the way it works in blender. I am not sure if the models can be imported from different files (external files) but i am quite sure that can be done. And finally the best feature.. you can create an exe of your game just by a click of the button. Isnt' that...amazing?
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