E.X.P.L.O.R. in development now! Cool Developer Stuff

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Progress - July 8, 2009

Quite a bit more progress on the Emergence engine, PhysX materials have been implemented, the map doesn't have materials yet, but that won't be that big of a deal. Skyboxes have also been implemented, at least to some degree though certainly not final. The AI systems has been significantly advanced. I have decided to create an AI system that will work with both Lua scripts and an external dll file, that way really simple items that don't require much processing power can be run with Lua scripts, and heavy AI objects can be processed with machine instructions, which will be much faster. I'm thinking simple items like doors or simple entities (that only need to play sounds, or other small matters) can be run by Lua scripts while complex AIs that follow graphs and do other intelligent things can be run by machine code. The AI system, however, will be developed so that Lua scripts can do everything that machine code can do, only slower.

Categories: Development

Further Development - June 29, 2009

Emergence is almost caught up to where Legacy was before it was cancelled, in some cases it is much more further along. The emap format has been created, and though certainly not in it's final form it is in a working form that is much more compact, and of course the xml format is more readable. Emergence doesn't have skyboxes yet, but that is a pretty simple matter. The physics engine doesn't have materials yet (Legacy never really had a good material system as it was), so for the most part Emergence is pretty much back where Legacy was, and actual development of a working game can begin soon. It's pretty amazing that it took less than two months to completely rebuild an engine with the same functionality as Legacy, as opposed to the three years Legacy was in development. Not to mention that Emergence is much more robust. Among the things that have not been implemented yet, but that will be easy to implement (at least to the point that they are equivalent to Legacy): Shaders, Skyboxes, AI system, Save File Format, a Font System, and PhysX materials. The truth is that with Legacy a lot of time was wasted on things that didn't matter. For example the LMEdit tool basically did only a few things, that are actually easier to do by hand with the new XML mesh and skeleton formats. To be honest a lot of time had to be wasted with Legacy in order for Emergence to work so well. The bad ideas from Legacy were something I had to find out about, and the good ideas as well. Further a college education is certainly required for video game development, not only are the math, physics, and computer science skills necessary, but a general concept of problem solving as well. Ultimately there are no regrets in scrapping the Legacy engine, and moving on to Emergence.

Categories: Development

More Work - June 27, 2009

Quite a bit more work on the game, some code revisions, and further development of the NET code. But the biggest thing is that the server now runs on a separate thread, so the game can take advantage of multi-core CPUs. Indeed, the performance boost was amazing. Also, of note, the Legacy map format has almost been eliminated from Emergence, the emap format has been established, and the plugin for 3D World Studio written, but it has not been implemented yet.

Categories: Development

Progress Is Made - June 21, 2009

The Emergence game engine has come along nicely. XML is being used for almost all file formats in the game including the mesh and skeleton files. The XML format is much more extensible (hence the name) and the core XML parsing code is much more solid than anything ever found in the Legacy Engine. The game is strictly NVIDIA PhysX, and the primary math library is the D3DX Math functions, this is because the ML_lib math library used by Legacy was pretty much a clone of D3DX math, but not as robust, and so the custom library was seen as irrelevant. For the past month the game has come along nicely. The only remnant of the Legacy engine format is .lw files (Legacy World files), which are not in XML format, but an XML level format will be developed soon, after which time the Legacy Engine will be gone. The lf_sys2 file system is used by the Emergence engine, so technically that might be a remnant of Legacy, but lf_sys2 has been renamed fs_sys2 and it was never developed strictly for the Legacy engine anyway. Because of that LPaKager is still a useful tool, and the lpk a file format is used by Emergence. There is no LMEdit or clone of LMEdit in the Emergence toolset. This is because all functionality of that application can be done by hand, just as easily as by the LMEdit utility (well not just as easily, cut and pasts are required, and renumbering frames, and manually typing in animation sequences, but the process is still pretty strait forward.) Also bounding boxes, etc, are no longer necessary parts of these file formats. So no utility needs to calculated that information. Indeed Emergence is almost to the point where Legacy was scrapped, but it is much more solid and well designed.

Categories: Development

Development Begins - May 11, 2009

Development of the Emergence Game Engine begins. This occured shortly after the Legacy Game Engine was scrapped. The decision to scrap the Legacy Engine was not an easy one, and certainly not the first idea to come to mind, but the Legacy code and engine was not well designed, and there was little hope in simply rewriting portions of the code. The Legacy Engine was simply trying to be too much, and in the process became an inconsistent pile of code. Though some of the techniques and even some of the classes used in the Legacy Engine were ported to the new Emergence engine, for the most part Legacy will be a thing of the past.

Categories: Development

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This blog chronicles the development of the Emergence Game engine. The Emergence Game Engine will be a fully functional 3D game engine with support for the latest technologies in video game development. This blog features the remarks of the lead programmer, Blaine Myers, as he comments on the struggles and joys of developing a 3D game engine.


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