Saturday, 28 January 2012

Queen's Update #1

The Queen's Building group project is going okay so far, there's a chance all our work so far could be up in the air so you'll excuse my lack of enthusiasm at the moment. The week just passed I finished the UDK blockout, and the "concept room". The concept room was suggested by Mike and we all agreed it was a good thing to try, although we decided to stretch it out over 2 days rather than 24 hours since the last time we tried to do something for 24 hours it didn't work.

Here are some shots from the blockout;

And some from the concept room;

Next week I'm going to be focusing on asset creation for the project, and revising the BSP if our layout is changed in our next meeting. Gonna be a busy week, as usual. Task #19 to follow shortly.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Semester 2 -- the Queen's project

Admittedly it's been a while since my last post, I've been hurrying about from task to task since we started back so I've not had a lot of time to post.

Easily the biggest part of this semester is the Queen's building project. It's a massive task and a complete curve ball compared to the course thusfar, it's the first time we've had to work together as a group and properly organise ourselves.

Since the project started, we've been bouncing ideas back and forth, and while we're still not 100% solid on our idea yet, I fee like we've made progress. I've done some moodboards, research, reference and concepting, but my role is UDK so with that I've been working on a blockout/whitebox;

Task 18: Elements of Game Technology, part one: game engine

Task 18: Elements of Game Technology, part one: game engine

The term “game engine” is used frequently, and often incorrectly. It’s hard to define what a game engine is, since there are many different engines available on the market, and many developers make their own. Not only that, but it is also hard to separate a game’s engine from its content, since art assets usually serve as a visual representation of an engine’s component.

Generally speaking, a game’s engine is a collection of core systems and tools that serve as the foundation for the rest of the game. I find an easy way of understanding the purpose of a game engine is to liken it to a real engine; some cars share the same make of engine but look and perform differently. The engine powers the car, but an engine alone is not a car.

Engines come in many different forms, varying from complete packages to core components. Unreal and id Tech are two examples of commercially available game engines. These are mostly complete and stable packages that require a modest amount of work to adapt for your design. Havok (Physics) and Bink (Video) are examples of engine components that can be purchased and adapted to fit into an existing engine.

“id Tech” is the name given to id software’s series of game engines, and perhaps one of its most popular incarnations was id Tech 2 – the engine behind Quake and Quake II. This engine was in turn heavily modified to create Valve’s “Goldsrc”, which was the engine used for Half-Life. Interestingly, previous versions of id Tech are made open source, usually when they are five years or older.

The Unreal engine is a prominent and well-known engine available for purchase. It initially debuted in the form of “Unreal” – a first-person shooter created by Epic Games in 1998 intentionally designed to challenge the likes of Quake II. Over time, the Unreal engine grew and drew in a number of licensees. Not only did it adapt to new technologies, but it also embraced a multi-platform approach, significantly expanding its potential. Unreal has been licensed and used in a number of games from across the board, from Harry Potter to Deus Ex.

Stepping away from commercial (and high-profile) engines, you have more publicly available engines, such as Unity, Torque and Blender. These generally come with flexible licenses, allowing individuals to create freely, and independent/smaller developers to create a commercially available game without a crippling licence fee. Given that these engines are usually available under a free license, they often favour usability as a key selling point.

Unity is a free 3D game engine that has been used to create an impressive amount of games, from the MMO Battlestar Galatica (based on the popular TV series) to the brilliant Max and the Magic Marker. Unity boasts an impressive pipeline, apparently able to accept a wide variety of file types and formats and be updated on the fly.

Torque 3D differs from Unity in that it doesn't appear to have a free license, only a demo. Very little is given away on the website as to it's pipeline and editor. As of such, I'm going to breeze over this one. One thing worth noting, however, is that both Torque and Unity feature a store where you can purchase pre-made assets for use in your game. This is curious, though these libraries are usually small and obviously intended more as a starting package than a complete "game kit".



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