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Gamminal DustGame3D

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The Story Behind Gamminal

I was in a game development class where you get into a small group and work on a game all quarter. I was really looking forward to this class since I really like games and making them too. One of my friends was in the class with me so we partnered up. The teacher recommended that we should have groups of at least three people or more. So we got the teacher to find us some random guy.

Things started pretty slowly; we took awhile to figure out what kind of game we wanted to make since we all had difference levels of experience and different ideas. One of our first ideas was to make an RTS using Java since we all knew java pretty well. We actually researched quite a bit into it and decided that making a good RTS in the time we had would not be feasible. We talked about 3D graphics a bit. Eventually, one day my friend and I were discussing ideas and I came up a random idea about the San Diego zoo. I thought that maybe a nearby nuclear reactor blew up and the nuclear waste caused all the animals to mutate and start attacking people. We both thought it was a ridiculous yet decent idea so we went with it. We eventually decided to go with it and turn it into a 3D FPS. We knew it would be challenging and time consuming but we wanted to do it anyways.

This problem was that both me and my friend both just learned C++ the previous quarter, and not even very well. So we had thrust upon ourselves this incredibly difficult task of doing this project with tools we werenít very familiar with. Even worse was that our third partner did not know any C++ at all so we unknowingly alienated him from the project.

We worked very hard on this project throughout the quarter. I was in charge of making the 3D animal models and animations and pretty much anything else 3D. I also had to do the AI for the animals and design the levels. We used a public 3D rendering engine to help us called Ogre3D. None of use had ever used such an advanced tool before so it took us awhile to figure out all the necessary stuff. Iím the one who had to learn Maya and then figure out how to get all the 3D stuff working in the engine. My friend also did quite a bit of work but he had another time-consuming class that was eating up a lot of his time so he couldnít do as much as he wanted.

By the end of the quarter we had an extremely primitive FPS running with a few unexciting levels. If you looked at the result you would say that it wasnít very good, but it required so much work to get the result we got. Overall I was really satisfied with the amount of stuff I learned during the whole thing even though our final product wasnít very exciting.

When we were showing our final product to the professor it was so awkward since everything was so bad and primitive (we werenít even able to figure out how to get music in our game). He appreciated our efforts though since he knew how difficult our type of game was to make.

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About DustGame

DustGame is a personal project of mine that uses C++ combined with openGL (for 3D graphics) and SDL (for controls and as a way to interface with openGL). I started this at the beginning of Summer in 2008 pretty much right after I finished Gamminal for my game project class. Back then I was really into 3D graphics and all the neat things you could do with them.

I didn't really have a goal with this project, it just started out as an SDL project where I would just try to get 2D sprites to move around the screen (like I often do in my flash games). As I got further into it I got ambitious and decided I wanted to make a game that combined 2D graphics and 3D graphics (similar to the Paper Mario series or Breath of Fire 3). I figured I would have 2D sprites in a 3D world. This was about the time I started incorporating openGL into the project to get the 3D graphics I was looking for. Pretty soon I migrated all graphic processing to openGL (whereas before I was using SDL for 2D graphics rendering) since I learned how easy it was to do 2D graphics with openGL textures.

I slowly added more and more features into the game as the Summer went on with no real final goal in mind. I kept a primitive log of things I was doing and he things I wanted to get done (you can view the log using the link above).

I sort of lost motivation to keep working on it towards the end of Summer since I had other things to worry about and plus, the amount of code was getting quite large so I began struggling with ideas about my design and how I should continue in the most clean and efficient manner. So when school started up again in the Fall I stopped working on it for a few months. Towards the beginning of 2009 though I had some free time so I began working on it again and actually got a lot of stuff done with it. I don't want to go over everything it can do since most of the stuff I did is in the log.

What I can do is tell you what kind of direction I want to take with it if I continue to work on it in the future. I was thinking the game could take place mainly in a 3D world where you would wander around the world map going to various locations. Towns and cities would be 3D. However, there will be levels throughout the game. Once you enter a level the game's camera would change orientation and the place you enter would turn into a 2D platforming level similar to the old 2D Mario games.

Also, I kind of mixed two of my ideas into this one project. I've always wanted to make a drawing program that you can connect to other people with so that you're drawing on the same canvas. If you look at some of the images below you can see some of the stroke effects I was messing around with.