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Graphic Programming for Games - brucegregory - Nov 19, 2005 08:01 AM

I really have two questions, but only one would fit in the title area of the post.

If a game development environment were available today at a pricetag of around $129 U.S. that utilized a generic set of behavior tools applicable to game play functionality that truly was graphic in nature, presenting an absolutely visual solution to the problems of game logic, testing and experimentation, and featured a "wire together" system of "cause and effect" behavior routines that come at game development from the standpoint that video games are basically a series of processes and random events, represented by movement in 3 dimensions, animated environmental effects and descriptive sound attachments; how many people, newcomers and oldcomers, alike, would be interested in such a product?

If this same product were considered to be "finished" instead of in a perpetual state of development, and the set of tools was advanced enough to facilitate the creation of an incredible array of game types that were graphically rich and extremely entertaining, allowing developers to actually finish a game project; would the buying public be satisfied enough to "settle" on using this toolset and push it to its limits with regard to game development, rather than requiring the product to continually add features that represent 3rd, 4th, 5th . . . generation game technologies? And there were never any upgrade costs.

Being a long time Mac user, I am used to being continually bated by the allure of "new" technology in the form of hardware and software innovation. It is almost as though the consumption habit has been morphed into a real, chemical type of addiction, right up there with heroin and cocaine. Shouldn't we reasonable people eventually "say no" to this perpetuation of technological lust? And, wouldn't a "baby step" in the right direction be to finally "settle" on a universal development environment which is capable making the kind of diverting "game" that WE are satisfied with?

Three . . . no, four questions.

I think it is beyond contention that game development is an incredibly time consuming pursuit requiring mastery of a great many disciplines, yet we all want to do it anyway. Wouldn't it be wise to stop chasing the technology rainbow at the same time we are trying to actually finish something? And, isn't the process of writing code, (with a high-tech typewriter), used to describe primarily visual, "tactile" and audible environments and activities, going about the thing the wrong way? I know, for those used to programming, that it might, by now, be a task that they consider second nature. But I think the bulk of humanity would rather go about it some other way.

What I am saying is that such a game development environment exists, right now, that is everything I have described above. It was once on the market at a much higher price and aimed in the wrong direction. If this kind of product were available to you today at the price I mentioned, would you want to have a copy? Do you want more details?

Just curious,

Greg Smith

Graphic Programming for Games - Leisure Suit Lurie - Nov 19, 2005 09:13 AM

Are you proposing a Mac version of GameMaker? Is it something like Unity? In any case, there would be an interest, but you need to be less cryptic, I think.

Graphic Programming for Games - brucegregory - Nov 19, 2005 10:12 AM

Well, it's neither of those nor is it really like either of them. I'm purposely being cryptic as to the title of the software, since I'm currently negotiating with the owners of it, and haven't settled on particulars yet. However, I'd be happy to give a complete list of features and a description of creation methods, if anyone is interested.

Greg Smith

Graphic Programming for Games - Cochrane - Nov 19, 2005 11:14 AM

I'd prefer a tool where I actually understood what it does. Yes, more details would be great.

What do you mean with "finished" and "stop chasing the technology rainbow"? The way you describe I nearly get the impression that your program is no longer supported.

Graphic Programming for Games - KittyMac - Nov 19, 2005 11:29 AM

I would not be interested unless such a tool also provided its source code (or a complete and extensible API for external integration). Nothing is worse than starting a project with a tool, only to find it does not do the one thing you need (or is buggy enough that it does not do what it claimed) and you are unable to fix/add it. You would have been better off starting from scratch anyway, and $129 richer besides.

Graphic Programming for Games - brucegregory - Nov 19, 2005 11:33 AM


Finished in the sense that it is a production environment that does what it does and that these functions are complete enough to give the developer a set of tools that don't need to be changed, updated, enhanced or adapted to future technologies. There are sufficient possibilities that can be invented with the use of this toolset, that it would be fulfilling and interesting enough for authors to keep inventing with it for years and years. Because developers tend to always be aiming at a moving target, projects tend to be abandoned when it is deemed they are not "keeping up" with current trends. I propose that developers would be better off if they stopped doing that, and instead, settled on a set of tools that, by nature, possess certain limitations, and that these limitations, rather than limit creative potential, actually precipitate it.

So, if you mean by ceasing to support it, ceasing to add new things to it, I would answer, yes. It works well, just like it is today.

Greg Smith

Graphic Programming for Games - Leisure Suit Lurie - Nov 19, 2005 11:45 AM

And...the features are? The workflow is like? Mac only? X Platform? Scriptable or visual only?

You implied this is a 3d tool?

Graphic Programming for Games - brucegregory - Nov 19, 2005 11:53 AM

Leisure Suit:

I've now written 3 posts that have not been posted. I understand that you screen these posts, but this is getting rediculous. You must allow a person the means to reply. This is my last try.

Greg Smith

Graphic Programming for Games - ChrisD - Nov 19, 2005 12:08 PM


Here is my feedback as one of the people working on those ever in development 3D RAD systems.

1. Share the feature list with us.
Better if it is a PC product already tell us what is so we can give some real feed back.

2. You might find the actually market and business case for such a application is really small on the Mac Sad

3. I think users will always PUSH for next gen 3D engine effects.
Access to Shaders etc.

4. I/we find mostly that the potential users for such products are people who can not program but want to make games. Most programmers still seem to prefer to get their hands dirty and have total control.

From a business perspective game programming is horribly time consuming and Im all for 3D RAD systems and middle wear that can do the work for me.

Unfortunately after being bitten a few time by commercial 3D engines and number of APIs the I would not work with anything that does not come with the source code.
Because when you hit a bug or a limitation you need to be able to patch around it.

For example Im getting a lot of mileage out for T2D for instance... cause I have the source code and have been able to patch it up to work the way I need.

5. Do you want to go after a Pro market or hobbyist?
The expectations from each are different.

6. I think there would be a demand for a tool that is not cutting edge...
BUT works well and is easy and does most of what people want.

7. Anark was on the market... doing a lot of this stuff at 3000$
and for year most of us never new it even existed.
Talk about marketing in the wrong direction.

Graphic Programming for Games - Leisure Suit Lurie - Nov 19, 2005 12:09 PM

brucegregory Wrote:I've now written 3 posts that have not been posted. I understand that you screen these posts, but this is getting rediculous. You must allow a person the means to reply. This is my last try.

I could see all 3. Guess no one else could. Try again, please.

I'm keen to hear your pitch.

Graphic Programming for Games - brucegregory - Nov 19, 2005 12:52 PM

Well, the quick reply worked instantly, so I guess this is the way to go.

Features of mysterious "old" software:

Multi-platform authoring on Mac or Windows.
Publish games as wired Quicktime, web delivery, (with plug-in) or Standalone Windows or Mac.
Games can be authored totally without the aid of code, but custom scripting functionality is included.
The spectrum of games that can be made with this application can include the following functions and features:

Immersive 3D viewing and navigation. View control includes rotate, orbit, pan and zoom and switching camera views by the game player or through game interaction.

Import of 3D models in .3ds, .lwo or VRML 97, (Blender UV textured models import directly as VRML 97(old))

Native modeling includes primitives, curves, paths, lathes and extrusions - very basic.

Models can be subdivided or decimated internally and have vertex editing capabilities.

Antialiasing is standard and operates on a per object basis.
Low poly models can appear faceted or smooth, with crease control.

Material definition includes diffuse, specular, ambient, transparency and glow control - all with image mapping that includes alpha transparency.

Images can be mapped to 2D or 3D objects, internally or UV mapped and imported from external sources. (.jpg, .gif, .png with transparency)
Quicktime movies can be image mapped to objects.

Animations are produced via timeline control and keyframing, linear and smooth curves can be edited in the timeline. Animation loops are supported. Real-time "as you move it" recording is also available. Path animation and animation weighting, (mixing), as well as vertex level animation are standard. Bones and IK for characters. Wave animation functions.

Particles are simple to set up and support textures with alpha transparency, (.png).

Any object can be animated by changing translation, rotation or scale or animated with deformations based on the movement of any other objects, or by the movement of bones.

Full point and click constraint system.

Graphic representations to distinguish all constraint types in the view.

All game logic is constructed as a series, (programmed or random), of cause and effect relationships using real-world pictorial analogies to symbolize the relationships:

Rather than write a hundred lines of code, or copy and past a hundred lines of code to define a "hinge" type of relationship, one simply selects one object, then another and specifies "hinge" as the type. The hinge is a "3D" hinge, graphically and functionally.

The same is true for drawer type joints, ball joints, distance and aim-at relationships, and a comprehesive system of springs, that look like springs as well as behave like springs.

The spring system allows for all kinds of physical simulations including gravity, acceleration, damping and soft body types of behaviors.

Any object can serve as a sensor responding to mouse location and state, keystrokes, time, (local and global), or any other existing parameter available for itself or any other object.

Animations are triggered either by time, by a sensor, a change of parameter or randomly.

Special rendering functions are toon and wireframe. Everything else operates in real time.

Testing is instantaneous and what you see is what you get.

There are other features, but these are the main ones.

Greg Smith

Lights can be point, spot or directional.

Graphic Programming for Games - phydeaux - Nov 19, 2005 12:57 PM

You're making this proposal as if it is some kind of mind-blowing newfangled idea, but there are plenty of tools on the market that do essentially what you say. The simple answer is that if your product is good, somebody will want it. Plenty of hobbyist developers don't care if they're using the newest technologies, and if they do, they probably won't use a RAD tool anyway.

Graphic Programming for Games - akb825 - Nov 19, 2005 01:09 PM

I personally like to do everything myself. Part of the fun of making a game is the challenge of making it, and I like to know that I am capable of doing everything my game shows off. Also, it's a lot more satisfying when you see something really cool or work really well, and know that you're the one who did it from scratch. Not to mention the fact that there isn't overhead from extra features that aren't used, as well as knowing everything is done the way you want it to be done.

Graphic Programming for Games - ChrisD - Nov 19, 2005 01:30 PM

Looks interesting.

Might be missing a few things.

1. How does it handle world culling?
Or does it?
Aka how well does it scale beyond simple web demos?

2. What is the scripting language like underneath?

3. Light networking would be nice.

4. Control over full screen mode and resolution changing from inside the app so it looks pro and not just like a flash player.

5. Can it read and write to files? and or save prefs easily?

6. It Open GL accelerated?
Is it D3D on windows?

7. Is there a way to hook in external code? DLLs etc?
This is needed for things like implementing a custom registration system.

8. Can if forward someone to a URL in their web browser?
Not an amazing feature but a great marketing tool when a user clicks buy now
button in a game.

Graphic Programming for Games - brucegregory - Nov 19, 2005 03:31 PM


I think some of the features you mentioned are definitely missing. As far as world culling goes, the program thinks in scenes or movies. So as you move from one geographic location to another, you load the data needed from disk. Not sure about unloading, though. It can definitely forward someone to a URL and many other web related features; as part of its initial marketing stategy was interactive web 3D. It also publishes to Flash with reduced levels of interactivity. You can call custom javascripts as well as address the program internally with custom interactions. It makes use of hardware acceleration.

I'm not quite sure what you mean specifically by scaling well beyond simple web demos.


I'm with you about liking to make everything yourself, but is that really practical? I mean, if you had to make your own computer, would you start by mining iron ore and silicon, or would you buy some of the "modules" so that there would be some chance of you ever getting to use it?

I wish there existed a set of statistics showing how many individually attempted games have been abandoned, how many finished and how many were marketed successfully. I really do think this is at the crux of any such discussion. If these facts were available we would all know where we stand in the game making scheme of things. We may like to think of ourselves as professionals vs. being labeled "hobbyists", but professionals actually produce things and usually are able to get money for what they produce. I think, factually speaking, that nearly no marketable games are finished by individuals, yet, there are tens of thousands of individuals who are working on one kind of computer game or another, as we speak. That says to me that most of us are really serious hobbiests of one kind or another.

So, here is a product that does not "keep up" with all of the demands of the kids who buy video games and "use them up" in a matter of weeks; featuring the latest technological advances, that took several years and several scores of professionals to write and produce. So what? Why do individual game producers aim so high with so little chance of success? Better go to Vegas, instead.

Yet, here is a game creation environment that offers a hefty arsenal of tools that really allows the creator to get down to business and make games that are interesting and rewarding, in a very short period of time. You can spend a lot more time on the things that are enjoyable about game creation. Or, alternately, we can turn our efforts to learning to code and, after several years of study, produce the next "killer" version of tic tac toe. Of course, a product finished with the graphical programming environment I speak of will not be of the scope that the kids are used to and require. But, looking on the bright side, they might also be unlike the majority of games offered and, therefore, provide more entertainment value.

I also don't agree that there are lots of product like this one out there. Please provide a list so I can compare. I've been looking through what is available, with features similar to what I have described, for a long time, and I have not found anything like this. And, I've seen examples and demos made with this product that are widely varied and really entertaining and all of them were produced by individuals. That says a lot by itself. There are so few examples of games, made by individual producers, that were made in relatively short periods of time, as these examples were.

Not every game has to be an oil painted masterpiece. Sketches are also expressive, creative and enjoyable.

Greg Smith