contest idea - game utilities!

Apprentice
Posts: 9
Joined: 2006.06
Post: #1
I think one major thing that would help rapid development of games as well as the community in general would be to develop some game utilities. Ideally they'd be open source, designed to be easily modifiable, and possibly even cross platform friendly.

Utilities might include sprite editors, map editors, sound editors, and even things like packaging utilities (ie, building a final binary from a bunch of separate image files or that sort of thing). I had one idea to take sqlite and build a cocoa interface for storing media content like sprites, sounds, etc.

While it might leave some people out, I think doing these in cocoa would give the best chance of people being able to pitch in and have the tool live on since the default os x dev tools are free and come with all machines. Cocoa is also a really good environment for rapid prototyping and extension of things. You could probably even develop some of these as plugins to interface builder.

With tools like these designed to be easily modifiable with (for example) a simple xml config file, it would allow them to be used for all sorts of different games by simply reconfiguring them.

Kevin
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Sage
Posts: 1,482
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #2
IIRC Carlos had mentioned a similar idea a couple of years ago. I rather liked the idea.

Scott Lembcke - Howling Moon Software
Author of Chipmunk Physics - A fast and simple rigid body physics library in C.
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Apprentice
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Post: #3
The great thing is that once we have some utilities, we can have contests for using them to make usable content for games or games themselves.
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Moderator
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Post: #4
* stevejohnson raises his hand in favor of the idea. Again.

My web site - Games, music, Python stuff
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Sage
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Post: #5
If I could just think of a useful utility...

Sir, e^iπ + 1 = 0, hence God exists; reply!
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Member
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Post: #6
The problem with this is that game utilities tend to be game-specific, and generic utilities already exist - e.g.:

kgreene Wrote:... sprite editors, map editors, sound editors, and even things like packaging utilities

I can't be arsed to look up links at the moment, but Pixen is nice free tool for sprites, "map" could mean just about anything, Audacity is a good free sound editor and Zip files are just about the easiest and most common way to package assets. Blender and Wings can handle most 3D tasks and you can even get GTKRadiant running on your Mac with a bit of shoe-horning.

I'm not saying this is a bad idea, but I think it has to be more specific, and/or include runtime libraries to easily integrate a tool's output into your app.
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Luminary
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Post: #7
I agree that it's the integration side of things which is lacking far more than the tools. Particularly, getting 3D models from the editor to the game has always seemed difficult to me.
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Member
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Post: #8
I agree with FrankC and OneSadCookie on this one. SDKs and libraries that integrate with specific apps (be they new apps or pre-existing ones) or add useful functionality in a flexible sort of way seems to be a good way to go. So many questions posted on this forum are about how to load 3D models or create GUIs - wouldn't it be nice if we could just say "download the idevgamesguitools and use its wonderful drag and drop utility to make the OpenGL interface of your dreams"?
There are some great projects in the community already (Chipmunk physics springs to mind) but it would great to have a complete set of tools to help people get up and running.
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Moderator
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Post: #9
Yeah, I like the libraries idea best as well. I've spent lots and lots of time making little modules to handle this task or that task. Model loading, physics, command console, font handling, terrain engine, whatever, they're all useful. And the more the merrier, because chances are that if there were five terrain engines to choose from, maybe one of them would do what I want. The only sticking point for me is that I'd prefer they were all either C or Obj-C (at least the public API). Anything in C++ is pretty much useless to me anymore.
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Moderator
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Post: #10
Why not make a free, open-source 3D modeler that maybe actually appears in the shadow of something like Maya or Cinema 4D. Currently, Blender and Wings 3D aren't even on the radar to serious developers who have a big budget; what if we could create something equal to these high-end programs while still maintaining the price of free? I don't mean to bash the people who have spent time and effort making free 3D modelers into the useful programs that they are today, I'm just saying that maybe we could make something better if we started a new project. I've always found the free 3D modelers rather limiting and cumbersome, and I think it would be a pretty good project for the idevgames community to take on Smile
Just my two cents Wink
-wyrmmage

Worlds at War (Current Project) - http://www.awkward-games.com/forum/
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Sage
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Post: #11
wyrmmage Wrote:Why not make a free, open-source 3D modeler that maybe actually appears in the shadow of something like Maya or Cinema 4D.
-wyrmmage

reality check: You realize that would be a huge project right? That would be a huge project even if you had a team of talented developers hired as full time employees.

Scott Lembcke - Howling Moon Software
Author of Chipmunk Physics - A fast and simple rigid body physics library in C.
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Member
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Post: #12
Wyrmage (or however you spell it): Blender is actually considered by many to be maya-quality; however, most graphics companies have their heads up their MMhmms and refuse to use non-commercial software. True, it's very different, but in many ways just as (or more) capable than the proprietary versions.

[edit]Anyhow, regardless of whether what I said is true or not, it is more than capable enough for game developers. This, or perhaps Wings3d (which I loathe), meets the needs of indie developers.[/edit]

Also, if you think blender is limiting, you clearly haven't learned it Rasp

It's not magic, it's Ruby.
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Moderator
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Post: #13
OneSadCookie Wrote:Particularly, getting 3D models from the editor to the game has always seemed difficult to me.
Huh

Something is difficult for OSC?
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Member
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Post: #14
now now, josh, don't be a chicken little; the world ISN'T ending and model loading is, of course, second nature to OSC.

It's not magic, it's Ruby.
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Moderator
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Post: #15
The only people who compare Blender to Maya are the ones who can't afford Maya. Blender utterly blows in comparison. Sorry, I don't mean to sound like an a$$ but that's just the way it is.

Any online community thinking they can organize themselves into *attempting* to make something to compete with the likes of Maya is delusional. Again, not trying to sound mean, but... It ain't gonna happen. Time and effort would be much better spent doing a fund-raising drive to hire competent programmers to start the project in earnest. That's somewhat how Blender came to be free. And look at the result: Again, just glad it's there, but pretty much just junk compared to Maya. Again, sorry.

Real life dictates that any major amount of time spent doing something requires money to pay bills to live while doing that something -- no matter how much you wanna do it for free. And making great software is something that takes major amounts of time. IOW, free stuff is great, but most software is made by real people who have real bills... and there will be no real Maya competitor without real money...

[edit (I *love* editing!)] Better yet, go buy Cheetah3D and bug Martin to put in more game friendly formats and be happy! Forget about Maya, Cheetah3D is great for what it is and it's affordable and it's made by a Mac guy and it's just great and ... and ... well it's just great! (and I'm not being sarcastic) [/edit]
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