Apricot: why use CrystalSpace, and not Blender GE?

Discussions and feedback around the Open Projects such as Orange (Elephants Dream), Peach (Big Buck Bunny), Apricot (Yo Frankie!)...

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Post by vidrazor »

Perhaps I may misunderstand the overall development process, but as I see it, the game engine is still stuck back somewhere in the 90s, whereas the rest of blender has barreled along quite admirably into the new century. While there has been progress in the game engine, it drags in comparison to the rest of the program. So much so that Apricot is being created on a third-party app.

That's why I see it as an albatross. Just think of how much more the rest of the program could progress if those spending time on the game engine worked on some other part of the program instead.

On the other hand, think of how much progress you could have on the game engine if less time was spent on the rest of the program (which has come a long way and is most impressive) and concentrated on bringing the game engine up to snuff.

Like I said, I could go either way on this, but as it stands, it's fairly obvious that, compared to the rest of the program, the game engine is dragging behind. I say all this "in third person". I don't make use of the game engine myself, at least, not at this time. But I look at it from the perspective of the whole package. It should all be relatively modern. If the game engine is going to be in there, make it comparable to the rest of the package. Either that, or get rid of it and let the rest of the program progress that much faster. Just my two cents on this.

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Post by LetterRip »

So much so that Apricot is being created on a third-party app.
Even if the Blender GE was amazing in its own right, Apricot would probably still be partnered with an external 3D engine since the point of Apricot is proving that Blender can be used in an external game engine workflow and provide 'Next Gen' content for such an engine.
That's why I see it as an albatross. Just think of how much more the rest of the program could progress if those spending time on the game engine worked on some other part of the program instead.
It likely would make much difference, since a big chunk of the developer time of the game engine has been in improving Bullet, which is used for a lot of the non game engine physics stuff. Even if it would have made a large difference, why should developers choose to work on blender core instead of the game engine? If you were paying them then obviously you could reasonably control how they spend their time, but it is all voluntary, so they can work on what they wish to.
Like I said, I could go either way on this, but as it stands, it's fairly obvious that, compared to the rest of the program, the game engine is dragging behind.
Until about a year ago the same could have been said of the Sequencer, and then Peter came on board and brought it up to a very usable level for video editing. Also just because something 'lags' - who cares? If a user doesn't use that part of the software then it makes absolutely no difference to that end user if it is kept in or not. If they do use it, then obviously they would like it to improve as quickly and as much as possible - but then it is their responsibility to see it progress.
It should all be relatively modern.
Why? 'The perfect is the enemy of the good'. Also there are far worse game engines in commercial usage as far as graphical capabilities, and polygon counts, and feature sets. Just because the game engine isn't on par with engines that have had hundreds of millions invested in their development is not a good reason to drop it.


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Post by vidrazor »

Well, I'm just putting my two cents on it. I suppose this could be argued indefinitely either way, but better to spend the time doing what we love best with this app, eh? :wink:

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Post by Domino »

One problem with wanting to put the emphasis on BGE is the timescales involved. The open projects by necessity can only focus on developing a couple of features in Blender and the BGE as a whole is too big to take on for Apricot imho.

However, what Apricot will produce is all the content for a game developed in Blender. This actually should help BGE considerably as it will define a goal for the game engine. It's not hard to imagine post Apricot that a few enterprising developers will say, "right, lets get this running on BGE"

It removes the "developer artwork" syndrome and gives a source of high quality game resources for future BGE development.

I'm really impressed with the strategy behind the Open Projects and the way they help fund Blender development. Keeping each projects goals reasonable is an essential part of this. Expecting everything from Apricot would be like complaining that the plan for Elephants Dream didn't include fur.

There's plenty more fruit on the trees, maybe the next one will have BGE under it's skin :P

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Post by Statik »

This last comment was my thought as well! The amount of work that would have to be done to Blender to make it a viable game_dev_toolchain would be enormous. But, since it is a tool CHAIN, we (rather those intrepid volunteers), can work at Blender's behaviour and value as the first couple of links in that toolchain. This makes a much more manageable task. Then, perhaps, they can develop the next few links, then a few more, etc. until Blender is a complete toolchain.

However, there is another side-benefit to developing Blender this way. Open Source is often about choice. If Blender is developed as its own toolchain, without taking into account other toolchains and other links in toolchains, then we isolate Blender from everything. By building Blender to interact well with other toolchains at any point in the toolchain, we make blender a more valuable tool.

Imagine some new-to-Blender user creating models in, say, Max, then importing them into Blender for rigging, and maybe animation (I'm not totally familiar with the entire game-creation method yet), and then exporting everything to the Torque engine for delivery to the customer. Some other user might do the opposite. Create characters in Blender, rig in Maya or something, use Unreal's level tools to create a level, and use Blender to merge the two and export them to CS?

The more flexibility we add to Blender, the more likely others are to begin using it. I agree that the BGE needs to be updated, developed, and delivered in a way that Blender is a complete package, allowing creation of a game from idea to delivery to the customer in an executable format. But I think we should handle it in chunks, just like they are doing with Apricot.

Keep up the good work guys!


P.S. While the sequencer additions were great, its far from a finished product. I'd love to see some more work on it so that my Linux needs are met. Specifically a titler and a better way of handling audio transitions. It might be nice to define a fileset of some type to define animated transitions as well. Presently you basically have to manually create the transition every time.

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Post by Toon_Scheur »

I think the way Ton explained it is a very fresh method in regard to the development f Blender. The emphasis lies on open source collaboration rather than self centered development. Ver innovative.

It got me thinking: no matter how much Blender is developed, it will e seen as an inferior competitor to $$$ apps. But if the development was more about reaching out, like making it better suitable for a commercial production pipeline, it would be hopefully be adopted in the pipelines of commercial studios where they probably have developers too, which translates in a higher possibility of more (professional) developers joining the Blender Dev team. It is a double edged sword I think.

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Post by LetterRip »

It got me thinking: no matter how much Blender is developed, it will e seen as an inferior competitor to $$$ apps.
Not really - it is rapidly achieving parity in many areas and exceeding the competition in some areas. We are already acknowledged as being better than many commercial offerings in the view of many professionals (obviously we aren't seen as 'better' that 3DS Max or Maya - but certainly better than truespace, and about equal with lightwave). Indeed some pros have stated (Zaondude for instance) that if he were starting out in 3D he would probably go with Blender over Maya.


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Post by smick »

Will using thc CS engine give us cross platform final games to work on?

I'm interested in this project also for certain walk thru capabilities. I may want to make a fake town and do a walk thru. I think making it cross platform and free is a great way to do it.

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Post by oin »

I have worked in 4 game(of 4 different "fields" or type of games(real time, prerendered, pixel art..)) companies (and other group by freelancing) , and yep, is very common to use, purchase even, a game engine totally appart from the usual max , maya or xsi. In my experience tho, many times the same ppl coding the game or part of the team, creates the engine, starting or not from scratch. They also provide c++ plugins that link very internally with whatever the game engine, being usually much better for the artist (the joy of having the exact engine in one of those 4 viewports is usually useful for speed/accurate sake) than the format exporters available (tho imho this last way is the best when you don't have an army of skilfull c++ ppl that you can dedicate just for that...with every update of the 3d tool also..).

I actually have used several midcost (I wont mention to not make harm) softwares, in comercial work, and personal projects: I actually pretty know how much Blender has surpassed those. True that talking bout Maya or Max in that comparison is big words, but even with the big ones (I wont mention which either) , in some case they're to heavy to handle in occasions.(yet very powerful, of course)

So, I understand also the point; cs ppl have a lot of power dedicated just to that; makes sense if want to give a punch in that area, with blender as a game art professional tool.

I'd indeed offer my help as artist, but besides the theme (I'm still nostalgic of old fps games like UT200x and quake3) is not my cup of coffee (but is the most apropiate) and have all my free time in small $ gigs, I doubt that kind of help is the one needed, (only programmers, I guess) not counting I work using wings3d and an special uv unwrapper/texture painter in the proccess...Which would be not pure only Blender...

Still..I specially like the direction: in real workflow pipelines in games, would be crazy to use just a tool. Just you use anything you can grab to go faster and faster. And when you are at 3:00 one night on saturday needing 4 characters rigged, you stop being much of a tool purist... ;). I probably used intensively 12 tools (random number) in the making of each game. And not counting on other occassional ones...(my character animation and render I do practically all in Blender, in personal projects) .I agree the more power you have in a single tool (blender) , the more integration, less probs of exprots, compatibility, etc, but sadly I think the problem ppl find is more of switching of ui and new learning curves, which is how you do always in most companies. An intermediate solution , very practical in my experience, is use every tool, in the area it excels, at least till blender reachs there, but keeping testing new tries in the area: I already moved from some external tools in some areas. Slowing done or stopping some of my projects for not using also those tools, would be crazy..

Why I post then?, lol.. well, I think is really important that Apricot game has appeared, I myself was a bit worried on the push about game art features, and while this has changed some time ago, like happens with Peach, is a real case project , done by the core, where the everyday needs are seen. The way that surely max, LW, and all those, had improved so vastly over the years...Imho is easier, than trying to imagine/guess what all those workflows will need...

Not so long ago, there was no way even to bake a lightmap (I am still hoping some plugin authors start adding support to certain formats for that...But i dont require, as I have learnt everything arrives sooner or later... ) ,and all of a sudden we can bake a lot more even, or more comfortable rigging and animation features, many of which are already there, or a faster way for smoothing normal creases, so important in realtime 3d art (though stilll is thorugh breaking the mesh), or normal map features. I gues is a project like this what can give us a fine tuned tool also for games. And I am pretty sure in the end it'll stongly benefit GE. Many features are non engine specific, but in internal workflow/features.

Any way, game requirements since long have reached pretty high , close to film ones in several matters... If want to keep at least near that, or providing the features to at least keep in same competition, imho an apart engine is a good idea. Even if just for a project, as an experience. I find it very refreshing and useful. All game features in Blender can get large benefit out of this in the end, I am convinced.

Sorry the huge text...Seems I like this area, lol.

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Post by Knightraptor »

For those hardcore GE users/developers that want to see the GE updated I would suggest a few things.

First, take a step back for a second. The decision to use CrystalSpace has already been made. Try not to dwell. Instead start planing for the future. Get a group of fellow GE users/developers together to discuss some very general goals to start out with. Think of it as an exploratory committee. Determining how realistic each goal is and then go from there. Once the Apricot and Peach projects are winding down, mount a fairly aggressive campaign to generate interest in the GE throughout the community. Depending on the success of Apricot you might find new developers ready to hop on board. But definitely wait until the two current projects are winding down, possibly even finished, so you don't end up stepping on any toes and making things harder for you than you have to. Until then you have plenty of time to design a campaign for your cause and get vital feedback on how willing the community is to support you. Remember not to press too hard too early or things could backfire. Don't make a rival out of Apricot. Think of it as a recruiting tool. Be as supportive as you can of Apricot, it could be the key to getting support for a major GE project.
Be patient and be realistic.

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Post by kirado »

well people have been patient.. very patient.. 2 years of patience ;-) Apricot is a cool project and will improve the blender tools no doubt... but ignoring a huge bunch of your users is a bad thing. The BGE users are and have been trying to organise people to help upgrade and fix it, but won't get as far as it would without direct support from the top, obviously!! Fact blender is very rendercentric.

Just looking at the tools blender needs to give it seriously capable capacity of fitting into a game content workflow is quite daunting. If they pull it off it will quite impressive. I look forward to it happening.

It will obviously make it easier to create content for the BGE but I think people are seriously underestimating the vast numbers of BGE users who want improvement.

I've said it many times and I'll say it again.. the only reason a lot of people use blender is because of the BGE. More development in the BGE can only mean better things for blender as a whole. Obviously it doesn't have to be totally next gen. The thing devs should be asking is why would people use blender to generate content as opposed to some other app? What will blender have to offer that other apps don't have?

or look at this way.. what makes more money overall these days? making and selling movies or making and selling games? I would be more interested in buying a DVD if the BGE was going to improve. Maybe we should do a poll or something. I guess only time will tell but I hope all projects work out well.. but some support would be nice.

I think if there were say some planned documented improvements to the BGE that are needed for the Peach project those DVD sales would shoot up a lot faster(hopefully). I have been surprised by the support the BGE has been getting from all the posts on here and over at the Peach.. oops I mean apricot blog and blendernation. I would personally rather buy the Peach DVD than the Apricot because I'm a BGE user.

Well does anyone have any ideas about how we could come up with projects like Ton has to fund these kinds of developments for the BGE like Peach and Apricot?

All these new tools will rock but at the end of the day I still won't be able to make a game without a team of programmers. Blender BGE gave me and a tonne of people an opportunity to experiments with game play and ideas. A demo I made even landed me a job making assets for a car driving teaching app. okay okay.. I'll quite moaning and earn some cash to pay some devs to fix it for me. Seems like the only option ;-)

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Post by oin »

the fact is that at Ogre comunity they saw it more clear. One moderator is happy as it'd benefit in the features common to all game making.
The thing devs should be asking is why would people use blender to generate content as opposed to some other app? What will blender have to offer that other apps don't have?
I know very well other game engine comunities. There are virtually legions of users that did choose blender to generate the game art content for a very simple reason: is free. Others, because works in Linux.I myself use it as already allows both highend (well, games are highend these days, I mean , retail ones) content as well as low pol game art.

About making money with games, man that's quite a hard thing to do, I know by experience. I could write a book 'bout the matter. I guess most people earning money with Blender is due to design jobs, or video or low cost tv production. And they are a bunch already. IMO, the intention here is make a game that can aim/aproach for today's graphical specs and other stuff. To be more on par with other productions. At least, keep it as near to that as possible. Imo, the option was zero or this. So...heck, after long time focused on movies, now that we have something that will benefit all game art content creation...simply, attacking it I think is sinking the boat.

BTW, I have made artwork for many games, I mean, also outside companies. Is very easy to find programmers with a nice engine wanting artwork for their game. And you can even choose the genre and characteristics, there are way a lot of coders doing that.

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Post by F1LT3R »

LetterRip wrote:It is good for Blender in that it proves we can be used in a typical game development pipeline.
Also the tools which are most needed by game devs will get greater amounts of attention.
This is true.

While it would be great to work on the Blender GameEngine directly (and I think that the Blender GE needs to be completely re-written from scratch), I can definatly see the merit in developing it's ability in the existing DEV pipeline.

There are a lot of professional engines that come with Blender Export scripts already. (See Unity3D for example)

Blender definatly needs work on exporting mesh animations and textures for games. And that is a good enough goal. Still... it should be made clear that this is not GameEngine project.

I still feel a little sad that we are not updating the game engine :( *sniff*.

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Post by Vapula »

Well, AFAIK, this project will have more than effects on export tools

1) Blender will be used to create (animated) models to be used in game (vs films for the previous projects). There may be some problem specific to this situation that will be solved.

2) character will be Furry... which means that some work may have to be done to particle engine

3) some work on the export tools to CS... This may lead to some more reflexions on export tools and have results on other export tools

About CS, there is an added extra of using it instead of BGE. there are lots of large scale OpenSource projects using CS. Planeshift MMORPG, Worldforge project (MMORPG libraries, protocol and client/server), ... All these could switch from 3DS or similar to Blender. Better CS support means more people using Blender in both opensource world and closed source world... which means more support for Blender...

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Big Seamless World?

Post by tvvladimir »

ton wrote:The Blender GE artists most likely wonder why this project is not aimed at getting Blender's engine improved and used. :)
On webpage of 'Yo frankie Open Game' you list improved toolchain overview of all the aims to be achieved along your project. (http://www.yofrankie.org/?page_id=14)

There you list: Goal “Big Seamless World”

* Imposters
* Region unloading
* Background loading
* Adapt sueastside’s tiling to 3D

There it seems not achieved yet. When you planning on doing that? How ambitious are you about it? I'm so inpatient for you to do it actually. I want to make a simple game with rigion uploading for just walking around. Sort of create an island and walk around it for sightseeing. And i just wandered how you are on about that.

Thanks alot for your answer!

p.s. I've never had a chance to say thanks but now i'd love to:
I think you are doing truelly good work at Blender! I bought the official guide and charechter rigging, and really happy for that.

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