Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Game development ideas...

I've been writing a couple of applications before, some of which were renderers of Quake BSP3 levels. The work itself is very interesting to understand the graphics pipeline and the decisions made in graphics engines.

You may be looking for tools to break up levels, or examples how to render QBSP3 levels in Java. There are sites available where you can get a lot of information about game programming in general, or more specifically OpenGL programming, in the form of tutorials, and you need to understand the QBPS3 file format.

One of the problems in game development, when starting, is not really the ability to visualize a certain level. I've done it myself a couple of times, but one of the deterrants in advancing quickly is to have proper editors in place that you can use to read in the data the way you want it.

One of the things I did not have access to easily was QERadiant, because it was not GPL. I wanted to eventually make changes to it and so forth, which was not easy. This editor will probably only help you if you wish to develop BSP-like game clones. It is used for HalfLife, Quake, Soldier of Fortune, etc...

If you're into terrain-type games, things get much more complex. But maybe these guys can help. :) It shows clearly how partnerships in the gaming industry get more and more important.

One guy at work has some interesting thoughts on game development overall and wonders why games are still developed totally closed. Only certain parts of the game get opened up, level-editing and SDK's mostly, but a significant portion of the game (either the engine or physics system) never gets opened.

What if the game development companies attempt to employ an opensource development model? Blizzard in a way has all the resources available to make a lot of this happen, but controls to a very large extent the world, server and game rules. An active OS community may help to develop the IP of the company. Giving away control will be a difficult process, because it means opening the system up to the community itself and competitors. Maybe binding the engine to the servers only, but releasing *all* other tools to the community would be a nice option.

On the other end, maybe certain graphics engines may have a dual licensing made available plus the sources. The bigger titles that make the money already become so well-known, that it is not any effort to trace those guys down and sue them, if necessary. Perhaps that cost of law suits against the cost of protection is much easier to achieve.

Here's one example of an online community using the crystalspace engine. It has taken them years to develop the game to the point where it is now, probably also due to the huge refactorings that have to take place when either the engine refactors or hardware simply evolves.

There is plenty of criticism on current games with regards to FPS clones. Very little creativity in developing games, just altering storylines, GUI's, engines & eye candy and game objectives, or make it multi-player.

One of the more interesting ideas would be to develop a game where you collaborate with others in different ways in different roles. Looking at Operation Flashpoint for example or some of the more recent games, the team would already have people with different capabilities, but teamwork only really develops in clans. The rest just want to "play" I guess.

If you imagine a game where you are a truck driver or a boat captain where somebody else manages cargo from A to B (the planner), then everybody joining the game gets transported immediately to a leading position and take off. It may have a 2D interface for planning and 3D interfaces for the different transport vehicles. That would make a very interesting creative and innovative platform. It doesn't really have to be very complicated (with lots of eye-candy), because a rather crude system in the beginning would do.

Mix this maybe with having different competing transporting companies and it gets very interesting. Especially bringing in financial markets and mergers and so on. Then the game can be played on many different levels and would teach children a lot of interesting things of running businesses and the economy!

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