Jedi Academy and Jedi Outcast Code Released

It is really sad to see Lucas Arts close. So many of my first game experiences were titles from that studio. The X-Wing and Tie Fighter games as well as the original Dark Forces will stick with me forever. I wish everyone on the Lucas Arts and ILM teams the best of luck in finding great places to use their talents.

I was also very happy to hear that Raven had decided to release the source code for Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy. I haven’t taken a look yet but since I did a break down of some id tech based games a long time ago I thought I would at least run a line of code check on the source.

Lines of Code

Jedi Academy: 815785

Jedi Outcast: 762082

Someday I might come back and finish a graph comparison but these games are about 2-3 times the size of Quake 3! So if this sample point is representative games from the 90′s to early 2000′s grew substantially.

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Houdini 12.5 Released

I occasionally play with Houdini and with the release of Houdini 12.5 I had to play with it again. Check out the FXGuide article for some feature videos! I’m not sure yet why I would need clouds for one of my games, but it is amazingly fast to generate and render them! I might try my hand at some skyboxes or something like that with them. Since you can play with it for free I highly recommend going to sidefx.com and giving the apprentice version a try!

The below took me about 3 minutes to setup and maybe about the same amount to render. When I can sit down for a solid hour I hope to make something good!

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Updating to Google High Replication Datastore

My main tutorial site content just switched from igamemakerdata.appspot.com to igamemakerdata-hrd.appspot.com. I hope this will not impact anyone out there and I think I have updated all the links to point at the new location. Will this change anything? No, but google may turn off my old site soon so I had to do this update.

This seemed like a fairly painless transition to me but if you see any issues please let me know!

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Dust: An Elysian Tail™

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It is awesome to see games being made by one person. Check out this article on Dust: An Elysian Tail. I love that this was created by an animator that learned how to program during the 3.5 years that it took to make the game. I haven’t played the game yet but I am looking forward to it and will bump it up my play list to see what a one person game studio can achieve.

This also makes me wonder if it is more challenging to pick up art/animation or programming. Either of them takes a serious investment in time but I think that code is easier to copy and learn from and get feedback on if it is “good”. If I was guessing I would say that coding will become easier in the future and art will largely remain a function of time and talent. Still…more people will be interested in doing the art than in the programming so the supply and demand rules will probably still favor programming as a profession.

Regardless, I hope that more and more people play with both and I hope Dean Dodrill’s game inspires me and others to try harder. Expect a review when I do get to play it :)

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Houdini – Dipping my toes in the water

I finally downloaded Houdini on my main machine and did a quick FLIP fluid simulation and render using image based lighting. This was a quick experiment in learning the FLUID workflow and playing with Mantra a little bit. I am interested in exploring Houdini’s workflow to make some 2D tile based assets and for some FX work on a project I have in mind. 

Check out the video here

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I’m not sure how to find out how many particles were used, but the scene took about 10 minutes to sim and roughly 1 hour to render at 640×360. Makes me wonder if I should get a new CPU as my old Q9550 didn’t really tear through the scene. If a Houdini expert reads this I would love to know more about showing the particle count generated and being able to control the number of particles generated.

Houdini is a heck of a lot of fun and I hope to post some more quick tests soon.

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Getting back on the blogging horse

I have been consuming more tutorials than creating things over the past few weeks. I intend to review some of the tutorials that I have been doing but I also want to focus on creating some interesting renders. Hopefully I’ll have some more fun to post soon.Image

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Learning C++11

Learning C++11 reminds me of meeting a friend you haven’t seen in years where they seem the same at first but as you catch up you find out how much has really changed. In C++’s case the changes are subtle but significant. Rather than point out the differences myself I thought I would list out my favorite resources I have found for learning C++11 and would love to hear more about where you are learning it. The following is an attempt at doing what you should look at in order.

  1. The Biggest Changes in C++11 (and why you should care)
  2. GoingNative 2012 – Day 1 Keynote – Bjarne Stroustup – C++ Style
  3. GoingNative 2012 – Day 2 Keynote – Herb Sutter – C++11, VC++11 and Beyond
  4. The New C++ (C++11) – By Scott Meyers
  5. After the above I would go through all the content there is on Channel9 by Stephan T. Lavavej

That should be a few hours worth of learning. Obviously you need a compiler to play with these features, check out the big supported feature list here or here. I have played with the language features in Visual Studio 2011 Beta and I will soon be upgrading my Mac to 10.7 so I can enjoy the benefits of C++11 on my mac as well with Clang. On 10.6 I can use the language features but it doesn’t seem to allow linking to the standard libraries with it. 

To me the biggest language changes are in how much easier doing multicore and multithreaded programming is with things like PPL or Intel’s TBB libraries. 

I have also had some fun checking out the Intel ISPC compiler and may do a subsequent post on it as well.

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Blender/BMesh/3Delight Ship Turn Around Test

After downloading Blender 2.63 and Matt Ebb’s 3Delight blender plug-in I decided to do a quick sketch of a space ship. This took me about 10-15 minutes to model and for some crazy reason 3 days to render. This was my first experience with BMesh and Renderman (3Delight). I did run into a bug where my model had holes in it after exiting and reloading but other than that I think Blender may replace Silo as my modeler of choice.

For a good time modeling grab the following:

  1. Blender 2.63
  2. 3Delight/Blender
  3. 3Delight
  4. BSurface
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Blender 2.3 Released! May replace Silo for my modeling needs.

To date I have been using Silo for most of my polygon modeling. Today I gave Blender 2.3 a try with BMesh and it was wonderful. Not only did I get BMesh, but I also downloaded a 3Delight exporter from Matt Ebb that worked fairly easily. Here is a 5-15 minute space ship mesh sketch that I whipped up to test 3Delight and BMesh.

I’m going to try and focus a bit more on my art skills in the next few weeks.

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When should you upgrade your machine?

I haven’t upgraded my CPU and laptop in nearly three years and I am starting to itch to buy some new technology toys. Time since an upgrade isn’t really a good justification so I did some research tonight to figure out how much faster newer machines may be.

My research lead me to http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php which has great data on the relative CPU performance.

Exhibit 1: My Q9550 Processor vs. i7-3770k vs. i7-3930k
 I am happy to see that in the past three years CPU performance within a sane budget is about 2.5 times higher and with a budget stretch you could get 3.2 times the performance.

Exhibit 2: My Macbook Pro 13″ P7550

On the laptop side it scales roughly the same. If I want to keep the 13″ Macbook I can get about a 2.5 times increase in performance and if I go up to the maxed out 15″ macbook pro I can get 4.95 times the performance of my current laptop.

The new high end 13″ Macbook competes with my current desktop on the CPU side (GPU is way less) and the 15″ Macbook nearly doubles it! I am also debating ditching my desktop and going with a laptop only.

Now I have to figure out if an upgrade is worth it and is so which one. Game creation tools are fun!

 

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