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Poll

What would you prefer Mnemonic to concentrate on right now?

Scene Editor rewrite allowing many new features like shadow maps, theora previews etc.
- 39 (63.9%)
HLSL (pixel shader) support
- 20 (32.8%)
odnorf font (TM) - (it's here just to check sanity of forum members anyway)
- 2 (3.3%)

Total Members Voted: 58


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Author Topic: Poll: New Scene Edit or HLSL?  (Read 22480 times)

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metamorphium

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Poll: New Scene Edit or HLSL?
« on: March 24, 2008, 01:45:13 PM »

So here's the deal. What would you prefer?
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Jyujinkai

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Re: Poll: New Scene Edit or HLSL?
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2008, 02:23:53 PM »

I am going to have to go HLSL sharder support. The fact is that while scene edit could have a host of improvments... it dose work. HLSL dosn't. Things like theora privies in the editor would rule but ... well peoepl can already use thorea in the games as it is.

Unless there is a host of other features you are talking about that are not there at all.
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Derrek3D

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Re: Poll: New Scene Edit or HLSL?
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2008, 02:30:33 PM »

Could you (or someone else) please write in a bit more detail how could each of the options help developers and their games? For example, what are shadow maps and how do they look in the final game? Or what can be achieved using HLSL?

Thanks.
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FogGobbler

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Re: Poll: New Scene Edit or HLSL?
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2008, 06:32:39 PM »

I agree with Jyujinkai and also vote for HLSL things, because the scene editor works fine for me as it is. Just had a look at the new Perry Rhodan adventure and in my opinion everything can be done with WME (even the scrolling for big scenes).

But things like reflecting materials, and (sorry for repeating myself again) perpixel lighting with real shadows are vital for a modern 2.5 engine. Normal mapping for characters would also be great.

Please don´t get me wrong, Mnemonic, I think your engine is awesome, and I certainly don´t want WME to become a 3D engine, but with these features everything would be just a tick better.  ;) 

Happy Easter,
Oli
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Mnemonic

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Re: Poll: New Scene Edit or HLSL?
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2008, 07:23:26 PM »

Ok, let me elaborate a little. Both the new SceneEdit and support for DirectX effect files (aka shaders support) are features that need to be done, and I'd like to see both in WME 1.9 (perhaps ending the whole WME 1.x series). But both of these are potentially quite time consuming and may take a long time to finish.

Shaders support would be nice for some additional eye candy (and perhaps some more stuff, depending on how deep would the implementation go). SceneEdit rewrite would bring better user-friendliness for scene design (i.e.  the area where developers probably spend most of their time), but mainly it would open door for new features, such as the mentioned direct Theora integration, direct placement of external entities/actors/3D actors, more comprehensive camera tweaking, the "shadow maps" (simply an image which tells the color of an actor in a given point in scene, think more advanced decoration regions), predefined scene states, and more.

So to recap, I want to do both of these, but some has to take priority for now, because my time&resources are not limitless.


While I'm at it, and as I mentioned the end of 1.x series above, some people were asking for a WME development roadmap. Well, I don't have a roadmap, and I tend to change my mind frequently (I know it's unprofessional, but please allow me this luxury at least for my pet hobby project, I have enough roadmaps and deadlines in my daily job). I can give you a rough outline of things to come:

WME 2.0 - completely replaced renderer (based on some 3rd party middleware); completely replaced script compiler/interpreter (I already have a lot of this done, but I can't merge it with WME 1.x because it will not be 100% compatible)

WME 3.0 - complet redesign of the engine/tools; I have many cool ideas, but I'm not going to talk about them just yet :)

We were even discussing the possibility of skipping WME 2.0 completely and going directly for "the new thing"(tm). Nothing is set in stone yet.


And contrary to what certain AGS users think, I AM listening to the userbase, and I AM interested in your opinions. So if you have something to say, say it now. Whew.
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sychron

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Re: Poll: New Scene Edit or HLSL?
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2008, 12:30:49 AM »

I voted for the Scene Editor. Reason: HLSL support is a cool addon for 2.5D-Games, while the new Scene Editor would allow better development for ALL games made with WME. Second reason: You would have to wait for an SceneEdit-Update anyways if you want some efficiency in placing and editing the new Effects ;-)
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Daniel

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Re: Poll: New Scene Edit or HLSL?
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2008, 01:05:13 PM »

Well, the way I see it, it all comes down to WME's intended target audience. I can see three major groups: a) Developers creating free games just for fun, b) Developers creating relatively small commercial self-funded games, and c) Developers creating full-scale top-notch publisher-funded games. When a developer belongs to group c, technical features like bump and normal mapping, dynamic shadows and lighting, and other 3D effects in a 2.5D game become an issue because some of the larger publishers in the field demand those technical features even in adventure games. The reason is the competition that has sprang in the last two or three years in the newly revived adventure market. I know this first-hand from dealings with publishers and I'm already pushing the limits with WME.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say here is that if one of WME's target audiences is indeed group c, then the way to go would be to add more support for eye-candy features. I agree that better development tools like the new scene editor is indeed very important but if I have to abandon WME because it doesn't support the eye-candy effects that the publishers demand, having a new set of tools won't help me much as I won't be able to use WME at all. And believe me, I love WME and the last thing I want is switch engines.

That's the reason I'm voting for HLSL.
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metamorphium

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Re: Poll: New Scene Edit or HLSL?
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2008, 01:29:12 PM »

Still I see the chronology and this is what Mnemonic wrote here:
Quote
Ok, let me elaborate a little. Both the new SceneEdit and support for DirectX effect files (aka shaders support) are features that need to be done, and I'd like to see both in WME 1.9 (perhaps ending the whole WME 1.x series). But both of these are potentially quite time consuming and may take a long time to finish.

My reason why I've voted for Scene Editor is, that Shaders can be implemented whenever in our game development cycle whilst better Scene Editor would speed up the development process a whole lot. And adding eye candy is usually not done at the very beginning of the process. Knowing that there WILL be shaders available in WME is enough so I prefer better tools.


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FogGobbler

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Re: Poll: New Scene Edit or HLSL?
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2008, 02:00:44 PM »

Quote
I agree that better development tools like the new scene editor is indeed very important but if I have to abandon WME because it doesn't support the eye-candy effects that the publishers demand, having a new set of tools won't help me much as I won't be able to use WME at all. And believe me, I love WME and the last thing I want is switch engines.

That is exactly what I think.

I can understand that you don´t have time to bother about everything in your spare time, so perhaps the way is to separate the different target groups Daniel mentioned.

So what do you of keeping the WME as it is for hobby game designers, because it has everything you really need to get started and offer regular updates, but in bigger intervals.

On the other hand a affordable commercial "professional" version which we have to pay for (monthly subscription payment or just one amout) with these advanced lighting effects.
I´m quite sure that people would pay for it..I certainly would :-)

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odnorf

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Re: Poll: New Scene Edit or HLSL?
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2008, 02:29:32 PM »

I'm jumping in a vehicle that isn't mine here but let me clear 1-2 things based on what I know and what I have learned since first wme public version (2003). WME was once freeware for free projects and had a separate paid license for commercial games. This experience taught as one thing. It didn't work because 1) Not many were willing to pay, 2) Some people were bitching that they had to pay to create a commercial game (and even making noise in other forums with not so polite comments). From time to time there is some brainstorming going on for which road wme should take and there is some kind of draft in Mnemonics' mind but everything stops at one thing, which is the biggest problem. That is free time.

The new freeware license seems to also be problematic because almost no one donates.

EDIT: Some mistakes
« Last Edit: March 25, 2008, 02:41:04 PM by odnorf »
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Daniel

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Re: Poll: New Scene Edit or HLSL?
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2008, 02:52:40 PM »

My reason why I've voted for Scene Editor is, that Shaders can be implemented whenever in our game development cycle whilst better Scene Editor would speed up the development process a whole lot. And adding eye candy is usually not done at the very beginning of the process. Knowing that there WILL be shaders available in WME is enough so I prefer better tools.

What you're saying is true if you belong to the above-mentioned group b. It is very different when you belong to group c, however. As a group c developer, you have to *commit* to what your game will feature *in advance*. I can't tell a potential publisher that the game will *probably* have said feature as they will never put one cent on something like that. When you belong to group b, however, you put in the game whatever is available during the development process. If a new WME version is released with new eye candy features during your development process, then you can incorporate them in your game. If, however, such features don't become available during your development process, your game will simply go out without them and it's perfectly ok because you never had to commit to such features in the first place.

WME is Mnemonic's pet project and he works on it on his spare time. In all the years that I've been using WME, I've never known him to promise any feature whatsoever (and I understand him completely) and I don't think he is going to start now. When he says he *would like* to see both the new scene editor and HLSL in WME 1.9, that's all he means. It's not a commitment on his part and I can't promise anything to any publisher based on that.

What I'm saying is that unlike in your case, I need the eye candy features as soon as possible so that I can commit having them in my game. If a new set of development tools comes out during my development process, I'll gladly take advantage of them but even if they don't, I will still be able to use WME without them.
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metamorphium

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Re: Poll: New Scene Edit or HLSL?
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2008, 03:10:10 PM »

And what I am saying is, that to have shaders in your game doesn't mean only WME support but also someone in your team who is able to program them and succesfully utilize the shaders logic. So this poll also shows how many of the potential users will be able to make use of this feature. If you need them as soon as possible and have someone skilled with shaders, he would be probably able to hijack the d3d device and implement shaders on his/her own. Having shaders (and trust me I've already worked with them in TGA) requires someone who will do the dirty shaders job. ;)

Unlike you I sort of know that the shaders will make it inside which makes me more calm. I've worked on different projects in the past commercial or self-funded and there're not much 2 1/2D games using pixel shaders. What I am missing are mirrors and reflections (although they can be faked to some extent), shadow maps, scriptable lights, stuff like this, which is quite easy to implement and adds much more to the overall impression. And when HLSL makes it in, I know I'll have to pause the development for month or so to learn how to put those beasts in.

 
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FogGobbler

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Re: Poll: New Scene Edit or HLSL?
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2008, 03:16:18 PM »

Quote
What I'm saying is that unlike in your case, I need the eye candy features as soon as possible so that I can commit having them in my game.

I´m in the same situation as Daniel. We´ve got everything planned, graphics are good enough for a demo, but I´m a bit worried that publishers say that the feature list is not good enough.

Quote
2) Some people were bitching that they had to pay to create a commercial game (and even making noise in other forums with not so polite comments).
Can´t understand these people. If you want to make some money with a commercial game, then why not pay for the engine?

Please correct my, if I´m wrong, but as far as I know Mnemonic does everything alone. Wouldn´t it be an idea to make WME a team-based project? Everything would go along a lot faster, wouldn´t it? Sadly I´m not a very talented programmer, but I´m sure there are enough of good guys here that could help you,  Mnemonic.


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metamorphium

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Re: Poll: New Scene Edit or HLSL?
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2008, 03:20:39 PM »

Well, with dealing with publishers I safely say that there will be shaders automatically. I know that they will be there much sooner than it takes to develop the game. And if they won't be there natively, there's always a way how to dll them in. So as I'm saying it's a nice feature to have natively but nothing which helps you with making the game. It only is an extra feature which can be added via various ways.

Edit: anyway it's just my opinion. I'm not stating any objective truths (just to be clear about that).
« Last Edit: March 25, 2008, 03:25:42 PM by metamorphium »
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FogGobbler

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Re: Poll: New Scene Edit or HLSL?
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2008, 03:27:35 PM »

Quote
...there're not much 2 1/2D games using pixel shaders

What about the new Perry Rhodan adventure? Looks like they use pixel shader here, or am I wrong?

I also think that real shadows and a better lighting system are the must important (I feel like a parrot, because I´ve said this so many times  ::slug)

What exactly do you mean with "shadow maps"? In real time 3D graphics I know what they are, but how would you use them in a 2.5D engine?
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