Yet Another Year Has Passed.

Yet Another Year Has Passed

And in that year playing around with different game engines have been fun. UE4 has been the main toy around here. Torque 3D MIT has been getting a bit of attention as well. On the sideline a small WordPress service project has also been running and some skill up in coding as well has been done. All in all a fine year but also a bit too much making everybody happy has been going on. In 2018 the focus will be on UE4 as the main production tool as I find that to be the best of two worlds. The world of open source(UE4 is not open source but do offer source code access if needed and not cost up front) and the world of commercial products(UE4 is a commercial product). Well buckle up for some hard work and lots of naysayer along the way. Ignore().Start(); 😀 😀 😀 😀

So now it is time to do one thing only at a time and do it damn well and not trying to please everyone.

2018!

Here we come!

The Pride of Working on Your Own Tech

The Pride of Working on Your Own Tech

With a commercial engine you might be doing some stuff faster. You will have a huge team of engine developers sitting and maintaining the engine. The royalties you might end up paying or the per seat payment you might end up paying are those game engine vendors’ revenue. Nothing wrong with that and it can be very beneficial with such a setup.  However, if that setup does not grant you access to the source code and you really need to change something on the source code level here and now? Or what if the engine’s source code includes a huge amount of not needed code for many other platforms you don’t really wanna support and the setup takes up too much space? In such cases a smaller open source game engine might be a valid choice.

Building Your Own Tech upon MIT Open Source

With open source game engines under the MIT license you can build your own your own tech and customize it. You can learn a lot about how stuff works. You will also be meeting a lot of tech interested game engine developers who love to work and develop upon such tech. You will quickly start to feel a sense of pride as you get deeper and deeper into the tech. In the end you actually have your own in-house tech that you have built upon MIT technology. No license changes or legal issues can take your tools/tech away from you. The best part is that you can still use non open source third part tech in your inhouse tech as the MIT license does not require you to release the finished project as a open source project. You get to combine the best of the two worlds so to say.

But Your are On Your Own as You Travel into The Deep Space!

It is true that you do not have a whole army of game engine developers behind you along your space travel, but you have something much better 🙂  You have a small army of open source developers who take a pride in helping out each other when needed and they really love the technology they work on. On several occasions it had been seen how pro devs using the open source community seeking out help about DirectX or OpenGL in the Torque 3D MIT game engine. In those cases the awesome Torque 3D MIT community has done all it could to help out. In the end it all makes sense. Behind good tools you find good communities no matter if they are small or big then they are helping each other out. In the end being on your own is a good thing as you will learn more along the way. You will program more, script more, design more and develop more in the end. Perhaps you don’t even wish to come back again after a while in that deep space of development and fun! 😀

The Must Be New Syndrome

The Must Be New Syndrome

Sometimes when we see all the new game engines being available to use free up front you get very existed. Over the years some of those has been tested around here. One thing I very quickly realized was how photorealistic the graphic looked. One actually had to tweak the engines to make them look a bit more down to earth and cartoon like. Another annoying thing is how some game engines have decided to put their scripting and world editor into one solution. That means your two to three years old gamer laptop’s fans will be whining and screaming to keep the temperature down to an acceptable level as you script and try to think out some solutions. Hardly a scenario you would like if you wanted to go to a cafe or a library for a quiet hours in case your kids are too noisy or you just need to get out of the office/home office.

The folder hierarchy is another issue. While some engines offer you the source and others don’t they still make it more complicated to get a more quick overview over the whole engine or then the engine is huge like in mother fucker huge as it litterally supports every single platform out there. Most indie developers will not have the manpower or the interest in supporting all existing platforms so the question here is whether this huge engine with all its platform and the space it takes up it really gonna be beneficial. Last but not least many of the new engines runs on the newest of the newest DirectX(like 12) and comes with many high end features that many machines and laptops simply cannot run them without performance issues. Even the finish game made with such and engine would need a beefy machine to run and as such the low income indie who relies on every single sale have per automatic ruled out a lot of customers with the low spec laptop or gaming pc.

Looking through the buff and marketing

While a lot of features would be awesome to have then they might not be needed and as a indie you probably do not have the time to implement and use them all. In the end one should decide what is needed and how long time one wanna use for the project before choosing an engine. Also is the price per seat worth it? Is the royalty worth it?

Acquiring actual skills along the development process

Another perhaps slightly forgotten point here is that one also learn a lot about programming and creative work if one has to implement stuff in the engine or in the scripting system during the development. One can actually keep using those acquired skills later on. That is not possible in a close sourced game engine. You simple do not get the deeper understanding. It might not be needed now and perhaps not even later on, but for some that has not been the case and they have benefitted greatly on the skills they have learned making many games in open source engines. The transparency of the many used tools has been the teacher and guide and from that programmers and developers have seen the light.

Visual Studio, Scripting IDE or built into World Editor IDE?

Some engines offer a more light weighted Scripting IDE with full features. One of those are Torsion. It used to be commercial but then it went open source. The more new engines like UE4 offers a Blueprint scripting version inside the editor(makes the laptop’s fans spin like a crazy hamster in a hamster wheel). One can also opt for scripting/programming in Visual Studio using the UE4 C++ language. In Torsion one uses a C like scripting language. Some even claim that it looks like PHP. Both are good options but for many a more simple solution like Torque 3D MIT would be a fine choice.

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While trying out using Visual Studio as a C++ scripting tool and built in Blueprint scripting in the world editor in the UE4 game engine I must admit that using the Torsion IDE with Torque 3D MIT game engine has been the most neat experience of them all. It simply just comes with all the tools you need. It might not be the newest and all that but Torque 3D MIT supports DirectX 11 no and as such it is a pretty modern engine and for those who still would like to support the “old” DirectX 9 that version is still available as well. The possibilities are many with Torque 3D MIT.

Multi-platform support

While engines like Unity and Unreal 4 supports like every single platform out there then Torque 3D MIT supports Windows, Mac(still under development) and Linux(seems real stable) now.  If that is not your target then it might not be Torque 3D MIT you need though. If you target platforms like Android and Ipads then newer engines are here a better choice. Unless you wanna go with the Torque 2D MIT which seems to be a stable engine as well. Of course with MIT solutions you WILL be a bit more on your own. In the end you might learn something by doing so.

Conclusion

The conclusion would be that game engines still running DX 9 and DX 11 are fine to use as they would run on lower spec machines and a game made in such a game engine would make more people happy. But what if they gutted DX9? Windows 10 supports DX 9 if you install the DirectX 9.0c End User Runtime all DirectX 9 games should run. Also games like Dragon Age Origin and Torchlight I, which is on sale on Steam and Good Old Games are all running DirectX 9. Could you imagine what would happen if the many games sold on Steam and GOG running DirectX 9 would not be able to work on a Windows 10 machine? It would be a huge disaster and the whole internet would be implode in angry posts for sure. Even if the unthinkable should happen that DX 9 would be ruled out then many open source game engines offers support for both DX9 and DX11. They are safe tools to use.

New technology is good and improvements are welcomed, but not all projects need the newest technology. Pick your tech wisely and then go forward.

Packt With Mapt

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The Packt site I have used for some time to buy/read good books and watch videos about many IT related topics. Some would say that everything can be found for free online and to some degree that is true but the books on Packt is more in dept. One can even for a very low cost get access to all of it plus Mapt an online skill trainer that map your progress so you get a clear focus along the way. Everything from simple introductions to advanced topics can be found on Packt. The best part is that the knowledge is not hidden below a huge pile of useless links in a search engine. You get right down to the bone at once. You need to get up to date with something and then you search on it and if it is in the library you can start read it using the awesome Ereader or watch the video material. It is a very fast way to skill up and even for a very low price. Of course that website does not substitute the needs for self pacing or learning by yourself, which is a whole other topic 😉 In the 21st century we have all knowledge just at our screens with a few clicks and very small fees.

Udemy Resources

A real good website for getting new skills and knowledge.

Udemy has shown to be a great source for knowledge lately. So much that I would say I would fear being without all that great knowledge one can get from the site. Many of the videos have been of high quality so far. Need to learn about a new tool? Look no further Udemy has it.  Even the Udemy blog is rather interesting to read now and then. However, it does not substitute the need for self pacing. All in all those online knowledge websites hav made the trip to a bookstore, online webstore or even an educational center a whole lot less needed for people who know how to self pace and learn by themselves or in small teams. In the 21st century we have all knowledge just at our screens with a few clicks and very small fees.

 

 

Technology

Operating Systems: Open Source vs. Commercial

After much testing with different game engines(Torque 3D and Unreal 4) it has sadly come to that Ubuntu is simply not supported enough(Unreal 4 and Torque 3D) to be a valid development platform. However porting games for Ubuntu seems to be possible and as such by doing so we can still show our love for Ubuntu.

Two great operating systems, but Windows 10 still receives more love from the big game engine vendors.

So what is the problem?

  • Visual Studio made by Microsoft is way too good to be without and no equal substitute for it has been found so far.
  • Torque 3D MIT version 3.10 works well out of the box on Ubuntu, but the many plugins for it don’t. Hence too much reinventing the wheel.
  • Torsion IDE, a former commercial TorqueScript IDE now MIT license, does not work on Ubuntu and being without that would be way too bad when working in Torque 3D MIT.
  • While Ubuntu is much loved around here then it is sadly not the most widely used operating system.

That above makes it hard to use Ubuntu as a streamlined development platform with Torque 3D MIT. Ubuntu is a very good operating system for many tasks(servers and web development and even gaming), but for game development in Torque 3D MIT environment it seems a bit restricted and rather unsupported.

 

Our new love has so much potential, if only the game engine vendors would spend more time on support it.

In the future trying to port games for Ubuntu will be a part on the internal task list as the love for Ubuntu is huge around here.

When it comes to GIMP it is actually a fine tool(I started out with that actually).

GIMP an old friend

it is just that  PaintShop Pro x7 comes with a bit more tools and as such that it is used as well. The good thing is that Gimp works damn well on Windows 10.

A great tool for a great price.

 

Blender used to be the tool of choice.

Neat tool, but it does has its limitations.

until a license to use Lightwave 3D 11.6 was bought. Both works well on Windows 10. Lightwave 3D 11.6 can open high polygon models and edit them when needed. It animation tools and skinning tools are also great.

This tool is very powerful. high count polygon models can be open with ease.

So open source was what started it all around here. Now both are used depending on the task to be done. GIMP has some good tricks and so has Blender when needed. It seems like Windows 10 will be the platform of choice when developing for the next many years.

Expanding Our Business

Expanding Our Business

As from the 20 of February Noble Games Production also offers web development services and other IT services. Noble Games Production is producing a computer game but has also been ask to develop web solutions by clients. We have decide to accept such offers in 2017 and as such it is a natural expansion of our software business.

The future is bright indeed 🙂

 

Are We Still in Business?

Are We Still in Business?

The year is 2017 and not much news has been slipped through here. Only a few tweets on twitter. Now what is happening around here? Well 2016 was the year where many new things happen. Stuff had to be dealt with. New prototypes were tested and new art ideas as well.

What is up for 2017? Well actually a lot is about to happen so stay tune for more info on that within this month…

Coding a Brand New Frame Work For The Game

Brand New Frame Work For The Game

Working

Code Monkey’s Coffee

Our code monkey(ahem that is me) is busy coding a brand new frame work for the game. New design ideas needs to be merged with the current frame work etc. So it will take a while before any news about the game Dryadalum Mundi pops up. But it is on its way!

In meantime Coffee and food are prepared for me 🙂

 

CodersFood

Code Monkey’s Breakfast

 

 

 

Upgrading to Windows 10 Professional

Upgrading to Windows 10 Professional

Some time ago Noble Games Production decided to upgrade from Windows 7 Ultimate/Windows 8.1 Pro(Desktop/Laptop) to Windows 10 Professional. I turned out to be a wise decision. The laptop was first tested and it turned out the drivers for the wireless network card did not work well the first time(the second time it worked though).

After a while the desktop was tested out and it went so well that the laptop got another chance. So what is so great about Windows 10 compared to Window 7/8?

  • Cortana your little smart assistant is a big plus. You type what you want like in Win 8 but you do it in the taskbar. It even remember your typing etc. So in some sense you have a basic AI bot helping you out searching. For some the privacy can be an issue but it can be turned off for those who find it uncomfortable. It works very much like with Google Search engine’s suggestions as you type. You can even speak to Cortana through the microphone, but that has not been utilized around here 🙂
  • You keep the start menu from both Win 7 and Win 8 or decide it yourself.
  • You have Win Store within reach in the task-bar all the time.
  • Apps from like Twitter can be installed and then you have instant messages from Twitter in you task-bar as well.
  • Now all languages are supported in any Windows 10 version and not like in Windows 7 where only some versions would support menu language changes.

What else is great about Windows 10?

  • It is free to upgrade within the first year for Windows 7 and 8 users.
  • It has DirectX 12.
  • It still supports the majority of your DX 9 programs and games(thank God for that)
  • Runs most Windows 7/8 software well as it comes with the compatibility functions
  • More than 200 million users already use it worldwide.
  • It is damn stable.
  • Mundi 3D works well on it!

Noble Games Production loves Windows 10 Professional and Microsoft. Upgrading was a good choice.

Win10

A small step for me and a big step for… eh something I guess…