Lostcast 112: Flogcast

  • Tiger Hat

    Great episode guys!

    I’m not finished listening yet, but your discussion about 2D platform explorers being more or less interesting than 3D explorers, as well as having 3D models in 2D games reminded me massively of this game, which I thoroughly enjoyed and played the heck out of for a couple of lunchtimes, back in the day.

    Also, I agree that game engines games can end up having an engine-specific look or feel. You definitely got hat with flash games (side-scrolling car/bike/monster truck anyone?), and I sort of feel that Unity has the same thing, with 3D assets in 2D games, but hey…

    More later :)

  • Tiger Hat

    I’ve also not finished yet, but had some thoughts about 3D models. I think that the main reason that the OS don’t natively support rendering them in the “preview” is because no one cares :) Ultimately I believe there is this hierarchy of how tech moves forward: 1 Porn, 2 Games, 3 Business, everthing else. The reason that we have the ability to view images is pretty much because of #1, even my 286 computer could display images. Viewing a 3D model is really only important to a very small segment of people. Being in the computer industry, I realize that it seems odd, but I think that while the number of technical people is certainly growing, we’re still a minority. Of the millions of people using computers, we’re probably less than 5%. Even if I think of other applications beyond games for viewing 3D models (like an architect, or science class, etc) there is still little reason for the general public to need it. Also, they are very different from a 3D picture or movie (which we are just now starting to get into), so I’d imagine that support for that would come first.

    When you think about it, even images are really not as standard as you think. Yes, probably the “standard” 3 are png, jpg, and gif but even png wasn’t fully supported on all browsers not that long ago. IE didnt have support until IE7 (and as we know, the support was poor). There are a few different types of png as well, 8 bit, 16 bit, 24 bit, etc. Even still I think that images are in flux, while these are the 3 right now, it could change at any moment. There are new formats like webp which AFAIK only chrome supports. For gaming and also 3D there are a few other “standard” formats as well, like dds and tga and of course there are a ton of other formats, heck I even forgot about bmp which was also not long ago somewhat “standard”.

    Another thing that I find “weird” and also a reason that I think that 3D model formats are far off from being native, is that images are pretty much the only one that we’ve even really made progress with. Once you start thinking about other types of media (audio & video) then we’ve got a ton of formats and it’s hard to say even what is “standard” still. You might want to say that mp3 is standard for sound, but because of the licensing involved, not all browsers will play those. We’ve still got mp3, ogg, wav, midi, and probably others. Video is probably worse, mp4, mpeg, webm, wmv, etc. Plus there’s a myriad of different encodings, and of course “3D” videos.

    Then just when “they” are starting to make progress, BAM ok now everyone is on mobile. Desktops with their CPU and GPU power that can handle processing and running all of these formats are pretty much on their way out (at least as far as genpop is concerned). Now we have to start over, well, what’s first, images of course (even my 286 had porn :) ). Sometimes new formats come about that are optimized for mobile hardware, sometimes we just have to sit tight and wait for the new hardware to come.

    With 3D models it’s even harder, just like going from 2D game programming to 3D at the simplest level, you’ve got a whole new axis to worry about. At the more complex end, you don’t really just “show” a 3D model, you have to have answers to a bunch of questions about lighting, perspective, does it require shaders, how and where does it load the textures (and here we are again with images) and what format of textures should it support, oh and of course, do you want to deal with animations because that’s a whole nother ball of wax.

    As far as programs go, personally I open Photoshop and get overwhelmed. I think that you don’t because you use it all the time. I’ll generally opt for a simpler editor like Paint.NET. There’s the gimp, but I feel like every time I go to install and try to use it I wonder to myself “why did the toolbar end up on the other friggin monitor!” and so I don’t really use that one. When you get into 3D modeling programs there are of course a ton of those as well, but some standard-ish ones. 3dsmax & Maya are your “pro” versions, similar to Photoshop in that the pros use them, but they have a high price tag (much higher than PS, like in the thousandds). Then Blender is pretty much like The Gimp, it’s your FOSS buddy, but still has an overwhelming amount of features. For low poly modelling another popular one (or was) is Milkshape. Here’s wikipedia’s list of 3D modelling software which has a pretty big list, tho I’m not sure if that’s even exhaustive (doubt it).

    Ultimately I think when it comes to making 3D games, you just need to work with whatever is the smoothest for your engine’s pipeline. I think Unity uses FBX primarily and will probably import most of the “usual suspects”. Of course, if you can render 3D then you can programatically generate 3D models as well. After all, even a cube is a 3D model, and (at least it was once the case, if it’s not still) that’s how Minecraft did it. Notch just wrote in all the geometry into code for good ole Steve.

    Well, I’m sure I can have more to say, but I’ll call it.

  • Tiger Hat

    @Warspawn said:

    Ultimately I believe there is this hierarchy of how tech moves forward: 1 Porn, 2 Games, 3 Business, everthing else. The reason that we have the ability to view images is pretty much because of #1, even my 286 computer could display images.

    Lol so true :’) - same goes for video I believe

  • Just for the record: The “new” 3DS with head-tracking and the 3D all the way up is the best video gaming experience I know.
    And “A Link between Worlds” is one of the best games I’ve ever played.

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