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<  Design concepts  ~  30 year deadline for 3D game

twinbee
Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 5:41 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 16 Jul 2009 Posts: 3
Hi all, first post to the forum...

I'd like to spend at least 30 years on a killer game. By that time, everything can be raytraced and made from billions or even trillions of polygons. At least for me, hacks like texture mapping or even bump mapping will be less of a priority for me.

Basically, I'd like to know a basic universal 3D format that will still be around in 30 years time (or one that can at least be translated easily) so I can begin designing the polygon structure of the game. Preferably, it will allow scope for master/sub groups of points so they can be manipulated easily through programming. Also the format would ideally be able to handle materials too (but I want the basic low-level attributes, not just presets like 'glass' or 'wood' etc.).

Finally, the ideal 3D format would be programmable through C. In other words I would want to program any point of any polygon to move in any way. I'm guessing something like OpenGL would support this kind of thing. Obviously, since I won't be playtesting the game in raytraced mode without year 2030 hardware, I need to degrade the graphics to something like wireframe.

What 3D format would be best? And what (preferably cheap) 3D software can get me started on this 30 year-long quest?

Many thanks all for any answers to these questions!
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Ymedron
Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:07 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 12 Apr 2008 Posts: 176 Location: Finland
30 years is far too long.
Internet may stop existing in 30 years.
People may invent a whole new system of portraying 3d, which doesn't use polygons.

Also, you'd have to leave the graphics for last, since people will probably think your recent graphics are the same as pong's graphics are to us.

I strongly suggest you rethink this. Razz
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Wildbluesun
Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:15 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 12 Dec 2006 Posts: 4266 Location: London, Land of Tea and Top Hats
I agree. By the year 2030 current programming languages will most probably be redundant, so your first decade of work would have to be scrapped and re-done.

That doesn't mean that working with a long development cycle is a bad idea in principle...it just means that computers change too much to make it feasible.
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twinbee
Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:28 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 16 Jul 2009 Posts: 3
Sigh, you're not the only guys who are saying this.

Isn't there some way I can at least work on the game's world structure, as in the graphics. Even if C/C++ doesn't exist I can try and keep everything as abstract and high level as possible. This way it would be easier to convert if/when another language comes out.

Likewise, polygons may be replaced by mathematical surfaces or molecules, but I'm sure there will be conversion possibilities. Besides, I would program for the future raytracing style which will cut a lot of the pain and time out of rasterization hacks and development.

I'm more sure about the second thing, than the first, but I just need a starting base (a 3D format with the properties as listed in my first post) to get started.
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Ymedron
Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:59 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 12 Apr 2008 Posts: 176 Location: Finland
Well, you shouldn't have the deadline at 30 years away, instead you should start by planning the idea to be so perfect that you'll know it's a lot of fun. Then, program the core of the idea, and perfect that, until it's playable. use some dummy-graphics instead of real ones, and continue along until you have made the whole game, and bug-tested it, until you start making the graphics. That alone may take several years, and that way you will also have the top-grade graphics when you release.

Remember that graphics aren't important, the game is.
For example, let's compare two good games.
Morrowind and Oblivion, both from Bethesda, both from the same series.

Morrowind was released about 10 years ago, and it's graphics are a bit dated, but they are made with style.
It's a fun game, which has a lot of humor, objectives and possibilities for roleplaying.

Oblivion was released in 2006, and has still awesome graphics, which, enchanced by modifications, can bring the topgraded computers to their knees.
The gameplay is however much more watered down. Fighting is fun for a while, until you start realizing that the whole game is all that same, only enemy graphics change. (This, of course can be healed by mods)
NPC-conversations are short and dull because the voice-acting limits the possibilities of conversations. Quests and the general storyline are somewhat more predictable...

So, do not concern yourself with the graphics, since a lot of companies are already doing that, and there is no way one single person can best their professionals, unless that person is a god or takes a whole new style.
You would do best if you made the graphics simple and stylish, something which will never become dated, but instead nostalgic and retro-styled.
There is a reason why people have been re-releasing old games with the old graphics. Razz

Im starting to rant again, but just consider pac-man, Space Invaders, the first Legend of Zelda, recently Viewtiful Joe or Okami.

Nobody has by the way complained about Okami's graphics, even though they aren't perfectly round or shiny and smooth, instead they have been praised as tasteful and beautiful. Very Happy

Edit: So the base note is: Don't concentrate on the technology or the looks, concentrate on the game and the spirit. That's the idea of these forums too, i guess.
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twinbee
Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:23 am Reply with quote
Joined: 16 Jul 2009 Posts: 3
Okay first of all, I'm probably the last person you'd want to say all that to Wink since I actually prefer the gameplay and style of graphics in the older/retro 2D games. And yes, playability does indeed come top - I'd spend a *great deal* of time honing that first or as well.

Yes I know all that seems at odds with my first post where I probably gave the reverse impression. For instance, I liked it when you said "You would do best if you made the graphics simple and stylish, something which will never become dated, but instead nostalgic and retro-styled.".

Utterly agreed. I'm thinking of something indeed stylish and in one sense simple, but with lots of detail in between the nooks and crannies of the 'clean/simple' parts if that makes any kind of sense. I suppose something like the gfx in the film Tron fits that kind of bill, but I'm thinking of a couple of orders of magnitude more detail, *but* without losing the clarity that so many modern games tend to lack. I do think you can get the best of both worlds.

Heh, the spirit of what you've said if probably what made me post to these forums in the first place.

Quote:
Then, program the core of the idea, and perfect that, until it's playable. use some dummy-graphics instead of real ones, and continue along until you have made the whole game, and bug-tested it, until you start making the graphics.

Yes that works up to a point, except when the detailed graphics turn out not to simply be just graphics for their own sake, but part of the structure of the game. I'm not just talking about bitmap (or even algorithmic) textures here, which I'm not overly keen on anyway, since they can make a game look 'flat'. But billions of painstakingly created polygons.

I might as well say what style it will be - a futuristic bob sled / F-Zero / Wipeout / STUN runner type game (though that does it a massive injustice). It will feature tasty physics (aka Stunt Car Racer if you've heard of that), and retro-style gameplay (arcade Outrun?) with every scene from the game an abstract but visual delight (one could say 'realistic', but only if it's in a strange kind of way). It would also feature raytraced graphics with global illumination and lots of translucency/refraction/glowy effects (you can see why I want to finish this in 30 years now... Wink The difficulty curve would be worked on a lot, and the game would be *massively* difficult to complete, even though it may only last an hour at most. (It will be more of an 80s style arcade game with a focus on quality, rather than a "start from where you last left off" 40 hour affair). The game will be so fun to play (+ it will be so exciting to see what's next) that you won't mind going to the beginning each time.
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Ymedron
Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:40 am Reply with quote
Joined: 12 Apr 2008 Posts: 176 Location: Finland
Im sorry, my thoughts usually start just circling the main idea, that's why I usually forget what the original poster (Aka you) said. Razz

Instead of working on it for 30 years, why not leave it for later and cut your teeth with something simpler and easier. You can always return to your game after making other games, and you may even learn new tricks. Razz 30 years is so long to work on a simple arcade-style game.

As for the 3d-program, you could try blender. It's free, but it isn't easy to get into unless someone teaches you or you read a lot of guides.
Unfortunately, I don't think there is a free AND easy to learn 3d-program.

By stylished, I guess I mean clean and undetailed, like Wind Waker... If you start doing details, the stylished look and the details may in the worst case clash horribly...


For example, this picture by Rob Sheridan (www.rob-sheridan.com)


At least I feel pretty freaked out by looking at it. Razz

But don't let my pessimism slow you down. Surprised
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Wildbluesun
Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:00 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 12 Dec 2006 Posts: 4266 Location: London, Land of Tea and Top Hats
I'm still worried about the 30 year thing. Leaving aside the entire issue of technology (by the way - you keep on talking about raytracing, which I don't know anything about, but if it's still emerging as a technology something else might make it irrelevant/outcompete it, meaning that all your traytracing work is now redundant; but you may know something I don't on this), what about YOU in 30 years? Will you be focused on the same game? What if you're not interested in bobsleds any more? What if you have a spouse and kids which makes individual polygons too time-consuming?
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