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Unity does define a structure though. You are to derive your classes from a behavior base class which defines methods you can override and they are called by the game engine. It also gives you a way to piece things together. From a programmers point of view giving us a predefined structure might not be require but he's looking at the masses here. Because Unity has defined this structure programmers feel comfortable to make libraries that they know can easily be integrated into other peoples projects.

 

You and I probably don't want a structure forced on us but you have to admit that without that common structure it makes it difficult to share code without the user of the code making modifications to it to fit their structure. Now if a person newer has to do this they probably won't succeed and gives up or worse learns about this before even buying the engine. Josh is trying to make money by appealing to the masses.

 

I get where you're coming from now. The problem with introducing such a structure is it's implementation. If it's not done JUST right, it's going to be very limiting. Unity's is pretty simple. Entities and Behaviors. It might be a decent way for Leadwerks to go.

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So what are the flowgraphs going to be used for? Used in moderation they are a nice feature but tend to become completely unwieldly over a certain size and complexity

It's basically just the old target/targetname system from Quake 1, in a visual diagram. The flowgraphs are for scripted events in a level, not for complex game logic like AI. You step into a trigger area, spawn a monster, unlock a door, etc. I see flowgraphs as the final production process, where all your scripted objects and game code are done, and now you put them together in interesting ways.

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was hoping for something like Softimage's ICE:

(early implementation, disregard audio) :lol:

Have a look around youtube for additional vids on Softimage ICE...there's fluid sim nodes, particle sim nodes, etc.

 

Is there a reason LE 'nodes' couldn't be self-contained complex logic? I would think there could be some compelling reasons

to allow the system to accept higher-level functionality...namely, a more desirable means for merchants (programmers) to create

and profit from their effort. Maybe somebody has a Tessendorf wave 'node' they'd like to create and sell so folks like Red October

(or anyone dealing with an ocean-based game) could have that option to purchase and 'plug-in' to their ocean geometry...

 

Frankly, being able to have a standardized means of offering these node plug-ins would seem to be a huge boost in enhancing the

ability for games to be made with LE. (Animation-blending/Managing node, Substance texture integration node, ocean nodes, sky nodes,

ragdoll node, particle node, car-physics node, cut-scene/camera node .... etc, etc.)

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was hoping for something like Softimage's ICE:

(early implementation, disregard audio) :lol:

Have a look around youtube for additional vids on Softimage ICE...there's fluid sim nodes, particle sim nodes, etc.

 

Is there a reason LE 'nodes' couldn't be self-contained complex logic? I would think there could be some compelling reasons

to allow the system to accept higher-level functionality...namely, a more desirable means for merchants (programmers) to create

and profit from their effort. Maybe somebody has a Tessendorf wave 'node' they'd like to create and sell so folks like Red October

(or anyone dealing with an ocean-based game) could have that option to purchase and 'plug-in' to their ocean geometry...

 

Frankly, being able to have a standardized means of offering these node plug-ins would seem to be a huge boost in enhancing the

ability for games to be made with LE. (Animation-blending/Managing node, Substance texture integration node, ocean nodes, sky nodes,

ragdoll node, particle node, car-physics node, cut-scene/camera node .... etc, etc.)

 

I'm a huge fan of ICE, but for what you're talking about it wouldn't be optimal. As soon as you start getting into any sort of reasonably complex game mechanics (and most games have more than a single mechanic) the node graphs start to get unwieldy. The only reason they work so well for shader creation, is you can usually get up to the node visual feedback of what's going on up and down the node chain. That just doesn't work very well in practice when dealing with code and that can be seen in SoftImage's ICE as well. It's great for non programmers, but it gets hard to follow very very quickly for everyone involved.

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I'm a huge fan of ICE, but for what you're talking about it wouldn't be optimal. As soon as you start getting into any sort of reasonably complex game mechanics (and most games have more than a single mechanic) the node graphs start to get unwieldy. The only reason they work so well for shader creation, is you can usually get up to the node visual feedback of what's going on up and down the node chain. That just doesn't work very well in practice when dealing with code and that can be seen in SoftImage's ICE as well. It's great for non programmers, but it gets hard to follow very very quickly for everyone involved.

I am still interested in doing this as a standalone visual tool for shaders, but I agree with Brent's take on using it for game logic. A non-programmer still is going to have no idea how to do anything with it, and a programmer will be similarly perplexed, Now, Rick has been working on something like this, and I think it;s really cool and look forward to seeing what he implements. If he created some tool and sold it to users, that could be really interesting. The consumer in me is intrigued. But I don't want to gamble my engine on this approach, because it's a niche.

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As soon as you start getting into any sort of reasonably complex game mechanics (and most games have more than a single mechanic) the node graphs start to get unwieldy.

 

I think yes and no. Not sure if you were around when Pancakes was here but he was not a coder at all and he created a pretty complex battle system using a flowgraph from Blender I believe it was. UDK's Kismet is an example of this as well.

 

In what I'm playing with I'm taking it a step farther and picturing a world where you are programming almost line for line in flowgraphs the same as in C++. How you make your flowgraphs shouldn't be much different in how you code. Make small pieces of flowgraphs that you fit together. I can make an unmanageable flowgraph just like I can make an unmanageable function. I believe flowgraphs can be just as easy if not easier (since most people are visual learners) than coding in a typed language.

 

I know many various languages and I switch between about 3-4 on a daily basis between work and hobby. The idea of thinking logically doesn't change between them but the syntax does. Should the syntax really matter or should the logical thinking matter? Clearly logical thinking is the entire point of making a computer do something. So I asked myself how would we remove the syntax aspect then since it's not required. Syntax isn't the only reason of course but it's a reason. I also believe that reading code would be faster because of the visual aspect. Given certain colors and shapes being used to represent things, at a fast glance you could tell what is sort of going on.

 

These are my hopes anyway.

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I think yes and no. Not sure if you were around when Pancakes was here but he was not a coder at all and he created a pretty complex battle system using a flowgraph from Blender I believe it was. UDK's Kismet is an example of this as well.

 

In what I'm playing with I'm taking it a step farther and picturing a world where you are programming almost line for line in flowgraphs the same as in C++. How you make your flowgraphs shouldn't be much different in how you code. Make small pieces of flowgraphs that you fit together. I can make an unmanageable flowgraph just like I can make an unmanageable function. I believe flowgraphs can be just as easy if not easier (since most people are visual learners) than coding in a typed language.

 

I know many various languages and I switch between about 3-4 on a daily basis between work and hobby. The idea of thinking logically doesn't change between them but the syntax does. Should the syntax really matter or should the logical thinking matter? Clearly logical thinking is the entire point of making a computer do something. So I asked myself how would we remove the syntax aspect then since it's not required. Syntax isn't the only reason of course but it's a reason. I also believe that reading code would be faster because of the visual aspect. Given certain colors and shapes being used to represent things, at a fast glance you could tell what is sort of going on.

 

These are my hopes anyway.

 

Don't forget, I actually do have experience with Blender, and especially the UDK. :D Node graphs are great and all for a lot of things. Game logic just isn't one of them IMHO. It gets to be quite the mess if you use strictly kismet for everything in the UDK, rather than just code things out.

 

It's not the syntax difference thats the issue, but the visual feedback gets overly confusing. It's an issue of visual overload. I know you're working on a tool to do just this, and I wish you the best of luck.

 

To get an idea of exactly what you're creating, I highly suggest you look into Alice. http://www.alice.org/ It's not a node graph implementation, per say, but it's not far off. It uses drag and drop for line by line code generation. Try picturing doing something even remotely close to this using SoftImage ICE nodes or via Blender's node system. You're going to find it gets very complex very quickly.

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I've looked at Alice before.

 

Our thoughts on the topic just differ. Nothing wrong with that.

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Interesting reading. I'm more arty than cody, have written in assembly many years ago, i'm just not up to speed with cpp. I do agree that the asset pipeline and lack of some basic features in the editor are not as good as they should be. Also I am surprised that with the extensive work put into the shaders, there's hardly any materials provided & the material editor aint user friendly. I really like Leadwerks, its brilliant for the price, enjoying the results I'm getting & like this forum too. If I didn't know this, I would probably choose Unity, because the user interface looks fully featured and professional, whereas Leadwerks editor looks, erm, like it's got half a dozen features. Unity website sells Unity well too. A big selling point for Leadwerks is no royalty fees, but it's in the small print somewhere.

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oh and another thing nothing to do with this thread but continuation of above...if a prospective new user opens the Leadwerks website, page 1, big for all to see is 'Latest News' with the latest 10 posts, currently showing latest news from March 2010!! it makes Leadwerks look as if its gathering dust. Change it to a scrolling news feed with no date, or add news more often. And add a License Menu item even if its to open a page saying no royalty fees apply.

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oh and another thing nothing to do with this thread but continuation of above...if a prospective new user opens the Leadwerks website, page 1, big for all to see is 'Latest News' with the latest 10 posts, currently showing latest news from March 2010!! it makes Leadwerks look as if its gathering dust. Change it to a scrolling news feed with no date, or add news more often. And add a License Menu item even if its to open a page saying no royalty fees apply.

What page are you looking at? The last news item is May 17, 2011.

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item numer 10 in the list says 'Leadwerks at GDC 2010 - Mar 05 2010 08:22 PM'

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it's news that your developing version 3, it's news that your going to support iOS, etc.. why not add this to the news and drop the older news off the list.

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you have to admit, it looks a bit stagnant with news from over a year ago showing as latest news

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The fact that there have been zero commercial games with Leadwerks so far indicates we are doing something drastically wrong. To solve a problem, you have to first admit it exists. The brutal reality is that people are generally making beautiful walkthroughs with left-handed guns, and very little else.

 

I'm glad to hear Josh say this. Back in Leadwerks 1 he asked people what they wanted in the Leadwerks Engine and I put in a list of requirements. The response was.. 'You want me to make the game for you'. Now it is painfully clear that I'm not the only One to need those features to make the system usable. As I replied then. 'No I don't want you to make the game for me, just create a quality tool whereby the making of the game is an intuitive, imaginative experience which allows me to get my ideas into 3D easily'.

I'm watching and hoping that Leadwerks 3 will have what I require, in the meantime I've had to prototype my current project in Unity, not because I want to leave my good friends here but because it's just plain easier and I have to say that since I made the move, progress has shot ahead 50fold. As I've said in other posts, (one which was deleted), the end result graphics in the Leadwerks Engine are superior but for ease of use an Engine like Unity is streets ahead.

 

p.s. I actually find scripting with Leadwerk's Lua suits me more than Unity's Javascript.

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you have to admit, it looks a bit stagnant with news from over a year ago showing as latest news

 

Some time in April the server was rolled back by about 6 months. There may have been some news updates in that time that were lost.

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challenges

I must revive this conversation a bit more. One reason why it's hard to have "makeGame" function ;) is that there's no many ways to program this:

- C++

- C#

- LUA

- bmax

 

If I'd write a framework to Leadwerks, where you could say "startFPS", the problem is that I'm using only bmax (and that's not listed in LE3 btw). So, I would need to port my framework to 3-4 different languages. Also, if I'd want to support both LE2 + LE3, then I'd need to do even more things. Won't most likely happen.

 

If I'd write bmax "game template", which to you could add some of your own stuff easily, then the number of users would be somewhat limited (well, I guess owners of Bmax might get excited ;)).

 

But still there's the pipeline issue: doing all the models is hard work (I've done that manually from FPS creator/other models to LE). After you get stuff done, it works just sweet.

 

Besides this, the high end gfx comes at cost: compatibility in LE2 isn't greatest, but LE3 seems to help in this area. And by using both LE2 + LE3 (it shouldn't be that difficult, perhaps).

 

So, there is the challenge of:

- accessibility (different languages)

- compatibility (potential customers need a pretty decent machine, laptops won't cut it)

- for programmers (people wanting "makeFPSgame()" will have to wait...)

 

good

Where LE shines though is:

- simplicity of coding (I own Blitz3D, BlitzMax and worked couple of years on Leadwerks and the code was really easy to write once you got hang on things)

- beautiful (the art & stuff you can do just looks great. I tried Blitz3D version and then ported my code to Leadwerks and one guy was stunned how "pro" all things look, even though I was using same models, same animations, same camera view... only thing changed was engine. So, leadwerks can make crappy looking stuff great.)

- for programmers (I've tried Shiva, Unity, FPS Creator, and 6000 different other engines. I ordered one Unity book and tested it a lot, but all these attempts weren't in my liking. I don't use LE editor, I program my game using bmax ide. I like how I have full view of classes and things in front of me, instead of finding specific object and attaching scripts to them. I feel more in control, althought this is much about "how you like to work". I'm more programmer than artist, so I like this way.)

- if you use bmax, LE is by far the most advanced engine like tool (it has physics, graphics, and other things all there)

 

misc

Some thoughts about my zomb project: I never used Shaders, I'm not sure if I used post-processing effects either. I had problems with compatibility. I had to change all my art assets. I had to redo my code due core physics engine changes. Adding LE to bmax was simple. I saved tons of time using LE gfx & physics instead of trying to go with Ogre or something. Main reason why I chose LE back then many years ago was the fact that I had tons of bmax knowledge and didn't want to switch to Unity/something else.

 

thoughts

Leadwerks does many things well.

Unity does many things well.

[Name of the engine] does many things well.

 

It's a matter of needs & wants. For some stuff, LE might not be the best. For some stuff, it might be very well be a great tool. I feel that the "easy tool for non-n00b programmers, high-end graphics" way of doing things works well.

 

LE3 works on bmax (according to one Josh's post that was gone due data loss :)) and the initial tests of GL1.4 seemed to work just fine, so for any 3D stuff Leadwerks currently is on top of my list, but before the product is actually out all this LE3 is just guesswork. When it's out and I see it working, I can make better decisions.

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I agree with this, but interestingly enough you are putting your chips on Lua being the way to help solve this. I don't know where you got that idea that another language will make this change, but I'd venture to say it won't. People want a structure to follow and they don't really care what language they do it in (well some do). You have to provide a basic structure for how games will be written in LE to get games made (at a general level as there will be exceptions). All these other engines provide this, which leads to programmers wanting to invest their time in making libraries that support this structure and so people who have the determination to finish a game use these libraries to actually make a game. An indie person just can't be expected to write all the pieces that go into a game from scratch (again, the majority of indie ppl).

 

Every game engine has a well defined game structure defined for people to use and extend. That's what makes it a game engine and not just a graphics library. Your fear might be that you don't want to make a FPS Creator but the fact of the matter is if you want to be seen as a game engine and not just a graphics library you are going to have to define some kind of structure that people use and not just a language.

 

 

"If you build it,they will come."we need a structure, guidelines to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Seriously pointing to one universal language is a step in the right direction. As of now new people are starting to design games in leadwerks and don't have any clue on which language to use. Questions that come to mind not being a experience programmer was doing research on the forums and really came down to which language has more support topics to help us learn. Sunburn is an extremely successful engine for indie developers on xbox350 and it uses xna and c#. I think i heard something about c++ with direct x but mostly xna.

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I think LE3 is going in the good way :

-it will remain programming engine for all people wanting to see lot more code than visual things

-new plugin system : people will be able to bring new tools and visual helpers for avoiding coding values instead of visually adjusting them (Character controller visual adjustment on top of the character like in Unity 3D for example)

Or simply make some sort of game templates ready for modding like in UT3 ?

- new way of coding in Lua , all entities beeing loaded and that can interact between them

 

This way both camps should be happy if i'm not wrong on some point ?

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