Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Blender Game Competition 2010

Dear diary...ermm readers *hust*... this is my first post on this blog so please be gentle with me! I am sort of helping out now and then since qudobup is busy with other stuff. Beeing a forum regular I had to help out of course, even if I might not have the time to post that often.

Ok now to the really important stuff: Blender (everyones favorite GPL 3D modeling application) also has a build in game engine. And what would be nicer than having a nice competition for game creation?

Here is a video of one of the winners from last year (not open-source!):

So why not join in that get a chunk of the $500 prize?

Why Blender game engine (BGE)?

Wasn't the game engine always the stepchild of the project? Slow, bloated and buggy?
Well things change, and with this years open game project Yo Frankie! things have taken a leap towards greatness!
Speed has been greatly improved, physics are completely integrated and you can do great eyecandy with the OpenGL 2.0 GLSL shaders (here are some more features).
And things look even better with the upcoming Blender 2.5.

Getting started with the BGE

So what can the BGE actually do for aspiring FOSS game developers? Well it is a "game-maker" for grown-ups... so if you want to make games and not learn how to become the the next John Carmack (tm) the BGE is for you. On a low level you need no programming at all, much can be done with the "logic blocks". And for more ambitious projects the BGE is fully scriptable with Python (which is one of the easiest and most comfortable programming languages).

And did I mention that games created are completely multi platform? Linux and MacOSX ports are just one click away!
A good first step would be to head over to blenderartists.com and surf a bit on their game engine sub-forums. There you will find free (some GPL or PD even if the license is not always 100% clear) templates (f.e. FPS or network) and many great tutorials.

And most people there will freely share their .blend files with you which include all art assets, scripts and so on in neat package (open them in Blender, press "p" and the game starts). However not all of it is really licensed in a FOSS way, but at least you can use these as great tutorials. Overall one could say that this is a great way of distributing the "source" of complete FOSS games (code, art, music etc).

Other sites worth noting are GameBlender and maybe the new Blender Games. And of course for all your Blender news: Blender Nation!

So my excuses for these more game development related news... but you will find some nice games to play (done in Blender) in the many links I provided :p
But next time there will be more traditional gaming news!

Update: Some seriously nice eye candy!

This was just released and looks really nice!

Head over to the Blenderartists thread for more info (and .blend download!).
Oh and yes you are free to use it in your own projects!


Maxim said...

Blender is a great program and the BGE coming along nicely.
It's the fastest growing 3D program available and I can't wait for the 2.5 release.

Andrew said...

If I knew Yo Frankie was going to be made in blender's game engine I never would have pre-ordered it. They completely duped everyone into thinking they were making a c++ game and switched at the last minute.

The blender game engine is a waste of energy and time. If that's what people want to do in their spare time then good for them, however blender is suppose to be a modeling app. It doesn't even export well to other open source file formats such as ogre's mesh xml. Why not invest the $500 into that rather then this completely nonsensical of a feature? In fact there's probably a million better things this money could be spent on rather then the game engine.

Tranberry said...

_Andrew: you sound a bit in love with the blender guys, did you have a falling out or something. Beside the pissing I somewhat agree they should try to improve the 3D making instead of turning it into a do it all app.

Julius: great first post. Keep at it!

Julius said...

@andrew: To your first point... I think they didn't plan it like that either. They really wanted to do it with the Crystal Space engine, but in the end they realized that for some reason (which you can speculate about) it wasn't up to the task. Personally I think it was due to the fact that the last 1% can sometimes be another 100%, which is why all the open-source engines even if very feature rich do in the end come not even close to the commercial ones where they really had to the the last 1%.

Concerning your second point... for the exporter you should not ask the blender guys but the orge ones to write a nice exporter for their engine. Blender can not support all the millions of engines out there. And besides the game engine is developed by more or less completely different people than the modeling app part. So one does not take away from the other, at least not much.

So I am not sure why you think the BGE is non sensical... if you really look closely at open-source game design you have basicly three possibilities: 1st: one man show by a coder who spends most of the time fiddling with all the completly seperate code parts, or writes stuff from scratch. These are the proof of concept games with bad art that usually never make it into something cool. 2nd: the very few cases of teams, mostly knowing each other in real life, running the stuff more or less like a commercial studio. 3rd: one man projects started by artists which fail at programming. I have never seen one of those projects in the open-source scene get off the ground, while in the modding scene which good tools these are often the greatest mods. And this is where the BGE come into play. Programming there is not very hard and you can easily take different templates etc. Just look at the amount of games popping up in the BGE forums to see that this is where the real hobbist game development thrives... at least if you are looking for games and not game engines.

Andrew said...

It's not up to OGRE to get blender importing and exporting files. It's up to blender to fix blender. Passing the buck to the next guy is just lazy.

Although I complain at least I care about improving blender to the point where it becomes usable. Being a cheerleader of blender and not complaining about the problems helps no one find issues with it.

>> Blender can not support all the millions of engines out there.

There aren't millions of engines to support because blender doesn't support engines. It supports file formats. There is one open source file format that I know of.

Ogre does have the scripts in their svn which only half work with blender because blender doesn't have support for some features. Something to do with the UVs to be more specific.

Check out this thread from modders of the game Torchlight. They are having a pain of a time importing and exporting from blender.


If blender worked the best at importing and exporting to the OGRE file format you'd have converted some 3DS max users. Maybe next time I guess.

You keep coming up with these excuses for my problems using blender however they're all pointless. I already know WHY things are broken. I'm complaining about no one from blender doing anything about it for years.

Julius said...

Hmm ok if it really is a problem that also effects other exporters then you are right, but then again... why didn't the ogre users not fix it yet? Blender beeing open-source and all :)
I think you can not blame a Blender dev who never uses Ogre and who is not encountering that specific problem to not deal with it. This is not a customer driven commercial program after all.

But I guess this discussion does not make much sense at all since we really have a different idea of what to use Blender for anyways. I don't think modding commercial games (even if they build on an open-source graphics middle ware) should be a top priority of Blender. And for actual open-source games (!) the exporters from Blender work pretty well (at least in so far as I have tried them up to this point).
I don't particulary care about open-source middle wares which have not been turned into a single real FOSS game what so ever, since those might as well be closed source from a practical point of view.

martinsh said...

I just couldn`t refuse to say some good words about Blender,though these are just my thoughts, based on my years of experience with almost any CG software, and as a profesional game developer/artist.

Blender is an excellent piece of software. I`ve switched from Maya completely perhaps because I find the modelling, UV mapping and rigging tools much more superior than 3DSMax and Maya has, but mostly because Blender is the fastest evolving 3D software out there, and the version 2.5 is just the beginning.. I havent seen any worthy updates from Autodesk products for ages, well except Mudbox, which is brilliant. Exporting models and materials to other engines as CryEngine, UnrealEngine3 and C4 is a breeze, thanks to Collada support. Don`t know about Ogre, haven`t used it, as it is not a game engine.
The best part of Blender imo is its own Game Engine, which is not near perfect, but fastly improving like the rest of the package.

Peace, Martinsh.

Paul Gregory said...

@andrew: "It's not up to OGRE to get blender importing and exporting files. It's up to blender to fix blender."

Hmm, couldn't disagree more here. Blender is not broken in this respect, it works fine. It saves files in Blender format, and loads them. If people want Blender to support OGRE, then someone else should be responsible for taking on the job. There really isn't any way the Blender development team could possibly cater for every whim and desire in terms of import/export, it doesn't work like that, nor does it work like that in the commercial world. As an example (yeah, I know it's not games, but the principle is the same), 3DSMax doesn't support export to RenderMan, Animal Logic needed RenderMan export, did they whine and moan to AutoDesk about the lack of RenderMan export? No, they wrote MaxMan. And the comment about only one Open Source file format is patently complete nonsense. There's Collada, OGRE, Crystal Space (who do BTW write their own Blender exporter), Irrlicht, Quake, etc.

It always amazes me when I see this sort of response to quality Open Source software. The attitude...

"I want it all for free, I want it to do everything *I* need (because what *I* want is so much more important than what anyone else wants!), and no, there's no way I'm going to get involved and do some work myself, why should I, it's up to them to cow tow to my demands and requirements, what do they think I am?"

...is exactly what's strangling Open Source as a development approach, across the board. If there was 1 good dedicated developer, willing to get involved and produce something for every 10 whiney whinging moaners, Open Source would dominate the software market.

Just my 2 cents.

Paul Gregory

Andrew said...

@Paul Gregory & Julius

My priority isn't producing open artwork content. My priority to producing my open source game. I already listed reasons why I can't do this in blender. Telling me that I'm selfish for not wasting time that could be spent on my own project doesn't help your cause.

If blender doesn't work for me I just use something else. I gave examples of others also in the same position as myself. Just because you both sit in your bubble not dealing with these issues on a day to day basis doesn't make them less important.

The only attitude problems are from people who can't take any criticism over their favourite program. They brush off anyone whose having real issues with it like both of you are doing now.

Paul Gregory said...


If you can't do it in Blender, that's fine, use the tools that are best for you, and if you're in a position to afford the likes of 3DSMax, great, many people, myself included can't afford that expense, and for us Blender fits the bill very well. However, your comments were clearly indicating that it's up to the Blender developers to make Blender fit your needs ("Passing the buck to the next guy is just lazy." (can anyone say "pot" and "kettle"?)).

As for "...sit in your bubble not dealing with these issues on a day to day basis...", I work for a major games company producing tools (3DSMax based as it happens), so I'm well aware of the problems.

I'm not a Blender developer, but I do appreciate all the work they do, and felt it important to respond to your post. I can take criticism, both over my programs and others, however I don't feel that unwarranted complaining about how an Open Source project never responds to your requests for them to do what you want ("I'm complaining about no one from blender doing anything about it for years.") is neither productive or reasonable.

More importantly, you choose to make unwarranted claims ("There is one open source file format that I know of.") in order to try to backup your point. These claims have no basis in reality, but they will be taken on board by people less willing to investigate the claims for themselves. If you're going to make wild claims like this it would be best for all if you were to check your facts first. I know first hand that comments like that, which are false and misleading, can be very damaging to a projects reputation, and very difficult to recover from. If you don't have the time to validate such claims before posting, best not to make them at all, rather than guess.

Finally, I'm not brushing anyone off, if I were I wouldn't take the time to respond. I'm simply stating the fact that if you want an Open Source product to do what you need, whinging won't get it, and if you don't, then why make the comment?


Revenant said...

"Yo Frankie!" has been rendered in both BGE and the (C++) CrystalSpace engine and both versions are included on the DVD.

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