Mike MGarcia's Games Development Blog

A hobbyist Mobile/PC/Android/Console game development blog

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Beginners guide into game development using the
Gameplay3D game engine framework

Gameplay3D is an open-source, cross-platform, 3D engine that is aimed at supporting indie game developers who want to develop desktop and mobile games.
Gameplay currently supports:
    BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0
    Apple iOS 5.1 for iPhone and iPad
    Google Android 2.3+
    Apple Mac OS X
    Microsoft Windows

Unofficially it also supports more because it’s open sourced.
IE: linux ARM devices like openpandora, the Linux single-board computers like the Raspberry Pi, beagleboard, Arduino etc and phones like the Nokia N9 & N900
Windows phone support has been done by somebody in the community.

Gameplay3D is mainly targeted at mobile devices and this is the lowest common denominator.
This means no advanced GPU features like dynamic shadowing, geometry shaders etc.

On the up side, Gameplay3D has a flexible interface for mobiles/tablets already built in!
This includes virtual gamepad (joysticks and buttons), gestures and basic User Interface (forms/tick boxs/radio buttons/buttons/sliders etc) - see all the features on their site.
Some game engines which target mobile do not implement these, leaving the developer to reinvent the wheel!

Below are some images from Gameplay3D samples:

Not in the samples:
Click to enlarge.

The engine is led by Sean Paul Taylor, sgrenier and dgough from RIM’s Blackberry.
With contributions from the community.
Obviously, the benefit for RIM is that they will hopefully get your game on it’s Blackberry devices too!
There is no requirement for the game developer to be on BB devices nor to advertise their engine.
However, there are minor parts of Gameplay3D which haven’t been completed for iOS nor Android while BB’s implementation is there.
For example gamepad support, here is the open issue listing.
I guess this is fair enough, as they don’t work for iOS nor Android so the community can step in and submit these.

The source code is hosted on RIM’s github
With two branches, master(Current release) and next(Future release).

It doesn’t have all the flashy bells and whistles of more larger game engines.
It currently has no editor (like Unity 3D), instead adopting the philosophy that the 3d creation tool is the game editor.
This means, you are relying on your asset creation package for assets but also scene (level) design/layout etc.
This is actually very intuitive and closer to how larger game companies create their levels using Maya (bigger companies develop their own tools & formats).

If you interested in Gameplay3D, here is a good video intro:

And also watch this GDC presentation by the creators for a lower level understanding.

Let’s start by looking at 3D asset creation.
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Shade 3D for Unity!
A free Blender alternative for FBX & Y-Up users!

Update: 5th Feb 2014 added a Shade3D tutorial: 3D Modeling, Bone, Skin and Animating.

Game assets are a very important part of any game development!
The easier you can make it the better right?
Well, that means good modeling features and a scriptable pipeline/workflow!
Shade 3D for Unity, has these and does the basics very well and for free!

Why is FBX important?
FBX has been a GameDev industry standard since Maya/AutoDesk bought it and developed it further.
The format includes everything! simple (relatively) and the SDK is free.
Unfortunately for Blender users, the FBX exporter isn’t 100% and some game engines (like gameplay3D) have tight coupling to FBX.

Above is a screen shot of the racer demo from gameplay3D, it’s has 631 objects (117K polygons!).
Click the image to see it larger.
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Indie Game Development has a lot of hardships!

Not just the technical and creative aspects but also the financial side!
When living of savings or part-time income, it’s important to watch were your money goes!
Here are my tips on how I made my ‘Cut backs’

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Announcing Leadwerks 3

The much anticipated LE3 was first introduced with the price of $999USD desktop only.
iOS and Android support is an addition $999USD each!!
Then after a day of massive criticism, it dropped to $450.
Then again dropped to $199.

I guess it was funny at the time watching a few people (around 10) leave Leadwerks and move to another closed source game engine, EE (Esenthel Engine).
You think they would have learned?

Sure EE is pretty awesome, it has a lot of great features (including Linux support) while being affordable.
After all, I did buy a license.
But you are required to use the editor which adheres to no windows standards!
You can use/debug in Visual studio, but any changes made don’t revert back to the editor, so no point unless you are only targeting windows.

Not having much internet access at the time, I moved from EE to Gameplay3D when he made his application require license checking every time on start-up, with no Grace period (V2 editor starting with no internet connection).

I learnt the importance of having the game engine source code!
The freedom and flexibility of adding your own features instead of having to bid on them like crowd funding just to motivate the creator.
More importantly, I wasn’t learning much using EE because it’s poorly documented and I couldn’t drill down into the engine’s code to see what was going on!
Besides, I didn’t need advanced features like MMORPG support etc.
That’s why I switched to Gameplay3D.
But here’s the lesson, game engine programmers, like everyone else need to be paid… but some are just a bit more eccentric!

Below is the google cache of the page which was removed after a lot of nasty comments!
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