I've just uploaded the new Ca3DE Software Development Kit with all the latest updates and enhancements!
This time, the changes have been mostly fundamental, bringing the Ca3D-Engine a great leap forward with respect to flexibility and being future-proof.
Here is an overview of the most crucial enhancements:
- Introduced a completely new GUI System (GuiSys) to the Ca3D-Engine.
Complementary to and based on the well-known Ca3DE MatSys, this new GUI System internally works like a window manager in any modern OS. This is a grave but highly welcome paradigm shift to the implementation of the Ca3DE Client code, which has been updated according to the new principles.
With the GuiSys, it is possible to model arbitrary Graphical User Interfaces with ease, and the best is: this works both for the usual 2D GUIs, as well as for 3D world- or entity-GUIs!!
The flexibility that this concept adds to the Ca3D-Engine is just incredible, and in fact there is a lot more to say about it, but just look at these screenshots for a quick impression: If you're modding Ca3DE and are interested in learning more about how own GUIs can be created, please refer to the Ca3DE documentation, which has been updated as well.
With the current Ca3DE SDK, the "Really Quit?" dialog, the in-game console, the players Head-Up Display (HUD) and the chat input dialog all have been implemented as examples by means of the new GuiSys, as well as a test GUI that demonstrates their use on entities in the 3D world.
- It's just getting even better: exhaustive support for Scripting capabilities has been added, too!
The new Ca3DE Scripting system is based on the Lua programming language. The current SDK release initially employs the new scripting capabilities to make the above mentioned GUIs scriptable, and the support will be extended in the next release to entity scripting (that is, map scripting) as well.
For developers, the combination of the new GuiSys and the scripting features provide very flexible and powerful means to create new games with the Ca3D-Engine. The Ca3DE documentation contains a great amount of additional information about scripting Ca3DE for interested developers.
- Together with the GuiSys comes a great Font rendering component, that is able to draw true-type fonts (or any other font) onto the GUI surfaces in a very good quality. Based on the FreeType library, even the kerning feature is supported, which makes the resulting font quality outstanding among all existing game engines. I'm not aware of any other game engine (including e.g. Doom3) that currently achieves this level of typographic detail.
For developers, an easy-to-use command-line tool has been included that makes creating new font faces for use with the new GuiSys a simple and straightforward process.
- Finally, CaWE has undergone many improvements, the most important of which are:
- The "Edit Vertices (Morph)" tool has been completely overhauled. It's a lot more stable now (that was the main reason for the overhaul), and is also a lot easier to use.
- Maps can now directly be compiled from within CaWE, via a new menu that conveniently calls the compile tools directly, so that there is no need anymore to type commands at the command-line by hand. A new built-in console to CaWE displays the compilation status and results.
- The automatic scrolling feature that takes effect whenever the user keeps a mouse button pressed down (e.g. you're trying to drag something outside of the visible window portion) is now much user friendlier and intuitive than before.
- The Material Browser now flags materials that have the alpha-test feature enabled with an [A], materials that have a non-default blending-mode with a , and those that have both with [AB]. This is a great help for identifying materials that are not fully opaque.
- As usual, a ton of smaller feature enhancements and bug fixes were implemented as well.
Finally, I'd like to address the question on why there once more is a new SDK release, but no new Demo release. This is because I and several kind people are working on the upcoming Ca3DE TechDemo. This TechDemo will feature a very large map with both an indoor and an outdoor part, and is just not yet finished. I currently aim for early January 2007 for an early release (even if it is still not quite finished in my eyes until then), so please be patient. If you would like to stay up-to-date with the latest developments about Ca3DE, please look into the new SDK and visit the forums and the IRC chat.
As always, the SDK file is available for download at http://www.ca3d-engine.de/download.php?view.6.