Hello - I want to create a 3D game with next gen effects in

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Juggernaut
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Hello - I want to create a 3D game with next gen effects in

Post by Juggernaut » 2012-04-16, 17:08

Hello,

I am new to cafu engine. I want to know the following -

1. Do I download and install the binary version to develop games or do I need to install the source code ?

2. Is there any step by step tutorial on how to create a 3D game using CAFU engine ? In the documentation section - http://www.cafu.de/wiki/, there are details about the world editor, material editor and model editor. But how to create a complete 3D game from scratch including writing C++ code and using custom effect files ( shader files in HLSL ), implementing advanced physics like destroyable environments and soft body physics, implementing particle effects - all these are not shown.

I have chosen Cafu instead of Unity3D because I cannot afford to pay $1500 and that the indie version of Unity3D lacks lots of features like soft shadows, LOD, occlusion culling, per pixel lighting etc. So when I found Cafu I was quite
amazed to see the features that are listed and that the engine is free to use.
But on the downside I must say that Cafu does not have extensive tutorials on making complete games from scratch as found in case of Unity - which is a very crucial factor for learning an engine. Hope, somebody in the forum can help me out.... :?

Thanks,
HWGuy
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Re: Hello - I want to create a 3D game with next gen effects

Post by HWGuy » 2012-04-16, 17:25

Compiling off svn is best and lets you make changes easily, but Carsten does put up binaries regularly.

Cafu's renderer is out of date but it can already do a lot, you could mod is the aforementioned features, although cafu will be getting a new shiny modern renderer in the future.
Cafu already has culling(visleafing) and LoD, although not occlusion, but could be added in since it already does the other two.
The terrain system is one thing I like, it is smart, keeping the shape of the terrain when reducing detail at a distance.
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Carsten
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Re: Hello - I want to create a 3D game with next gen effects

Post by Carsten » 2012-04-16, 21:03

Hi Juggernaut,
welcome to the Cafu forums! :welcome:
But on the downside I must say that Cafu does not have extensive tutorials on making complete games from scratch as found in case of Unity
Well, I guess we don't have all the features that you mentioned, so we cannot have documentation for everything either.
Can you post a link to an example documentation of the type you're missing here?

One key reason why we don't have many tutorials is that the Cafu Engine is, at least to some degree, targeted at game developers who are also C++ developers: sometimes its just necessary, and often desirable, to make the required changes or even to add or rewrite entire parts yourself to your liking.
For all these cases, we have no tutorials, but the C++ source code is well organized and documented and thus hopefully easy to understand.
Best regards,
Carsten
Juggernaut
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Re: Hello - I want to create a 3D game with next gen effects

Post by Juggernaut » 2012-04-18, 18:07

Hello Carsten,

First of all thank you (the creator of the engine) for welcoming me to the forum .
I admire your effort in building the game engine but sadly I find the rendering capability of cafu is pre-dated - something like quake III era. I am using NVIDIA 9400GT card but the rendering quality of the demo games that come with the engine (latest dev version) is heartbreaking. I do not know if those demos were deliberately made in such a way to support older hardware or is this the maximum rendering capability of the engine. It has been stated in the feature list that cafu abstracts the use of shaders and automatically selects what effects / shaders to enable depending on the hardware capability of the pc that engine is running on. Maybe I am wrong ..... maybe cafu can do better than the demos.

Now, regarding tutorials - home grown indies like me are not VC++ or C++ professionals who have many years of experience dealing with the language. So I guess that is our job to learn C++ in order to work with the cafu engine - that is understandable. But people like us need some step by step tutorials to get started - something what Unity has for example -

http://unity3d.com/support/documentation/

It contains a tutorial section with loads of lesson to learn and even example projects to go through.

I understand cafu is opensource and not a commercial product like unity. But still I must say those tutorials are real backbone of learning an unknown game engine. Otherwise cafu will solely remain in the domain of hardcore C++ developers. Well this is my opinion but you are the creator of this engine and you know best what is good for your baby.

Thanks and regards,
HWGuy
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Re: Hello - I want to create a 3D game with next gen effects

Post by HWGuy » 2012-04-18, 19:34

The tech demo is ancient, but the code is pretty fresh.
We're going to have a new one that'll resemble a level in a AAA title when the renderer is updated.

I'd disagree it's only for C++ users, it supports Lua and has a SDK which is easy to use.
Adding a texture is as simple as using a png and adding 3 lines of text, easier than the source engine.
Adding a model with animations can be done with the sdk.
Mapping is simple like Hammer.

Real programming is needed for any game, unless you make something very simple within the confines of the engine.
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Re: Hello - I want to create a 3D game with next gen effects

Post by Carsten » 2012-04-18, 22:46

Hi Juggernaut,

thanks for your analysis, clear words are always welcome!

When I try to put myself in the position of a new developer who does not yet know the Cafu Engine, I agree that despite all it's documentation at http://www.cafu.de/wiki/ and the other web pages, it can have a relatively steep learning curve:
Our documentation has grown significantly over the years, but there is still a lot of stuff missing.

The "root" problem is of course limited resources: I only have so much spare time, and I have to divide it across developing new features, developing usability features, writing documentation, providing support, website maintenance, doing legal work, doing public relations work, etc.

My personal preference is, like everyone else's, writing new leading-edge features with stunning effects and shiny graphics. That's ok for me as well, because I don't mind if everything else is neglected and "suffers". Such course however comes (or came) with many ugly side effects, like importing maps from editors for other engines, writing all material definitions and GUI scripts by hand and from scratch, reading source code rather than documentation, hex-edit BSP-tree data structures, implementing shaders in C++ or GPU assembly code, and did I mention that I like command-line interfaces? ;-)

Alas, most people don't like hacking like this, and if I insisted on my course, we would probably have a technically very nice 3D renderer, but I would likely also be it's only user. So I take time to implement "extras" like CaWE. The Map Editor alone is a full application of its own, and it took months to bring it to todays state. Writing documentation takes even longer (and can be very frustrating if you're supposed to document something that you'd rather rewrite than document).

For example, take a look at the new material that I created for the new Model Editor: the gallery images, the feature list update, the video and the documentation as mentioned at the bottom of my recent News post.
This alone took over two weeks -- time that is lacking for anything else.
(And believe me, I'm really looking forward to getting this stable release out so that I can go back to programming again!)

But things are still very well, and I cannot complain: Considering the available resources, things are progressing very well, and especially we're constantly getting better in all departments. :wohow:

Finally, maybe the best that I can do is ask and encourage you (and everyone else) to help:
Whenever something is old, ugly or missing, help to add or improve it!
There are many ways to do it, too: from filing tickets over proof-reading the docs, replying to forum questions, improving the artwork, to writing C++ code -- almost everything is helpful!
(And it's really the best way to get the things done that you think need doing!)

:up:
Best regards,
Carsten
Juggernaut
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Re: Hello - I want to create a 3D game with next gen effects

Post by Juggernaut » 2012-04-20, 01:08

Hello Carsten,

Thank you for the long explanatory answer. I understand only a little what you have gone through while building the engine because though I might be able to write and run some C++ DirectX code by following some books, building an engine and incorporating all those advanced level industry technologies is not my cup of tea. HWGuy mentioned that a new renderer with AAA class demos is comming in the next release version.

Frankly speaking I do not belong to those elite hacker class who are gurus of system level things and implements functional maths using C++ to get the latest 3D effects in the application they are developing. I am just an indie with passion for developing games. You are way beyond my level.
But yes I will wait eagerly to see the next new release of cafu and the AAA class demos that will accompany it. If it really happens ....... it will be groundbreaking in game industry ......... Unity and C4 will be blown out of water for sure :) and you will find thousands (if not millions) like me scouring the cafu forum and increase the community 100 fold many times than now.

I am not leaving cafu ........ I will be back ( ...... don't worry ...... I am not the terminator :) )

Best regards,
Juggernaut
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Re: Hello - I want to create a 3D game with next gen effects

Post by Juggernaut » 2012-05-11, 18:03

Hello,

Does the Stable: Cafu 12.05 released May 2012 contains some new demo games within the installation package or are they just the older ones ?

Thanks,
HWGuy
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Re: Hello - I want to create a 3D game with next gen effects

Post by HWGuy » 2012-05-11, 18:23

Juggernaut wrote:Hello,
Does the Stable: Cafu 12.05 released May 2012 contains some new demo games within the installation package or are they just the older ones ?
Thanks,
No new demo until the new renderer, can't really show off backend things afterall, although the SDK has progressed.
Juggernaut
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Re: Hello - I want to create a 3D game with next gen effects

Post by Juggernaut » 2012-05-11, 18:27

Any rough idea when the new renderer will get implemented ?
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Carsten
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Re: Hello - I want to create a 3D game with next gen effects

Post by Carsten » 2012-05-11, 19:12

Juggernaut wrote:Any rough idea when the new renderer will get implemented ?
Well, now that the official 12.05 release is out, and we're done with sending out press announcements (which eats horrible amounts of time every time), the new rendering technology is a top priority, with a single exception:

I've come to realize that virtually each new developer who is interested in the Cafu Engine first looks into the game code, and often takes the first steps by making modifications to it, try it out, etc.
At the same time, the very code that is in the center of the attention belongs to the oldest and most complicated pieces that we have -- nearly every other aspect in Cafu is newer, clearer, and better designed. In fact, as some of you have found out already, even a simple task like adding a new attribute to the player is more complicated than it should be. Instead of an initial experience like this, the game code should be a lot more fun, or at least be readable, reasonably designed, and easy to understand and extend.

So this key matter is the only one that for me has even higher priority than the renderers (which have a massive significance in creating first impressions as well). I've started some related work already (see the revisions newer than r525, related ticket is #113), and plan to finish this quickly.
As all related work is about coding, no GUIs are involved that needs polishing, and all documentation is only in the C++ comments, I'm positive that this can be achieved pretty quickly.
Once done, the immediate next step is the renderers.

As always, please let me point out that this is the scenario if I have to do everything myself. Things get a lot better if you can provide any kind of help, e.g. contribute some patches or new code -- I tend to review patches before everything else. :up:
Best regards,
Carsten
Juggernaut
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Re: Hello - I want to create a 3D game with next gen effects

Post by Juggernaut » 2012-05-15, 13:33

@Carsten: I do understand the amount of pressure on your shoulder. I will try to help but first I will have to understand the existing system ( internal coding of the engine ) before I can contribute anything to the project. So it will take me some time. Please accept my personal well wishes to the work you are doing all by yourself.
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Re: Hello - I want to create a 3D game with next gen effects

Post by Carsten » 2012-05-16, 10:57

:thanks:
Best regards,
Carsten
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