Corroborative Thread for 3D Game Developers
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As someone who enjoys creating small games, I thought it would be helpful to everyone, both indie developers and studios, to create a thread where everyone can give input on what works well in a 3d game.

I'm fairly new to 3d and am setting up my first 3d gaming environment soon (May or June). I'd like to develop a type of first-person adventure thriller where you uncover secrets of our world. I'd like to make the games free and downloadable in episodes (because long waits suck).

The problem is that I don't want to half-ass it. I want to know what you like about your favorite 3d games. First-person ones are preferred, but specific effects such as the mist in Trine 2 is welcome as well.

Maybe eventually I'll create a Wiki where we can store the information, but I need some people to help get this thread started. I've heard that you should limit pop-out/out-of-screen effects to the center of the screen and avoid the edges as much as possible, but other than that I'm fairly in the dark about what makes a great first-person 3d game.
As someone who enjoys creating small games, I thought it would be helpful to everyone, both indie developers and studios, to create a thread where everyone can give input on what works well in a 3d game.



I'm fairly new to 3d and am setting up my first 3d gaming environment soon (May or June). I'd like to develop a type of first-person adventure thriller where you uncover secrets of our world. I'd like to make the games free and downloadable in episodes (because long waits suck).



The problem is that I don't want to half-ass it. I want to know what you like about your favorite 3d games. First-person ones are preferred, but specific effects such as the mist in Trine 2 is welcome as well.



Maybe eventually I'll create a Wiki where we can store the information, but I need some people to help get this thread started. I've heard that you should limit pop-out/out-of-screen effects to the center of the screen and avoid the edges as much as possible, but other than that I'm fairly in the dark about what makes a great first-person 3d game.

#1
Posted 04/13/2012 08:32 PM   
Love the idea. But what an undertaking! What I would like to capture in a game is the feeling of an Epiphany moment: A sudden realisation of great truth. A sort of excited-sick-dizzy feeling when your 'reality' has changed. How many people here have had one of these? Know what I mean? I think the added immersiveness of 3D might make this real.

What do you mean by 'uncover secrets of the world'? Ancient astronauts? Fringe-like? Or an Adventure Thriller with a geologiest protagonist? /wink.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' /> Name a bunch of books /films / tv show which have a taste of what you are thinking of...


'The Mists of Trine 2' purrrrrrrr That effect is so good, sad as it sounds, I sometimes have to load up that Grove level just to remind myself how cool it actually is. Blows me away every time.

Mate, going to enjoy this thread. Right! Wife is telling me it's bed time! /yes.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':yes:' />
Love the idea. But what an undertaking! What I would like to capture in a game is the feeling of an Epiphany moment: A sudden realisation of great truth. A sort of excited-sick-dizzy feeling when your 'reality' has changed. How many people here have had one of these? Know what I mean? I think the added immersiveness of 3D might make this real.



What do you mean by 'uncover secrets of the world'? Ancient astronauts? Fringe-like? Or an Adventure Thriller with a geologiest protagonist? /wink.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' /> Name a bunch of books /films / tv show which have a taste of what you are thinking of...





'The Mists of Trine 2' purrrrrrrr That effect is so good, sad as it sounds, I sometimes have to load up that Grove level just to remind myself how cool it actually is. Blows me away every time.



Mate, going to enjoy this thread. Right! Wife is telling me it's bed time! /yes.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':yes:' />

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
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#2
Posted 04/13/2012 09:42 PM   
[quote name='andysonofbob' date='13 April 2012 - 01:42 PM' timestamp='1334353333' post='1395995']
Love the idea. But what an undertaking! What I would like to capture in a game is the feeling of an Epiphany moment: A sudden realisation of great truth. A sort of excited-sick-dizzy feeling when your 'reality' has changed. How many people here have had one of these? Know what I mean? I think the added immersiveness of 3D might make this real.[/quote]

I think I remember this feeling from the first time I watched Stargate, along with a few other episodes of it.

[quote name='andysonofbob' date='13 April 2012 - 01:42 PM' timestamp='1334353333' post='1395995']
What do you mean by 'uncover secrets of the world'? Ancient astronauts? Fringe-like? Or an Adventure Thriller with a geologiest protagonist? /wink.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' /> Name a bunch of books /films / tv show which have a taste of what you are thinking of...
[/quote]

Archaeologist probably /wink.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' /> Maybe a mix of Stargate, Indiana Jones, and the more popular recent shows such as Ancient Aliens. I'm very fascinated by (some) unique paranormal ideas that are out there. Doing it in an episodic format would allow each game to deal with specific phenomena and such.

I do recall that the less HUD available, the better. This makes me think there shouldn't be any HUD at all. Hitting a button would open a 3d inventory for items to use, but overall I would want my games to be about the [i]experience[/i], not just moving from one place to the next.
[quote name='andysonofbob' date='13 April 2012 - 01:42 PM' timestamp='1334353333' post='1395995']

Love the idea. But what an undertaking! What I would like to capture in a game is the feeling of an Epiphany moment: A sudden realisation of great truth. A sort of excited-sick-dizzy feeling when your 'reality' has changed. How many people here have had one of these? Know what I mean? I think the added immersiveness of 3D might make this real.



I think I remember this feeling from the first time I watched Stargate, along with a few other episodes of it.



[quote name='andysonofbob' date='13 April 2012 - 01:42 PM' timestamp='1334353333' post='1395995']

What do you mean by 'uncover secrets of the world'? Ancient astronauts? Fringe-like? Or an Adventure Thriller with a geologiest protagonist? /wink.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' /> Name a bunch of books /films / tv show which have a taste of what you are thinking of...





Archaeologist probably /wink.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' /> Maybe a mix of Stargate, Indiana Jones, and the more popular recent shows such as Ancient Aliens. I'm very fascinated by (some) unique paranormal ideas that are out there. Doing it in an episodic format would allow each game to deal with specific phenomena and such.



I do recall that the less HUD available, the better. This makes me think there shouldn't be any HUD at all. Hitting a button would open a 3d inventory for items to use, but overall I would want my games to be about the experience, not just moving from one place to the next.

#3
Posted 04/13/2012 09:50 PM   
New day new bump, more opinions, please :)

Still deciding whether I should use UDK or Unity. I'll test both when I get my 3d setup I suppose.
New day new bump, more opinions, please :)



Still deciding whether I should use UDK or Unity. I'll test both when I get my 3d setup I suppose.

#4
Posted 04/14/2012 06:19 AM   
[quote name='spire8989' date='13 April 2012 - 10:50 PM' timestamp='1334353805' post='1395998']
I do recall that the less HUD available, the better. This makes me think there shouldn't be any HUD at all. Hitting a button would open a 3d inventory for items to use, but overall I would want my games to be about the [i]experience[/i], not just moving from one place to the next.
[/quote]

Like a contextualised dial menu that radiates out per your selection choices? That's a (whatever it is called when your HUD cuts inside the 3D) good idea. If you must have HUD items try to avoid placing anything in the center-top region, I think the upper and middle left and right zones are fine. (Like the numberpad keys positions: 7 4 9 6 these are the safe zones for minimal clipping and max confort.)

What is the size of the sandbox you think you will be able to create? Is it like the large Panou island chain seen in Just Cause 2; the smallish island as per Dear Esther or literally a doll's house? If we know the scale of the project you are willing to do, we might be able to apply that to the scope of your game - if you know what I mean...
[quote name='spire8989' date='13 April 2012 - 10:50 PM' timestamp='1334353805' post='1395998']

I do recall that the less HUD available, the better. This makes me think there shouldn't be any HUD at all. Hitting a button would open a 3d inventory for items to use, but overall I would want my games to be about the experience, not just moving from one place to the next.





Like a contextualised dial menu that radiates out per your selection choices? That's a (whatever it is called when your HUD cuts inside the 3D) good idea. If you must have HUD items try to avoid placing anything in the center-top region, I think the upper and middle left and right zones are fine. (Like the numberpad keys positions: 7 4 9 6 these are the safe zones for minimal clipping and max confort.)



What is the size of the sandbox you think you will be able to create? Is it like the large Panou island chain seen in Just Cause 2; the smallish island as per Dear Esther or literally a doll's house? If we know the scale of the project you are willing to do, we might be able to apply that to the scope of your game - if you know what I mean...

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
-------------------
Vitals: Windows 7 64bit, i5 2500 @ 4.4ghz, GTX670, 8GB, Viewsonic VX2268WM

GameGrade 3D
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#5
Posted 04/14/2012 06:42 AM   
My current plan is to make story arcs that follow different characters. So as one character you'll explore the Gate of the Gods, as another you'll look around at the pyramids in Egypt, etc. Eventually I hope I can make a full-scale game where they all come together etc.

Each story arc would have 3 episodes or so.

But for an example of where I'll be starting, the first game/episode will take place *mostly* in a large cavern system where you'll look for the key of the god of the seven rays in order to access the gate of the gods. Bonus points if you know what those are /wink.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' />

I'm not sure how big the caverns will be, the first episode will probably take the longest to create as it will require a ton of testing/debugging/custom models/etc.

Funny that you mention Dear Esther since I like the cave/cavern design in it. I'll also probably pull inspiration from some areas in Skyrim. If you have experience in Skyrim, we could say about the size of the biggest underground cavern in that, for the first episode. I haven't played Dear Esther recently enough to remember the scopes there.

Uh, also, I hope to be able to include in-game cutscenes in a few places that will hopefully utilize 3d well enough. I'm mostly doing this for my own enjoyment so don't expect the scope to be gigantic. :)
My current plan is to make story arcs that follow different characters. So as one character you'll explore the Gate of the Gods, as another you'll look around at the pyramids in Egypt, etc. Eventually I hope I can make a full-scale game where they all come together etc.



Each story arc would have 3 episodes or so.



But for an example of where I'll be starting, the first game/episode will take place *mostly* in a large cavern system where you'll look for the key of the god of the seven rays in order to access the gate of the gods. Bonus points if you know what those are /wink.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' />



I'm not sure how big the caverns will be, the first episode will probably take the longest to create as it will require a ton of testing/debugging/custom models/etc.



Funny that you mention Dear Esther since I like the cave/cavern design in it. I'll also probably pull inspiration from some areas in Skyrim. If you have experience in Skyrim, we could say about the size of the biggest underground cavern in that, for the first episode. I haven't played Dear Esther recently enough to remember the scopes there.



Uh, also, I hope to be able to include in-game cutscenes in a few places that will hopefully utilize 3d well enough. I'm mostly doing this for my own enjoyment so don't expect the scope to be gigantic. :)

#6
Posted 04/14/2012 07:07 AM   
Well mate,

Sounds like you know what you are doing. Which games use the two engines you mentioned again?
Well mate,



Sounds like you know what you are doing. Which games use the two engines you mentioned again?

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
-------------------
Vitals: Windows 7 64bit, i5 2500 @ 4.4ghz, GTX670, 8GB, Viewsonic VX2268WM

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#7
Posted 04/14/2012 08:18 AM   
[quote name='spire8989' date='13 April 2012 - 02:50 PM' timestamp='1334353805' post='1395998']
I do recall that the less HUD available, the better. This makes me think there shouldn't be any HUD at all. Hitting a button would open a 3d inventory for items to use, but overall I would want my games to be about the [i]experience[/i], not just moving from one place to the next.
[/quote]

FWIW you should be careful with this, about half the games I've ever shipped had the designer espousing "no HUD" at the beginning, only to have one jammed in once the game went into test, and no one could actually play it.
I suppose if it's not an action game, you might get away with it.
[quote name='spire8989' date='13 April 2012 - 02:50 PM' timestamp='1334353805' post='1395998']

I do recall that the less HUD available, the better. This makes me think there shouldn't be any HUD at all. Hitting a button would open a 3d inventory for items to use, but overall I would want my games to be about the experience, not just moving from one place to the next.





FWIW you should be careful with this, about half the games I've ever shipped had the designer espousing "no HUD" at the beginning, only to have one jammed in once the game went into test, and no one could actually play it.

I suppose if it's not an action game, you might get away with it.
#8
Posted 04/14/2012 03:40 PM   
[quote name='ERP' date='14 April 2012 - 07:40 AM' timestamp='1334418020' post='1396272']
FWIW you should be careful with this, about half the games I've ever shipped had the designer espousing "no HUD" at the beginning, only to have one jammed in once the game went into test, and no one could actually play it.
I suppose if it's not an action game, you might get away with it.
[/quote]

Yeah, I think that I can get away with having no HUD apart from an inventory since it's an adventure game. If I find that I need one I'll spend enough time to make sure it looks good :)

As for games that use the engines, Unity is used by lots of mobile games, web games, and a lot of indie games, you'd have to go to the unity3d website to see the showcase.

UDK is used in lots of high profile studio games. It was used for the newest Unreal Tournament of course, and a ton of other games, but I'm sure you could google that too, it's Unreal Development Kit.

They're both free, I don't mind either of the licensing agreement. The biggest problem is that the 3d modeler I have is fairly new and works full-time so I wouldn't be able to get a lot of stuff from her. Whereas with Unity there is a built-in asset store with very reasonably priced asset packs, stuff that is far more helpful than what you'd find on Turbosquid.

Anyway, that's not too important, I'll just see which looks best using my 3d setup and go from there.

Unity Games: http://unity3d.com/gallery/made-with-unity/game-list
UDK Games: http://udk.com/showcase
[quote name='ERP' date='14 April 2012 - 07:40 AM' timestamp='1334418020' post='1396272']

FWIW you should be careful with this, about half the games I've ever shipped had the designer espousing "no HUD" at the beginning, only to have one jammed in once the game went into test, and no one could actually play it.

I suppose if it's not an action game, you might get away with it.





Yeah, I think that I can get away with having no HUD apart from an inventory since it's an adventure game. If I find that I need one I'll spend enough time to make sure it looks good :)



As for games that use the engines, Unity is used by lots of mobile games, web games, and a lot of indie games, you'd have to go to the unity3d website to see the showcase.



UDK is used in lots of high profile studio games. It was used for the newest Unreal Tournament of course, and a ton of other games, but I'm sure you could google that too, it's Unreal Development Kit.



They're both free, I don't mind either of the licensing agreement. The biggest problem is that the 3d modeler I have is fairly new and works full-time so I wouldn't be able to get a lot of stuff from her. Whereas with Unity there is a built-in asset store with very reasonably priced asset packs, stuff that is far more helpful than what you'd find on Turbosquid.



Anyway, that's not too important, I'll just see which looks best using my 3d setup and go from there.



Unity Games: http://unity3d.com/gallery/made-with-unity/game-list

UDK Games: http://udk.com/showcase

#9
Posted 04/14/2012 04:27 PM   
To those of you who play Skyrim in 3d:

When you're in dark caves, does it get too dark, or does the 3d suffer because of darkness?

As the first episode will take place mostly in a cave, I want to know how I should deal with lighting. It's possible I can have a bunch of skylights throughout the cave to light it up, if necessary.
To those of you who play Skyrim in 3d:



When you're in dark caves, does it get too dark, or does the 3d suffer because of darkness?



As the first episode will take place mostly in a cave, I want to know how I should deal with lighting. It's possible I can have a bunch of skylights throughout the cave to light it up, if necessary.

#10
Posted 04/16/2012 07:27 PM   
I do not recall ever having a problem with the darkness of the caves in Skyrim in 3D. A typically lit Skyrim cave would prolly make a decent reference point. :)

Post 3D screenies if you are unsure
I do not recall ever having a problem with the darkness of the caves in Skyrim in 3D. A typically lit Skyrim cave would prolly make a decent reference point. :)



Post 3D screenies if you are unsure

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
-------------------
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#11
Posted 04/16/2012 08:00 PM   
[quote name='andysonofbob' date='16 April 2012 - 12:00 PM' timestamp='1334606423' post='1397189']
I do not recall ever having a problem with the darkness of the caves in Skyrim in 3D. A typically lit Skyrim cave would prolly make a decent reference point. :)

Post 3D screenies if you are unsure
[/quote]

I'll just develop it with the Skyrim darkness as the limit for now. I'll be getting everything setup the first week of May, so I can wait until then to really test it all out :)
[quote name='andysonofbob' date='16 April 2012 - 12:00 PM' timestamp='1334606423' post='1397189']

I do not recall ever having a problem with the darkness of the caves in Skyrim in 3D. A typically lit Skyrim cave would prolly make a decent reference point. :)



Post 3D screenies if you are unsure





I'll just develop it with the Skyrim darkness as the limit for now. I'll be getting everything setup the first week of May, so I can wait until then to really test it all out :)

#12
Posted 04/16/2012 08:09 PM   
Unity seems more future proof and portable to me.
Unity seems more future proof and portable to me.

46" Samsung ES7500 3DTV (checkerboard, high FOV, highly recommend!) - Metro 2033 3D screens - Mass Effect 1 3D scenery - Metro LL filter realism mod - Flugan's Deus Ex:HR Depth changers - Nvidia online tech support - Nvidia Support number: 1-800-797-6530 - Marissa Alexander has received a new trial :)
.
.
Post here for support for 3D in BF4, BF devs will see it

#13
Posted 04/16/2012 08:25 PM   
[quote name='Libertine' date='16 April 2012 - 12:25 PM' timestamp='1334607903' post='1397194']
Unity seems more future proof and portable to me.
[/quote]

I agree with portability. Not so sure of future proof as UDK is currently more powerful as far as processing, but not many games have really used Unity properly so far. It has more to offer than what people use it for.

One cool game with Unity is Family Guy Online. Really good-looking game and I love the humor
[quote name='Libertine' date='16 April 2012 - 12:25 PM' timestamp='1334607903' post='1397194']

Unity seems more future proof and portable to me.





I agree with portability. Not so sure of future proof as UDK is currently more powerful as far as processing, but not many games have really used Unity properly so far. It has more to offer than what people use it for.



One cool game with Unity is Family Guy Online. Really good-looking game and I love the humor

#14
Posted 04/19/2012 06:32 PM   
Bumping this post up with a new question.

Concerning pop-out and OOS(out-of-screen, obviously) effects: is there a certain way these should be done. Maybe I'm too gimmicky and people don't like this, but I love the gimmicky oos and pop-outs in movies, but they don't seem prevalent in games. Is there a certain way these should be done?

Is it better to do them quickly, slowly, build up anticipation, make it come out of nowhere, focus around the center of the screen, diagonally, or?

Testing it myself is a bit slow, so if anyone has ideas on what they think makes the best oos effects for a first-person game, please post :)


Edit: I'm also considering now coding it to be stereoscopic myself so you don't need extraneous drivers such as 3dvision, iz3d, tridef, etc. To do this I'll render it side-by-side (and provide other options probably later on) and have two cameras at the average eye-distance apart. They will converge wherever you point your crosshair so it will actually look as if you are exploring your environment.

Of course I'll have the option to turn off my custom 3d and simply use 3dvision drivers, but I think it could be fun to make a real 3d game.
Bumping this post up with a new question.



Concerning pop-out and OOS(out-of-screen, obviously) effects: is there a certain way these should be done. Maybe I'm too gimmicky and people don't like this, but I love the gimmicky oos and pop-outs in movies, but they don't seem prevalent in games. Is there a certain way these should be done?



Is it better to do them quickly, slowly, build up anticipation, make it come out of nowhere, focus around the center of the screen, diagonally, or?



Testing it myself is a bit slow, so if anyone has ideas on what they think makes the best oos effects for a first-person game, please post :)





Edit: I'm also considering now coding it to be stereoscopic myself so you don't need extraneous drivers such as 3dvision, iz3d, tridef, etc. To do this I'll render it side-by-side (and provide other options probably later on) and have two cameras at the average eye-distance apart. They will converge wherever you point your crosshair so it will actually look as if you are exploring your environment.



Of course I'll have the option to turn off my custom 3d and simply use 3dvision drivers, but I think it could be fun to make a real 3d game.

#15
Posted 05/01/2012 06:10 PM   
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