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Author Topic: The suitability of Crystal Space/CEL/CELstart to my project  (Read 3712 times)
Thaumaturge
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« on: June 08, 2008, 01:06:41 am »

Greetings all. ^_^

I'm planning a project that I believe to be rather larger than most (perhaps any) of my previous game projects.  As a result of the expected size of this project, and my desire (probably at least in part as a result of that size) to concentrate more on the game than on lower-level concerns, I came to the conclusion that it was time to move on to the use of an engine, for some projects, at least, and this one in particular, rather than my usual C++-and-OpenGL course.

Please note that by no means does this mean that I'm opposed to doing some programming, although I would prefer to either stick to C++ or use a scripting language (either of which seem to be available with Crystal Space and CEL, and the latter of which would seem to be available with CELstart). ^_^

Having done some searching and a little asking, I've come up with a short list of engines that I think might be suitable to my project, amongst which are Crystal Space and its companion projects.  However, I don't yet know just how well they might work for me, particularly in terms of the game environment that I intend on using and the system specifications of my computer.

The game, in (very) brief:
A first-person 3D adventure game (as was Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened) set in a forest Otherworld (although I believe that I have enough variation in environment, including some areas that are not tree-bound, for this to not become boring).

Points of concern:
  • I want to provide large, forest environments for the player to explore.  While I don't mind chunking them to some degree, I'm still looking at fairly large terrains with a fair bit of vegetation.
    • I see in the features list that foliage is available via density maps; would this work for multiple tree types (I want to have regions populated by specific tree types, with the tree types blending between regions)?
    • According to the Crystal Space features page, version 1.2 is upcoming, and along with it imposters; according to the downloads page, the current stable version is 1.2.1 - are imposters currently available, and, if so, how well do they work for forest scenes at the moment?
    • Overall, how well suited currently is Crystal Space/CEL/CELstart to large forest scenes, such as I'm describing?
  • My system specifications:
    • Windows XP
    • P4 2.4GHz
    • 1GB RAM
    • FX5200 graphics card
    Naturally, given these specifications, I don't expect to employ the latest shader technology. Wink
A note:
  • I don't require complex collision detection or physics for this project; although more complex physics might be nice, I'm happy with fairly basic collision detection (polygonal collision detection and response, and perhaps circle or cylinder support as well), as long as it works well. 2D collision detection could work, for that matter.  Simplicity is preferred here.

So, what opinions have you?  Do you think that Crystal Space would be a good choice?  If so, would CELstart be likely to be a useful option, or would it be better, do you think, that I use CEL, or even Crystal Space alone?

My thanks for any help given. ^_^
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jorrit
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2008, 12:02:29 pm »

The density maps allow for different types of foliage.

Imposters unfortunatelly didn't make it. Those are still a todo.

I think CS is suitable for large forest scenes with some tweaking. Imposters are missing so you'll have to use other kinds of level of detail (like for example static LOD). But it is certainly possible.

I'm of course a bit biased as I made the Crystal Space project in the first place but I think CS would be a find choice for your project. Also note that CS is not standing still. If you find things that are missing they can get implemented in the future.

Greetings,
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Vincent
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2008, 10:12:10 pm »

To answer about pure-CS vs. CS+CEL vs. CELStart:
  • CELStart choice mainly depends on the language you want to write your app with: it's just a sort of launcher, allowing you to not have to write any C++ and compile, so that one can write a CEL app just with XML script and/or Python. So if you plan to use C++ anyway, CELStart is not really what you want.
  • CEL provides a higher game-related-stuff layer above CS. Generally, one will want at least some of the feature that CEL provides, but can decide to implement that differently in her application/game-engine herself. It's all up to you. That being said, using CEL can considerably speed the development of your game, since you don't have to write all of the game engine yourself.
My counsel, read through the CEL API, it will give you a quick overview of what is possible.

I hope this clears things up a bit smiley
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Thaumaturge
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« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2008, 02:29:45 am »

Thank you for your replies. ^_^

Quote from: jorrit
Imposters unfortunatelly didn't make it. Those are still a todo.

If I may ask, do you know roughly how far they are from being included?  I imagine that, if I do decide to go with Crystal Space, I'll spend at least some time making smaller games as I learn the engine's use, but nevertheless, when I do get to the point of starting in on my intended project, I suspect that imposters would be of some use to me, especially in producing good performance on my hardware - perhaps more so than using only mesh-based level-of-detail techniques.

Quote from: jorrit
I think CS is suitable for large forest scenes with some tweaking.

What sort of tweaking would be involved, do you think?  (Unless you intended the mention of level-of-detail techniques as an example of such tweaks, in which case, what other tweaks, if any, do you think would be involved?)

Quote from: jorrit
... but I think CS would be a find choice for your project.

Thank you. ^_^

I've downloaded CEL, and intend to start taking a look at it, and at the demos included. ^_^

Quote from: Vincent
To answer about pure-CS vs. CS+CEL vs. CELStart:
...

Interesting, thank you. ^_^

Hmm...  I downloaded Python and a Python editor for another engine that I'm looking at, and have started playing around with the language.  It's interesting, but I'm of course not as comfortable using it as I am C++.

On the other hand, XML is an interesting option...

For, now, I think, I'll look at CEL; that should at least give me some feel for the engine, I hope.  If I decide, in the end, that I do want to use Crystal Space for my project, I'll either stick with CEL or download CELstart.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2008, 02:32:15 am by Thaumaturge » Logged

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Thaumaturge
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« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2008, 07:43:41 pm »

My apologies that this is a double-post; I thought that this deserved a separate post, and wanted it to be clear that there were new developments.

All right, I've downloaded and built Crystal Space on my computer, according to the instructions.  All seems to have gone well (the multi-hour build for the entire solution aside Tongue), but I'm concerned about the performance of some of the tests.

In particular, the "walkdemo", while looking pretty good, runs at a particularly low frame rate for the most part (horribly so in some places, as I recall).

Ironically, both of the two demos that I recall warned that a powerful graphics card was called for seemed to work amongst the best: the parallax mapping demo looked nice and ran smoothly (I noticed "bumpiness" on the cubes, but not the walls; I'm not sure whether the walls should have had a "bumpy" surface on a better card), and the terrain demo without vegetation again ran smoothly and looked pretty good.

The terrain demo with vegetation seems to work reasonably well if I don't have other applications running, although, given the seemingly limited distance at which vegetation starts to appear, I wonder what the results might be like for a scene with a further view distance and more level-of-detail measures...

[edit] I forgot to mention a few items that may be relevant.  During the compilation, I noticed what seemed to be a large number of warnings indicating use of deprecated functions (Crystal Space functions, by the looks of them, as I recall), expectations of different return types (in this case I think that I only noticed one expected return type amongst them, "union"), and at least one case, if I recall correctly, of a warning indicating the negation of an unsigned value, with the assigned type also being unsigned (this last was, as I recall, in an attempted build of the CEL solution).
« Last Edit: June 13, 2008, 01:43:50 am by Thaumaturge » Logged

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