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Author Topic: Making Crystal Space Easier: Tutorials, documents, wiki, demos  (Read 22591 times)
chuangzu
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« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2006, 10:20:32 pm »

Hello Jorrit, thankyou for helping me today on irc #CrystalCore.

I am asking for some tutorials please.

I am new to CS and have experience in 3dsmax but I have decided to use Blender because it is open source.
I have installed Blender, CrystalSpace099, and got the basic idea as I am familiar with 3d terminology, I also have installed Blender2Crystal plugin and python etc.

I think we need some basic tutorial of how to make a good looking level and importing it from Blender to Crystal Space from beginning to end.
In particular I want to know more about how to make a realistic looking scene with skybox, terrain, foliage and some basic buildings and models. Your terraininf level looks good but I don't have a clue how to do this from Blender, also the example .blend files in the exporter manual section look good from the pictures but they are not quite enough for me to do the same just by looking at them. It would be nice to understand what I am doing rather than just rip off and modify someone else's level design.

This will form a strong basis for many beginners to get involved with the project and generate new artwork and ideas for demos and more tutorials.
Many people out there are familiar with using level editors from games like Quake and Unreal which have a fairly intuitive graphical interface but there is nothing like this for CS yet. I have looked at the CrystalStudio parts of the site but nothing seems to be happening there yet.

If someone can help me to do this I would be happy to write some tutorials because they will also be of help to other people involved with our project.
I am not a coder but a 3d artist so just looking at the hand written code or even example levels is not much use to me. Also I do not want to have to use valve hammer which is an easy way but not as powerful as Blender, also it is limited to not making hollow objects which is a bit unrealistic. Pity there's no converter from Unreal engine which doesn't have this limitation.

All the coders and demo's in the world cannot help people like me who are interested in creating art and good looking scenery, buildings and models, if there's a good tutorial that can do this you will find people will use it to make stuff and these in turn will become your demo levels. We chose CS by looking at the alternatives on devmaster.net where CS is ranked 2nd best engine, the comments say it is good but has a very steep learning curve, especially for beginners. Look at devmaster.net - Crystal Space engine for comments on Crystal Space, many are positive but it's hard for noobs, especially if they are not coders. With one decent kick ass tutorial about setting up a basic nice looking level all this could change imho.

What I am finding difficult is the Blender2Crystal plugin does not have a good tutorial which explains the useage of the various tags and other parts of the app and what they are for and how they can be used in simple layman's terms. The available tutorial can make you a simple box with one texture but where do we go from there? I'm finding it hard to say the least.

Could we maybe contact some of the people who have made games from crystal space and ask them to supply some tutorials and example levels or whatever from the work they have done? What about the folks at PlanetShift or some of the others, I am sure they must have gotten past this basic stage.

Another good addition would be a level editor or importer/exporter which not only exports blender files to CS but also imports CS levels to Blender, in this way artists could look at how things are done more easily without having to scrutinise code. Also it would mean everybody does not have to start from scratch but can use basic code from other people's levels, this is the strength of an Open Source approach that everyone can learn from each other.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2006, 10:35:44 pm by chuangzu » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2006, 12:56:28 pm »

3. Edit the wiki! Please do. It is there for you to use (and also for us of course) smiley

I'd really like to, but which one? There are at least two of them, one on CrystalSpace homepage, and one on the community page. There's a third one on the CrystalCore homepage, containing information which is also on the CrystalSpace page.

I'm confused Smiley

Now where should CS documentation go? In my opinion, one Wiki would be sufficient. I see that the Wikis are used for content management on both pages, so you should either restrict write access to the homepage, or at least clearly state what to go where.

I would like to see one page for each plugin, gathering all documentation for the particular plugin. When I know where to put it, I'd like to make the beginning Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2006, 12:00:07 am »

Couldn't wait for an answer, so I began on the community page:

http://community.crystalspace3d.org/tiki-index.php?page=Plugins

If nobody intervenes, I will continue on that, and hopefully others too. Perhaps you could add a menu entry for that someday.
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Lib.lib
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« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2006, 07:07:00 pm »

I think it would help dramatically if there were CS "wizards", like the "MFC App Wizard" in MSVC. I say this because it took me a few weeks to understand CS enough to make my first app, but using ogre (notice: i didn't capitalize that on purpose) it took me only a few days via its MSVC Wizard.


I think that the people which are going to use CS to really develop a game/app are not going to be discouraged by the lack of Wizards. However, I haven't used these wizards you say, so I can't say for sure..


There are a lot of people (like me) who likes to try what best fits them. And belive me installing CS was such a pain that i almost switched to Ogre. And after installing it's still a pain (learning outdated tutorials etc). I just hope it's going to be a profitable pain. 
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jorrit
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« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2006, 08:25:22 pm »

I think it would help dramatically if there were CS "wizards", like the "MFC App Wizard" in MSVC. I say this because it took me a few weeks to understand CS enough to make my first app, but using ogre (notice: i didn't capitalize that on purpose) it took me only a few days via its MSVC Wizard.


I think that the people which are going to use CS to really develop a game/app are not going to be discouraged by the lack of Wizards. However, I haven't used these wizards you say, so I can't say for sure..


There are a lot of people (like me) who likes to try what best fits them. And belive me installing CS was such a pain that i almost switched to Ogre. And after installing it's still a pain (learning outdated tutorials etc). I just hope it's going to be a profitable pain. 

Hmm. Outdated tutorials? Which tutorials in particular do you mean?

Greetings,
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lib.lib
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« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2006, 09:00:12 pm »

I think it would help dramatically if there were CS "wizards", like the "MFC App Wizard" in MSVC. I say this because it took me a few weeks to understand CS enough to make my first app, but using ogre (notice: i didn't capitalize that on purpose) it took me only a few days via its MSVC Wizard.


I think that the people which are going to use CS to really develop a game/app are not going to be discouraged by the lack of Wizards. However, I haven't used these wizards you say, so I can't say for sure..


There are a lot of people (like me) who likes to try what best fits them. And belive me installing CS was such a pain that i almost switched to Ogre. And after installing it's still a pain (learning outdated tutorials etc). I just hope it's going to be a profitable pain. 

Hmm. Outdated tutorials? Which tutorials in particular do you mean?

Greetings,

for example:

Quote
How to use CEL
(a brief tutorial)
Cirilo Bernardo
(cirilo.bernardo@csiro.au)
September 25, 2004

RequestQueue function there takes one parameter.

I dont remember exactly but i had problems with iEvent.Type or something like this in some tutorials.
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jorrit
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« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2006, 09:04:01 pm »

Ah ok, yes those are tutorials made outside CS (i.e. by other people). We have no control over those so they may get outdated after a whlie. The tutorials that are included with the CS and CEL manual are up-to-date though (or should be).

Greetings,
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hiro-p
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« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2006, 02:06:16 pm »

Greetings All!

Hello Again Jorrit, Long time, Dude :)

The project seems to have moved along nicely since I last took a strong look at it - not only in terms of its technical strengths (great job guys!) but in terms of documentation, which had LONG been my beef with the project.

I have again had my interest piqued and look forward to getting involved in some meaningful way; though I've yet to take a thorough enough survey of whats transpired in my 3 year absence of following the project to draw my focus down to any particular area of endeavor.

I'm not using linux much anymore, running a mac desktop and freebsd server now; hopefully, this will not manifest as an issue for me.

As this is an initial list greeting, I don't mind too much admitting I've not yet read very broadly, having given the doc only a quick browse, but I have a couple 'newb' questions I want to lob out in the open just the same ;^p

1. Any crystalspace-native build tools yet?
2. Any support for Ruby?

I'm glad to see you folks are still here and have made such good use of your time. The quality of CS reflects your good work :)

Also, THANKS FOR THE DOC!! :)


Cheers
James
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jorrit
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« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2006, 02:14:42 pm »

I'm not using linux much anymore, running a mac desktop and freebsd server now; hopefully, this will not manifest as an issue for me.

MacOS/X is no problem. FreeBSD I don't know although that shouldn't be too much of an issue.

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1. Any crystalspace-native build tools yet?

Exactly what do you mean by that?

Quote
2. Any support for Ruby?

No, unfortunatelly this is still missing.

Greetings,
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hiro-p
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« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2006, 02:22:46 pm »

> 1. Any crystalspace-native build tools yet?
>
> Exactly what do you mean by that?

world/artifact authoring tools incorporating crystalspace as the underlying tech

Cheers Smiley
James
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jorrit
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« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2006, 02:34:02 pm »

> 1. Any crystalspace-native build tools yet?
>
> Exactly what do you mean by that?

world/artifact authoring tools incorporating crystalspace as the underlying tech

Cheers Smiley
James


Not really although Blender comes closest. Using the integrated blender2crystal tool you can achieve a good way of making CS maps using blender including support for nearly everything that CS supports.

Greetings,
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Almos
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« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2006, 06:28:15 pm »

I've migrated to Crystal Space from Irrlicht - their community forum has excellent "Code Snippets" section, where registered members can post their own pieces of code for benefit of other engine users. I wonder if same thing could be done here...
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I'm new to programming and I am making an MMORPG!
jorrit
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« Reply #27 on: April 22, 2006, 07:25:23 pm »

I've migrated to Crystal Space from Irrlicht - their community forum has excellent "Code Snippets" section, where registered members can post their own pieces of code for benefit of other engine users. I wonder if same thing could be done here...

Well we have a wiki that registered people can modify. It would be easy to add something there. Everyone can do it.

Greetings,
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Ruel Haldi
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« Reply #28 on: April 22, 2006, 10:27:38 pm »

I'm still a noob, but perhaps that is who you need to comment here. I'm very pleased with CrystalSpace. From my experience so far. You have an excellent set of tools, but they are very difficult to figure out.

Just getting CrystalSpace to run the first time caused a bunch of frustration. At one point, I turned off the computer and just walked away. Most new users are not going to take that sort of treatment, but they don't have the experience to avoid it. Likewise, programming for CS has been rough. Over the last week, I've rewritten the isotest example script into Python. During that time, I've run into bunches of snags, some of them unavoidable. For instance, the HitBeamObject code is deprecated, and now ouputs a csHitBeamResult instead of a boolean (so the only choice using Python). This is not documented anywhere except in the code itself. I still have a one last snag that I haven't figured my way through. This is mentioned in the Tutorials Discussion forum since that was the intent of this endeavor.

Making CrystalSpace easier is a multi-fold problem.

First, consider who you are making it easier for. New users. What will be their primary complaint? Problems installing. My guess is that this should probably be goal number one. We can't lose users before they even get their feet wet. It's like a flower shop with a booby trap on the front mat. It looks pretty on the outside, but getting in the door...

Second, if you compare the CrystalSpace website with other 3d engines (I'm thinking of Ogre), it isn't as well organized. When I installed Ogre, I ran into many similar issues, but their website was clear and put together well, so I was able to find help quickly without even asking anyone. Helpful information on the CS web is often hidden several layers deep, or only available on the forums. And getting from spot to spot can be a pain. For example (of many), you are currently reading my post. What do you have to do to get back to the CrystalSpace site? I've been biting the bullet and typing the URL in. Why isn't there a link there from here?

Third, documentation. You've written all this great documented code, but the documentation on the website doesn't match.
Basically, until the first two problems are beaten, we can't really expect much from the community. Without users, nobody is going to help you write documentation. And if the process is painful, they won't do it anyway. I want to help, but I don't know where to start, how much authority I have to make alterations, or even where the Wiki is that you mentioned. I see where I can put in comments in txt2html or doxygen. Is that what you are talking about? I'm a stupid noob, but unless you tell us what to do and how, we CAN'T help. Perhaps, a good "GoogleSummerOfCode" would be to get someone to read through the code (documenting as they go) and bring the website documentation up to match.

Please don't take my comments negatively. I'm just trying to help, saying what I see from the "new user (but learning)" perspective. I really like the CS engine. I've tried some of the others. They may have been easier, but they just didn't generate the same sort of application appearance (or design philosophy) that I was looking for. I'm also trying to do my part. I'm writing a tutorial in which I translate the isotest code over to Python. I'll post it sometime soon, probably next week.

I do have two additional suggestions: First, it would be nice if the Python users had our own forum for Python specific issues. "CrystalPy" or something. Mmm... Pie... with Crystals in it! *grin*   If you look over at Ogre3d, the Python users have their own sub-website. Second, concerning tutorials. It would be really nice if the new users could work out some sort of "tutorial trade" with the more experienced users. New users don't understand advanced subjects such as shaders, but they want to learn. However, they CAN write basic tutorials (on basic subjects) to help out other new users! Such a trade encourages new users to get involved. It also helps them learn as they write their own tutorials. As they become more experienced, they add to the community, so the advanced users can spend more of their time NOT helping noobs. Plus, there would then be twice as many tutorials (and tutorial writers). Seems like a win-win proposal to me.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2006, 10:31:22 pm by Ruel Haldi » Logged
jorrit
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« Reply #29 on: April 23, 2006, 06:06:41 am »

Third, documentation. You've written all this great documented code, but the documentation on the website doesn't match.

Doesn't match in what sense?

Greetings,
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