View Full Version : Interactive 3D platform sought

07 July 2006, 08:50 AM
Hi all,

Suppose I'd want to create 'something interactive in 3D': with a team of developers start out simple, but with an option to expand the amount of functions and code as the need arises. It wouldn't be a game, but an interactive 3D map for a network station, not the internet. I would need an interactive 3D platform in which I could also link a database to easily edit and update extra information given linked to certain locations on the map, including text, pictures and maybe audio and video. Also, more interaction should be built-in in the future. It would have to be a very flexible system, but it should also be relatively easily understood by new employees within the realm of games or the more general programming world.

One quickly thinks of Director, or a combination of Java and OpenGL, but the drawbacks on Director seem that it is too generic (please excue me if I'm wrong), while Java + OpenGL seems too specific and therefore much more specialistic. What interactive 3D platform allows me to keep things simple while having the freedom to move things around flexibly? Also very important is the option to easily connect an existing database.

Could you give me advice on what you believe to be the magic formula that would answer my needs?

Ian Jones
07 July 2006, 12:58 PM
Do you have any more specific idea or explanation of the experts who will be building and maintaining this system?

Maybe Python with the Ogre3D engine? I'm not an expert but it looks appealing from my point of view.

07 July 2006, 02:28 PM
Well, I'm doing quite primal research into an area I'm not quite familiar in when it comes to the technology required. When I know more about where to take this thing technically, I'll be looking out for a team, when the time is ripe. Right now, there's a few things going through my mind:

- What would be the very best technology (or combination of technologies) available?
- What would be the most practical technology (or combination of technologies) available?
- How [flexible/easily understood by different programmers] will the technology be?
- Will I be able to find the right people for a chosen technology?

I'm right now in the process of finding the right tools that will give me the strongest fundament in the long run, for what I want to do.

07 July 2006, 05:20 AM
What you are talking about seems to be what everyone else involed with 3D gaming engines is talking about. You really have to decide what you are going to use it for first before thinking about the end result. Plus you also have to factor in cost. The very best in technology is very broad when it comes to 3D. You have 2 choices in that area, spend a ton of money on a developer liscensed 3D engine like Unreal, or an open source or at the very least free 3D engine like OGRE. If you really want to mess around with something proven but free there is always the option of the Quake engines from id. You can modify it but release the source as well. ALL 3D engines are very specific, there is not a thing you can do to change that. It's the very nature of real time 3D that makes it so. You have to get tools to build the content. Then there is the scripting aspect, which will make your idea "interactive". It doesn't matter if it is a cheap and easy 3D engine, or Unreal Engine3....they all use some kind of scripting to make this do that even at the basic level.

I have been playing with 3D engines on and off for years, and it's always a learning process, but there is no specific path to take. You really need to research everything you can and there is plenty of info out there.

Aside from the tech stuff, you also have to factor how much time will it take to get what you are going for and if it worth the time and effort? One thing to have a bunch of guys (or gals) working on something for the fun of it, but another if you expect to make money. What if what you worked on ends up putting you in debt? Things you need to consider.

But all things aside, there are plenty of free and open source engines out there that you can get and play with. Test them out, are they what you want? Do they offer something better than the other. How easy are the tools. It's one thing for me to say that UnrealEd is easy, but the only person who can decide that is you.

07 July 2006, 07:21 AM
Hi Neuromancer,

I am very much aware of the fact that there are many 3D game engines around and that it's complex matter whatever direction I'm taking this. That is why I'm asking this question. I want to create a 3D map for navigational purposes on a touchscreen. I will not be needing a lot of complex stuff apart from a camera that moves around, but I will be needing a technology that allows me to display data from an existing database also, connected to a certain location. This is what's specific about my question and this is the kind of 'engine' I'm looking for. Have you fully read and understood my question before posting?

07 July 2006, 07:22 PM
Yes I did read the whole post, and I didn't mean to sound condensending. Sorry if that came out that way.

Anywho... I would think that some open source engine would be plenty for your needs. OGRE, Irllict, CrystalSpace.... I think that because of the open ended nature of the engines you can do what you need to do with it. The database issue is something I am positive can be well within the capabilities of these, but as for specifics I cannot answer how. As for touchscreen.... well if that is how you want to interface I am sure it can be done but again HOW is something I cannot answer.

Since you only really need a camera to move around, even the old Quake engine could suffice. But if you want interactivity I would go with the above engines. I would say since this is an experiment you would be better off using a open source and leaving the pro engines alone - no need to spend $500,000 on Unreal Engine3. Plus this way you have the entire community to help you out with the tech stuff (like the touchscreen). Find a few people that specialize in 3D modeling and programming and I think this idea you have would work.
(most likely your best bet right now)

Again sorry I didn't mean to sound like you don't know what you were talking about - I just kind of let my fingers go off on there own accord.

Also if you want to have the graphics look great I would recommend getting the NVIDIA and ATI shader SDKs and such. Tons of tools from NVIDIA to make graphics look top notch, plus for the most part free to download and use. Plus OGRE has the ability to use the latest in real time shaders.

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