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Chaplaindm
PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:13 pm    Post subject: What exactly is Graphite? Reply with quote



Joined: 10 Jan 2009
Posts: 15
Location: USA

What exactly is graphite? Is it just a rendering engine or is it some kind of game engine?

Thanks,
Chaplain
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ALicu
PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1328

Hi,

Graphite is a rendering engine for outdoor scenes. You need to have your own code for everything else (AI, rendering of characters, indoor scenes, weather effects, networking, sound etc). You can think of it as a flexible library that can be hooked into your engine and do the rendering of Graphite (or any other outdoor editor) elements. It was designed to offer a quick way for companies to have Grome scenes up and running without the need of doing a outdoor (terrain, water, vegetation layers) from scratch.

For more details you can check the Graphite binary or demo version. The documentation will offer information and tutorials how to use and extend the library. The binary version if free for non commercial use, while the full source code licenses can be purchased (but the price is not very indie oriented).

Regards,
Adrian L.
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Chaplaindm
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 10 Jan 2009
Posts: 15
Location: USA

Can I get a little advice? I am not so much looking to build a game as much as create a world that parralells the novels I write. I have tried everything under the sun but can't seem to find what I am looking for. I love GROME for making the terrain and all the outdoor portion of the scenes but Graphite doesn't support inside scenes? I thought about exporting to UDK but UDK struggles with large scenes but I am only an Indy user and I believe the GROME exporter is only for the paying UDK customers. I don't like the Torque product (plus too expensive). And my favorite software for building interactivity (Esperient Creator) won't import GROME nor really handle large scenes. I wasn't overly impressed with the C4 demo and am a little afraid to sink money into it. Esenthel supports streaming and unlimited worlds, but again there is the import problem.

So give me some advice! If you wanted to build a small world using GROME what would you do? Besides the world building I just want some basic animations (windmill turning, water wheel turning, basic animals walking around) I know that I could just try and write my own plugin but I just feel like it shouldn't be this hard. I am sure this has been done a million times before.

What are the right tools for this?

Thanks!
Chaplain
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ALicu
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1328

Hi,

For your case, I think that the best solution is not to write an entirely new engine but indeed to use an existing one.

Graphite doesn't deal with indoor scenes but you can use it together with other engine (you have the outdoor rendered with Graphite and the indoor, special effects, UI, sound etc done by the host engine). Basically this is the purpose of Graphite, to provide out-of-the-box support for outdoor scenes while making possible usage of another engine for the rest of the application. But for Graphite you will need above average programming experience (it is not a UI-oriented high abstraction programming environment, it is a programming library, it offers you all the flexibility but you need to put the proper function calls in proper places, you need to code in C++). If you already tried Graphite (looked over the demos, created some sample applications with it etc) and built-up some experience with it then this may be the way to go.

Another possibility is to write your own plugin to your engine of choice and use the engine for all the tests (both indoor and outdoor). It may be hardware to get all the elements from Grome in that engine (for example grass, detail objects) but you may not need them. Writing a Grome plugin it is a pretty easy task, you have tons of examples in the Grome SDK and all default plugins source code is provided.

You may also consider using an existing format for which you already have Grome standard plugins (export terrain as 16bit raw heightmap, objects as collada) and use an engine that know how to read from these formats.

As for the engine of use, I can't give you a definitive answer (for our in-house project we are using Graphite with a resource wrapper on top of it, similar with the one internally used by Grome). Unity may be a good solution. Ogre3D is another (you have a Graphite integration on our site).

But make sure you have at least average programming experience. Writing an 3D application in C++ is not an easy task.

Regards,
Adrian L.
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