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Final Summary of Visual3D

Well, today is my last day so I thought I'd do one final summary of my experiences with Visual3D.

A few times I asked on the Visual3D forum for solutions to problems I was having with the engine. If someone in the community couldn't solve it (which was usually the case), an actual developer of Visual3D would answer my questions and help me until the problem was solved. This was an amazingly helpful asset.

This may go away once Visual3D gets out of Beta, but by then hopefully the documentation will be better and the community will be larger and more experienced.

One of my favorite things about Visual3D was that a user could choose their level of involvement in the code. A user could probably make an entire game by just using the GUI and scripting language. On the other hand, a user could make a game while only using the GUI to import assets and view their scene. Any combination of the two strategies would work as well, with the user only going into code when they need it.

The flexibility of the system was a major asset to Visual3D and would make it useful to anyone regardless of experience level.

Visual3D has a really nice GUI interface for making games. Most of the current documentation is related to the GUI, so it seems like the focus of the developers rather than code.

The GUI was really useful for debugging also, since I could click on any object in the scene and view it's attributes as well as change them while the simulation was running.

There is a lot of scripting you can do in the GUI which I didn't get much into (I did more C# code in the background rather than their scripting language), but it seems like this would be really useful for someone without too much programming experience.

Visual3D has a lot of features that make it very powerful. For example, the AI engine is very easy to use and to create behaviors with. Making the enemy follow the avatar took about 2 lines of new code, which was pretty amazing. There is also a way-point system built into the GUI.

This was the big one.

Even though I could see all the good things about Visual3D and it had a ton of amazing features, I would keep getting stuck because of a lack of documentation. This wouldn't have been as big of a problem if I had had access to the source code, but since I didn't, I had to base most of my code off their sample demos.

One problem I ran into was trying to turn the model independent of the camera. It turned out that I had to use the Spatial object of the model, and once I knew this, manipulating object's size, position, and orientation was unbelievably easy. However, there was no documentation to point me in the right direction and the sample code didn't highlight this fact.

I wish that there had been some basic tutorials saying how the developers meant for certain tools to be used just to point me in the right direction.

I think that once Visual3D has some basic documentation, it will be an excellent system for anybody to use regardless of experience level.

Importing Models
This goes in the "uh" category because I'm not sure if the problem was with Visual3D or with my lack of knowledge of Maya. I had a problem importing animations that were attached to the skeleton from Maya to Visual3D. Without animation, Visual3D would not move the models as characters. But again, this was probably my own personal failing at understanding Maya, and it seems like Visual3D doesn't make this process hard.

tldr: I think that once Visual3D has some basic documentation, it will be an excellent system for anybody to use regardless of experience level.

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