Polymorph weekly news #6

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If you’re following this series of weekly news, you’ve noticed there hasn’t been any for the past few weeks. I apologize for this. It does not mean Polymorph was on hold or that I lost contact with the team, but I just did not have much time to write a post and do the regular interviews of the different participants. But this week, I’m back on track and was invited to participate in the dev meeting with @frankiezafe, @balt and Olm. So let’s summarize this 3 hours meeting in a couple points that hopefully will invite you to dig further and come to the next one. Because, since Polymorph is actually an open source game development platform, you are all welcome to join, anytime you want.

Out of the many things that have been developed around Ogre for the past few weeks, the last notable one is an addon to handle game controllers. François has finished and tested it with Olm and Balthazar. They’ve even tried to plug in multiple mouse controllers in one machine to see how that would work. But although this could be possible on a Linux machine, it’s not as easy as it sounds. While the idea of creating a game for multiple users on the same computer, each with his/her own mouse, is appealing, the complexity and the limitation in terms of OS choice don’t make it a priority for Polymorph at this time. If a project comes up that requires it, further research will be done in that direction. As for now, the Ogre addon for game controllers works. It’s not going to be an official addon as the Ogre community requires that unit tests must be written for it in order to make it into the official list.  But since it’s open source and the code available here, if someone wants to jump on it and do it, you’re more than welcome.

The conversation went on about PEEL’s gameplay and especially how the player moves around and manipulates objects. As you can see in the video below, things run smoothly. But an interesting conversation happened between Olm, Balthazar and Francois on how to improve things and make it even smoother.

François then introduced his plan on how to configure each levels using XML files. Basically, each level is fully described by a tree of options and parameters, which makes it a fast and convenient way to create new levels. Discussion went around the structure of the XML, where to add and define sound parameters and so on. Which then evolved in a whole conversation on how to best use the sound engine (aka Pure-Data) that is now fully part of the Polymorph Engine. Pure-Data, for those who don’t know, is the open source equivalent of Max/MSP. A very powerful realtime sound synthesizer, making the Polymorph Engine a musical instrument in itself.

As for PEEL, being a minimalist game in  terms of 3D objects and environment, the sound will be crucial to give a sense of space and set the overall mood of the game. We’re taking about spacial sound and realtime sound effects, of course, done with the help of Daniel Perez Hajdu.

Regarding the development of Polymorph Engine, many questions are still open. What about the compilation on Android? Lacking tools and access to proper Android hardware, Francois has not managed to compile it for this platform yet. There is also big questions hanging in the air regarding shadows. Francois has not figured out how all that works. It might be not so important for PEEL, but the next project will require it.

And since we are already talking about the next project, @louise will be joining Polymorph next week to start working on the Contredanse application. She will be doing research on the gameplay and work on the integration of the 3D elements in the game engine. While @frankiezafe will be in charge of integrating Bullet (the physics engine) and finding all the help in can get from the Ogre community to get the shadows working.

So stay tuned, come visit us and pass on the information around you, that’s also a way to show support to this project. And see you next week.