View Full Version : Shameless Plug

01-07-2003, 08:15 PM
The name of the 3D engine I work on at work is "There".


01-07-2003, 09:40 PM
Holy poop on a stick!!! It looks great.

Look out Sims Online.

The description is pretty vauge, but it seems like a game and a community all in one. Finally a hint of creativety in the games world.

01-08-2003, 02:17 AM
Ooooh... that looks... very nice http://www.opengl.org/discussion_boards/ubb/smile.gif

01-08-2003, 06:42 AM
Nice. I'm guessing the semi-cell shaded look was chosen to suit low-spec machines? Good to see not everyone's jumping on the uber-realistic look.

Can't honestly say a sanitised corporate virtual world appeals to me, but pretty neat tech anyway...

Oh, and if anyone's interested there's a slashdot story about it here (http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/01/08/1314208&mode=flat&tid=95) .

01-08-2003, 06:45 AM
Hey, its about time we see some of your work.

There is 80 people in the company?

01-08-2003, 07:48 AM
The art direction is very deliberate. It's designed to be inviting to women and non-hardcore gamers. We even had "real" cel shading for a while, but the AD decided that the stark lines created by that were off-putting. Literal quote: "that calf looks like it's creased -- I could cut myself on that" :-)

We've started hiring marketing and tech support and stuff now, and it's grown a bit. We were in the 20's when I joined, about two years ago.

The design target is an original Radeon, or a GeForce 2 MX at 30 fps. The main challenge is the insane number of different objects which can be present on screen at the same time. Literally hundreds of palm trees, for example. Because we run on fill rate limited cards and push a large number of discrete objects, we mostly do single-pass shading plus lighting.

Curiously, nobody is full-time on "graphics engine" here, as we find what we have now works well for what we need it to do, and there's bigger bang to be had elsewhere (making servers serve more users per MIPs; tuning network protocols to cram more objects into a modem; that kind of thing).

Everyone: we're still hiring. Check the web site for available positions. (Plug plug)

[This message has been edited by jwatte (edited 01-08-2003).]

01-08-2003, 07:50 AM
>>I'm guessing the semi-cell shaded look was chosen to suit low-spec machines?<<

i believe cel shading has higher requirements.
good to see its not a 3d FPS yawn!

01-08-2003, 07:57 AM
First impressions are...pretty dated graphics, but you've explained the reasons why, so that's understandable.
Cell shaded? That's a funny way to describe the gl fixed function lighting...it's been a long time, but I still remember what it looks like http://www.opengl.org/discussion_boards/ubb/smile.gif Combined with simple textures, I suppose it does look a little cartoon-like.

jwatte, there's tons of ambient lighting going on in there....tone it down a bit.
One thing I'm quite impressed with (graphically) is the terrain...looks really nice with ultra simple textures, I think.

01-08-2003, 08:55 AM
I actually like the look a lot. Imo there are too many games these days where the aethetic seems to have been designed by engine coders based on what's neat, rather than artists based on what looks good...

...but then I think Mario Sunshine looks better than Splinter Cell, so take that as you will :]

01-08-2003, 09:51 AM
I agree with you that bumpmapping for bumpmappings sake is pointless, but bumpmapping is actually something the artists I work with have been asking for for ages. It adds noise to the scene - noise is pleasing on the eye.
Mario sunshine is a cartoon, while splinter cell is supposed to be something more hard edged. Would a stealth/espionage game look appropriate in the bold colours of marios world? http://www.opengl.org/discussion_boards/ubb/smile.gif Now there's an idea...
Have you seen that stylised cell shaded game that's coming out on the gamecube soon? Sort of art noir-type-thing? Looks very nice...
As for the look of 'there', well it looks a little sterile and empty at the moment - totally unlike mario sunshine. It needs content.

[This message has been edited by knackered (edited 01-08-2003).]

01-08-2003, 11:40 AM
Looks great! Bets of luck to you and your company.

01-08-2003, 12:10 PM
Looks really cool. The shading is perfect for what you're trying to accomplish. That's neat how you can actually do stuff in the world to, not just walk around and talk...like this other one I used a while back...it was 2d but the same idea...I forget what it was called but it was geared towards teens.

01-08-2003, 02:14 PM
> jwatte, there's tons of ambient lighting
> going on in there....tone it down a bit.

I'm neither artist nor art director :-)

In our engine/world, you can plunk down a rendering environment zone wherever you want, which sets things like ambient level, sun direction, fog color and density, whether there's a lens flare and what it looks like, what the sky looks like, etc. There are places with very little ambient, too. If you go to the web site and poke around the screen shots, you'll see some of them.

And y'all are entirely correct: we don't do gritty lightbulbs dangling from broken bathroom ceilings, because user studies show that those things don't really appeal to our target market. Sun-drenched beaches, do :-)

And, y'all are right again: bump mapping is eminently doable on higher-end graphics hardware, but not really on a GF2MX when you need the CPU for distributed simulation, and all the texture RAM (with compression!) for every avatar wearing custom clothes and stuff...

Engineering is the art of trade-off.

01-08-2003, 02:57 PM
Actually, the other dudes are right.
The program never makes use of vp or fp, bumpmapping, any kind of shadowing? You seemed to be concentrating on those for the past.

Personally, I think the graphics are very inviting for people. And you know what? Women don't mind games like Lara Croft.

01-08-2003, 04:22 PM
Looks very swish... How does it play on a 26k modem? Or on satellite? 8)

Does the developer Agreement stipulate that "thou shall not create weapons of mass destruction". 8)

01-08-2003, 04:59 PM
graphics wise i find it perfect,
a very ambitious project
*its either gonna suceed tremendously (bigger than doom3 easy)
*or die a 'orrible death

jon 'you are da man'

01-08-2003, 05:19 PM

Thanks, but I'm just one small part of this enormously talented team.

Someone asked why I talk about bump mapping in other threads in this forum. Well, I like to stay current, and write code at home for my own edification. It usually comes in handy sooner or later.

01-08-2003, 11:35 PM
I really like the floating islands. How would one get up there? I see no planes or helicopters, maybe those hoverboards?

01-09-2003, 02:38 AM

I really like the look of the engine, that's a really nice job! I have applied for the beta test, we'll see what happens!

Originally posted by knackered:
Would a stealth/espionage game look appropriate in the bold colours of marios world? http://www.opengl.org/discussion_boards/ubb/smile.gif

Have you heard of "Sly Racoon" on PS2?

(click on the image to see snapshots).



P.S.: wooo that was fast... I am qualified to be a Beta Tester of There!!!!

[This message has been edited by Eric (edited 01-09-2003).]

01-21-2003, 06:23 PM
So why haven't you added it to the list of OpenGL games? http://www.opengl.org/discussion_boards/ubb/smile.gif