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CS 638: Computer Games Technology. http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~cs638-1/ Fall 2001. The Professor…. Stephen Chenney [email protected] Office: 6387 Comp Sci Office Hours: Tues 1-2, Thurs 4-5 Might change. The TA…. David Gekiere [email protected] Office: 1347 (Graphics research lab)

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Cs 638 computer games technology l.jpg

CS 638: Computer Games Technology


Fall 2001

CS 638, Fall 2001

The professor l.jpg
The Professor…

  • Stephen Chenney

  • [email protected]

  • Office: 6387 Comp Sci

  • Office Hours: Tues 1-2, Thurs 4-5

    • Might change

CS 638, Fall 2001

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The TA…

  • David Gekiere

  • [email protected]

  • Office: 1347 (Graphics research lab)

  • Office Hours: Mon 1-2, Fri 11-12

CS 638, Fall 2001

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The Interactive Entertainment Industry

  • Hardware makers produce gaming hardware

    • eg Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, …

  • Game Developers create games

    • eg Maxis, Electronic Arts (EA), Raven, a cast of thousands

  • Publishers publish games

    • eg Sony, Nintendo, EA, …

  • The model is similar to books or movies

    • One group creates it, another distributes it, and another supplies the underlying infrastructure

CS 638, Fall 2001

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Flavors of Game Developer

  • Artists design models, textures, animations and otherwise are responsible for the look of the game

  • Level Designers create the spaces in which the game takes place

  • Audio Designers are responsible for all the sounds used in the game

  • Programmers write code, to put it all together, and tools, to make everyone else’s job simpler

  • And others: Production, management, marketing, quality assurance

CS 638, Fall 2001

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Course Outline

  • Real-time graphics (6 weeks)

    • Lighting and shading, modeling, data management

  • AI: Game term for behavior (4 weeks)

    • Creating characters, path planning, generating motion

  • Networking: Playing together (3 weeks)

    • Protocols for gaming, architectures, managing bandwidth

  • Full syllabus online

CS 638, Fall 2001

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  • Game development requires more than graphics, AI and networking

    • Design, Art, Software engineering, Production, Audio, …

  • This course won’t formally cover any of that stuff

CS 638, Fall 2001

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  • Official textbook: “Game Programming Gems”

    • Not designed as a textbook, but good coverage for this course

  • Other useful books:

    • “3D Games:…” by Watt and Policarpo

      • Good graphics coverage, not good on AI and networking

    • “3D Game Engine Design” by David Eberly

      • Lots of equations, not much exposition

  • Website: www.gamasutra.com

    • Game developer technical and trade news

CS 638, Fall 2001

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What I assume you know

  • C++ sophistication

    • Class inheritance, sub-classing, etc etc

    • Macros

    • Memory management

  • 3D graphics concepts and programming

    • “Standard” lighting and shading

    • Modeling techniques

    • Vectors, matrices, geometric reasoning

    • All required to understand next week’s lectures

CS 638, Fall 2001

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  • Midterm and final

    • Approx 40% of the grade, might change

  • Project

    • Multiple stages staggered through the semester

    • Work in groups of 2-4, except stages 0.0 and 0.5

    • 4 students will do 2x the amount that 2 students do

CS 638, Fall 2001

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  • You will begin with a skeletal game

    • User shoots static targets, minimal graphics

  • Each stage will add functionality

    • Improved visuals

    • Moving characters

    • Multi-player

    • Free expression

CS 638, Fall 2001

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If you aren’t already in…

  • Email me your name and ID num - TODAY

    • Even if you think I already have it

  • I will accommodate all well-prepared students

CS 638, Fall 2001

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  • LithTech is the game engine that we will use in this course

    • A commercial quality product (large and complex but well documented and stable)

    • www.lithtech.com

  • Provides functionality useful in games

    • Eg: Rendering, animation playback, collision detection, particle system, networking

  • Also provides design tools for creating objects and environments

CS 638, Fall 2001

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LithTech basics

  • LithTech works with Visual C++, on Windows machines with DirectX 8.0

  • Stages in game creation (roughly):

    • Create the objects that will be used in the game

    • Do the level design

    • Write code to control the objects

    • Write code to interface to LithTech’s engine

    • Play the result

CS 638, Fall 2001

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LithTech Tools

  • DEdit is a level design tool

    • Design the space in which the game takes place

    • Add objects, define lights, pre-process to improve performance

    • Some of the technology behind DEdit will be covered in class

  • ModelEdit is a simple UI for manipulating 3D objects

    • Prepares objects created elsewhere for use in the game

  • The game engine forms the core of a game

    • You create DLL files that are linked to the engine

    • The DLLs define all the specific behavior you require in your game

    • Some of the technology behind the engine will also be discussed in class

CS 638, Fall 2001

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Additional Tools

  • Maya is commercial animation software that can export files for LithTech

    • Use it to model objects and specify the animations that go with the models

    • LithTech loads and plays the animations as requested

  • 3d Studio Max (or just Max) is another alternative

  • Can also communicate to DEdit through LithTech’s LTA file format

CS 638, Fall 2001

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  • All the LithTech documentation is available in /p/course/cs638-schenney/public/

    • ProgrammingGuide.pdf - a guide to creating game code

    • LT-API.pdf - describes all the functions available

    • GameContentCreationGuide.pdf - how to create game content (models, levels, audio, …)

    • LTASchema.pdf - the LTA file format description

    • IntelligentMult-Player.pdf - how to do multi-player


CS 638, Fall 2001

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Project stage 0

  • Set up a minimal LithTech environment

  • It is essential that you do this stage, in order to:

    • Check that you have an account and enough disk space

    • Familiarize yourself with the LithTech environment

    • Appreciate the scope of the course ahead of you

  • Web site will be up today

CS 638, Fall 2001

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Resources for Stage 0

  • Local expert: Marcin Szymanski, [email protected]

    • Marcin is taking the class but cannot be teamed with for the project

    • Look for help in the documentation first

  • LithTech is installed only on the machines in room B240

    • High performance graphics machines

    • You have highest priority in using the lab, CS559 students come next

    • A limited resource (30 computers) so be courteous

CS 638, Fall 2001