Elflight Engine
Soumit par Administrateur le lundi, 01/06/2008
 Q&ACoded Edge / Elflight Engine, 
Richard Lowe, Technical Director Code Frontiers Ltd
June 2008
 

 

The terrain is fully streamable over the Internet and each world may be up to 32Km in size. The engine has an interpolating 'atmosphere controller' which provides time of day, fog, sun, moon, clouds and sky.
Standard features such as specular maps, normal maps and ambient occlusion maps are supported and there is also provision for fragment and vertex shaders.
?

<Elflight Engine in action

  
Q1lease give a brief description of the Elflight Engine
A1The Elflight Engine is a streaming game engine that we have developed from the ground up for use over the web. It enables 3D games and applications with hardware-accelerated OpenGL graphics to be launched from or within a web browser. It is particularly useful for the development of MMOs and virtual worlds.
  
Q2Is Java a promising platform for game development?
A2We believe so, yes. With the rapid growth of computing power on the desktop in the past decade the overhead of the Java Virtual Machine has been negligible for some time. Java is well supported on the Mac, PC and Linux and this enables us to bring our technology to a wide audience.
  
Q3Is it possible to publish an Elflight Engine game inside the browser as an Applet?
A3Yes. It is possible for a game to either be embedded within a web page, or to fill the entire browser window. In the latter of the two modes, on the fly resizing of the browser window is fully supported. We also support Webstart which enables a game to be launched in a separate window or full-screen. All of the major web browsers are supported including Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer.
  
Q4There are a lot of game engines. What makes the Elflight Engine different?
A4Our aim from the start was to be able to be able to run persistent online 3D worlds (as well as simpler games and applications) that would support real-time editing by developers and artists and launch from the web with minimum startup time, regardless of size. Data would be streamed over the Internet as these worlds were explored. We also wanted hardware-accelerated 3D graphics.
Since there was nothing available to meet our needs, we designed and built the Elflight Engine to meet these goals.
  
Q5When it comes to 3D engines, one key feature is the workflow. How may an artist import their assets?
A5Our tools enable an artist to select a model file from their computer and then place it in the world. The entire process, including rotating, translating, scaling or otherwise manipulating the model are all observable in real-time by anybody else that is logged in, which is useful for collaborative team-based development. We support a number of model formats including OBJ, Milkshape3D and Collada.
  
Q6 Does the Elflight Engine import Collada files from 3D Studio Max, Softimage XSI or Maya?
A6All three. Our focus has initially been on Maya since we use that internally, but we are now testing Collada models exported from 3D Studio Max and Softimage XSI. Writing a reliable Collada importer is a particularly challenging task since the Collada specification is both extensive and flexible which leads to different ways of representing the same data. However, we have developed our importer to address these challenges and we are pleased with the pipeline.
  
Q7What are the main features of the Elflight Engine in the field of 3D. Terrain, environment, shaders?
A7The terrain is comprised of a base layer and one or more alpha-blended detail layers. We support animated specular-lit translucent water which produces good results across a broad range of machines. The terrain is fully streamable over the Internet and each world may be up to 32Km in size. The engine has an interpolating 'atmosphere controller' which provides time of day, fog, sun, moon, clouds and sky.
Standard features such as specular maps, normal maps and ambient occlusion maps are supported and there is also provision for fragment and vertex shaders. Due to the primary objective of the Elflight Engine, it would be fair to say that 3D effects have not been our main priority. However, as developers we find this area very exciting and are looking forward to adding new features.
  
Q8How is the Elflight Engine licensed?
A8Although mature, the Elflight Engine is still in development and we have yet to finalise the commercial model. We are considering traditional licensing as well as a model that is built upon some of the unique aspects of the engine.
  
Q9Actually, the Elflight Engine is in beta, when will it be available?
A9As many developers will concur, determining completion dates for large projects such as these is notoriously difficult. Fortunately, since we are privately owned, we are in a position to continue to work on the technology until it is complete. To put matters into perspective, the engine has been in development for just over 2 years (although it's origins go back about 3 years) and our current view is that most of the large modules are now complete.
To an extent, the release date will depend upon the testing as well as development of the Elflight MMO. In the meantime, we welcome anyone with an interest in the engine to join as beta-testers and simply login to Elflight during the testing. We post the development updates on our website and there is also a forum for those that wish to engage us with questions.
Connexion & inscription | Mentions Légales | A propos de 3d-test et contact | ® 2001 2010 3d-test.com