Hello. Let me be the first to welcome you to Truevision3D. I, Andrew, will be your humble narrator. This document is intended to explain to you what Truevision3D’s TV3D SDK is, how it works, and how you can use it. I’m hoping this document will prevent new users from attempting to use TV3D SDK without knowledge of what they’re getting into.
Okay, TV3D SDK is a (Software Development Kit). The main part of the SDK is the 3D Engine, it is everything you need to create a game, simplified. It is not a game creation toolkit, you will not be handed a map editor, and it will do the rest, this is good, and this is bad. The bad part is, people often get confused and upon making this mistake they recieve negative output from the community. This can be discouraging. This is the sole reason I created this, too many new users are being “flamed” (see glossary), off the forums/chat. Hopefully this article will prevent that :) anywho, back on topic, the good part to this not being a toolkit, is that developers are given more freedom in the creation of their games. This may not benifit you now, but later on, you’ll stop and think, I sure am glad they did that for me.
So, hopefully, that explanation above, has implanted into your mind, what TV3D SDK is, and isn’t. And by this point, if you know its not for you, or not what your looking for, close this, and don’t look back...
Still here ? Great! This means you’ve decided, Hey! I like this, I want to use this to create my game. Well, that is excellent, and I will further explain the engine and its magical little features below. So keep reading, I’m sure you’ll love it ;)
Why do people use the TV3D SDK? Well, TV3D operates in a wide variety of different languages, meaning if you just started here, but you’ve been programming for awhile, you can use the TV3D SDK, however, if you haven’t programmed before, you have so much variety of languages, I’m sure it won’t be difficult for you to pick up on one.
TV3D SDK is also very powerful, each new version is up to date with the industry standards, meaning, yes, you *COULD* create the next Half Life game. However, don’t get me wrong, although its easy to use, and powerful, like anything, it will take work.
The TV3D SDK is free, and powerful... at the same time... amazing isn’t it? There are three different levels of licenses in Truevision3D, what is a license? Well, a license is like an agreement that says what you can and can’t do with Truevision3D. The first level of license, is the Free User license, which means you download the TV3D SDK for free, and use it. However, this has downsides, those being, for starters, you cannot sell any of your products you make, and also, there will be a Watermark (Basicly a little TrueVision 3D logo) on your game at all times. This isn’t as bad as it sounds, its small, has some options, and its fine when your developing your game. Now, let’s say you make your super awsome best game ever, and you want to sell it. Well, this is going to cost you. The single user license is the next step up on our list. This license will do you in for $150. It allows you to not only remove the watermark, but also to sell 1 of your products. (You can sell many copies of this product, but only the one product.) This is pretty cool, and inexpensive compared to other game engines out there. Now, lets say you made $2.6 Billion off your super awsome product, and you decide, I want todo this again, we’ll, you have 2 options, 1 is to buy another single user license, the other, is to buy a Multiple User License. This will do you in for $500, but man is it worth it. You can sell as many games as you want, and remove the watermark on all of them! Sweet or what ? Thats what I thought..
Well, now you understand that TV3D SDK is supported by a wide variety of different languages, its very powerful, and its affordable, you must be thinking, wow, this is frikken awsome, I want to use this sooo bad.. well the next chapter will explain exactly how you can use it.
Well, before anything we need to make sure understand what is coming with TrueVision 3D when you download it. This way you won’t be asking questions like, “Where is the map editor?”, “Where is the script editor?”, etc. So basically, what will come with your downloaded copy of TrueVision 3D, is a series of libraries. Now, if you haven’t learned how to program yet, this won’t make sense to you; don’t worry, you’ll be fine, as long as you understand that you will not find a script editor, a map editor, or anything else like that in the package.
In order to access the raw power that is, TrueVision 3D, you’re first going to need to know how to program. Programming can be difficult to pick up for some people, and for others its simple. If I had to suggest a language for the new user, it would have to be Visual Basic. Why? Because Visual Basic is the easiest language out there, its pretty well plain english. You will however have to fork over some money for Visual Basic, but with any language you’re pretty much going to have to. Unless of course you make the wise move to Linux. On Linux, use Mono to develop .NET applications and not pay a cent for the operating system nor the development environment (compiler).
So okay, lets say you have Visual Basic, or you have another compiler for a supported language, and you’ve never used it. Do not download TrueVision 3d. You learn to walk before trying to ride a bike, correct? Same principle here. Do not download this until you have a good understanding of the language you’ve chosen to use. Its easier to learn to walk first, ride a bike second then at the same time. There are thousands of free tutorials out there, read all the tutorials you can find, until it all starts making sense, if it doesn’t, you should just forget about it, especially with visual basic. Some people just aren’t able to program, back to the bike analogy, you can’t ride a bike if you have no legs. So this is where im going to introduce what I’m gonig to call a breakpoint. You may not cross the breakpoint until you have learned a language, otherwise everything after the breakpoint may confuse you.
Alrighty, so you’ve learned a programming language, you’ve made some crappy little applications, this is wonderful, I’m proud of you, really I am, I’m serious, give yourself a pat on the back, and a cookie. You’re one step closer to creating the game of your dreams. However, this will take time, and I hear it all the time, people saying, “I don’t care if it takes 3 years I will create this game”, well, if you have so much time, its a good idea to start simple. For instance, don’t begin developing the MMORPG of your dreams before you created a simple game, such as pong. Pong isn’t the greatest place to start for all people, example, me. Pong still scares me, I will not code pong. I started off with a battle tanks type game, I never finished it, but it taught me alot about how TrueVision 3D works. I still don’t have a dream game like most users do when they join TrueVision 3D. But anywho, enough about me, back to you, so start off simple with pong or whatever game is smaller scale but not like a 8 month project.
Now starting off is always the hardest part, understanding exactly what is it you’re doing. I’ll give you a piece of advice. TrueVision 3D is very well put together, and most things you can figure out by playing around with them a little. Do not jump the gun, because you can’t get your landscape to render first try is not grounds to make a post on the forums about it. You will get flamed for this, it sucks, but its true. However if you really try your hardest, and can’t understand why something isn’t working, then I would say posting it on the forums would be fine. Don’t let this disclaimer discourage you from interacting with the community, they can be nice people and very helpful when properly addressed. Examples of things not to say would be discribing the game your intending to create. Start off with a simple introduction, like “Hello, I’m Andrew, I’m new here, I’m hoping you could help me with a little problem I’m not quite understanding”, followed by a simple description of your problem. This will take you far within the community. Bragging about how you’re “leet” or how you’re making the next biggest game will only get you flamed, and result in you not getting your question answered.
So you’ve created you’re first small game, that’s great, I’m proud of you, if you’ve followed my guidelines up until here without too many problems, you should soon find TrueVision 3D to be you’re new home away from home. If you believe you’re ready to create you’re game then its time to move onto the next chapter.
If you made it this far, theres a good chance your thinking, I got this all figured out, no problem, I can make my dream game. Theres no doubt you can, but first you need to really know what your getting yourself into. Stop and think about the size of the project, and if you can realistically do it. From that point on, if you still decided to aim for a huge dream game (MMORPG, Half Life 3, ect) you need to know how to present such information without coming on too strong. Making a post on the forums about it is a bad idea. Asking people to code your game for you, or pieces of your game, is a bad idea. Do not brag before screenshots. People will not take you seriously without providing screenshots, or even better, a demo.
Do not go looking for artistic help, or speak of a publisher before you have something to show. Posting on the forum saying “I’m making an MMORPG, I need programmers and artists” will get you no where. You need to think before you post, think if the roles were reversed and I was a uber coder and this newb (see glossary) started posting asking for artists and such, how would I respond. Theres a good chance it would not be positive. Therefore, code as much as you can with free samples, learn from free snippets, look how a certain part of a code is put together and what it does and such. This way you can present your game to the community when you think you really require additional help. This will prevent the terrible flaming that will happen otherwise. cac.
I said it like 3 times now, but its a good way to open a paragraph, if you’ve followed all these steps, you should be fine. I realize after reading this document you’re probably thinking, whoa, wait just a second, this didn’t tell me how to actually create anything? Well, this is true, when I started this document I intended to create something that will prevent users from asking the same questions over and over again, and to stop people from getting flamed. Its terrible when new users come onto the forums asking questions that they don’t know the answer to, and get a negitive response because its been asked before. It’s also terrible when people don’t know what they are downloading, and therefore ask silly questions, like “Where is the map editor?”. After reading this article, maybe, just maybe you might download TrueVision 3D knowing exactly what it is, why its used, and how you’re going to use it. Also, this will hopefully teach you to think before you post, preventing you from getting that negitive response I spoke of.
the term newb is short for newbie, which is someone who is new to something. Alot of people use it in a negitive way. Everyone was a newb at sometime or another, I’m still considered a newb by some, therefore try not to take it too personally when/if you get called a newb. However repeating whatever you said to cause this response over and over will not help.
the act of getting flamed, or to flame someone is to make fun of them to an extreme extent. This happens to newer users when they post repetitive or unintelligent questions/requests. Getting flamed is never fun, and hopefully after reading this you never will be flamed.
Thanks for reading my article, I hope it helped, the first six chapters were written by Andrew, if you want to add to this article, feel free todo so, but sign your name down here so we can know everyone who contributed to it. Also, if anyone has any questions, or wants to give me money, email me at AndrewMac@GMail.com :D