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Can I do any of this without sunburn?

Last post 3/25/2012 8:42 PM by jeffery carlson. 13 replies.
  • 8/18/2011 9:12 PM

    Can I do any of this without sunburn?

    I keep seeing all these fantastic looking 3D games using the Sunburn Game Engine. Are these graphics possible without using Sunburn? I don't feel comfortable with using an external engine that I haven't written. Shouldn't XNA's HLSL be capable of these things? I'm fine having to write more lines if it means I created the game I'm writing all on my own.

    (I understand I'm on the "Partner" section of this board. I would like an honest, unbiased opinion.)
  • 8/18/2011 9:20 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I do any of this without sunburn?

    Answer
    Reply Quote
    Sunburn doesn't do anything with the XNA API that you couldn't do yourself, given sufficient time and knowledge.  From a technical perspective, if you wrote identical shaders to the ones that come with Sunburn, you'd get identical performance out of them.  Duplicating that engine from scratch yourself would take a considerable amount of time, however.
  • 8/18/2011 9:32 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I do any of this without sunburn?

    That's all I needed to know. Thank you :)
  • 8/18/2011 9:44 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I do any of this without sunburn?

    ericapproves:
    I don't feel comfortable with using an external engine that I haven't written.
    And yet you use a managed graphic API that you didn't write, which wraps a native graphic API that you didn't write, which calls drivers TYDW running on an operating system TYDW... dont forget .Net and the c# compiler TYDW.

    So why are you not comfortable using an engine?

    Jokes aside - as Sigil says Sunburn (or any engine) has no special access to anything and uses the same XNA framework and HLSL that you could write yourself. 

    My personal feel is that my time is worth money - lets say I'm worth $50 an hour. Could I write Sunburn in 5 hours? Nope - I'd probably take that long to get a solid shadow implementation alone and even then probably not as good as theirs. We're not talking about a few lines of code here... sunburn has been in active development by people with far more experience than you (dont take that personally, if you had to ask this question I'm guessing you are not an XNA or HLSL expert)  for years and this is their full time job. Its way more than a few lines of extra code. Its thousands of lines and hundreds of hours of optimisation.

    So for me an engine (sunburn or anything) is not about losing control - its about gaining time.

    So if you are in this to finish the game then an engine is a great idea. Most folk don't realise how long a complete game takes and an engine can mean you can do more games in less time.

    if you are in this to learn about graphics algorithms so you can maybe be an engine programmer yourself one day then go for it.

    But bear in mind that engines dont solve every problem - e.g. sunburn has some 2d features but that is not its strengths. If it doesn't do what you need it to do then its worthless.
  • 8/19/2011 9:28 AM In reply to

    Re: Can I do any of this without sunburn?

    Hi ZMan,

    While I appreciate that you feel the need to argue for SunBurn's case, this is not the question I asked. I merely asked if I could achieve graphics I've seen in games that utilize the Sunburn engine on my own. I've seen quite a few example of games without the engine that look as though they were developed for the Nintendo 64. I understand that using Sunburn would probably save time and give me great results in less time, but I'd honestly rather stick to non-third party resources.

    -Eric
  • 8/19/2011 12:09 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I do any of this without sunburn?

    The simple answer is yes you can.  We did evaluate Sunburn for my latest commercial project, which was just announced at Gamescom, but we decided to not use it for various reasons, one of them being that it was one less black box to worry about (and the contractual and licensing agreements between us and the publisher in regards to using third-party middleware was taking far too long).  I have purchased a license for Sunburn for my personal projects, and I do intend to use it in future for some smaller projects.  For our commercial projects, we will most likely continue using raw XNA now that we know we can do it.
  • 8/19/2011 2:14 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I do any of this without sunburn?

    ericapproves:
    Hi ZMan,
    While I appreciate that you feel the need to argue for SunBurn's case, 
    I was actually arguing the case for any engine... these forums are full of folk building their own engines who never finish a game because of that. I hope you are one of the few who buck that trend.
  • 8/23/2011 12:27 AM In reply to

    Re: Can I do any of this without sunburn?

    Sunburn is a collaborative effort. I find it feasible that Sunburn is able to do that stuff with just XNA- it's only that not many people have achieved that level of technical quality in their own games. Xbox 360 is an AAA platform and it should deserve more indies that look "AAA quality" so with something like SunBurn, it's more probable that we will see more of them in the future. So it's about time.

    What I still don't know is how almost identical graphical quality is achieved with Sunburn on the WP7 platform. There's a real time demo that shows some nice shadows, and blooming effects. But as WP7 doesn't support a fully programmable graphics pipeline, they must be doing some crazy programming hacks that allow their engine to look that good even there.
  • 8/23/2011 1:17 AM In reply to

    Re: Can I do any of this without sunburn?

    CC Ricers:
    There's a real time demo that shows some nice shadows, and blooming effects.
    The nice shadows are static lightmaps created in the Sunburn Editor.  There are no dynamic shadows on Windows Phone.  I'm not quite sure how they do the bloom effect, but it would be possible with standard XNA.  Just have to work out how.
  • 2/27/2012 12:50 AM In reply to

    Re: Can I do any of this without sunburn?

    In reality your competitor would put you out of business before you could write another engine unless you try to just write an engine and have someone else use it in a game. I thought about using torque x for my game engine needs with xna but the y shut it down so I decided on sunburn. I would try my luck at this before I write my own engine and think of it this way would you also write the video driver spending months writing just a driver too? No i wouldnt well i would compare the two equivilent.
    I know this is windows but Im creating a mouse emulator for kinect but I could rewrite the descriptors for any hardware I wish but that too a few months just to become technical enough to understand how to write the emulator software wise. I will comend anyone that attempts and succeeds at an open source engine project because most open source engines ive seen havent been updated lately.
    Ill go to codeplex and sourceforge and show many that havent been updated or the author stopped development because it was "too difficult" if you like me too.

    I apoligize if im not giving the people some credit but zmans right its hard to make your own engine and requires you spending years to just make engine depending on personal experience with graphics develoment.

    I havent made nice games but their was one I had to make for my java class and I've been reading about distance formulas and reasearching for xbox projects and have tryed xna xbox programs that use custom code.

    Usually I reasearch for awhile before embarking on any project wheter its for windows, xbox 360, or windows phone app. Then I will decide how im going to do it.
  • 3/16/2012 10:39 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I do any of this without sunburn?

    I'm not against using a game engine although I find using 3rd party stuff a pain in general for quite a few reasons such as bugs, porting the application forward to new compilers or other platforms, etc, etc. 

    But it doesn't take that long to do your own vs. something like sunburn.  Sure you won't have goobs of features but you probably don't need most of them anyway so your really only developing a small subset of something like sunburn.  Now if you are trying to do commercial stuff I say use an engine as time matters in that case but if it is not something you plan on creating a venture around then write your own.
  • 3/17/2012 6:59 AM In reply to

    Re: Can I do any of this without sunburn?

    Sunburn like most general-purpose engines is optimised for the common use cases. So it works well for typical 3D games with relatively constrained environments, a handful of skeletal animated characters at medium distance from the camera, mostly opaque objects, moderately realistic rendering etc. If you want to do something unusual and/or need to push the platform to performance limits a general-purpose engine probably won't be appropriate.
  • 3/21/2012 7:20 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I do any of this without sunburn?

    I found this engine which uses sunburn code and has some nice features added to it:
    http://larx.codeplex.com/
    you guys havent seen indie freaks framework which is very complete as an engine and it looks like i would use it in my sunburn project:
    http://igf.codeplex.com/
    http://indiefreaks.com/
    take a look at the nice videos and that was built to be used with sunburn/xna and it has a nice wp7 control i cant find any else that can be used like in those commerical games on windows phone for xbox live.
  • 3/25/2012 8:42 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I do any of this without sunburn?

    I should add that i have modified the sample sunburn game (light mapping example) to play a video after walking through a door and to rerender the scene it would be easy by changing less then five lines of code. Although sunburn requires learning some xna basics first I definitely recommend it because I've been trying it and it offers some advanced level features like customization without the hassle because if someone develops an add-on for the editor you can use it. talk to greedy goblin about his scripting interface he should be here somewhere in the forums if not post a question about scripting in sunburn forum and he should answer.

    BTW, anyone got news on visual3d.net which has theirs for $185 dollars and its xna 3.1 right now but they plan  on having xna 4 in a few months time but other then xbox support its not multi-platform but i think they might add windows phone support too but not forsure yet.
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