Obstacle Editing/Integration from Thomas Kearns on Vimeo.
In my history of working with game development tools I have always been frustrated by the need to use intermediate tools to bridge between applications like 3dsmax and the game. These tools have always seemed like terribly limited, poorly designed cousins of the more robust modeling environment that preceded it.
For my game and tool development it was important to me to be able to create a pipeline that allowed my colleagues to participate in development using tools they were familiar with. To achieve this I am using the FBX file format and the FBX sdk to integrate the design of obstacles into the game engine.
In short designers may model and map the graphic meshes and maps, create and link physics proxy meshes, define obstacle connections (range of gap length and drop, orientation of connection, and parent dock location) trigger volumes, ideal viewing angle (influences the dynamic camera control), etc within the 3d modeler using the native tools.
In the game, an xml file list of desired obstacles exported in the fbx format is read and obstacles are loaded upon startup, from here the procedural obstacle engine takes over for the dynamic creation of the digital game space.
While not active in this demo, in parallel to the particulars of the thesis game I have been working on a custom set of objects created with the 3dsmax sdk which makes particular game elements such as digital/physical io, triggers, etc as cusom procedural objects. In assumption of future usage when the object/environments are more analagous to conventional games I have also worked on a load in place export strategy which packs the file in the requisite binary format to facilitate highspeed load of custom entities developed within 3dsMax.