An intro and request for a tutor pen-pal

Hi I’m JB SKaggs, I work for an orphanage here in Kansas where we house and educate at risk and children and orphans.

One of my jobs is to train the children (mostly teens) in programming by creating actual applications and distributing them in Linux.

Recently we decided to switch to Panda3d rather than just straight SDL and because of that decision to switch to Python vs. Gambas2. I need help getting up to speed very quickly in python as it relates to Panda3d and to pipelining in general.

We have two current projects outstanding that were 40 to 70% completed in Gambas2 (read Visual Basic 6 for linux) that we need to convert over to python and Panda3d:

A simple stand alone 2d gamemaker.

and a game that combines chess and turn based combat using custom monster trading cards.

As I said before my background is in VB and Gambas and I am shocked how cool python and Panda3d are, and as a result I am having something like writer’s block on where and how to convert over to the Panda3d engine- I mean the examples are so simple I am having problems grasping that in a dozen lines I can load and run a fully functioning 3d room with camera and object control.

In other words Im like a guy struck dumb at a 100 flavor ice cream bar- its just too good to be true.

So if I could have some help in direction and a someone willing to help me with the occasional question I’d be so grateful- cuz I have to pass all this stuff along to the kids without missing any major deadlines. ( or worse demonstrate how inept I really am away from gui programming ) :unamused:

I have a 2d professional artist creating a png’s for the games as textures (she has done a lot of art for Gaia, businesses, magazines, etc).

My questions will be very simple and newbie and so shouldn’t take much time.

Thanks for your help.

JB Skaggs

Ask them here, the community has been super helpful, and this way your questions can educate everybody.

asking here is the best way because not all of us might know the answer but collectively we could puzzle some thing out.

Okay so noted here are my first noob questions: These may seem obvious to yall but assumptions in my own ignorance just wastes time.

in 2d dimensional games:

Does one create a single faced model for actors and apply a texture to those?

What do I use to edit the .egg.pz (or rather the .egg files) so I can see how they are put together?

Is there a tool for character animation paths (example in Galaga your enemies come in set animation paths based on which room they were in)?

How does one create .egg files if the software you use does not make .x? (Well I am not sure if it does or not I did not see a export for .x) am I correct in asking that .x is the format for directX? My 3d person is using Silo2 since Maya canceled it’s educational version.

Are scenes exported as one model or as several models? In other words should have my scenes built as a complete scene or should each piece made seperate then loaded?

Thanks for your time, as I learn I will return the favors.

JB SKaggs

Your favorite text editor.
Use the ‘pzip’ and ‘punzip’ tools that come with panda to convert .egg.pz into .egg (and reverse).

Looking at Silo2’s feature list, it seems like it supports .obj export, which you can import in a supported modeling program (blender, maya, 3dsmax) to convert to .egg.

Usually it is tried to keep it into one model as much as possible, but sometimes it just doesn’t work.
Really, this is more a matter of personal preference.

in 2d game you can fake a sprite by creating a quad with texture.

puzip to unzip the “PandaZip” and then notepad. egg files are just text files. Sadly we have no good editor for them.

You do this in your modeling package.

No clue. We have several supported software and their export paths in the manual. Silo2 is on there. My i recommend Blender?

I prefer mix of both. Characters and non level objects should be loaded separately. While entire levels could be loaded as one model.

Thank you both and I understand it all but this one:


Is there a tool for character animation paths (example in Galaga your enemies come in set animation paths based on which room they were in)?

You do this in your modeling package.

I am talking about how the actor moves across the screen not what animation he uses- would I still do that in my scene modal versus in my python task?

JB Skaggs

jbskaggs your question here (and I saw around the forum others similar) is very basic and I suggest you to take a look to the Panda manual (you’ll find the link in the black bar to the top of this page) to have this kind of rough startup - it will make yourself confident very fast in what Panda3d can do for you.

I suggest to draw the animation paths in your 3d editor (as paths, lines, number boxes what ever will export) and then write some code that makes the enemies follow them. I use numbered boxes to direct proper landing paths for fighters to land on carriers.

Oh after looking at Galaga. I am pretty sure that’s all done in code and/or with custom paths editor for that game. There is no tool that is made for this.

aw man I guess my Pokemon-crossed-with-chess idea isn’t as unique as I thought it was. Oh well, my game will be the Digimon to your Pokemon :wink:

If you are stopping using Maya because you can’t afford it, I would tell your 3D artist to use Blender. Even if they want to use Silo for modeling, obviously you will need some other tool for animation, and Blender is open-source.

Your idea is safe! Ours is more serious fantasy in style- but played entirely different.

Although a pokemon versus Digimon woud be cool- so would a pokemon vs zombies quake style :smiling_imp:

here’s some concept cards just place holder text not the finished deal:

here’s the concept splash:

Here is the deck setup utlity running in Gambas2- I only show this to show the monsters list.

Most of the art is locked in one of the other computers that Im too lazy to go and boot up. Ill upload more later if anyone wants to see it.

A debate we are having here is to whether or not to have a 3d model for each monsters on the cards and when players play cards to jump to a battle room and have the monsters fight. Great idea but to come up with 60 complete animated monsters with effects is probably beyond the abilities of my team. (If I want to finish before they graduate!)

But since we have a cool new 3d engine as I convert over fro the gambas format I will be looking at ways to improve the play so any suggestions would be appreciated.

JB SKaggs

wow cool stuff over there - as a former Magic cards player I love what you’re working on.
For my taste, and having played Magic The Gathering Battelgrounds 3D, I would not spend hours to develop animated battles because they’re funny but pretty useless for the gameplay and will soon became boring after a couple of plays. I would spend most of the effort for the game mechanics to find a good way to show and move the cards around the screen (not as easy as it seems) and to open the game to people over the internet.