Goodness, I got so excited about our Top Secret Project (muahaha) being finished that I actually forgot to follow-up on my promise to let everyone know what it was! I’m not 100% sure if I’ve posted this in the right forum, so if it needs to be moved I apologize.
I’m the programmer for a new company called Sim Ops Studios in Pittsburgh, PA. We’ve used Panda3d to rapidly build an advertising / educational game for a company called MSA, which makes safety and rescue equipment for mining, firefighting, and other hazardous-environment scenarios. MSA makes a cool piece of hardware called a Thermal Imaging Camera (TIC), which allows firefighters to see heat sources in visually-obscured environments (darkness, heavy smoke, etc.). In the game, you play the role of a firefighter who needs to use the TIC to navigate through a smoke-filled house to rescue victims and identify the source of a fire before it rages out of control.
As a programming and prototyping engine, I found Panda3d to be incredibly helpful—I donâ€™t think we would have been able to finish the project in the time-frame we had set if we hadnâ€™t been using Panda. In particular, it allowed us to make sweeping changes to the behavior of the game in real-time: if I found I needed to try a new visual trick or a new behavior, I could hand-assemble it on the interpreter and give it a try instead of having to quit the game, make changes, re-load the game, and fast-forward to the part I was testing. The scene-graph editor and interface manipulation features let me build and tweak the UI in the engine itself instead of having to go to a separate tool. I made particular use of the Python trick of changing instances of a class by adding new data and methods at runtime; this let me test ideas, tweaks, and changes that the team came up with as they were generated before I had to sit down and make actual changes to the source files themselves.
Many thanks to everyone in the forums for helping me find my way through the more (and less!) esoteric pieces of the Panda library. Your comments and suggestions were incredibly helpful in getting this project off the ground!
You can download a copy of MSAâ€™s FireSlayer Challenge here. Feel free to message me with any questions or comments you have; Iâ€™ll do my best to answer them, and feedback is always appreciated!