some criticism about the manual and the site generally

i’m currently studying the panda3d manual and i’m really confused, not least because of the chapters’ order: maybe there is a logically reason, why things like rigid bodies come before the lesson which explains how to load a model, or why the configuration file is discussed so early and the compilation process nearly at the end, but it’s irresolutable for a newbie and really hard to come along with, than with a linear and focused tutorial:cry:.

so here my suggestions:
most probably it would be too expensive to rewrite the whole wiki/manual, so how about a collection of chosen snippets for a quickstart or another for all the theory stuff?
user contributed stuff should be merged. currently that are points I. G. & I. H… also some of these contents are outdated (the disney videos are about 5 years old!). on projects like gimp or blender you could observe the decentralizatiion fenomenon - it’s hard to get all usable stuff onto one place, but maybe an officially supported UCC (user contributed content) centre would help. in case of blender, they now have a wiki containing everything they could find and tons of links to tuts and stuff and also they have a kind of inofficial manual on i think for stuff like tuts and step&step-manuals a wiki is much better than a forum or a strictly-structured manual-wiki (like the one we have currently)
the manual needs more tiny examples. dry theory surely isn’t that motivating.
we need more graphics! just some simple small pictures beside some chapters would let it look more like a game engine instructions, than an assembler reference… after all most panda users are students.

that’s all for the moment, i think, to the man-pages.
now something about the site, forum etc.:
please stop showing those shiny pictures of the colossus clone or the pirates game. show me the source code, or i have no reason believing that’s made with panda3d!
i don’t know how many of the devs or users are students of the carnegie mellon ETC and i don’t want to discrimate against anybody, but for me the logo at all P3D sites occours like a kind of branding. don’t misunderstand me! i appreciate CM-ETC’s work on P3D but it remembers me of all the discussions around mozilla and its branding on their open source products. i think, if a community develops something, it shouldn’t be brandmarked by any companies

k… everything out. now you can yell at me :blush:

ps: sorry for my english. if you find anything that needs a correction, send me a note, please.

i gotta say, i agree that there should be a more focused resource that is geared towards giving beginners a clear and solid groundwork of understanding… i would like to help develop such a resource…

in any case, the other thing you were saying about the branding by carnegie mellon and disney…

i hadn’t really thought of it before but, i agree with that as well… even though i dont necessarily agree with the tone of those statements, i do think they have some truth in there…

if someone starts up a user contributed resource collection that is geared towards beginners, i would be glad to help out…

i feel like this forum is very helpful, but there could be more coherent resources that are structured to give a beginner a strong idea as to how things work…

its possible…

Excellent points, thanks for bringing them up.

We all work together to maintain the manual in good condition. It’s always a work-in-progress, of course. In general, the manual does attempt to introduce fundamental concepts and proceed to the more esoteric concepts, which is why compilation is towards the back of the manual (few people need or want to compile Panda, since prebuilt binaries are available for download). It’s a good point that RigidBodyCombiner is probably misplaced, though, since that’s a fairly advanced and obscure tool.

Those two Disney videos are five years old, true, but that doesn’t mean they’re outdated. Their concepts are still valid; character animation technology hasn’t changed much in the past five years. Panda itself is nearly ten years old and still going strong. Coincidentally, I just got done posting links to a bunch more videos that we recorded over the past year.

Providing a specific part of the manual for tutorials and more wiki-like features is a good idea. The entire manual is, of course, a wiki, but it tries to look and feel more like a manual. This makes it hard for people to interject the kinds of things that they want to put in a wiki, like snippets of code and whatnot.

I certainly agree we need more graphics and illustrations in the manual. Maybe a few more example snippets would be OK, but we have to be careful not to go overboard with examples in lieu of actual explanation. Remember, the manual intends to serve as both a tutorial and a reference, and while a tutorial should be rich with examples, a reference should not be overwhelmed with them. This means we need to find the right balance. Also don’t overlook the samples directory for the real meaty examples.

Would you be interested in taking a stab at structuring the manual?

I also agree it would be swell if we had more pictures of open-source projects, complete with code, to show off on the webpage. As it happens, a large number of the completed projects that have been created with Panda, and for which CMU (who put this website together) has access to screenshots, are closed-source or their source is otherwise unavailable. So, sorry, no source to download for the Pirates or the Colossus games. One of the downsides to a graphics engine that is actually used to make closed-source commercial games. Maybe one day your open-source application will have screenshots to show off here?

As to the CMU ETC logo, well, while CMU has contributed a lot of resources and manpower to the Panda project, it hasn’t been entirely altruistic. CMU hopes to gain recognition for its efforts, and thereby help attract top students to the ETC program. I think that’s a worthy goal, and a fair trade for the contributions they’ve made to Panda. I don’t mind seeing their logo at the top of the webpage, or their name in front of Panda, in exchange for that.

Frankly, when we (at Disney) decided to release Panda as an open-source project, we soon discovered we just didn’t have the resources to make a real go of it. Our feeble one-page website languished for months, even years, without an update while we were busy with our deadlines writing games. Finally, CMU offered to productize Panda, and they made it really happen. They produced this webpage, the manual, the formal release cycle (on every imaginable platform), these very forums, postings on and on other sites, and now the BSD license–truly, they built the entire community. And that’s not even talking about the contributions they’ve made to the codebase itself. It’s fair to say that if it hadn’t been for CMU, you never would have heard of Panda.

One day, perhaps, the community contributions will outweigh those of CMU and Disney. I look forward to that day arriving. When it does, perhaps we can revisit the branding issue. Until then, I believe CMU’s name belongs firmly right up there at the top of this page. (Disney’s name would be up there, too, but Disney isn’t particularly interested in this kind of promotion.)


As a Panda beginner I agree that the manual could be better and I agree on most of the other points, but I’m also with David on the realities of the situation. However, this part from the original points I didn’t quite understand:

What? You don’t believe because you don’t have a source code right in front of you? That’s pretty absurd and even unreasonable. I don’t think I have seen a single (free) engine that comes with the best of stuff that has been made with it. Whether colossus and pirates are the best for Panda, is debatable of course, but I hope you get the idea.

Finally I’d like to point out that thanks to the community and the samples, it’s not really THAT hard to get into Panda. Even I’ve managed to get done with about 1 hour of efficent coding per day for a month. That also includes making the model and animations. It’s buggy, it’s not yet very pretty, but it’s a start.

This is by no means an attempt to promote my crummy stuff, but it proves you can learn the basics with very little effort even with the current material. Even if you’re a bad coder who doesn’t understand what he’s doing like me :smiley:

That’s my bad, sorry. I’ll move it down.

On most points, you are absolutely right. The main problem is: lack of volunteers to work on the manual. It is a wiki, in case you haven’t noticed yet. Please, do put images and stuff in that might be helpful.

A suggestion which might make the manual more structured. It’s currently one big main page with everything on it. But have you looked at, for example, OGRE’s:
I find that much more structured than putting all the subjects on the main page. What about doing it like that? We can temporarily try it out by making a new main page as separate page (but dont replace it yet), if we like it we can then make it replace the main page. What do you guys think?


For having works with 10+ more open source project and professional project, i do believe that panda3D manual is quite good
(HP could take some lessons here…)

For me , we must not confuse a manual vs a tutorial vs code snippets.

  • We do have a manual
    ie: in depth explanations of features
  • We do have code snippets in each release

We miss a tutorial like the old BMW tutorial ( build a scene with animated panda and user interaction ) that could make an introduction to the manual.
Here you learn how to put the basic pieces together, in the manual you learn how to upgrade each pieces to an advanced one…

Clearly, it’s the big pictures of a “full casual game” that miss.
Most of the features are well covered in depth (but the distributed framework)

thank you for all the responses!

with the compilation thread you’re right - most people will rather use binary packages. but still i think there should be a link on the installation pages or something (for my distribution, there were no binaries).

thank you very much for all the new video links! (i will download as soon as possible :smiley:)

-sorry, but i don’t think i’m the right guy for that. i’m yet a noob at panda3d.

@mindblighter and david: maybe my tone was inproperly. what i wanted to say is that you show these hi-quality renders and actually nobody seems to know (or there is at least no instruction) how to make something like that. there are some user creations, which, i think, would give newbies a better prospect of what they can reach.

@david again: to the CMU logo: i didn’t know that CMU had and still has such an influence on the panda development. well, if noone else feels unhappy with that, i won’t mind (maybe we should start an extra topic for that in the future).

@pro-rsoft: i loved the OGRE website. their structure is very clear and well tidied. such a site about/for P3D would be a great improvement!

@Manakel: i don’t think the manual is that good. maybe it covers everything important and is written in an understandable tone, but the structure IMO needs to be reformed or at least there should be a seperation between a dry reference and newbie tust or howtos.

maybe someone who is familiar with the forum could also link the man-pages with some forum threads which mention the explained techniques and which give further examples. and if the manual should stay just a reference, then i miss tutorials on basics - some small howtos for basic games like… pong or tic-tac-toe would be very nice.

before u think something like ‘it’s an open community, do it yourself’:
i’m an absolute beginner. i can code a bit python and some other languages and i’m familiar with 3d modelling, but in panda i even couldn’t manage a moving cube… therefor this plea.

thank you

I agree with the view points above, I am a total newbie with panda too, but I believe with a well structured website like ogre’s website, would be a nice resource of learning for newbies like me, the panda’s manual is not so bad, but if we have a manual like ogre, with many pictures, howtos, tutorials of writing a game from scratch, we would get more motivated to study and go ahead with panda and the better detail: the community would grow more and more. Anyway I give many thanks to those guys developing panda. Sory for the bad english, my native language is portuguese.

thanks for the reply Marc3d.
hopefully this thread will have any effect on the the old stagers here.