Tuesday May 18, 2010

3-D Game Dev on the NetBeans Platform with jME3

Do you remember jMonkeyEngine, the cool 3-D game framework from JavaOne? Yesterday, the first alpha of the upcoming jMonkeyEngine 3 has been released!

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Monday Dec 21, 2009

jMonkeyEngine Documentation contest - Win a prize!

Erlend announced the pilot run of the first jMonkeyEngine Documentation contest today. Submit a jMonkeyEngine-related tutorial, and (by public vote) win the $25 prize money! It doesn't have to be a new tutorial "from scratch" - significantly adding to an existing tutorial also counts, e.g. by updating something from jME 1 to to jME 2, or gathering the condensed learnings from a forum thread. You can even resubmit a tutorial that you contributed before the contest was announced.

So if you figured out something useful that has not been documented yet, tell us how you did it! Create the most simple case as a sample project, javadoc the essential lines of code, and zip it as download. Write a concise article around the crucial code blocks, explaining what the options are and why you made certain choices. If it is something visual, add a screenshot of the result. Your readers may also be thankful for a nice short intro paragraph such as "Read this to learn how to do X. First we do A, then B, then C. In the end you will see D." (Note, those are not the contest rules, but just my personal suggestions.)

If you cannot think of a topic, Erlend makes a few suggestions:

  • Do you have experience with the art and assets pipeline of 3D game development? Which 3D model formats and editors proved best, what options do we have for loading models and textures, what about tools (HottBJ, OgreXML), or techniques (terrain splatting, texturing)?
  • Terrain creation is another multi-faceted topic that deserves a tutorial: What are our terrain creation options, and what impact will they have on looks and performance? You can just start small and describe one of the terrain APIs.
  • The third suggestion is a somewhat more comprehensive article: Write the end-to-end story of your completed 3D application. What were your feature specs, which APIs did you use to implement them, how did you create media assets, how did you overcome stumbling blocks? And where can we download or buy it? ;)

To avoid duplication, have a look at what is already there. I am updating the documentation home page, so please also have a look at the new version to see what we have, what is missing, and what needs to be rewritten.

Ready to go? Submit your tutorial topic here! The contest ends in six days. Have fun!

PS: Just in case you were about to say: "If it's so easy, why don't you participate?!?" -- I might resubmit one of the jME tutorials I already wrote (e.g. jME with NetBeans). We would like around five or more participants -- if five others apply with new stuff, I will gladly let them go ahead and not participate with my (one month) old stuff.

Tuesday Jul 28, 2009

Creating Java 3D Games with NetBeans

While taking a few days of vacation (before coming back in time for the release of NetBeans 6.7.1!) I finally got my jMonkeyEngine notes and files in order. If you don't know it yet: The jMonkeyEngine (jME) is a free and open-source 3D engine for creating 3D games and simulations in Java.

(I would have blogged about it earlier, but the project is moving servers in July... So if the links below should change again and break, search the web for "jmonkeyengine" and then search within the page...)

If you have never seen it before, these jME videos and demos show best what you can do with Java3D nowadays.

I had created a simple 3D world with jME 1.0 and started migrating useful elements to jME 2.0 -- which is well doable despite a few API changes, especially since NetBeans marks the broken lines, fixes the import statements, and I can get the new syntax from the code completion popup. Here are my notes that I shared on the jME wiki:

  • General jMonkeyEngine beginners FAQ -- Those are my questions and answers that I found. I just updated it for jME 2.0 and will be filling in more stuff as I go along.
  • jMonkeyEngine + NetBeans Tutorials -- I created this index page because I noticed that several authors had started writing jME+NetBeans tutorials for various versions! Thanks to the community for covering this so well.
  • Setting up NetBeans 6.7 for jME 2.0 -- This is my jME tutorial contribution. Maintaining the native libraries and JARs is easier now with NetBeans 6.5 (or higher). I also mention Maven briefly, and how to wrap up a whole project (JARs and native libraries!) into one distributable JAR file (using OneJar), and how to make this distributable java application startable in a user-friendly way.

There is probably more to be said about distributable JAR files, but OneJar solves my current questions. If you figured out how to get native libraries into a webstartable JNLP file, leave a comment. This blogger here has some more tips regarding JNLP signing and where to place the native libraries, so this is my next lead to investigate. But first I need to get my rusty 3D app going again--taking into account the new stuff I've been reading about programming patterns lately, suddenly my old class structure looks quite... sub-optimal. ;)

PS: updated links to stable jmonkeyengine.com URLs.

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NetBeans IDE, Java SE and ME, 3D Games, Linux, Mac, Cocoa, Prague, Linguistics.

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