Project targets

As posted here four weeks ago, we have to be realistic about the deliverables of Apricot. A lot of our technical targets will be met, but the main target “create full functional industry quality game prototype” had to be reworded less ambitious… (depends on what you consider “industry quality” of course!).

The deal is that the team now works on two parallel content targets;

  • a full functional level in the CS engine, focused on visual quality, speed and character-environment interactions.
  • several levels in the Blender GE, focused on artistic quality and game play prototyping.

The reason for this was mostly because the pipeline from Blender to CS wasn’t efficient enough to give the artists a satisfying workflow. It proved to be more efficient to do design and game prototyping in the Blender GE.
On the CS side it was evident there was much more time needed to get the main character at playable level.

The re-found enthusiasm for the Blender GE was received very well by the Blender community. It is quite evident that this part in Blender has a lot of potential… but still more as an artists’ tool than as a final delivery platform for “industry quality games”. For that, a good export to specialized game engines like CS remains important, something we’ll have to keep working on to make that well possible!

A more detailed review with problem analysis and recommendations for future development will be delivered later, also as part of the Apricot docs on the final DVDs.

Current status:

  • This weekend we will make Apricot svn available for everyone.
  • Currently Frank and Darius wrap up the CS part, meaning a lot of documentation but also work on porting, players and installation issues.
  • Pablo Martin has already left, by the end of the month Campbell, Frank and Darius will leave too (we’ll do a goodbye dinner with Wall-E visit!).
  • Chris and Pablo Vazquez will stay another month. They want to deliver several playable levels in the the Blender GE, but especially will take care of a good quality DVD presentation of the entire project.
  • Brecht also stays here, he will ensure Blender’s new GLSL will work on as many platforms possible.
  • Darius will work from home during august on final game tweaks

Oh, and the game title has been decided on… wait for the logo and graphics to be updated soon… πŸ™‚

87 Responses to “July Production update”
  1. Blender Loving Squirrel says:

    @ yoff – actually I believe that there is a gigantic “market” being missed by UT3 and CryEngine, that can’t afford to pay $1 million for a license. For those people a “perpetually 80% CryEngine” would be the new sliced bread of the digital world.

  2. Blender Loving Squirrel says:

    Well also one other thing, correct me if I’m wrong here anyone but I just don’t buy into “blender as pipeline” but that could just the hazy outlook of a blenderhead in love.

  3. In my opinion, I see more future in BGE than in CrystalSpace, after testing both separately and together.

    Honestly, I think we should run a poll in the main Blender Communities in order to see if everyone agrees in loosening the deadline, and / or dropping CS completely in favor of Blender Game Engine!

  4. I think this discussion gets into slightly wrong direction. Why is there always talk about BGE or CS? Why not both. I as well think it was a really great step to involve another opensource project. Why not work together? Its opensource, its not against, but with each other, isnt it?

  5. In my opinion, I see more future in CrystalSpace than in BGE, after testing both separately and together.

    Honestly, I think we should run a poll in the main CrystalSpace Communities in order to see if everyone agrees in loosening the deadline, and / or dropping BGE completely in favor of Crystal Space!


  6. @Vexelius – but who will give money to the team. Imo 6 months deadline was because the funds that BF had for this project. And thats the point. As for me they can release the game in 2010.

  7. @Emo:

    I don’t know what you tried to mean, but honestly, I don’t care… It’s just what it came out of my own testing, which I doubt in your case.


    The trouble in developing two engines at the same time is that you have to “halve” everything, including the final progress in both. However, if you choose and concentrate in one, you can get more results. At least, in my opinion, it’s better to have only one engine with industry-quality features than getting 2 with “more or less” high quality features.


    Yeah, that’s a good point. In fact, I was looking forward to the improvements in one of the main OpenSource engines than the Apricot game… But you’re right, the money should have ran out, and the team must have schedules set to the projected end of this project, so, maybe it won’t be possible to keep it going.

    Anyways, sorry if a CrystalSpace fan was offended by my comments. In fact, it disappointed me that the project is about to end, and we have got 2 greatly improved OpenSource Game Engines, with lots of new features, a hard work behind it… But still, both can only be used for sketching rather than being perfectly able to get industry quality results.

    As I said, I would have preferred only one (either CS or BGE) engine with excellent quality than 2 with a more or less good quality.

  8. torakunsama says:

    Greetings, oh great open source lovers/developers. I started using Blender in Nov last year, and I’ve seen the improvement it got, I tried other engines, but found many obstacles : coding.
    I live in Africa, and down here we got….1 quasi gaming school in South Africa, I live in Angola. Although I attended in that academy, coding is not par of the curriculum, so all we can do is model/texture/animate, etc.
    Blender changed all that, no need to know coding (that much)I was happy with the limitations, coz I can finally build a game while being just a modeler…! I nearly cried of joy when I saw realtime shadow… ‘good greif, we just need realtime reflexion, and maybe volumetric light to have a GodEngine’ I thought. I love blender and it’s community, I wanna open the first gaming studio in my country, I’m placing my eggs on BGE,… I mean Open Source… Ok that’s an unfair reason and post, but still, I’d like to bow and deeply thank the Apricot team for the magnificient work you guys are doing, in the good name of Open Source, and CS community and developpers or whoever contributed in this project.

  9. Blender Loving Squirrel says:

    I feel the same way as the guy above, and you know we can use his testimonial and others like it in order to get donations from various universities !

  10. While the BGE is very good for rapid prototyping and perhaps also for smaller games it lacks sufficient power for real full games. As far as I know (but correct me if I’m wrong) BGE has no support for a window system (like CEGUI) to make in-game menu and HUD. BGE also has little support for AI. In the CS version of Apricot there are animals who move around and react on the main player. This is (I believe) harder to do in the BGE.


  11. Jorrit: BGE has overlay scenes, i.e., you can design any amount of scenes with ortographic cameras, and then overlay as many as you wish, giving you total freedom to design whatever ‘windowing system’ you desire.
    As to the AI support – it has Python πŸ™‚

  12. Now that I’m already posting a lot, here is what in *my* opinion and from my experience are the most urgent problems in BGE:

    – No occlusion handling, other than frustum culling. This is a showstopper – everything gets terribly slow unless you spend a LOT of work on implementing portal systems manually, like I did in the Schnittenparadies 3D prototype
    – Graphics not on par with industry engines
    – Extremely frustrating workflow overall. Shadow / AO / radiosity baking is – sorry to be honest – right now completely unusable given the current implementation. There needs to be one single button “BAKE”, which simply works. No manual creation of empty images, assigning to objects, oh, damn, I forgot one, etc… that just doesn’t cut it
    – Last time I used it, the physics system was still immature and its interface was inconsistent and strange

  13. Yes, but even with these overlay scenese I think it is still hard to make (for example) a GUI for a file requester (list of files) for save/load game or lists for other purposes. Also making fully working menus and things like that using an overlay scene is not THAT easy. It is a lot easier to use something that has been designed for that (Like CEGUI).


  14. To Alexander: and for AI you have python. That is true and that way you can do it. However you have to do it yourselves. The BGE (nor python) don’t have built-in support for game AI. CS/CEL has.


  15. Jorrit: I’m not trying to diss Crystal Space in any way, don’t misunderstand me.
    It’s just that I think that trying to squeeze out TWO products out of a project that is already tight on budget and time is not a fortunate decision.
    Personally, I’m biased towards BGE though, however not because of Blender fanboyism, but simply because I like fully integrated solutions – as interfacing apps is a nightmare πŸ™‚

  16. Yes, interfacing is a nightmare. One of the goals was to lessen this nightmare of integration between Blender and Crystal Space. Admittedly we didn’t completely succeed with that (mostly due to lack of time) but yesterday I saw the latest blender2crystal with integrated Crystal Space view (inside Blender) and I think it shows promise. We’re not 100% there yet but I believe that a ‘nightmare-free’ integrated solution can also be made like that. Just requires more effort.


  17. Sure. However, as you might have noticed, my absolute reference concerning game engines currently is CryEngine2 (and previously, it was indeed CryEngine), and as you probably know, it’s also a fully integrated solution (SandBox) – even more integrated than Blender + BGE – you virtually SIT INSIDE THE RUNNING GAME ENGINE all the time. Believe me, it is a completely stunning experience creating levels in that way. The workflow is unbeatable….

  18. Ok, but I believe CryEngine2 is not free unless I’m mistaken? At least it is not Open Source.

  19. Hehe, no… but what’s wrong with comparing commercial, expensive products with free, open-source ones? In other occasions, open-source people often brag about the on-par-beingness of open-source with commercial software. So, these comparisons are just fair to make πŸ™‚
    Anyway, I think we’ve abused this blog entry enough for our conversation now πŸ˜‰

  20. Animashun says:

    Hello there,

    Thanks so much for everyone supporting the BGE, I really think that this part of Blender is what sets it apart in its own way from other apps that are similar in genre to Blender.

    I dont believe in comparing BGE to CS/Cell but I do believe in the Apricot team spending time on BGE instead of time on CS. This is why.

    Because of the tight budgets only BGE or CS should be pursued….However that does not mean both avenues cannot profit.

    1. It appears at least to me that there are a number of communities that can equally pursue the bridging of Blender and CS with equal results.

    2. It also appears to me that this Apricot team specifically would be the most successful when trying to improve the BGE.

    3. If BGE was to be improved this would increase the user base.

    If Blender can be improved best by the Apricot group and this in turn increases the user base; We can expect new people that belong to other communities to use Blender. Other communities are equally able to bridge Blender and CS… So, by having Apricot improving BGE you are in fact indirectly improving the bridge between Blender and CS by improving the BGE.

    I wish you Godspeed towards any BGE endevors you see best fitting! Thank you for all your work so far!

  21. Ok. So lets make a petition that next project will be using id Tech 4 ;P

  22. “This weekend we will make Apricot svn available for everyone.” Do you mean the whole Game Source? greetings

  23. @ moerdn: yes, our entire production tree, all the files in our local SVN production folder.

  24. Ok we have a big discussion going here but it not has much to do whit the Apricot Project anymore…

    I think we all can agree that the Apricot Team has done excellent work!!!!!
    Thanx a lot

    For all the Persons that would like to future discuss about Futur development and how to support the GBE there is also a Treat open in the Forum

    I think we should keep this site on topic and the Topic of this site Is the Apricot Project.

    So for the ones that would like to support the CS open a Treat in the CS Forums and post its Link here… so that part of the discussion can carry on there

    And for the once that would like to discuss CS and BGE at the same time they can open a Treat in the Non-BGE section of
    or any other Place and post the link here…

    This will help to keep this very imported discussion upright and at the same time not come of topic on this site and keeping the discussion Organised in the 3 main Groups…
    BGE and CS

    Thanx a lot for your helping and to the Apricot Team that allowed us to start this discussion on there site…

  25. @OldJim – and wheres the place for id Tech’s? Ok just kidding.

  26. @aka on: LoL well if you like to you can open a treat in

  27. @OldJim – 0_o lol, ok.

  28. @aka on : OK Im waiting for youto open the Treat at

  29. Justin Operable says:

    I really like the idea of using BGE for prototyping, and a more dedicated Game Engine for actually making the finished product.

    I am somewhat disappinted that there will only be one level. But I am also excited. Although it is not exactly the same, I have seen what happesn in the Wesnoth community, and I think it would be great for users, players and members of the Blender Foundation itself to continue to add levels and functionality to the game. Apricot may be the proof of concept seed that grows an expansive game.

    I really hope everybody views this as a chance for the community to build on the game, and not just some sort of tech demo πŸ™‚

  30. apoclypse says:

    @Alexander Ewering:

    You keep mentioning cryengine and cryngine2 as well as sandbox. What you don’t seem to understand is that blender is not just a game editor, its much more than that and I hve yet to see a cmmercial package (Maya, Max, XSI) that doesn’t work very similar to how the b2cs scripts works, where they usually have a viewport dedicated to the game engine and you do you editing there. You can’t model in sandbox, you can import objects into it and then pick and choose properties for it but the paradigm is different. Blender, despite the included game engine, is an application made for rendered animation and modelling. The integration with CS was the right approach, imo and its sad that they didn;t get to explore that more. Most commercial game engines don’t integrate with the content app at all so I think blender was ahead of the game for the most part. Like you said cryengine has sandbox but you are not going to get the engine running in Maya, MAx, etc. There are plugins that do this though, and XSI even has a small game sample game engine included with it to teach developers how to integrate their own engines, I have yet to see any other engine use this functionality.

    I personally think that OGRE3d was the better choice. I understand why you guys chose CS, its a complete game engine, OGRE3d is just a rendering engine, but in the end the rendering engine would have been a great choice to integrate into blender. It is feature rich, sometime surpassing commecial engines out there in-terms of rendering features and it has a python binding. I also find the community to be exremely active and there is plenty of help and documentation on how to build a game engine piecemeal. The important part is the rendering engine, things like glsl, directx, cegui, culling, etc. you would get for free because OGRE3d supports all of that out of the box. The same for video card support, not to mention tht OGRE3d has been used in commercial games and applications. Again I understand your choices but I think you missed a great opportunity.

  31. Cyberdigitus says:

    I feel the same as apocalypse, while i respect the work of the cs team, Ogre seems a better fit.

    It is a rendering engine, true, but then there are many open source projects out there for the other aspects of a game engine. No need to pick just one, The apricot team could have chosen the best in their field, and write all the glue code to fit it together. That’s how most projects with ogre work, just look at the showcase gallery. There are even some complete engines out there based on Ogre.

    This modularisation is a good thing. If the logic bricks/nodes part of the bge could be extracted on it’s own, and it communicates to ogre for all the drawing, that would be a very direct fit.

    Maybe not for blender integration, since delivering the ogre lib with it would make it bigger in filesize, but as a viewport option and game player it would be a wise choice to work on in the future.

    The main thing here is actually since ogre is very well designed in what it does, focusing on realtime rendering, and being around for awhile, it has taken care of many pitfalls, including graphics card compatibility, seperate rendering api’s, OS platforms, and fallbacks for all that. that in itself is already a lot of work, which will be apparent now blender has glsl and card compatibility problems will arise.

    This not to belittle Chrystal Space, i’m sure after this projects they have made progress too and will definitely be used in some (open) game projects.

    I bought the DVD right away, so i’m completely behind this project, whatever decisions the team makes, you are who run the show after all, just expressing my opinion on this matter.

    good luck to all!

  32. The hopes were high, the difficulties that the project tambem.Esperamos not pare.A community always supported the development of the engine as’ inevitavel and the direction to the market for interactive games with animaΓ§ao. The artist is a user of the blender and entusiata dreamer and that one day I can count on an engine equal to havok and who knows in the future a cryengine, is a dream qeu with certainty many of the community would like to have in Blender.


  33. Pleas read Port 74 and Use this Blog for Apricot relatet discusion…

  34. That’s a long discussion… that I want to add my 2 cents to.
    I understand the difficulties that the team faced and i believe they managed to deliver the best for blender (from what i can see in the svn, i have no idea about CS). The problems that have been described in this ever going discussion about the interoperability between Blender and CS is the root of the problems. I believe that there are two other projects that should have finished first before attemting to do the intergration of CS. Namely the 2.5 blender rewrite and the render api. From what i have understood over googling the first would provide a scriptable gui enviroment inside blender that would allow for level editors and heavily customised window types for the artists to work with and the second would provide a streamlined method for materials exporting.
    I think the BGE has potential and would benefit more by better documentation, example scenes and quality templates for simple tasks, such as walkthroughs, flash-style interaction presets (eg drag ‘n’ drop, on rollover etc) and presentation templates. To get to that “industry quality” level you do need a more potent GE though. But BGE would still be a major feature of blender.
    The ideal use for it could be by resurrecting the web-plugin, so that blender could gain web-content export capabilities. But that’s a different story all by itself…
    Anyway, thumps up on a job well done by me and keep it up!

  35. I would like to invite Ton and all the other developers of the BGE to the Forum:

    There are some great Ideas Popping up there on how we would like to support BGE development. If you would join us there and let us know what you think that would not only motivate us but also you could let us know what would really be a help for you…
    Looking forward to see you at the Forum:

    One of the Admins there
    Old Jim

  36. Francisco Ortiz says:

    So…The project is near to be completed we are sad and happy, both at the same time! Happy because the DVDs are coming…:P and sad because well… The dream team will leave the happy institute.

  37. CS was a turn-off from ever checking out the Apricot project. BGE was the first engine I could figure out to use. Logic bricks are an excellent idea. I can build my models and characters right in the engine. I look forward to trying out the new Apricot.BGE build. I don’t care about Crysis because I am an artist who enjoys modeling in the engine. SVN is discouraging to download. Had to use SVN for Papervision3d download. Instead of BGE web-plugin, write a Flash103D exporter. Then BGE can conquer the world through FLASH10. An ITouch exporter would be great. Buying Unity3D and a MacBook to design a gameboy-type Iphone game is expensive. I will use BGE on a UMPC. My friends don’t care about Crysis GFX. They like fun characters and fun gameplay. Make some cool tutorials like SketchUp3D. Include some BGE tutorials on the Apricot DVD and I will buy it. I wish I would have learned BGE 8 years ago. Learning BGE on is kind of a pain. I have made two games and my friends enjoy them. Give the world some templates. Instead of selling high-end ideas move volume and accessibility. NintendoDS=non-Crysis GFX & great sales! Great work to Apricot and Blender. No disrespect. I bought all your books.