Game Development Tools And Technologies Computer Science Essay

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Many different people are brought together to create a game from concept artists, level and character designers, programmers, sound artists and testers. They all use different software such as 3D technology, software engines, graphics software and programming languages. They will also use various hardware such as highly specified computers, musical instruments and development consoles.

Humans use High Level Language to create computer game programs using instructions which is a lot easier to understand than machine or assembly language code because the person reading the instructions can use words that clearly describe the task being created. High Level Language is very easy to understand by humans because it is readable. High level language is cross platform portable, this means that the language used can be for different platforms such as, PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox. High Level Language needs a compiler to run; this compiler will convert it into machine code which is also known as low level language so that it can be executed. Some examples of high level language are C, C++, JAVA and Visual basic. These are all used to program a game. The game Sims 2 which was released on PC and other consoles, was made in C, C is programming which can be used to create different games. C++ is an extension to C; all Xbox 360 games have been made in C++. C++ is capable of making many different things including, application software, device drivers, embedded software and entertainment software such as games. RuneScape is one of the largest pay to play JAVA online game; this is a 3D adventure game that millions of people play. Visual basic is used less than the others stated, it is used to create games that are less professional, people who are beginning to create games, and this is a perfect programming system.

Low Level Language

Low level language is machine and assembly languages; these are very hard to understand, but there is no need to compile it or translate it. Low level language is close to machine code, this is very close to the hardware and the computer is able to understand it. Machine Language requires in depth knowledge of every part of the computers architecture including I/O details, access methods, memory layout and the processor register function. For any game to run low level language and high level language need to be compiled together so that the computers hardware understands what to do, for example the CPU and the graphics card. Assembly languages are low- level languages which are translated into machine code by an assembler. Each assembly language instruction corresponds to one machine language instruction, but assembly language is easier notation for the programmer to use than machine code.

Direct X

DirectX is a collection of multimedia Application Programming Interfaces written by Microsoft. DirectX used to be all separate in the forms of, direct 3D, Direct Music, Direct Sound Direct Draw and Direct Play. DirectX is a group of Dynamic Link Libraries that have functions useful to a range of multimedia programmers, but these are almost entirely platform independent. This gives the programmer access to really fast graphics, sound, and input functions while not needing their applications to check for the capabilities of the computer that their program is running. DirectX will calculate these capabilities and if they are not present, DirectX may attempt to emulate the functions in software instead of hardware. Currently DirectX 11 is the latest release for Windows 7 only, a lot of users will still be using Direct X 9 because a lot more people are still using Windows XP.

DirectX provides a key set of tools and commands to enhance games and other multimedia applications allowing the hardware and the software to "talk" to each other with much greater ease. The API gives multimedia applications greater access to the advanced features of high-performance hardware such as 3D graphics acceleration chips and amazing sound cards. They also control many other lower-level functions; this includes 2D graphics acceleration; support for the wide range of input devices such as joysticks, keyboards, mice, controls sound mixing and sound output on a vast range of audio hardware, controls networking and multiplayer gaming, and control over various multimedia streaming formats. With each new revision, more feature support is added for emerging technology so that developers can begin to use that new technology as soon as possible, and hopefully, bringing the technology to us sooner.

Open GL

OpenGL is an application program interface that is used to define 2D and 3D computer graphics. This cross-platform API is generally considered to set the standard in the computer industry when it comes to this type of interaction with 2D computer graphics and has also become the usual tool for use with 3D graphics as well. Short for Open Graphics Library, OpenGL eliminated the need for programmers to rewrite the graphics section of an operating system each time a business would upgrade to a new version of the system.

The basic function of OpenGL is to issue a specific collection of executables or commands to the operating system. In doing so, the program works with the existing graphics hardware that resides on the hard drive or other specified source. Each command in the set is designed to engage a certain drawing action, or launch a specific special effect associated with the graphics.

API

Level Editors

On the internet there are many level editors that you can download/buy. For example, Valve Hammer Editor was used buy many professionals to create a game called Half Life 2. This editor allowed the professionals to create complicated levels so that when the game was released the public had plenty of levels to play. Valve Hammer Editor is also available to the public so that people can come up with their own levels, they would then be able to release their level to the public so that everyone who downloaded the level would be able to play it. There are lots more editors available for different games such as, Warcraft Map Editor and Lemmings Level Editor. All of these editors allow you to create backgrounds, objects, sounds and much more to create the perfect level.

Graphic Packages

Adobe Photoshop is classed as a professional graphic package, this package is used by many professionals because there are so many features to create some of the best graphics in the world. This package takes a very long time to get to know everything that it can do. A more simple graphic package is GIMP, this is used by hobbyist's, people who are not looking to go professional but to play around with it and have fun to see what they can create. The amount of features on GIMP is a lot less than on Photoshop, GIMP is a lot easier to use for normal everyday people. Adobe Photoshop is used in game making to create all of the 2D artwork, this artwork can be stuck to the walls to create a better and more realistic look; it can also create objects that are 2D such as, objects on the walls.

3D Modelling Software

Autodesk Maya is classed as a professional 3D modelling package; this package is used by many professionals because there are so many features to create some of the best 3D models that look a lot more realistic. This package takes a very long time to get to know everything that it can do. A more simple 3D modelling package is Blender, this is used by hobbyist's, people who are not looking to go professional but to play around with the program and have fun to see what kind of 3D models they can create. The amount of features on Blender is a lot less than on Autodesk Maya, Blender is a lot easier to use for normal everyday people. Autodesk Maya is used in game making to create 3D models such as, characters, objects on the floor, bins, curbs, guns and many more. These all make the game look more realistic and better to play.

Many three dimensional models are created as textured polygonal models. Polygonal modelling is a method of creating a 3D model by connecting line segments through points in a 3D space. These points in space are also known as vertices. Polygonal models are very flexible and can be rendered by a computer very quickly. One cannot, however, create an exact curved surface using polygonal 3D modelling technique. This is the simplest way of modelling three dimensional objects. Using geometric primitives such as cylinders, cones, cubes and balls, complex models are created. This approach ensures easy construction as the forms are mathematically defined and precise. Primitive modelling is mainly used in developing 3D models of technical applications. The NURBS (Non-uniform rational B-spline) modelling method can be found in popular software like Maya. The developer can create smooth-surfaced 3D models using this modelling technique. Unlike polygonal modelling techniques which can only approximate curved surfaces using numerous polygons, NURBs modelling can truly create smooth curved surfaces.

Cinematic Animation

NB Task 3 is for Merit. Mention specific job roles in your answer such as artist, programmer, etc.

Must use correct terminology most of the time

Skip if attempting task 4

Task 4: Explain and discuss in detail the games development process in terms of the techniques and technologies used by artists, animators, programmers and other disciplines.

NB Task 4 is for Distinction only

Use correct terminology all of the time.

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