Ogre 1.10 User Survey Results

During the period of Feb 7. – March 7. we received 117 replies. At the same time the ogre 1.10 Windows SDK alone was downloaded 5161 times. So while the results are significant, they are probably not representative.

The average Ogre application is a Game displaying Overlays and Particles. It was written as a Hobby in C++ and targets Windows 10 using OpenGL.

As you see statistics are lies, so better take a look at the actual numbers yourself.

To spare you reading all the free-form answers though, here is a summary

Most severe drawbacks of Ogre 1.10

  • lack of documentation (8x)
  • Difficult to build/ setup (6x)
  • code quality/ readability (5x)
  • outdated documentation (4x)
  • Performance (4x)
  • Compositor Component (2x)
  • no/ bad scene editor (2x)
  • diverging 1.x and 2.x branches (2x)
  • lack of art/ asset pipeline (2x)
  • Abandoned Plugins (2x)
  • “next-gen” graphics (1x)

Most important future change for Ogre 1.11

  • modern rendering techniques (8x)
  • Keeping code stable (7x)
  • Archive out of date documentation (2x)
  • more support for existing Addons/ Plugins (2x)
  • simplify SCM (2x)
  • C++11 Support (2x)
  • VR & Stereo Rendering (1x)

 

As you can see some of the requests are contradicting and some are only vague, like “next-gen graphics”.

To others I wrote a short reply here.

To streamline the development process & discussion of Ogre 1.x, we now have the Ogre evolution proposals.
Basically it consists of a structured textual specification similar to the Python PEPs. Click on the link above to learn more.

 

Ogre 1.10 User Survey 2018

Those of you who have been around Ogre for some time might remember that back in 2011, we conducted a survey about our user base. The results of which can be found here.

As we have started the 1.11 development cycle we would like to assess to correctly emphasize the development and ideally drop some barely used features that will free resources for more important things.

So for the next four weeks until the 7th of March, you have the chance to participate and help us to get an impression about our user base, how Ogre is used and share some wishes for the future. Simply follow the link and make your way through the 11 questions. It should not take up much time since most of the questions are simple checkbox or radio button questions.

Link to survey

We want to thank you all upfront for helping us to develop Ogre further and getting some valuable insight information about the people using the engine!

PS: We would be glad if you could spread the word about the survey via all available channels to all potential Ogre users, because: The more participants, the more accurate are the results of course.

Game highlight – iUBES:2

Today we want to highlight one of the many games based on Ogre3D that have come out recently. This time: iUBES:2

We asked the team behind the game if they could share some insights into the Ogre3D usage and how the game was built in general, and codrer was kind enough to provide those:

  • iUBES was developed using Visual Studio Express + Ogre 1.9 ; I didn’t upgraded simply because everything was running perfectly fine, without any need for additional power. Even if I’m looking forward to try out Ogre 2.x in the near future.
  • From my point of view, one of the main advantage of using Ogre engine is that it doesn’t carry any overweight. For this indie / somehow minimalistic design, it’d be a shame to ask for consequent configuration: Ogre helps iUBES running on almost any low-end laptop (DX9/ XP/ integrated graphics…).
  • At this time I only released a Windows/DX9 version of the game. However, beta testers proved the game to be running perfectly through Play On Linux / Play On Mac steam emulation. I was quite surprised actually.
  • No change have been made to Ogre, the game simply dynamically links to ogre’s dll right from the SDK. I only had to use my own functions for a couple of optimizations like math (hundreds of units bouncing on a spherical ground consume a lot of trigonometry), strings functions, … those kind of small things.
  • I didn’t use further libraries than Ogre itself. I even decided at some point to discard OIS (I feel more confortable using windows API directly). Everything else (GUI, winsock, directsound…) has been written from scratch for maximum flexibility.
  • Again that’s one of the things I DO love with Ogre: this is a pure rendering engine which doesn’t mix unrelated things like most game engines do. We can create our very own setup.
  • Except from trees and the iubes themselves which are very low-poly assets created using 3DS, the world is entirely procedural. Ogre’s ManualObject class was a huge friend.
  • As each building is build up bloc per bloc (hundreds), Ogre’s convertToMesh() method could have been a bottleneck. Hence each construction is split between a couple of meshes, then piled up and revamped from time to time during runtime.
  • Apart from water which use a classic 2.0 fragment shader, all the other textures are using the fixed pipeline. Terrain and Constructions use VertexColourTracking plus modulative detail textures. Since meshes are built procedurally, vertex colours have major benefits here (using basic math to finely darken inner faces of a building to improve lighting, and so on).
  • Fun fact: while I use PSSM hand written shadows on other projets, for this game I switched back to… built-in Ogre shadows (i.e. SHADOWTYPE_TEXTURE_MODULATIVE). Apart from some very little glitches, it fits quite perfectly my spherical world!
  • At this point I may confess that I’m a huge fan of the K.I.S.S. principle…
  • At the end of the day, this game only uses a fragment of Ogre’s capabilities, but benefits utterly from its versatility. “Hey let’s make a procedural RTS online game in a spherical world” – for such a custom idea, Ogre was the obvious way to go.

You can see more videos and screenshots on Steam where you of course can also purchase the game.

If you too want a spot on the news for your Ogre powered application, then you can e-mail us at .

 

 

Ogre Ecosystem Roundup

Recently there were several updates around the Ogre infrastructure and ecosystem. This post will outline the highlights for you.

Ogre 1.10.9 released

While this is actually core, there were several updates that also improve the Ogre ecosystem. Maybe the most prominent one is that ApplicationContext will now fall back to the installed plugins.cfg and resources.cfg if it does not find any it the working directory (or any previously searched locations).

While this sounds trivial it means that your ApplicationContext based application will just run ™ – no need to worry about the RTSS resources or where the plugins are located. Ok, to load custom resources, still have to provide a resources.cfg, but in most cases you will not need a plugins.cfg. By default all enabled plugins will get loaded automatically.

Related to this change is the deprecation of SceneType enum (i.e. createSceneManger(ST_GENERIC)). Most of the time it only gave you the right SceneManager Plugin by chance. See this thread for details. Instead you are now supposed to call createSceneManger("DefaultSceneManager") or createSceneManger("OctreeSceneManager") explicitly.

Next, basic tutorials 1 & 2 were ported (thanks to Bohdan Kornienko) from the wiki to the new Doxygen documentation and to 1.10 (ApplicationContext). The code is no longer copy pasted into the page, but rather referenced from a real project that can be built and tested. Obviously the tutorial porting is an ongoing effort that you are invited to join.

Finally the -Wundef and -Wmissing-declarations warnings were enabled and fixed the code. These warnings help us ensuring that internal functions are correctly marked static and that our preprocessor branching is sane.

Of course there were many more changes. For the details – as usually – refer to the github tag.

 

Many addons ported

If you take a look at the OGRECave group on github, you will find many of the addons, that make up the Ogre ecosystem. The ones inside the group, were ported to 1.10. Due to the internal reorganization in 1.10, this allowed dropping lots (like lots) of code: e.g. FindOGRE.cmake and BaseApplication could be safely dropped.

But particularly, the documentation was regenerated and now even correctly references any external Ogre classes. Take a look:

You might notice that some information is outdated or find some typos. Take the chance and and create a pull-request on github. Most of this is just some markdown inside the according repository.

 

Ogre visualisation module in OpenCV

There have been Augmented Reality demos using OGRE and OpenCV for a long time. However the new Ogre Visualisation module, short ovis, provides a far better and easier integration. This allows you to write an AR demo in just 35 lines of code.

 

Webserver migrated

Regular visitors might have noticed some downtime of the Forums and the Wiki. This was due to the migration of our Webserver to Bytemark that are kindly providing us with free hosting. This was quite a leap forward as the old server was still running Ubuntu 12.04 with PHP software versioned at around that time. To me it is a miracle that the server still was under our control..

Anyway…the new server is now running Ubuntu 16.04 with automatic security updates. Furthermore we moved from phpbb 3.0.8 to phpbb 3.2.1 (~6 years advance) and tiki from 6.4 to tiki 15.5 (~5 years advance). Besides better security, this brings us responsive (mobile) pages and emoji support 🙂

Wiki deprecation and addonforums archival

The migration has shown some problems with our infrastructure though. We had an isolated addonforums phpbb instance where users had to register separately from the main forums. However only a few addons even had post from this year – let alone having responses. Therefore this instance was not migrated. Instead it was converted into a static archive.

Furthermore using a wiki for code is outdated by todays measures. It sits somewhere between Github, WordPress and Doxygen, where each of the alternatives offer a superior experience for the respective use-case. Therefore for contributing text, you should consider the following alternatives:

  • for tutorial and sample code use Doxygen, which offers automatic code referencing
  • for external projects use github, which offers code versioning and issue tracking
  • the rest, which is general information, should probably be on the main page for better discoverability

 

IRC channel replaced by Gitter

In case you want to chat about Ogre related topics, you can now use our Gitter channel which replaces the #ogre3d IRC channel. The reason we drop IRC is that nobody of the current Ogre Team has admin access to the channel, preventing us to set-up an archival of the chat-logs or even change the headline. Of course we could have mailed back and forth with freenode, and then request botbot.me logging  – but then Gitter took just a few clicks to set-up and offers superior code referencing..