Game Highlight – SHMUP Creator

Today we want to present another Game highlight of Ogre3D based games. This time: SHMUP Creator

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 Suny was kind enough to provide those:

What is SHMUP Creator

SHMUP Creator is a shoot ’em up maker. It allows people to create games without any coding or scripting. The games can use 2D sprites or 3D models. The game editor offers a lot of features allowing people to create gameplay, weapons, particle effects, and so on. We tried to make this tool easy to use and powerful enough for more experienced users.
The team is tiny: I’m the only coder (+ musician + texture artist + sprite artist), and one other artist made the Art direction UI design and modeled all the 3D assets.

Ogre

I’m using Ogre 13 and the DirectX9c renderer. I only modified a few lines of Ogre code to simplify my workflow (for example, to not crash when a font is looking for a non-existent character), and I wrote a few simple particle affectors, like simple damping or another one that keeps an effect 2D. I also wrote all the shaders, trying to be pretty but fast.

Performance

Shoot ’em ups are simple games, but performance is very important. I wrote an optimized bullet engine that creates a manual mesh object per bullet type. So I can display hundreds of bullets with one draw call per type.
Also, the engine can create 3D or 2D games, and for 2D games, I’m displaying a quad per sprite. When a game is exported, I create static meshes for backgrounds to reduce the number of draw calls, and it helped quite a lot with performance. Users are quite surprised by the speed of the 3D engine. I’m not doing very fancy things (no GI or AO, no PBR for now) but it’s working quite well.

GUI and other libraries

The SHMUP Creator is mainly a tool, and obviously, the UI is a very important part of the product. I’m using MyGUI for this, with a lot of custom animations and transitions. I really enjoyed using MyGUI and I hope it will be maintained in the future! Other libraries used are Bullet for some simple ray/mesh collisions, Fmod for sound, assimp for 3D import and export, and SDL for gamepad and windows creation. I also use a tiny bit of boost and rapidxml for serialization.

Why Ogre

I started to work on this project a long, long time ago. Actually, it’s my first C++ project ever 🙂 I tried Unity, but their rendering engine was very bad at this time, so I choose Ogre. There are downsides, but the good thing for me was that I had to learn a lot of things in a variety of subjects and do everything by myself, like writing all the shaders, optimizing the rendering pipeline, etc. All that knowledge is invaluable to me and I use it every day in my day job. Also, the community is not very important those days, but people are quite friendly and I can always find someone to help me if I need some help (Thanks again Paroj!).

Spreading Ogre

SHMUP Creator is a game-making tool. I’m amazed by the quality of games made by the SHMUP Creator users: you can already play some of them on itch.io, and I hope some of them will be sold on Steam soon. So, in the end, I hope this product will help create a lot of games using Ogre 🙂

Suny

Ogre 13.4 released

Ogre 13.4.0 was just released. This release contains some significant bug-fixes and feature additions, which we will discuss in more detail below. We recommend all users of the 13.x branch to update.

For a full overview of the changes, see the changelog.

Extended PBR-material support

with blender 2.8+ and blender2ogre 0.8.3, you can now choose to export PBR metal-roughness parameters instead of converting them to a FFP approximation as before.

While at it, several bugs in the RTSS PBR implementation were fixed. Now transparency, ambient lighting and PSSM shadows play nicely with PBR.

Bullet Integration now available as a Component

In the User Survey btogre was the most popular external Ogre component with over 53% votes.

To make life for those who use it easier, it is now integrated into the main repo as a component. This allows you to just build it as part of Ogre on one hand and on the other hand this ensures that it is integration tested by our CI.

VET_INT_10_10_10_2_NORM support added

Ogre now supports normalized INT_10_10_10_2 as the vertex format. This packs 3 signed values with 10bit precision and a fourth 2bit value into 4 bytes – the size required by a single float.

If you are using normal-maps, you will notice how this format is perfect to store a tangent with parity, while only requiring 25% of storage compared to 4 floats.

Additionally, you can use it to store normals where storage requirements drop to 33% too.
In both cases the 10bit resolution is typically sufficient.

The format is natively supported by GLES3, GL3+, Vulkan and Metal meaning that you also save bandwidth and VRAM.

With the other RenderSystems, Ogre will transparently unpack the data to float at mesh load time, so you at least can benefit from smaller mesh files.
E.g. a 76 MB mesh can be reduced to 50 MB, when using packed normals and tangents.

To update your meshes, OgreMeshUpgrader gained the option -pack, to be used like:

OgreMeshUpgrader -pack your.mesh

Other Additions

In other news Bites Input now not only handles Gamepads but generic Joysticks and Ogre can be used online through Google Colab.

Ogre 13 User Survey Results

During the period of Jan 10. – February 10. we received 54 replies. At the same time the ogre 13.2.4 Windows SDK alone was downloaded 2188 times. So while the results are insightful, they are probably not representative.

When it comes to RenderSystems, we finally see a significant drop for the legacy systems (D3D9, GL). This will allow us to focus on new features only supported on modern APIs. However, I doubt the numbers for Vulkan, given how recent the Vulkan addition was.

The most relevant result for further development is likely the question of target audience. Here, we see an increase of the enthusiast portion at the cost of the Enterprise one. I take it as we can sacrifice some API stability to gain modern rendering techniques when moving forward.

The following one is also interesting, as the HLMS was dropped with Ogre 13 and the inclusion in the poll is a copy/ paste error. I guess that any component with less than 18 votes is not actually used, but people were merely ticking every option.

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

Specific replies

Following the #MeanTweets idea I also wrote some short replies to the criticism, that you can read below:

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Ogre 13.3 released

Ogre 13.3.0 was just released. This release contains some significant feature additions, which we will discuss in more detail below.

For a full overview of the changes, see the changelog.

PBR Material support

The most significant addition is probably built-in PBR support via the RTSS.

To enable the PBR pipeline via material scripts, specify

rtshader_system
{
   lighting_stage metal_roughness texture Default_metalRoughness.jpg
}

The parameters are expected to be in the green and blue channels (as per glTF2.0) and lighting will be done according to the Filament equations.
Alternatively, you can use material-wide settings, by omitting the texture part like:

rtshader_system
{
   lighting_stage metal_roughness
}

Here, metalness is read from specular[0] and roughness from specular[1].

Furthermore, the Assimp Plugin will automatically use the PBR pipeline, if it encounters any PBR maps. This in turn allows correctly loading and displaying glTF2 meshes – as shown in the ogre-meshviewer screenshot above.

Improved Gamepad Support

The Gamepad Support in OgreBites (via SDL2) has been improved. Now the according events are correctly delegated to ImGui, so you can control the UI with your gamepad.

Also additional gamepad mappings can be specified by placing a gamecontroller.txt in the working directory.

Ogre 13 User Survey 2022

Those of you who have been around Ogre for some time might remember that back in 2020, we conducted a survey about our user base. The results of which can be found here.

For the Ogre 13 development cycle we would like to assess to correctly emphasize the development on the most used features.

So for the next four weeks until the 10th of February, 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 14 questions. It should not take up much time since most of the questions are simple checkbox or radio button questions.

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.