Alternativa3D 7.0: first impressions

Yes! After 2 months of playing with Alternativa3D 7.0 WIP version I’ve finally got NDA exception to share my experience with you. And there you go, some juicy details to whet your appetite.

What’s new?

Perhaps the most important change from 5.x versions is a number of object container classes. If you have seen this post from February, you should already know that Alternativa3D 7.0 will support good old average Z sorting in addition to BSP. What you probably don’t know is that there’s much more to that – apart from 3 sorting options (unsorted, average Z and BSP) on mesh level, there are 5 more sorting options on container level! With this kind of arsenal you can probably solve any kind of sorting problem in existence, or vastly improve performance if you do not have any sorting problems to begin with. And this is not the end of the story – I was told that sorting issue is still in focus of ongoing Alternativa3D development. To sum this point up, this engine is going to seriously kick some ass -)

All right, but it is not all about sorting, is it? Of course it’s not. The other important feature that somehow have not been demo-ed anywhere is Reference class. That’s right, Object3D.clone() is gone. As the name implies, Reference will cause referenced object (or container) rendered in its place using its alpha, blending mode, color transformation and filters. This is very simple idea that can save you lots of memory wasted with other engines. It has been around for years but, until now, nobody in flash 3D scene bothered to actually implement it.

Wait, did I just said, “its alpha, blending mode, color transformation and filters”? Weren’t alpha and blending mode in Material class? Yes, they were. However, in Alternativa3D 7.0 there is no any Material class. Instead, Mesh and Sprite3D classes now simply have BitmapData “texture” property, and all of you who want some fancy materials will have to extend these classes or design Pixel Bender filters and hook them via “filters” property. Yep, so much for materials.

Next in list of awesome features is LOD support. Yes, finally Alternativa3D has it too. Yes, you have seen it here. But I just had to mention it, because it’s awesome. With LOD, you can create really huge scenes, that would not be otherwise possible due to flash CPU throttling. In this regard, a combination of LOD and Reference is interesting subject to explore. For example, this little demo below is actually made of just one 5K 3DS model with ~100 triangles, 4 planes and 1 box. The rest is smoke and mirrors LOD and Reference at work.

LOD and Reference demo

This demo also demonstrates how several sorting algorithms work together in one scene (as if this wasn’t enouh). Press space to see new debug features at work: at the moment, you can display bounding boxes, edges, vertices or normals for individual objects or any instances of certain class, and this list is growing.

There’s more features to cover, but this post is already getting long – maybe next time ;)

So when will this awesome engine be actually released?

That’s a good question. Official ETAs are useless, they just keep postponing it again and again, working on Tanki game updates instead. My personal feeling is that perhaps 80% of engine are complete atm. With all these advanced features, the engine lacks some basic and familiar stuff like .x or .rotationY properties, and you have to manually modify transformation matrices (да, да, русские программисты настолько суровы, что работают с матрицами напрямую). Also, documentation is pretty poor so far. My bet is that we will not see this engine released this fall (if not this year). Update: official ETA is now shifted to beginning of 2010.


17 Responses to “Alternativa3D 7.0: first impressions”

  1. 1 Jensa October 5, 2009 at 12:28

    Interesting. Sounds like they’re moving further away from the 3D Engine origins and more towards a FPS game-kit?


  2. 3 Яски October 6, 2009 at 09:12

    Охренительное демо

  3. 4 dVyper October 6, 2009 at 13:56

    That demo is extremely impressive. I thought it was doing a lot more than it looked like it was doing until I pressed the spacebar. Very impressive.

  4. 5 Lyzzard October 7, 2009 at 10:24

    Stargazer на флэше! Супер!

    • 6 makc3d October 7, 2009 at 11:15

      Вообще источником вдохновения был Hellraiser II. Изначально в деме планировался волшебный кубик, открывающий взору вид на аццкий лабиринт, но в процессе идея трансформировалась в это.

  5. 7 mehrdadsanjabi or mehdadoo October 9, 2009 at 09:50

    Hi lyzzard and mack
    So thats just the thing i would expect as a new feature,as already seen in Away3D.
    Lovely work

    in my sweetest dreams i wouldnt see my self as happy as i m when playing tanki!

  6. 8 Daniel Bunte October 30, 2009 at 16:41

    Thanks for the article!
    When I started programming my 3D-World in March 2009 I already knew that alternativa is #1 choice. This blogentry and the demo tells me that I’m still right.

    Best Regards,

  7. 12 M November 11, 2009 at 23:52

    “That’s a good question. Official ETAs are useless, they just keep postponing it again and again, working on Tanki game updates instead.”

    How easy is to miss the actual importance of a true 3d library, a piece that is actually missing as a serious candidate online.
    How easy (working on Tanki) is to loose the time with minor things and instead of create something to kick ass, instead of that, to loose time with minor projects, minor thing, with… a game.

    How many games or worlds I would create with Alternativa I can’t say today (we have at least 2 projects that are postponed over and over because there are only very few options currently)

    I wonder when someone will jump the boat, kick the loosers at Alternativa, and actually create and make money seriously talking.

    Making a game… they got here… but they are still loosing time… typical russian…
    When someone will come over and kick their ass with something a lot more advanced probably they will return to hack sites.

    Sorry for my tone… but I could not help not to observe how outside of reality… they are…

    • 13 Nirth November 12, 2009 at 13:47

      Sorry for pointing it out, why do you think it’s ok for you to make game project, but not for A-team? =)

      And BTW, I’m actually happy that they are developing actual games, this way they can see what’s really needed, instead of some hypothetical knowledge.
      If you look it’s how big Game Engines are created (Unreal, CryEngine, Source, Aurora). People first create alpha/beta of engine, then they build a fully functional game, and only then they finish engine.


  8. 15 Anton Volkov September 28, 2010 at 08:24

    Макс, не хочешь выложить эту демку на wonderfl? ;)

    • 16 makc3d September 28, 2010 at 11:46

      Так пишешь, как будто это просто, взял и выложил. А там теперь ошибок вагон, всё переделали да перепрятали.

  1. 1 Twitter Trackbacks for Alternativa3D 7.0: first impressions « Dorking around 3D in Flash [] on Trackback on October 5, 2009 at 15:27

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