3D Animation Workshop: Lesson 108: Scan The Skies! | WebReference

3D Animation Workshop: Lesson 108: Scan The Skies!


Lesson 108 - Scan The Skies! - Part 1

In the last two lessons we've been exposed to the shameless promotion of my new book on Shout3D. The book should be available by the time you read this, and you can get more information on its contents and ordering.

To celebrate the blessed event, I'd like to present the game that I designed for the final chapter in the book – called "Scan The Skies!"

I'm not a professional game designer, and never will be. I designed this game largely as a means to teach about interactive 3D design, but I still wanted it to be fun. I also wanted to explore the kinds of games ideas that make sense in a Web 3D context. Games like this are relatively simple novelties compared to full-strength games. They have to be able to run on a huge variety of platforms, over which the author has little control.

In the special case of games developed for Shout3D, the game must function well when running in a Java Virtual Machine. The primary appeal of using Shout3D is that the game will simply appear in almost all browser windows, without the need to download and install a plug-in application. Since speed and responsiveness are critical to the feel of any kind of action game, I was forced to design a game that runs well without hardware acceleration in a Java Runtime Environment. Shout3D will soon be offering a hardware acceleration option in the form of a plug-in, and this will make sense for many kinds of content. But I wanted to see what can be achieved in a pure "plug-in free" environment.

The theory of the game is simple. The player is located on a station in outer space, and is manning a gun. Missiles attack the station from every direction. The player must "Scan The Skies" to find these red missiles and shoot them down.

To do so, you drag with the mouse button down to rotate the gun in the pitch and heading directions. When you get a missile - a red ball - in the center of your site (the blue dot), release the mouse button to fire. If you make a successful hit, the missile explodes. Make sure your speakers are turned on to hear the comic "explosion" sound.

You have 40 seconds to knock down the first missile, 39 to hit the next one, and so on, as indicated by the "shot clock" display. The display also keeps track of the number of hits. You will never have less than 20 seconds to shoot down an attacker. If you run out of time, you are hit by a missile and the game ends. But you can play again!

Before going on to the game on the following page, let me warn you that the frame rate is significantly faster when using Microsoft Internet Explorer, as opposed to Netscape, due to its superior implementation of the Java Virtual Machine. I realize that simple truths like this violate a certain standard of political correctness in the Web world, but all I care about is performance.

To Continue to Parts 2 and 3, Use Arrow Buttons

Created: December 18, 2000
Revised: December 18, 2000

URL: http://webreference.com/3d/lesson108/