January: The third dimension

Posted in terrynews

What I’ve been working on recently

Hey, welcome back! It’s a new year and I’m excited to get working on some new things! Or, you know, to continue working on the thing I started near the end of last year. Here’s some screenshots I took today:

It’s very much still a “I’m learning 3D!” project, but I think it’s gonna end up being pretty fun.

This has been another month for just sitting down and learning new stuff, which takes forever, but is really starting to pay off. I’ve learnt more in the past couple of months than I have in years. There are things I know how to make now which I couldn’t even consider making before!

As for this game: There’s still a little way to go – I only have one finished level, and I want a lot more – but I’m pretty sure I’ll have it all wrapped up by the time next month’s blog post rolls around.

A crash course in 3D

Since the main thing I’ve been doing lately is watching tutorials, I thought I’d share my notes! The three main things I’ve been learning are Godot, Blender, and TrenchBroom.

For Godot:

I sort of learnt a lot of the Godot basics back when I made Triangle Run – since then, it’s mostly just been practice and google. But I did put together a bunch of links in the “Where do I start?” section of the Stop Waiting For Godot jam page that’s still worth a look! (It also gets into the “Why Godot and not X” question, if you’re curious about that.)

The BEST Godot tutorials I’ve come across, though, are Miziziziz’s series on youtube. I normally find video tutorials excruciating – but these are about as to-the-point as you can get. To an extent that’s actually hilarious – be prepared to pause every five seconds to check what he’s doing. These are probably no good if you’re an absolute beginner, but if you have at least some experience with other gamedev tools, they’re amazing.

For Blender:

Man, I wish I’d just learnt Blender sooner. Blender used to have a reputation for being impossible to learn, but these days it’s actually great, and really intuitive to use.

The thing about Blender is; it’s an extremely powerful piece of software, and you can do a lot with it – but to actually make 3D models for games, you only really to need to learn like, 8 things, and then you can ignore everything else.

Everybody recommends the Donut tutorial, and everyone is right: it’s excellent. That’s my donut in the gif at the top of this section! (edit: not everyone – turns out donut guy is a bit of a dickhead. That link has some details, as well as some alternative tutorial links.)

The first couple of parts cover the basics of mesh editing, and from there, it goes through a bunch of advanced features like shaders and geometry nodes and lighting. None of that later stuff is useful for what I actually want to make, but I found it fascinating to see the zoomed out view of what’s possible with the tool – somehow it made the basic stuff less scary. The tutorial starts here!

For TrenchBroom:

TrenchBroom is my big discovery this month. It’s an open source level editor for making Quake maps!

There is a plugin for Godot called Qodot, which lets you load in Quake .map files directly into the editor. Getting it all set up is unfortunately a little bit of a faff, but it’s worth it because then you get to use TrenchBroom, and TrenchBroom is incredible. It’s so much fun to use, and it’s super fast to iterate on your work.

For actually learning to use TrenchBroom, you should check out the dumptruck_ds tutorials on youtube, which are a series of nice short 5 to 10 minute tutorials on getting up and running. It opens with the most reassuring 15 seconds I’ve ever seen in a tutorial, highly recommended.

(You can actually mostly skip through the first dumptruck_ds tutorial, since it assumes you’re trying to make maps for Quake and mostly talks about setting that up.)

That about covers it! Hey, if you’ve got any other 3D tutorial suggestions, please drop em in the comments! I’ve still got a lot to learn here!