Hello DevMaster.net community
some words of introduction: Me and two of my friends are starting a "small" web project. There might be other "chat rooms" like ours, maybe even established commercial products. Our idea is to get used to Java programming, graphic design and project management. We are not native english speakers but we all know enough to get around, read manuals and work with english software.
- an interactive 3D chat room accessible through the web browser -
We are aiming for a browser-applet based little world where users can chat and interact with the world and other users. Our primary goal is to create a 3D chat room where multiple users can communicate with each other. Moving through the room with their little avatar and chatting with each other, not necessarily with speach bubbles, a chat window below (or floating above) the 3D view of the room would be enough. Other avatars should be clickable to open a little window with user informations and context options like "remember as a friend" or "send privat message".
Later on, after having a stable "stage" for our little performers (which might take quite a long time to achieve) it would be great to upgrade the world with objects for those users to play with. Having chairs, tables, doors, flowers and trees to interact with would be the second step. Maybe we are able to expand the "world" a bit to have a small village, a town or even a little world (granted that we have a userbase to populate it).
We decided to use java, because it is platform independable and we believe that it is possible to create good games and stuff with it. I am now collecting all the information I can get about programming a game with java. I am not a programmer (I know a bit of c, java but only basics) but see myself as the project manager and designer. My colleague is a java programmer (with a bit more then basic knowledge) an is willing to learn all that is needed to master such a task. We both know that this is nothing of a few weeks or even months and that we won't start with programming for our actual project before he got his head full of java knowlegde, which might take some time.
I searched the web for informations on java programming during the last week and stumbled upon this discussion board.
the actual question
- what do we need to know, understand and have to master such a project
I understand we need an engine, a development enviroment and have to create a client side applet as well as the server based java stuff. Therefor we need a server to run our "chat game". Furthermore we need to have the server do most of the stuff with the client knowing as little as possible other than the stuff he need to display everything, because we want to implement mini games (tic tac toe, 4wins and the like) and we don't want users messing with the game client/applet in any way. I am not yet familiar with security issues for java applets.
# We will start with a local server/test enviroment for our tests and will move on to a hosted server when the project is ready for having it tested by a few selected users.
# I ran across JME (Java Monkey Engine) as a 3D engine. I'm not yet sure whether this is a graphic engine or a 3d game engine yet (I have lots of reading to do...)
# I also discovered Project Darkstar This might be a little bit of an overkill for our project, when we start but I'd like to keep myself some options and starting the project with this software infrastructure might be easier on the long run than starting to work with it after creating the basics without it.
# As a programming tool we settled for Eclipse It's free and I worked with eclipse in webdesign before.
# I have nothing for the graphics so far. My other colleague is a skilled artist and willing to learn 3D modeling and stuff but she has to start with very little knowledge in this area. Therefore we don't have any ideas what tools and environments we need in this area. I heard alot about Blender but as I haven't yet been able to research everything I don't know whether there are other/better options or whether we need something special to work with JME.
Here is a short explanation to shed some light on how our project should look like. For the start we planned to go with a isometric like view. 4 possible camera positions (north, south, east and west), always centered on your own avatar. The models should be simple, more comic-like than photorealistic. Light sources like lamps and the sun would be a nice bonus.
What we want for the future is an option to change the avatars apearance during the session. Change the shirt, put on a hat or take a flower in the hand. I want to plan this from the beginning to prevent problems when adding this feature.
Ok, I hope I did a good job on explaining the project, our goals and our needs right now. I'm glad for every sort of help we get and any information that helps me to plan the route and progress of this project (possible costs, effort, resources, technical details for the server and such like)