by Przemysław Króliszewski & Sebastian Korczak. itechnologie Sp. z o. o.

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1 T he game developers often faces the font problem - especially when they use the Blender Game Engine. Since 2.5 series, the BGE has got the feature to display fonts, with some settings applied in Blender. But this feature works in such way, that it creates a bitmap font from the text the user typed in. No offset, no bevel and no modifiers and what is most important in case of games no dynamic changes available. It is a workaround rather than a functionality. Another approach to game texts is to create the bitmap font from the ttf we want to use. In this case we need to use external tools, and possibly we will get into troubles just after we would like to add some weird characters as in eastern languages. by Przemysław Króliszewski & Sebastian Korczak. itechnologie Sp. z o. o. In this article we would like to show how to make a good looking, dynamic, 3D font, usable in BGE. We will focus only on digits but for letters it is very similar workflow. We will show that you can have full control over the look and behavior of dynamic texts in your game. This technique was uses in our game RIO RAID (http://rioraid.com). Every 3d scene needs camera, dynamic camera movement are primary requirement in game development. In the second part of the article we will demonstrate how to make basic camera movement system rotation and zoom around object with keyboard arrows. At the end of this article we will show how to publish the file in Internet using the Burster directory (http://geta3d.com). Files published in Burster directory are automatically compressed and encrypted. Let's start! Source files for this presentation are available here:

2 H.U.D. Basic setup Move to some other layer. Do not work at first layer, because there will be our main setup. Digits should be at one of the invisible layers so they can be inserted in runtime. First, insert a Text object (Shift A->Text), go to edit mode (Tab) and type digits from 0 to 9. Then exit from edit mode and set your font type, extrude, bevels, and everything you want to get the desired design of your text object in game. The BGE can't display the text in this form, so the next step is to convert the text object into mesh. (ALT C -> Mesh from Curve/Meta/Surf/Text). After this operation do Remove Doubles (Edit Mode, A, Remove doubles), because if we don't do this, it will be impossible to separate digits automatically. Now go back to each letter and set valid origin point. Select one vertex as show at the picture below. Then move the 3d cursor to that point (Shitf S -> Cursor to Selected). Then exit edit mode (Tab) and set origin to 3d cursor. Now we have one object for whole text, and what we want to have, is separate object for each digit. Select the text object and go to the edit mode (Tab), select all vertices and press P. Choose by loosen parts Important for further steps is to properly name the objects and their meshes. In our example, each leter is named respectively: digit_0, digit_1, and so on. Meshes should have the same names as objects. Repeat this steps to set all objects valid origins.

3 Main scene setup We need to create template objects where we will display our dynamic numbers. In our example we have got two sets of digits. One is placed at the center of the scene. The camera will move around these. The second is placed near camera and it is parented to camera. Each digit should have the same logic bricks, so you need to set this up for the first digit and then just duplicate objects. The digit object should know what number will be displayed this is controlled by the digit property of type integer with initial value set to zero. Then we need the sensor that will always react on property change. If property is changed the actuator should Edit Object and replace the mesh corresponding to the property. Name the actuator remesh. The mesh change will be triggered by python module. Script Go to text editor and add text block. Name it text_controller.py. The script have got two main functions: set_digit and set_number. import GameLogic def set_digit(): # replace the mesh for single object co = GameLogic.getCurrentController() obj = co.owner act = co.actuators['remesh'] # get the digit value from the object property digit = obj['digit'] # we only support positive natural numbers if(digit<0): digit = 0 if(digit>9): digit = 9 # set new mesh to the name of corresponding number object act.mesh = 'digit_'+str(digit) # initiate replace mesh act.instantreplacemesh() def set_number(value, target, digit_count): # replace meshes for digits as specified in value, to the target object. # Do max digit_count replaces. # parse value to int. This will remove numbers after point if value was float type, # then parse the int to string str_v = str(int(value)) length = len(str_v) When you finish with game logic setup you can set your materials and other properties to define desired design. In the setup, main digits are called: ma_0, ma_1, ma_0 from left to right. Digits parented to the camera will have names co_0, co_1, co_2. #if the length of value is less than digit_count add leading zeros for i in range(0, digit_count-length): str_v = '0'+str_v scn = GameLogic.getCurrentScene() # for each digit object set the property to new value this will trigger the mesh replace. for i in range(0, digit_count): t = str_v[i] obj = scn.objects[target+str(i)] obj['digit'] = int(t)

4 Controlling the numbers CAMERA MOVEMENT Place an empty on the main layer. It will controll numbers. Give the empty two properties: Now it is time to make possibility to rotate and zoom the camera around orange digits. Create empty object named Empty around the center of middle zero digit. Now set up the logic. Add Always sensor with positive pulse mode and delay 10. It will generate positive pulse each 10 logic frames. Connect it to the python module: text_controller.inc_main_number Then add property sensor that will wait for the property main_number change and connect it to the python module: text_controller.set_main_number Now, press P to run the game engine. The source file available to download has got another fancy effect. The digits reflection is made using the mirror modifier and semi-transparent floor. Select camera object, go to Logic Editor, create Always Sensor and activate its true level triggering mode. Then create And Controller and Edit Object Actuator. Name them all track_to and connect together. In actuator select Track to parameter from list and put Empty in Object parameter. Enable 3D button. This setup makes that camera always looks at Empty object. def inc_main_number(): co = GameLogic.getCurrentController() obj = co.owner obj['main_number']+=1 if obj['main_number']>999: obj['main_number']=0 def set_main_number(): co = GameLogic.getCurrentController() obj = co.owner set_number(obj['main_number'], 'ma_', 3) The function inc_main_number increases number stored in this property: (add these functions to the text_controller.py) Function set_main_number uses the value from property to set particular digits in our template objects.

5 Create Keyboard Sensor and set its name to left, make this sensor enabling while pressing left-key, activate true level triggering. Then create And Controller and Motion Actuator (name them both left ). Before putting some values into Motion Actuator check how looks local camera coordinates. We plan to move camera left, so we set in Motion Actuator Loc: X to L button must be pressed. Now create the same stuff for right movement. Motion Actuators (about 0,7o around Y axis). Making camera movement to be always smooth is possible only by special script. For moving up and down, make another two sensors, two controllers and two actuators. Set them like in the screenshot, notice that we moving camera in local Y direction. Switch to texture mode, set view to camera and press P to test how it works. You should see that horizontal rotating works, but there are some ugly jumps. This happens, because you move camera straight and then track to actuator correct rotation. The simplest way to correct this is by adding small rotation to our When testing this setup you could see some weird camera movements when looking from top, also we can move under floor and see trick with mirrored object. We repair it later. Now we will create zoom functionality. Add another two Keyboard Sensor, two And Controller and two Motion Actuator. Use Akey for zoom in and Z-key for zoom out. In motion set values for Z local direction. Moving and zooming works as expected, it is time to prevent the camera from moving under the floor and to far from object. Start with creating special cylindrical mesh for floor and walls (named Obstacle ).

6 Go to object Physic properties and enable Invisible (or if you like this object, create material for it). Go to camera Logic Editor and create new Collision Sensor. Write wall into its Property then sensor will work only when camera hits object which has wall game property (none object has it, yet). Enable invert to make this sensor works always when no object was hit. We want to not move camera when hit wall while zooming out or when hit wall while moving down. So made connections like on screenshot. Now down And Controller works when down-key is pressed and there is no collision. out And Controller works when z-key is pressed and there is no collision. In the same manner we will prevent the camera from moving too close to orange digits. We do this the same way like with walls. Just create cylindrical object called Cylinder, enable Invisible in Physics property panel, add Game Logic Property named digits and set object to Wire Display mode if you like. When using texture mode in 3d view Obstacle hide other objects in scene, you can go to Object panel and switch Display Type to Wire. Finally, select Obstacle object and click Add Game Property in Logic Editor. Name property wall (doesn't matter here what is the type of property). Test it now! Select camera and add new Collision Sensor. Enable Invert and write digits into Property. This sensor works when there is no collision with object having digits property. in controller works when zoom_in and digits sensors both works (that is why this controller is called And). Select the camera and open Physic properties tab. Select Sensor from Physics Type list to enable collisions between camera and other objects. You need to enable Collision Bounds because camera haven't own mesh. Do you have the idea how to prevent the camera from moving to high?

7 ONLINE PUBLICATION Now it is time to put in common Blender file we just created and Burster Plugin! In 10 minutes we will publish online our work and we will be able to sent it to anybody! Let's go to website. Now, create an account at geta3d.com. After login you are redirected to Burster Storage. Now click Browse, select your file and click Upload file. Przemysław Króliszewski Founder, co-owner and developer at itechnologie Sp. z o.o. Interested in everything that has binary background. Sebastian Korczak That's it, you can now view the file online, just click the link! Main developer at itechnologie Sp. z o. o. Experience, knowledge and goalorientation makes him unstoppable Blender&Python guru. itechnologie We develop the Burster plugin mostly. But we also uses the plugin to provide valuable web-content for our customers from many different industries First you need to install Burster Plugin. It is available for Windows (installer) and for many 64bits Linux distributions (debian package and manual installation available). Burster contains specially modified blenderplayer (it is a part of every Blender) and also small plugin for web browsers (the same like flash, adobe and other plugins). Burster works with Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome and Opera. After installation of plugin you can check how it works in Burster public directory and in Community news sections from website. The file stored at geta3d.com is compressed and encrypted. In Pro Access mode you can download the encrypted file and embed it on your website using html code. In Basic Access mode this feature is unavailable. To share your work with your friends, just send them the link from address bar of your browser. Burster Public Directory offers Pro Access unlimited number of files and the most important thing, opportunity to download encrypted file to publish it at own website. Burster The web browser plugin. It uses Blender Game Engine to play blender files at the website.

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