Programming 3D Games in Java
Java is a cross platform programming language that allows users to build software that will work equally well on a Windows system as on a Mac. This multi-platform functionality makes it ideal for programming games so that the game does not have to be completely re-built if you intend to release it on more than one operating system. Programming a game in 3D adds an extra layer of complexity that will require using specialized tools.
1. Download Java from the Sun Microsystems website and install it onto your computer.
2. Decide on which Application Programming Interface (API) you are going to use to build your 3D game. You can use either the standard Java API or you can download plug-ins that allow the use of the more popular OpenGL API used by many professional game programmers.
3. Find a pre-built game engine that you can either purchase or download or build your own from scratch. Use a pre-built engine if you want to jump directly into programming the specifics of the game and are willing to sort out compatibility issues later, or start your own from scratch if you want to have the most control over how your game is developed and what sort of resources it will be demanding from the user’s computer.
4. Program the generic main functions that will be used repeatedly in the game, such as movement, shooting a weapon, losing or gaining lives, and even the displaying of objects on the screen.
5. Create a main game loop once you have your generic functions coded. Have the loop repeat all of the basic elements of the game, such as checking to see if the player has any lives left, if there has been a collision between objects, or if the user has pressed a button.
6. Use a 3D graphics program such as 3D Studio Max to produce the objects, characters, and environments that will populate your game and then code a loader program to load them into memory when the game is started.
7. Get a scripting program that is compatible with Java to script out the specific events in your game, such as level changes and dialog.
8. Make your game into an executable file and then get an installer program so that other users can install the game on their computers.