Due to the size and scope of my project, let me divide the description into multiple categories. But before that, my ogre project name is Iamar and you should be able to find a much more comprehensive information at our web site at http://iamaracademy.com/
. The current release is only the Alpha version. Please help me test it : )
Part 1: The gamer's academy
Iamar is a free online 3d school that teaches the basics of game development. What does a 3d school mean? Well, perhaps watching a couple video might give you a better idea. Here are 2 promotional videos we have made to give you the general idea of what we do, and what the school actually look like.
The idea of the school works similar to a online quest role playing game, except the quests requires you to actually learn something. (like game development in our case) In the school, you would gather quests, and go off to complete them. We then provide all the information in video lecture format to help complete the quest. Over time, as the student complete more quests, the student would get the general idea of how games are developed. The school is designed for absolute beginners, so we don't expect the student to have any programming or 3d graphics background. We will start off by teaching the student how to create their own 3d models in blender (a free 3d modeling program). We will then start learning how to paint our models using gimp (free 2d painting program). Finally, we will put them together into a programming platform called iamar browser. (which is also a free program based off ogre) The school and all the learning material are free, anyone can join even without an account with us. As of now, our account system might not be working properly anyway.
Here is a list of video lectures on Blender, and basic programming the iamar browser:
Part 2: The iamar browser
The iamar browser is a platformed developed specifically for the students in iamar academy. Its goal is to provide an easy development environment for the purpose of helping the students to understand the basic concept of game programming. Through this platform, it has eliminated all of the most difficult set up requirements and allows the students to develop something immediately. Instead of a couple hundred lines of code just to get something going, a full program in the browser could be written in 1 line. For the purpose of manipulating the browser, we have created our own scripting language called semblis. It is a language that is extremely easy to learn but powerful enough to handle difficult logic.
To answer a frequently asked question, although the browser is rather powerful, it is however designed for educational purpose, so much of its design has been compromised to better suit its educational pursuit. It is therefore, never designed for high performance commercial purpose.
To best understand the capabilities of the iamar browser, we have also prepared several video lectures showing you what it actually does, and how easy it is to program it.
Part 3: The iamar server
The iamar academy is after all, a school, so we can't just teach half of the client-server relation. We must also teach the server side, and for this endeavor, we also provide a base server system (like a toned down apache) for the students to play with. With this server system, students would be able to host their development very similarly to how a web site is hosted. Once their program is hosted, anybody in the world should be able to type in their address, and be able to see what they have done. With this client server relationship, the iamar browser acts literally like a web browser, and allows you to view any body's content by simply typing in their address.
If you are interested to see this server in action, here are also some video lectures that shows you what you can do with a server.
Part 4: iamar, the book.
Behind the fancy browser and the academy, the Iamar project is actually an ambitious Educational experiment based on the book, "Chieh On Education". I (chieh) wrote this book to address some of the problems in education we face today and how we can fix them. The academy is build afterward as an experiment to implement the theories proposed inside the book. The book basically says that kids would learn more if we make learning fun. This book is actually the heart of the experiment and you are welcome to download it from this location:
I hope this provides a comprehensive view of what the iamar project entail. At this current point the barrier from wanting to create a game to actually creating something is so high, very few percentage of people actually ends up creating something. In my opinion, especially for absolute beginners, what they lack is a person willing to take their hand step by step through the game development process. Further more, a person willing to do this for free is non-existent. In the iamar academy, our goal is to provide this helping hand through short video lectures. We also try to make the learning process as fun as possible by presenting it in a game format. We can't avoid all work in learning but we can make it as fun as possible.
Part 5: Supporting software
Iamar academy uses quite a few supporting open source software, blender, semblis, gimp, meshmagick, etc. However the download from the website are normally lacking with necessary features that works out of the box. With blender for example, the download from the blender.org does not automatically export mesh format. To make this process easy for our students, we have re-packaged blender so upon installation, it automatically supports the mesh exporting. You can download the this version of blender directly from iamar's download page. The problem with meshmagic is a lack of a simple graphical user interface for beginner users. So we have also re-packaged it to make our students' life easier.
You can download all the software from this site:
Lastly, I would like to point out that we just finished the program, so doubtlessly, there will be still a lot of things we need to fix. I hope this provides a good overview of the project, and I hope to see some of you in our forums.