Marc Price

Game Engine Plug-in: Team-based NPC Behaviour Simulation

This project is specifically for students who have already developed a Game Engine through their work on the 2nd year Games module and are continuing that work on the 3rd year Games module.  Your Game Engine Architecture will need to be developed to the extent that a Behaviour Manager element already exists.

In this project, you will design, build, and test an extension to the Behaviour Manager of your Entity-based Game Engine Architecture, to allow NPCs to be implemented with team behaviours (eg shoaling or 'squadding').  This will require a hierarchical approach to the AI Components of your Engine.  Testing will require verification of your Engine + demo software against a model of a chosen team-based behaviour.

Supervisor

Cloud Simulator

Design, Build, Test a Cloud Simulator.

Description: This is a design-build-test project to produce a piece of software using a language of your choice that simulates the visual appearance of clouds in real-time.

Key challenges: study and understand state-of-the-art techniques for simulating the appearance of clouds in real-time, then implement one of them and test that it works (the test needs to verify that the code works and that the intended model used is actually implemented).  This would be a challenging project.

Although the artefact (ie your software prototype) will be a key deliverable, we will also need to see:

  • a requirements specification and plan, developed through background research/study and discussions with your supervisor
  • a detailed and reasoned software design, showing how the model is interpreted into code
  • a development plan/log based on the above design (it is normal practice for a design to evolve throughout the development process, especially if using an agile approach)
  • a test strategy and log, showing the planned approach to verification and the results of your tests.
Supervisor

'Ghost' Detector: Anomalous Event Trigger for MS Kinect Point-cloud Recorder

An interesting feature of the Microsoft Kinect depth sensor is the occasional/spurious appearance of 'orbs' in the infra-red camera output.  A number of reports have been made about this, and we have seen them a few times ourselves when working with the device.  Setting aside the heated discussion as to what these 'orbs' are (as they cannot be normally seen by the naked eye), it would be interesting to see how the depth sensor component of the Kinect interprets these anomalies (ie in terms of the resulting point-cloud data).

To this end, we would like you to Design-Build-Test an application that detects orbs in the infra-red camera image, and upon detection, it triggers a recorder, so that the Kinect's point-cloud data output and infra-red video output is captured to disk.

Although the artefact (ie your software) will be a key deliverable, we will also need to see:

  • a requirements specification and plan, developed through background research/study and discussions with your supervisor
  • a detailed and reasoned software design
  • a development plan/log based on the above design
  • a test strategy and log, showing the planned approach to verification and the results of your tests.  As a part of this, you will need to include a method for 'cheating' the Kinect sensor using an infra-red element of a scene that is not in the visible spectrum.

Please make contact with Marc Price if you are interested in this project.

Supervisor

Unity3D-based Interactive Viewer for the VR Glaciers & Glaciated Landscapes Project

This project is in collaboration with Dr Des McDougall of the Institute of Science and the Environment, in relation to his ongoing 'VR Glaciers & Glaciated Landscapes' project, which allows students of Geography and allied disciplines to do virtual fieldwork.

As it stands, VR Glaciers & Glaciated Landscapes provides a web-portal to virtual fieldtrips, consisting of sets of GIS-linked 'panospheres' (ie panoramic 360 degree, annotated photographs), which are easily viewed and navigated as html5 webpages.  It looks nice and works well, but there is always room for improvement - can you prototype an application that offers more?  For example, can you make it work with 360 degree videos?  Can you make it possible for the viewer to annotate the key features of the images/videos as a part of their coursework?  Is there anything else you can offer that might be useful?

Remember that with a DBT project, in addition to delivering a working prototype, you must also provide:

  • a requirements specification and plan, developed through background research/study and discussions with your supervisor
  • a detailed and reasoned software design, highlighting how it achieves strong cohesion and loose coupling
  • a development plan/log based on the above design
  • a test strategy and log, showing the planned approach to verification and the results of your tests.
Supervisor

Serious Games: Scenario Planning Climate Disaster

Theoretical / Design-Build-Test. This outline is for a number of possible projects that could be pursued around the use of Serious Games to model and plan for climate disaster.

An interesting resource is the climate countdown graphic provided by MCC Berlin at mcc-berlin.net - scroll down about halfway.  The graphic provides an estimate of the duration until 1.5C and 2.0C warming is reached.  The estimate is based on real-time data, and this could provide a context to build your project around.  There is potential, for example, to attempt to build-in a climate tipping-point that translates as a 'climate disaster'

This description is a work-in-progress, please contact Marc Price for further details if you are interested.

Supervisor

Entity-Component-System (ECS) Game Engine Architecture

If you completed your 2nd year games module with a more-or-less complete game engine architecture, you might enjoy the challenge of creating a component-based (ECS) game engine for your 3rd year project.

This would be a DBT project that is primarily focused on Software Engineering and Game Development. You can use any programming language of your choice, however, you might find it less challenging to use a language that you are already familiar with. Although some kind of demo will be required to test and showcase the software, producing a playable game prototype would be beyond the scope of the project.

Key challenge: how to design, implement, and verify an engine with the component-based paradigm.

Considerable background research on the component-based approach would be necessary prior to starting this project.

As this is a DBT, the question is what would be an appropriate test?  To a certain extent, this is something that you would have to answer yourself, via secondary research.  However, the most often cited reason for opting for ECS architecture over an OO entity-based architecture, is performance.  This isn't the only lens you can take, but if you choose this, then your test could be a comparison between a newly created ECS engine and an OO entity-based engine.  Your secondary research would then need to also look at benchmarking tests to see how comparisons have been done by others, and which would be most suited in this context.

Another comparison test might be to look at software analysis of ECS  vs OO (eg in terms of Cohesion and/or Coupling).  In this case, your secondary research would need to also look at how others have measured these things.

Although the artefact (ie your software) will be a key deliverable, we will also need to see:

Supervisor

Entity-based Game Engine Architecture in C++

This is a Design-Build-Test project to produce a game engine using modern C++.

This would be a DBT project that is primarily focused on Software Engineering and Game Development.  Although some kind of demo will be required to showcase the software, producing a playable game prototype would be beyond the scope of the project.

Key challenge: how to design, implement, and verify a performant game engine in C++.

Considerable background research on modern C++ (eg C++ 14) would be necessary to succeed with this project.

Although the artefact (ie your software) will be a key deliverable, we will also need to see:

  • a requirements specification and plan, developed through background research/study and discussions with your supervisor
  • a detailed and reasoned software design, highlighting any key design patterns that have been employed, and descriptions of how these are implemented using modern C++
  • a development plan/log based on the above design (it is normal practice for a design to evolve throughout the development process, especially if using an agile approach)
  • a test design/strategy and log, showing the planned approach to verification and the results of your tests.

 

Your test would probably be best done as a comparison between two engines with the same design, but coded in C# and C++ (hence you could use your engine from COMP2351) as the basis for the C# version.  The comparison would probably need to explore some aspect of performance, however, you should also consider portability - a C# program is likely to be better optimised for a Windows-based OS than any others.

NOTE: this is likely to be very challenging for anyone who has never used C++ before!

Supervisor