FAQ

FAQ

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General Wild Pockets Questions

What are the system requirements for Wild Pockets?
What is the Wild Pockets Plug-in and why do I need it?
What experience do I need if I want to create Wild Pockets games?
What are the camera controls in the integrated development environment?
Can you build .exe programs with Wild Pockets?
Do you support 2D games in your 3D engine?
Can I host my own content?
How can I embed my game on another site?

Programming Questions

What programming language will I be using?
What are the performance characteristics of scripting? Similar to Java or C?
How do I keep a physical stack of Scene Objects from being fragile and easily collapsed?
When should I use dot-methods, and when should I use colon-methods?
Does Wild Pockets currently have support for auto code completion?
Does Wild Pockets have a particle engine?
What sound formats are supported?
How can I view sample code to get started?
What are Wild Pockets current limitations?

Art Questions

How are animations delivered?
What kind of animation can I use?
What types of lighting are supported?
What model formats do you support?
How many polys can I have in one scene before performance takes a hit?
How large should my textures be?
Does Wild Pockets support advanced graphics?
How do I orient my model correctly?
How can I use transparency in models?
Can I animate collision?
How big should I make my models?
Why is my export taking so long? It looks like Maya crashed!
I don't know Lua! How can I test my models in the scene?
Okay, so why is my model falling through the floor?

Troubleshooting

I am using Firefox 2 and Wild Pockets is very slow. It works fine in other browsers. What's wrong?
When I go to Begin Test in the builder, nothing happens. Why?
How do I look at my normal map / gloss map / how lighting works on my objects?

General Wild Pockets Questions

1. What are the system requirements for Wild Pockets?
Wild Pockets is a open source engine, so these specs may change throughout the development by the community. Currently system requirements are as follows:
      Operating System: Windows XP or Vista (Mac we love you, it’s coming soon)
      Browser: IE 7.0+, Firefox 3.0+

      Processor: Pentium 4, 1.0 GHz or equivalent AMD
      RAM: 512 MB

2. What is the Wild Pockets Plug-in and why do I need it?
This plug-in has one mission only – to let you run 3D games, media, and scenes in your web browser. The Wild Pockets plug-in is similar in purpose to the plug-in needed to run Flash, and significantly smaller (only 1.9 MB!). It is harmless and its sole reason for existence is to provide you with the next generation experience in your web-browser!

3. What experience do I need if I want to create Wild Pockets games?
You will need to write code to program your game. Therefore, you will need to have a little programming experience. We have many samples that will help get you started. If you have no programming experience at all, we suggest that you start at My First Game.

4. What are the camera controls in the integrated development environment?
Currently, the controls in the IDE are similar to most first-person games: arrow keys to move, right mouse button to turn. Holding down the shift key while pressing the up or down arrow keys will raise or lower your point of view. Right-clicking and dragging will rotate the camera view to the left and right.

5. Can you build .exe programs with Wild Pockets?

This feature is currently not supported in Wild Pockets.

6. Do you support 2D games in your 3D engine?
Presently, Wild Pockets does not include special features for the creation of strictly two-dimensional games. However, you can certainly create games using flat (sprite-like) models. We will be adding additional features to simplify this process in a future release.

7. Can I host my own content?
The Wild Pockets engine can be downloaded and hosted on private servers. For more information visit lanchpad.net/wildpockets.

8. How can I embed my game on another site?
Wild Pockets makes it easy to share your game with others. First, make sure your game is public. Do this by opening My Library (the red folder icon) in the Builder and making sure the eye icon at the right of the name of your game is open (if the eye is closed, click on it to open it). Now, look at the pocket in the View page (from the Builder, go to Test->Play Pocket in View Page). Down at the bottom is a block of HTML you can use to embed your game anywhere. It will look something like:

<iframe src="http://www.wildpockets.com/Embed.php?OpenPocket=Your Username/Your Game Name" 
frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="480" width="640"></iframe>

Feel free to play around with the height and width factors to stretch and shrink your game.



Programming Questions

1. What programming language will I be using?
You'll be using Lua. You can learn more about Lua by going to: http://www.lua.org/pil/

2. What are the performance characteristics of scripting? Similar to Java or C?
Lua is an interpreted language, with characteristics similar to most other interpreted languages such as Python or Javascript. Bear in mind that the Wild Pockets renderer is not written in Lua.

3. How do I keep a physical stack of Scene Objects from being fragile and easily collapsed?
You can use joints, which you can create using the Joint Tool or learn about in the Joint module documentation, to stick things together. A joint can be set to break if faced with a certain amount of force.

4. When should I use dot-methods, and when should I use colon-methods?
We conform to the Lua standard. The rules are explained here: http://lua-users.org/wiki/ColonForMethodCall

5. Does Wild Pockets currently have support for auto code completion?
Wild Pockets allows you to use your favorite text editor on your own machine, and so you will have the auto-complete functionality of your individual text editor.

6. Does Wild Pockets have a particle engine?
Wild Pockets currently has a particle system which is not quite feature-complete. You can read about the particle system, which is invoked through SceneObject:setParticleSystem(),in the Particle Systems chapter of the Wild Pockets Manual.

7. What sound formats are supported?
Most MP3 encodings are supported.

8. How can I view and modify sample code to get started?
Sample code is listed here. To view the script for a pocket, go to the Global Properties for that pocket, select the second tab (the green triangle button), and press the "View" button. To make modifications, start by pressing the "Open Script Directory" button - this will open your personal Wild Pockets script folder locally. The Builder will automatically mirror scripts in this folder to our server. Then, in the Builder, hit the "Save To" button and save the script to that directory (with whatever name you choose). Finally, click the red X next to the script name to remove that script, and then click the "Set" button and assign the pocket to use your script instead (yourusername/yourscriptname - do not add the .lua extension), and resave the pocket under your username. Go ahead and make your modifications - when you save the script (in that folder), the changes will automatically propagate to the server - and test away!

9. What are Wild Pockets current limitations?
Below is a list of features that Wild Pockets currently lacks. For a living list of these features please visit the Wild Pockets Wiki.

Mesh Collision
Mutable Collision
3D Sound
Looping Soundanimated collisions
Inverse Kinimatics (in engine)
Water
Detailed lighting
Per-object shader support




Art Questions

1. How are animations delivered?
Animations are bone-based and are created in Max or Maya. The export tool samples the orientations of the bones over time and stores this data in a file. These animation files can be applied to a model by the script.

2. What kind of animation can I use?
You must rig the model with bones, and then you can animate the bones using any method you prefer.

3. What types of lighting are supported?
Wild Pockets supports per-pixel lighting with normal maps and specular highlights. The scene contains three directional lights and one ambient light, which can be controlled by the developer, using the Lighting module.

4. What model formats do you support?
Currently Wild Pockets supports models created in Maya, Max, or Blender that use polygons. NURBS are not supported.

5. How many polys can I have in one scene before performance takes a hit?
While each scene should be judged on a case-by-case basis, a pretty safe standard is to keep your scene below 40,000 polys to be sure it runs smoothly on most computers. However, you may be able to go well above this if you plan your scene smartly. You're also much more likely to cause a performance hit with too many large and mismanaged textures than with a high poly count.

6. How large should my textures be?
To ensure adequate performance on most computers, it is advisable to keep most textures at 256x256 or below, unless they will be viewed close-up. Of course, this must be judged on an object-by-object basis. Additionally, you should keep in mind that games created with Wild Pockets are downloaded over the internet, so if you use too many large textures, your game will take a long time to load. You should use a tool such as Photoshop's "Save for web" feature to optimize your texture filesize.

7. Does Wild Pockets support advanced graphics?
Wild Pockets supports advanced materials such as normal maps, gloss maps, and specular highlights. The engine also has a basic particle engine. Future releases will be adding advanced water, skies, and shadows.

8. How do I orient my model correctly?
In Maya, positive Y is "up" and negative Z is "forward."
In Max, positive Z is "up" and negative Y is "forward."

9. How can I use transparency in models?
Wild Pockets will accept transparent pngs. However, there is currently a bug if you attempt to use pngs and jpgs on the same model. If you have to use transparency, please use only pngs on your object. Also, for transparency to work, you must use the alpha channel in the png (in other words, using an indexed-color png where one of the indices means "transparent" is not currently supported). Both of these bugs are known and being worked on.

10. Can I animate collision?
Not yet. Right now, the collision you enter will act as the collision of the model, no matter how the geometry is animated. Animated collision will be treated as static, and a specific frame of that collision will be used as the permanent, non-moving collision of your object.

11. How big should I make my models?
Before exporting, make sure your models fit on the default grid and they will be a reasonable size when dragged into a scene. They can always be resized within the scene.

12. Why is my export taking so long? It looks like Maya crashed!
The more polygons your model has, the longer it will take to export. In particular, the Maya exporter has been known to take upwards of 5 to 10 minutes on large models. This is because it was written in MEL script, and we are working on rewriting it in C++ to be significantly faster. Until then, please be patient. It will look like Maya has stopped responding while the export is going on.

13. I don't know Lua! How can I test my models in the scene?
Here are the most common commands you will want to use. To run them, after exporting your art, open the Wild Pockets builder, bring up the Debug Console, type them into the text window at the bottom, and press "Execute."

To drop a model named "yourname/yourmodel" into the scene, at position (0,0,0), type:
      myObject = SceneManager.createObject("yourname/yourmodel",vec(0,0,0))

If your model keeps falling through the floor, because you did not apply any collision, you can bring it back to (0,0,0) and freeze it by then typing:
      myObject:setAnchored(true)
      myObject:setPosition(0,0,0)

To test an animation named "yourname/youranim" on that model, type:
      myMove = Animation.load("yourname/youranim")
      myObject:playAnimation(myMove)

This will play the animation once. To loop that animation, type:
      myObject:playAnimation(myMove,{loop=true})

14. Okay, so why is my model falling through the floor?
When you go into test mode, all collision and gravity and such are turned on. In the builder, this is not the case, so your model should be there. If you did not add collision to your model, then it will probably fall through the floor forever in test mode. To fix this, you can do any of a few things:

  • add collision to it using the Exporter in your modelling software
  • make it weightless, so gravity does not affect it, by checking "Weightless" in its Properties window
  • make it anchored, so that it will not move, by checking "Anchored" in its Properties window
  • turn off gravity completely, by going into the Global Properties window and changing Gravity to 0



Troubleshooting

1. I am using Firefox 2 and Wild Pockets is very slow. It works fine in other browsers. What's wrong?

If you must use Firefox 2, please disable the "Talkback" extension in your Firefox add-ons; however, be warned that other sections of the Wild Pockets website will not work in Firefox 2.

2. When I go to Begin Test in the builder, nothing happens. Why?
The test window pops up beside your build window. If you have a popup blocker enabled it might prevent your test window from opening. Wild Pockets tries to detect most popup blockers and let you know but there are many popup blockers that it will not recognize.

3. How do I look at my normal map / gloss map / how lighting works on my objects?
Figuring out how lighting, normal maps, and gloss maps will interact can be challenging. Fortunately, there is a way to modify the shader program to change its output so that you can see how the different aspects of your model are interacting. The Debug Shader commands can be loaded to replace the built-in Wild Pockets shader. To use one of these programs, copy and paste the code into the script debugging panel and run the program.