Ultimate 3D

Ultimate 3D

Infobox Software
name = Ultimate 3D

author = Christoph Peters
developer = Christoph Peters
website = http://www.ultimate3d.org/
license = Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
operating system = Microsoft Windows
latest release version = 2.1 final
latest release date = 2008-06-12

Ultimate 3D, also referred to as U3D, is a free 3D engine designed for use with Game Maker [cite web | url=http://www.ultimate3d.org | title=Free use with Game Maker | accessdate=2007-09-20 | date= 2006 | publisher= Christoph Peters] . It currently uses DirectX 8.1 and is programmed by Christoph Peters in C++.


As of July 1, 2008, Christoph Peters has announced that future Ultimate 3D versions will not offer interfaces to be used with Game Maker anymore. Ultimate 3D 3.0, which is currently being developed, will be based upon DirectX 9.0c and may become the base for a complete game making solution [cite web | url=http://forum.ultimate3d.org/topic/7012538/1/ | title=The official announcement that Ultimate 3D for Game Maker is discontinued | accessdate=2008-07-01 | date=2008-07-01 | publisher=Christoph Peters] .


Ultimate 3D was originally designed to be an easy-to-use 3D engine for the user friendly game creation software Game Maker, which only supported 2D rendering at the time of the first Ultimate 3D versions, and the early versions' features were quite limited in the beginning. Ultimate 3D 2.0 beta 1 offered a much wider range of features, which could be used to make advanced 3D graphics. Through the Ultimate 3D effect file format (*.ufx) and the support for post screen shaders new shader effects could be added in a comfortable way. In spite of the big changes, the engine's ease of use, detailed documentations, and good support, especially on the forum, are still important attributes of Ultimate 3D.Currently, the latest version of Ultimate 3D is 2.1 Final. The following is a list of its important features [cite web | url=http://www.ultimate3d.org | title=Features of Ultimate 3D 2.1 final | accessdate=2007-09-20 | date= 2006 | publisher= Christoph Peters] :
* An efficient system for creating primitive geometry

* A model loading system for:

** Animated Anim8or model files, also with bone influences and skin weights (*.an8) (Scenes are not supported, because the file format description of the *.an8 file format doesn't describe their chunks)

** Animated 3D Studio Max files (*.3ds)

** Animated Quake II model files (*.md2)

** Animated DirectX model files, also with vertex skinning (*.x)

** Animated Milkshape 3D model files, also with vertex skinning (*.ms3d)

* Vertex tweening, a technique to make frame based animations (as used by *.md2 files) totally smooth

* Lighting and fog system

* Support for sky spheres and sky cubes

* Functions for drawing 2D graphics and texts

* Fully automatic level of detail generation

* Functions to manipulate models in real-time, by changing their geometry data

* Cel-shading for graphics in comic style

* Multi texturing for techniques such as light mapping

* Spherical and cubical environment mapping for reflections

* The Ultimate 3D effect file format for adding custom shader effects

* Support for post screen shaders

* Support for per pixel lighting and parallax mapping

* Support for real-time stencil shadows

* An efficient terrain renderer for big and detailed terrains

* A complex particle effects system

* Support for split screens

* Render to texture and render to cube texture functions

* Math functions for efficient matrix and vector calculations (those can't be done with Game Maker)

* A portal engine for highly efficient culling

* Support for fullscreen antialiasing

* Support for anisotropic filtering
In addition to traditional model support, Ultimate 3D also has its own file format (*.u3d) which comes with password encryption and pre-applied shader and material effects.


Ultimate 3D is used via Game Maker's built-in extension capabilities. A DLL and script library can be downloaded from the Ultimate 3D website and then merged with a Game Maker project to allow use of Ultimate 3D. It is supported in Game Maker versions 5 and later.In contrast to Game Maker's existing Direct3D functions, Ultimate 3D draws a separate window over Game Maker and renders to it.
Since 2 programs can't render the same portion of the screen at the same time, integrated GM drawing functions can't be used together with Ultimate 3D. That's why U3D also integrates 2D drawing functions.


U3D has a forum community of more than 1000 members. The forum is usually read at least once a day by one of the three Moderators, who answer questions about the engine's mechanics as well as techniques for creating 3D effects.

Games using U3D

A number of games are currently being developed with U3D [cite web | url=http://forum.ultimate3d.org/index.php?show_forum=7 | title=Works in progress and finished projects | accessdate=2007-09-20 | date= 2006 | publisher= Christoph Peters] . At the moment, Edge of Infinity, a MMORPG, is the most popular project in progress. Another game that utilizes Ultimate 3D is an MMORPG entitled: The Warriors Path (which has been unfortunately discontinued).


External links

* [http://www.ultimate3d.org "Ultimate 3D"] - Official Ultimate 3D Website
* [http://www.forum.ultimate3d.org "U3D Forum"] - Ultimate 3D Forum

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