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Introduction
   Program Overview
   List of Features
   What's New

Creating software without scripting
   Getting Started Tutorials
   Some Techniques and Tips
   Creating puzzles without scripting

   Creating third person games
   Creating interactive 360-degree panoramas
   Creating software for
PSP
   Creating software for iPhone and iPod touch

Creating software with VBScript
(Full Edition only)

   Introduction to VBScript
   Language Reference
   Objects Reference
   VBScript Techniques and Tips

   Sample Source Code

Pictures, sounds and music
   => Creating Pictures
   Music Maker help
   Creative Painter quick help
   Sounds and Music
   Videos, Icons, Cursors

Plugins (Full Edition only)
   Overview of the Plugins System
   Downloading/Uploading Plugins
   The Plugin Properties window
   About the Flash Plugin

Tips
   User Interface Tips
   Reducing the project size
   End-User System Requirements

Advanced tutorials
(Full Edition only)

   Creating a custom startup menu
   Using ActiveX components (ocx)

Troubleshooting
   Common issues and solutions
   Known bugs and limitations

About us
   Credits
   Website
   Contacting us
   Helping out

"iPhone" and "iPod" are trademarks or registered trademarks of Apple Inc. "PSP" is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

As of the release date of this version, Adventure Maker is NOT affiliated with, endorsed by, or sponsored by Apple Inc., Sony Corporation, SCEI, or any Apple or Sony subsidiary.

   

 

TUTORIAL FOR CREATING INTERACTIVE 360-DEGREE PANORAMAS
(FULL EDITION ONLY, WINDOWS ONLY)


Note: To see an example of interactive 360-degree panorama, make sure to try out the sample game that is included in the Adventure Maker package (both Free Edition and Full Editi13. Check the on). To play it, simply run Adventure Maker, click "Load Project...", double-click on "360-degree panorama", and then click "Run Project (Start)...".

Creating such a game does not require any scripting or programming.

 

I. Creating the pictures for the 360-degree panorama

In order to create a panoramic game, you need panoramic pictures. Panoramic pictures are pictures obtained by projecting the 3D world on a surface.

To see an example of high-resolution (2048x2048), 3D-rendered panoramic picture for use with Adventure Maker, click the following link: panoramic_picture1.jpg

Adventure Maker supports the pictures obtained by projecting the 3D world on a cylinder. That kind of projection is very common, and is called "cylindrical panoramic projection". Other types of projections exist (spherical, cubic...), but they are currently not supported by Adventure Maker.

Here are some small examples of cylindrical panoramic projections:
sample1.jpg (16261 bytes)
sample2.jpg (17442 bytes)

If you look closely at the pictures above, you will notice that they are circular, meaning that the very left part of the picture is the sequel to the very right part of the picture.

You can also notice that the aspect ratios (the ratios width/height) can vary. For example, the aspect ratio of the first picture is 4 (meaning that the width is 4 times the height), while the aspect ratio of the second picture is 1 (meaning that the width equals the height). Any aspect ratio can be used with Adventure Maker.

The are mainly two ways to create cylindrical panoramic projections:

  • With a digital camera:

If you have a digital camera, you can easily create panoramic pictures by taking several photos and then stitching them together using a program such as PhotoStitch (normally bundled with your camera).

Most digital cameras have a "panorama" mode, which allows freezing the exposure after the shot of the first photo. The result is that all the photos have the same light intensity, so they can be stitched fine. Refer to the User Manual of your camera to learn how to use the "panorama" mode.

  • With a 3D renderer:

A 3D renderer is a program that allows creating 3D computer graphics. Some of the most popular ones are: 3D Studio MAX, Maya, Blender, Bryce, Cinema 4D, POV-Ray, Softimage, Strata3D, Vue...

Most 3D renderers have an option to generate cylindrical panoramic pictures. If they don't have such an option, there is probably a plugin that allows doing that. Make sure to use a plugin that creates cylindrical projections, NOT spherical or cubic projections.

For example, here let's see how to create a 360-degree cylindrical panoramic picture with Bryce 5:

Tutorial for creating panoramic pictures with Bryce 5:

1. Start Bryce 5

2. Click on the small arrow, as shown in the following screenshot:
bryce1.gif (23398 bytes)

3. A menu should pop up. Click on "Render Options...", as shown in the following screenshot:
bryce2.gif (24621 bytes)

3. The "Render Options" window should pop up. Click on "360 Panorama Projection", as shown in the following screenshot:

bryce3.gif (32897 bytes)

4. Close the Render Options window and start the rendering (to do so, click on the biggest of the five small gray spheres on the left of the Bryce window). If your scene doesn't contain any objects, you should get something like that:
bryce_simple_render.jpg (6116 bytes)

5. Try adding a water surface and some objects by clicking on the icons at the top of the Bryce window. Start the rendering again. You should now get something like that:
bryce_render2.jpg (8162 bytes)

6. You can change the render resolution (i.e. the picture size) by double-clicking on the render button (the biggest of the five small gray spheres on the left of the Bryce window). The following window should pop up:
bryce4.gif (24711 bytes)

Adventure Maker supports a resolution up to 2048 x 2048. For the best results, render your pictures at 2048 x 2048, or at least with an horizontal resolution of 2048 (i.e. width = 2048).

Lowering the vertical resolution allows you to obtain a smaller vertical field of view. Here is the explanation: the aspect ratio (the ratio width/height) of the rendered picture affects the way the picture is displayed when playing the panoramic game. The smaller the aspect ratio, the larger the vertical field of view. For example, compare the two following pictures:
bryce_render3_200x200.jpg (9118 bytes)
bryce_render4_400x100.jpg (11508 bytes)

The aspect ratio of the two pictures is very different. The first picture has a small aspect ratio, so its vertical field of view is large (the player can look down at the rocks and up at the sky). The second picture has a big aspect ratio, so its vertical field of view is small.

For the very best results, you should render your pictures at a resolution of 2048xY, where Y is a value much smaller than 2048 (like 512), and AFTER you should stretch (resize) the pictures to 2048x2048 by using a program such as Paint Shop Pro or Adobe Photoshop. When stretching (resizing) the pictures, make sure to use a good resize method, such as the "Bicubic Resample" under Paint Shop Pro. Here is a small tutorial, just to be sure it is clear:

Tutorial for getting the very best quality:

1. Render your scenes at 2048x512 (or 2048xY, where Y is a value much smaller than 2048):
bryce_render5.jpg (7896 bytes)
2. Open the resulting pictures with Paint Shop Pro or Adobe Photoshop, and resize them to 2048x2048 (in the example below, we used the "Resize" tool of Paint Shop Pro and we chose "Bicubic Resample" as "Resize type"):
bryce_render6.jpg (18630 bytes)

You can notice that the picture appears very distorted. That is normal. Adventure Maker will display it correctly, provided that you specify the original aspect ratio under the "Plugins" tab of the Frame Properties (see screenshot below). In our case, you must enter the number 4, and not 1, because the original aspect ratio (before stretching the picture) was 4.

change_ratio.gif (9326 bytes)

 

 

II. Tutorial for implementing the 360 panorama under Adventure Maker

This tutorial assumes that you already have some panorama-compatible pictures. If you don't, please read the section above for creating your own panoramic pictures, or just save on your computer the two following picture:

panoramic_picture1.jpg

Note: to save the picture on your computer, right-click on the link above and click "Save target as..." (or something similar, depending on your browser).

 
1. Run Adventure Maker v4.x Full Edition.
2. Click "New Project...".
3. Enter a project name and click OK.
A message will pop up asking you to choose the "target platform". Select "for Windows" and then click OK.
4. Another message will pop up. Click Continue to proceed. The Frames Management window will appear.

5. Click "Project Properties...". The Project Properties window will appear. Click the "Plugins" tab, as shown in the following screenshot:

plugins_tab.gif (6559 bytes)

6. Check the small box that is near the plugin named "AM Panorama Plugin":

check_plugin.gif (9766 bytes)

7. Click OK to close the Project Properties window.

8. Click "Create New Frames (by importing pictures)":

create_new_frames.gif (23433 bytes)

9. A file selection window will popup. Locate the panoramic picture on your hard drive (for example, you can use this one: panoramic_picture1.jpg ), and then double-click on it or click "Open". A new thumbnail will appear under the Frames Management, as shown in the following screenshot:

  thumbnail.gif (22279 bytes)

10. Double-click on the thumbnail. The Frame Editor window will appear.

11. Click on "Frame Properties" from the menu on the left:

frame_editor.gif (23338 bytes)

12. The Frame Properties window will appear. Click the "Plugins" tab:

frame_properties1.gif (5872 bytes)

13. Check the option "View as 360 degree panorama":

frame_properties2.gif (10042 bytes)

14. The settings allow choosing the initial camera orientation and the picture aspect ratio. For the moment, just leave the default settings. You can experiment with them later.

Note: The aspect ratio for the picture panoramic_picture1.jpg is 1, because the picture is a square. For more information on what the aspect ratio is and how to improve the picture quality, please read the section above, titled "creating the pictures for the 360-degree panorama".

When you have done, click OK to close the Frame Properties window.

15. If you wish to create some hotspots to make the panorama interactive, you can do so now, by drawing a selection on the picture, as shown in the following screenshot:

creating_hotspots.gif (20871 bytes)

To draw a selection, just hold down the left mouse button, drag the mouse, and then release the button. As soon as you release the button, the "Hotspot Properties" window appears, allowing you to link the hotspot to another picture, to play a sound, and more:

hotspot_properties1.gif (10531 bytes)

Some options are specific to the 360-degree panoramas. You can view them by clicking on the "Plugins" tab:

hotspot_properties2.gif (8029 bytes) 

You don't need to use any of these options for the moment. However, if you are curious to know what they are used for, here is a short description:

The first option allows reloading the current panorama picture when the hotspot is clicked. The purpose is to refresh the visibility (visible or hidden) of the graphical hotspots* depending on the value of the variables. The conditions can be set under the "variables" tab of the Hotspot Properties.

* graphical hotspots are hotspots to which you have associated a picture by changing the "appearance" setting that is under the "General" tab of the Hotspot Properties window.

This is useful for example to create switches that have several positions: just create several graphical hotspots stacked one on top of the other, and change the settings that are under the "variables" tab to make them appear/disappear on user click.

The second option is useful when moving to another frame. It allows choosing the initial orientation of the camera. In fact, the orientation of the camera in the destination frame can be different depending on what frame the player came from.

The third option allows playing a video at given coordinates in the panoramic picture. An example is the puzzle with animated switches in the sample 360-degree game included in the Adventure Maker package (any edition). Note: the result is very different from that of the "Play a video" option that is under the "Action" tab. The latter allows playing a video on top of the game window, while the option under the "plugins" tab allow playing a video as part of the 360-degree panorama.

16. When you have finished creating hotspots, click "Back to project menu" to return to the Frames Management:

back_to_project_menu.gif (16929 bytes)

17. You must now choose the picture that you want to appear when the project starts. To do so, click "Project Properties...", and choose the "Initial frame":

initial_frame.gif (11111 bytes)

18. Click OK to close the Project Properties window.

19. Click "Run Project (start)" to play the 360-degree game:

start.gif (19878 bytes)

 

After testing the game, if you wish to distribute your game to give it to other people, just click "Create executable (.exe)" from the Project Menu, and follow the on-screen instructions.

This is the end of the tutorial.

 

III. Limitations

Some features (such as the "Rippling Water Effect") are not available while in panoramic frames.

Furthermore, in the current version of Adventure Maker, you cannot directly use the inventory while in a panoramic frame (however, it is possible to go to a 2D frame and use the inventory there). A workaround consists in using a variable to remember that the item has been picked up.

Note: To be sure that LoadGame/SaveGame works fine, you should create a "Loading..." frame and then add it to the "Set resume locations" table (click "Set resume locations..." from the Project Menu of Adventure Maker), as demonstrated in the 360-degree sample game included in the Adventure Maker package. Then, go to the "Frame Properties" of that "Loading" frame and add a timer in order to redirect the player to the "[Last visited frame]".