3D Game Creation System

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Version 1.3 splash screen

"The Pie 3D GCS is an integrated software package for non-programmers. With this program, you can create a 3D action game. This product is ideal for non-programmers. Our goal was to help you build your first game level within minutes of installation. The great thing about the GCS is that you won't have to spend your valuable time learning programming languages or 3D mathematics. We've done all of that part for you. This leaves you the responsibility for the creative aspects of game creation. You can dig right into the most rewarding part of product development -- game design. Will you make a dungeon or a park? How about a western town or a shopping mall? Let your imagination run wild."
--Official description

The 3D Game Creation System (also known as the 3D GCS or just GCS) is a tool for creating 2.5D and later true 3D games using the Power 3D engine derived from Terminal Terror (1994).

Context[edit]

"Until the GCS came on the market, game designers were forced to license game engines for thousands of dollars. The big game companies could keep independent game designers locked out of this exciting industry. The GCS opens up the exciting world of game publishing to game enthusiasts who have a passion for games, but who don’t have a ton of up-front money. When you buy the Pie 3D GCS, you have the right to distribute this 3D game engine with your product! That means that you don't have to require that your customers buy our 3D engine before they can play your game. The software that you will send to your customers will include a special version of the game engine that only works with your game. The GCS takes care of creating the final product in a directory on your hard drive. To sell or distribute your game, just zip up your game directory and send it to your publisher or upload your zipped game directory your web site yourself. It is that easy! In summation, the Pie 3D GCS contains an incredible amount of software for a very low price --$69.95 +S/H. When you consider that other 3D engines cost thousands of dollars to license, our low price is quite affordable."
--Official description

The GCS was used by many independent games and amateur projects as a game creator, largely because it minimized the amount of computer programming knowledge needed to make 3D games in its editing tools. In this sense it competed with modding bigger name commercial first-person shooters such as Doom (1993) or later Duke Nukem 3D (1996) and Quake (1996), but featured the advantage of allowing the production of stand-alone executables without requiring the purchase of the base game and were even allowed to be sold using supplied assets.

It was later competed with and/or supplanted by tools such as FPS Creator/DarkBASIC in 2000, Blitz3D in September 2001, the Retribution Engine in 2003, GameMaker: Studio from Game Maker 6 in 2004 onward, and finally the Platinum Arts Sandbox Free 3D Game Maker and Raycasting Game Maker in 2007. Engines of similar vintage to Power 3D, such as the Wolfenstien 3D, Doom, Build and Quake engines started seeing their source code released in the late 1990s and early 2000s, providing other options for amateur first-person shooter development. Original free and open source engines such as Crystal Space (1997), Genesis3D (1998), OGRE (1999-2000), Blender (2000), Cube (2001), Panda3D (2002), Irrlicht (2003) and jMonkeyEngine (2003) also appeared.

The concept behind the Game Creation System was preceded somewhat by Incentive Software's 3D Construction Kit (1991) and 3D Construction Kit II (1992), both based on their Freespace engine. Arguably the first-person dungeon crawler creators such as The Bard's Tale Construction Set (1991) by Interplay Productions based on The Bard's Tale, and Forgotten Realms: Unlimited Adventures (1993) by Strategic Simulations based on the Gold Box engine, also bear mentioning. Along with the GCS, these initial visions of easy 3D development have proved quite prescient, with modern engines such as Unity, ShiVa, Godot and even the veteran Unreal Engine increasingly emphasising ease of development over advanced features.

"You don’t have to be a computer programmer to make your 3D game. However, we do recommend that you have some computer experience before using the GCS. It might be hard to understand some of the more advanced parts of making a game if you aren’t very clear on what a directory or an .EXE file is. If you are shopping for a gift for a young person who has a new computer, then you should not purchase the GCS. Novices will be overwhelmed and discouraged. However, we have hundreds of school-aged customers who love the GCS. Our target user is some one who really knows their way around computers and but who doesn’t necessarily know advanced computer programming languages... Doom and its sequels are excellent software products from Id Software, who is in no way related to us. Our 3D game engine is similar to theirs in some ways, and if you like, you can make your 3D game very similar in appearance with some limitations. Although the Pie 3D engine can do textured floors and ceilings, there are more limitations in ours about what you can do with multiple-height surfaces. Our engine is similar to Id's DOOM engine in that you can have a fading system with lighting effects, very tall walls or short walls, non-90 degree walls and, animated objects.... What computer games currently on the market have been made with the GCS? That is a hard question to answer. Since we don’t retain legal rights to our customers’ games, we have no way of keeping track of them. Occasionally, game designers acknowledge Pie in the Sky in the games, but that is the exception rather than the rule. Most GCS-made games are currently being distributed on the Web, because that is the easiest and least expensive way for individual game authors and small companies to advertise and publish a product for a mass audience. No, you are free to sell or give away the game you create. But we'd love to hear about your game when it is complete. On the other hand, you are welcome to just sell the game without notifying us."
--Pie in the Sky FAQs

Releases[edit]

"I used to be a regular here on rgp, but I've lost touch. I've released a product called the Pie 3D Game Creation System. It is a program that allows non-programmers to make their own games similar to Wolf/DOOM. (Please no flames, the game engine isn't as good as DOOM, but it many ways it is superior to Wolf) I wonder if there has been any traffic here on rgp about it? If anyone is interested, there is a playable demo of a GCS created game available via anomymous ftp:ftp.catalog.com/psky/gcsdemo.zip The demo was done by some associates of mine. I personally would have liked it to show off more capabilities of the game engine, but I think the designers were mostly into stuff that was easiest to do. Anyway, we are planning to sell a Programmer's C library with our 3D game engine. I think this version will have window resizing and the ability to look up/down."
--Kevin Stokes, March 20, 1995

Version 1.x[edit]

"Despite the financial rewards of working for larger companies, there was a consensus among us to switch back to offering products directly to the customer again. And so the Game Creation System was born. Now we could have a blast creating new features and products to delight our customers, and we didn't have to spend a lot of time talking to slick marketing guys who use phrases like 'eye candy' and 'sexy interface'.* The first Game Creation System (For DOS) was introduced in 1995, and was a great success. We released a series of add-ons for it. The only down side was that the tech support demands were much higher than for a regular game, since it is more complicated to make a game than to play one."
--About Us - Pie in the Sky Software

Also known as the "classic" version, for MS DOS and released in March 1995.

Link: http://web.archive.org/web/19980524215948/http://www.psky.com/GCS.htm

Version 2.x[edit]

"In 1996 DOS was dying, and writing games for Windows was pretty much a nightmare. There were millions of Win3.1 users, and plenty of Win95 users... When we started to get deep into Direct 3D, we realized we could revamp our Game Creation System and release a whole new product, and then adapt our vehicle and terrain engine as a GCS add-on. So in early 1998 we got to work and had a pre-release version running by mid-summer. Released just before 1999, the GCS for Windows has been going strong ever since."
--About Us - Pie in the Sky Software

Also known as the Win95 GCS Replacement Engine, and released in December 1998 though originally slated for June 1998.

Link: http://web.archive.org/web/19980524215911/http://www.psky.com/Upgrade.htm

Version 3.x[edit]

"In August of 2001, we released version 3.0 of our Game Creation System. Version 3.0 includes the latest features including true-3D polygonal enemies and weapons, 3D terrain, super lighting effects, and the list goes on and on."
--About Us - Pie in the Sky Software

The final fully three dimensional version, released in August 2001 and discontinued in May 2003.

Link: http://web.archive.org/web/20030206101739/http://www.pieskysoft.com/prod_gcs.html

Components[edit]

3D World Editor[edit]

"So what does our product look and feel like? Basically when you start it up, there is the standard line of pull-down menus across the top of the screen, and a stack of tool icons on the left side. Most of the screen is dominated by a black rectangular view port area with scroll bars. If you load the demo world that is included with the GCS, you will see all the wall sections in Level 1 of the demo from the top view. If you like, you can start selecting walls and move them with simple mouse clicks to the tool bar and view port. Click on the ‘Person’ icon to plop down enemies, or click on the ‘Wall’ icon to add new walls. When you want to pop into virtual reality and walk around in your 3D world, simply click on the 'Test World' icon. A minute or so later, you will be wandering about in your new 3D world! Here is a screen shot of the 3D World Editor."
--Official description

GCS Paint[edit]

"You can use our included artwork to start right away, or get your own images from public domain sources, or go wild with your scanner. Included with the GCS is a full-featured image tool which is the ideal software for creating or retouching images for 3D texture mapped games. GCSPaint has a myriad of features that are just right for 3D purposes. When you start creating your virtual environments, you'll find that that setting image resolutions, contrast, and pixel blending is very important. GCSPaint contains these features in a very easy to use mouse driven interface. The GCS can import 256 color images in .GIF, .PCX, and .BMP format."
--Official description

3D Game Engine[edit]

Main Article: Power 3D

"Your game can have up to 39 levels of action-packed excitement. And, the game engine remembers past events. If something happens on one level of the game, it is still there when you return to that level later in the game. You can make doors open automatically or you can make the player get a key before unlocking a door. You can make two-way passages between levels. You can connect any game level to any other, and you can have many interconnections in the same level if you like. The game engine also has an incredibly flexible animated object system to make doors open when the player passed by a certain point. You can turn lights on or off. Shoot something to trigger an explosion sequence that you have designed. In addition, you can have multiple game ending situations. Any animated object can be set to end the game when the player gets to certain point, or satisfies some condition. When the game engine exits, it leaves a code which tells the GCSMenu™ program (a separate add-on pack) to put up the proper still picture for the user. This mechanism allows your game to have the look and feel of a professional commercial game."
--Official description

Add-Ons[edit]

1.x[edit]

Link: http://web.archive.org/web/19980524215852/http://www.psky.com/

GCS Menu[edit]

"This Add-on product gives your GCS-made game a professional look and feel. Now you can easily add title screens, opening music, full screen still pictures, and animation sequences to your game. GCS Menu's features include... Start Game, Pause Game, Resume Game, Exit, Load Game & Save Game, Sound & Music On/Off, Mouse & Joystick Control. This add-on is a godsend for non-programmers! If purchased separately from the Game Creation System, it comes in an envelope containing one 3.5" disk and a comprehensive 19 page instruction manual."
--Official description

Link: http://web.archive.org/web/19980524215852/http://www.psky.com/GCSMenu.htm

GCS Mega Art Pack[edit]

"The 'GCS Mega Pack' is an Add-on product especially designed to enhance the power of the Pie Game Creation System. The Mega Pack adds nearly 6 megabytes of new artwork to your Object Libraries. You get... walls, floors, ceilings, foliage, furniture, hostile human and non-human enemies, friendly characters... and dozens and dozens of additional pieces of artwork that are ideally suited for 3D games. Each image is pre-formatted, palette-matched, and sized for use with the GCS. A simple mouse click is all it takes to pop these great graphics right into your game... If purchased separately from the Game Creation System, it comes in an envelope containing one 3.5" disk and a sheet with complete installation instructions."
--Official description

Link: http://web.archive.org/web/19980524215852/http://www.psky.com/MegaPack.htm

GCS Industrial Theme Art Pack[edit]

"The 'Industrial Theme Art Pack' (a.k.a. 'Styx & Stones Art Pack') is another Add-on product especially designed to enhance the power of the Pie Game Creation System. This art pack adds more than 2 megabytes of new artwork to your Object Libraries. You get... walls, floors, ceilings, doors, hostile terrorist enemy set... all of which fit the gloom and doom industrial theme. Each image is pre-formatted, palette-matched, and sized for use with the GCS. If purchased separately from the Game Creation System, it comes in an envelope containing one 3.5" disk and a sheet with complete installation instructions... All of these images have a color palette that is different than the standard GCS color palette. You will have to use CGSPaint's 'Palette Matching Feature' if you combine these graphics with graphics from either the standard GCS Object Libraries or from the Mega Art Pack Add-on product."
--Official description

Link: http://web.archive.org/web/19980524215852/http://www.psky.com/StyxStones.htm

GCS Midi Pack[edit]

"Today's top games feature great music. Your GCS-made game should too. This add-on product contains 7 original musical compositions. Each tune was written by a professional musician especially for the GCS. Now each level of your game can have a distinctive mood and feel. If purchased separately from the Game Creation System, it comes in an envelope containing one 3.5" disk and a sheet with complete installation instructions."
--Official description

Also known as the "GCS Midi Music Pack".

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Link: http://web.archive.org/web/19980524215852/http://www.psky.com/MidiMusic.htm

GCS for Programmers[edit]

"This product is for EXPERT users only. Extensive training in C is required. This is NOT an add-on product for non-programmers. With the GCSP you get all the features of the regular GCS and you get specialized software tools, a library of functions and routines, as well as some selected source code. An 81 page manual explains the nuts and bolts of the Pie 3D Game Engine. The comprehensive documentation includes descriptions of... main animation loop, Z-buffer, Forth AI, VERTS, MemChnk, explosion FIFO, VGA page switching, critical errors. C programmers can customize their games by... resizing the game view window, changing the perspective to look up and down, setting point lighting, modifying the inventory system, altering player motion, reconfiguring weapons, reorganizing the control panel. This product is perfect for experienced C programmers who want to develop original projects without getting bogged down by the drudgery of building a 3D game engine from scratch! If you buy the GCSP, you also get the regular GCS which includes a working demo. The box comes in a GCS printed box with five 3.5" floppy disks (3 for the GCS & 2 for the GCSP), a 100 page GCS Users Manual, and an 81 page GCSP Users Manual. If purchased separately from the Game Creation System, it comes in an envelope containing two 3.5" disks and an 81 page GCSP manual."
--Official description

Also known as "GCS for C Programmers".

Link: http://web.archive.org/web/19980524220018/http://www.psky.com/GCSP.htm

2.x[edit]

Link: http://web.archive.org/web/20030407092743/http://www.pieskysoft.com/order.html

Amazing GCS Texture Package[edit]

"To make the most absolutely amazing 3D game levels, advanced GCS users will want to have our best artwork available: The Amazing GCS Texture Package. To make this incredible artwork package, Pie in the Sky Software has teamed up with artist Cliff Mellengard. Cliff has created the core of the Amazing GCS Texture artwork package, used to make the 3D scene above. The Amazing GCS Texture Package contains over 500 pieces of artwork which means you will be getting top quality artwork for only a little over 8 cents per image! Don't end up limitng what you can do in your game because you don't have enough artwork. With the Amazing GCS Texture Package, you will have the advantage over the others who have to build their worlds with only the basic packages. In addition to the high quality art featured on the previous page, the Amazing GCS artwork package contains hundreds of super-high quality digitized artwork taken from the real world. But these are more than just simple snapshots of rocks or walls. These images have been setup with constant illumination across the picture faces, and a professional has painstakingly made the left edge of each image blend with the right edge, so you can tile the images across your terrain floors, ceilings or walls without distracting seams. Those that have tried to make their own artwork for walls or floors will know that this seamless tiling typically takes over an hour of work, and sometimes more. At a per-image price of less than 9 cents per image, this artwork package is one of our best bargains. The Amazing GCS Texture Package is a mammoth package of over 500 images in 24 bit BMP format. The package includes both the Cliff Mellengard textures, and the digitized real-world images. Most images are 128x128 or 256x256 pixels for great looking high-resolution surfaces. All artwork is pre-formatted for the GCS and will be ready to use in the game levels immediately after installation."
--Official description

Link: http://web.archive.org/web/20030407142048/http://www.pieskysoft.com/prod_amaz.html

GC_NEXTAI[edit]

"GCNext AI is the Artificial Intelligence Add-On for GCSW 2.0, geared toward both Novice and Advanced users of the GCSW 3D game engine. It's emphasis is on modelling intelligent character/object behavior necessary for creating immersive 3D Action or Adventure games. The default AI which comes with the GCS can handle basic bad guys which always run after you and shoot at you if they have a clear shot. This is adequate for your basic shoot'em up game. GCNEXT_AI is a whole different ball game. Each enemy is driven by his or her own emotions and motivation, rather than by a set algorthm. Creatures can fight the player or each other. GCNEXT_AI enemies can actually even switch their loyalties depending on how they are treated. This makes for a much richer gaming environment for the player. In addition, the maximum possible intelligence and tracking ability is greatly improved over the default GCS AI. The capabilities of the enemies are greatly enhanced: The enemies can have more than one attack, they can carry inventory objects, they can blow apart into pieces. You can override any default behavior with your own rules, or even make them walk a specific path that you can design with the mouse. But the best feature of GCNEXT_AI is that even with all these new capabilities, it is actually MUCH easier to use! Where the default GCS AI has you editing text files where one mistake can mess up your game level, GCNEXT AI does everything with point-and-click controls and menus... Most of the more advanced GCS users use GCNEXT_AI for their games. This is a screenshot from ChiselBrained Software's 'Tickle People' game. The yellow ball is a shockwave explosion, and rocks are pieces of a fragged enemy which are flying outward. These effects are one of many things you can accomplish with GCNEXT_AI. As if these features were not enough, we are also going to throw in a free CD ($7.00 S&H) of brand new top quality artwork, and pre-setup 3D polygonal MD2 enemies and objects. These models alone are worth the purchase price of GCNEXT_AI. Setup new enemy types with friendly mouse-driven windows. Object to Object relationships: friendly, neutral, or hostile. Object to Player relationships: friendly, neutral, or hostile. Close and Far Range Attack modes. Environmentally Aware Objects (sensitive to lighting, sound, motion). Full-featured Object and Path-Map editor - no need to edit .txt file manually. 8 Weapon types, including Kill, KO, Freeze and Vaporize, for both Projectile and Non-Projectile Weapons. Decay and Respawn options. Can give/take items from player, or drop/pickup inventory items from floor. Variable Object Invisibility. Object transparency adjusted to reflect amount of Invisibility. Switchable Scripts and Modes of Execution during game-play. Issue "Bot-Orders" through the keyboard. Special 32-bit AI Register system (GCSW Universe Registers are 8 bit). Take control over any aspect of enemy behavior, or let the defaults handle all the details for you. And many more features...."
--Official description

Link: http://web.archive.org/web/20030407142535/http://www.pieskysoft.com/prod_gcnai.html

GCS Install[edit]

"This add-on is not required to install (or operate) your GCS, but rather is an optional tool for making installs of your GCS-created games. With GCS Install you simply answer a few questions like the name of your company, and the name for the game, and GCS Install will gather up all the files necessary to run your game and package your finished game into one folder which you can put on floppies or CDROM."
--Official description

Link: http://web.archive.org/web/20030407171018/http://www.pieskysoft.com/prod_inst.html

GCS Professional Reference Book[edit]

"This add-on is not required to install (or operate) your GCS, but rather is an optional tool for making installs of your GCS-created games. With GCS Install you simply answer a few questions like the name of your company, and the name for the game, and GCS Install will gather up all the files necessary to run your game and package your finished game into one folder which you can put on floppies or CDROM."
--Official description

Link: http://web.archive.org/web/20030329045826/http://www.pieskysoft.com/order.html

External Links[edit]