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Open Source vs Affordable Indie 3D Game Engines?

Cliff posted more than 6 years ago | from the which-direction-would-you-choose dept.

Programming 152

TBBScorpion asks: "Lately I have been investigating 3D game engines. I was mostly paying attention to open source engines like Ogre3d, Irrlicht, Crystal Space 3D, and the like. Then I found out about cheap Indie licenses for commercial game engines like Torque Game Engine ($150), Torque Game Engine Advanced ($295) and the C4 Engine ($200 + free upgrades). I found a list of top commercial and open source game engines at devmaster.net in case anyone is interested (I didn't want to take the time to list all the engines, but there are more good ones that I did not list on this page). Now for my questions. Now, here's my dilemma. Which of the engines are worth investing in? Should I buy an indie license or hold out for open source? Or should I start with an indie engine and switch later if open source catches up?"

"Torque Game Engine 1.5 works on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux but lacks modern shader support (except for something about a free modernization kit). I mostly do cross-platform software development so I like this feature.

However, there is Torque Game Engine Advanced (TGEA) which adds shader support, the Atlas terrain paging feature, and a few other nice features, but since is DirectX9 based it is no longer cross-platform. I have also heard rumors about support for the engine to be a little on the lacking side, yet the Torque community seems to be rather large compared to other commercial engines. Are the complaints just from people who don't really know how to program expecting to be able to edit the C++ of the game engine, or are capable people really having trouble? I've heard rumors about stability of TGEA compared to TGE? For those of you who have used TGE or TGEA, would you recommend it over other engines?

The C4 Engine looks nice as well, but seems to be under active development and less mature, but might it potentially be a more modern game engine? Also, it supports Windows XP and Mac OS X, which is better then just Windows.

Here are the features I am hoping for are: a cross-platform engine, if possible; modern shader support; a built-in terrain paging system; and model, material and animation import from Blender 3d.

When it comes to the open source engines like Ogre3D, the main thing that seems to be lacking is the built-in editors, and at least Ogre3D is currently mostly a graphics engine rather then a complete game engine (i.e. physics built-in; does provide wrappers for ODE and other physics engines). My assumption is that is just a matter of time before Ogre3D and other engines catch up with the top Indie commercial engines?

Lastly, I will be using the game engine for not only making games, but for some scientific applications as well. Also, I started using C++ 10 years ago and have been using Python since January 2002, so I'm ready to dive into the engine code."

cancel ×

152 comments

Torque on linux? (2, Informative)

tulcod (1056476) | more than 6 years ago | (#19285525)

From what I've heard, you will be investing hours to get Torque working on linux. And forget about updating it (which is pretty useful for added features like the shader functionality). I am, though, not sure if this is still true. Ogre3D is slow. That's just not what you want. If speed is all you want, and don't care about the interface, Irrlicht is nice. If you want both, crystalspace is really nice, but there's not a lot of documentation about it.

Re:Torque on linux? (3, Interesting)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#19285587)

Please correct me if I am wrong (which I am almost sure I am), but last time I had a look for all the Open Source game engines available they where focused on First Person Shooter type of games... I was doing a 3D puzzle game (sort of like Tetrisphere)... I ended up finishing it in raw OpenGL and SDL... although I would have liked to use an engine to easly add particle effects and other stuff...

I personally hope to find nice answers in this thread... also, from what I have seen in the Gamedev.net forums people over there do not like Open Source stuff... of course I saw some 2 years ago... things surely have changed by now.

Re:Torque on linux? (1)

abes (82351) | more than 6 years ago | (#19286339)

For at least Ogre and Irrlicht, there is no such requirement. If you go to Ogre's web page, you can see a bunch of games made with, and a good number are not FPSes.

With that said, it is probably what the engine get used for most of the time.

Re:Torque on linux? (3, Informative)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 6 years ago | (#19286545)

crystal space also is not geared only towards FPS's in fact one of the demos (or at least it used to be there, don't know if it is now), is a 3d tetris game.

Failure in OSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300439)

If someone spent all that time and energy in making a first-rate game engine, they aren't going to just give it away for free.

So what that leaves you with is... people who's work isn't worth paying for.

There are places where FOSS works, but niche needs like this is not one of them.

A common misconception (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300585)

You are confusing the game with the game engine. Which is the product that a customer is paying for? They aren't buying the SoCool Engine; they are buying the Hot Barbie Surfing 2007 game.

For a very few developers like id and Valve, their engines are state of the art, and intended to be sold as products in their own right. There is an argument to be made that id is no longer a game company; they are really a middleware company that sells game engines, and releases tech demos every 5 years or so.

For all smaller developers, their engines are not that impressive. Most would much rather use an existing solution, and focus on game play instead. Those that can afford it license the big name engines. Those that cannot are forced to write their own engines. For the most part, customers are oblivious to the difference. A few hard core players know what it means when the game says it uses the "Source" engine, but most are just looking at the pictures. As long as it looks good, they will buy it. It doesn't matter what engine produced the graphics.

The game industry has a long tradition of reinventing the wheel. If it wasn't written there, they don't trust it. This is slowly changing, and I expect to see a lot more adoption of FOSS, particularly at the indie and small company end of the market.

Re:Torque on linux? (4, Informative)

borfast (752138) | more than 7 years ago | (#19286809)

Yes, getting TGE to run on Linux is an ungrateful task, to say the least.

Some time ago I got lured into buying it because they used to state on the product page that they supported linux. I bought both Torque Game Engine (3D) and Torque Game Builder (2D).

Long story short, the Linux version is far from the quality of the Windows and OS X counterparts (when it runs at all) and the company dropped Linux as a supported platform, "because it consumes too many of their resources". Instead, the Linux version is now supported by the community - but it bears the same price tag, nonetheless...

There used to be a guy who offered himself to help with the Linux version of the engine. He did this *for free*. Garage Games used to take months to reply to his e-mails when he sent them a message saying "hey guys, you just released a new TGE version so I took care of making a linux release, it's ready for you to put on your page". There was somewhat of a revolt on the forums and Garage Games eventually worked with this guy for some more time (still for free) and after that, I just gave up on Garage Games, because their support really suck. It's just as UnDiWhan said on another comment [slashdot.org] : a pervasive attitude of "If you can't figure it out without help, you shouldn't have gotten the Advanced Engine". This is also valid for the regular TGE and TGB.

Things may have changed, though, because Garage Games created a buzzword for their documentation and also a site to host it. But again, just like the Linux versions are "community-supported", the documentation is mostly (all?) user created content - it's a Wiki...

As for Ogre3D, I wouldn't say it's slow, it's actually pretty good and pretty fast. But if you don't use it correctly, it can kill your game. I've seen games using Ogre very efficiently and others that were slow as hell.

Re:Torque on linux? (1)

l3mr (1070918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19286889)

As for Ogre3D, I wouldn't say it's slow, it's actually pretty good and pretty fast. But if you don't use it correctly, it can kill your game. I've seen games using Ogre very efficiently and others that were slow as hell.
Modern graphics can be tricky. Using shaders is no panacea; you need to learn how to use them right, weight the different techniques against each other and finally, you need to do a lot of benchmarking on NVidia _and_ ATI. At least Ogre allows you to do it right if you know how to...

CrystalSpace has great documentation (4, Informative)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#19287837)

I like the documentation on CS because it is an API that's easy to understand. But what really shines in CrystalSpace's favor is it's community. I wouldn't be able to code in 3d if it wasn't for handholding by the developers. They walked me through compiling and building, and then they answered my questions when I got stuck. I think they're so friendly, that I casually talk about my game I'm making in help questions that I post to the mailing list. CS is the 3d engine that I am writing: www.roamingdragon.com

I'm not saying the other engines could be bad, but I know that CS is awesome.

Re:CrystalSpace has great documentation (2, Interesting)

Falthon (1108115) | more than 7 years ago | (#19294517)

RoamingDragon looks interesting. You might want to take a look at Project Angela [rpg-gamerz.com] , which has similar movement requirements. You may be interested in their ideas on physics-based movement.

Wrong place to ask (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19285551)

The fucktarded shitdot sheeple would naturally say the communist "Open Sores" solution would be the best. Of course they are a bunch of fucktards who should collectively slit their fucking wrists.

Re:Wrong place to ask (5, Funny)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#19286097)

The fucktarded shitdot sheeple would naturally say the communist "Open Sores" solution would be the best. Of course they are a bunch of fucktards who should collectively slit their fucking wrists.
Hmm.... I'm sure this wasn't what Microsoft wanted when they asked you to run an "aggressive" FUD campaign.

Re:Wrong place to ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19288273)

How do we know that that was a shill?

Re:Wrong place to ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19289037)

Answer: It's a joke. It's funny. Laugh.

Re:Wrong place to ask (1)

triso (67491) | more than 7 years ago | (#19292909)

How do we know that that was a shill?
You're new here, aren't you? All people who praise Microsoft or proprietary software or admonish open source or Linux are automatically deemed to be shills.

Re:Wrong place to ask (1)

Slashcrap (869349) | more than 7 years ago | (#19302103)

You're new here, aren't you? All people who praise Microsoft or proprietary software or admonish open source or Linux are automatically deemed to be shills.

Why not setup your own Slashdot style site praising Microsoft & proprietary software whilst admonishing open source and Linux? You can simply re-mortgage your house to get the necessary funding, because I really don't see any way in which an idea like that could possibly fail. Unless you turn out to be just a whiney bitch, so lacking in motivation that you'll spend years posting on a site whose views you fundamentally disagree with. I guess that could be an issue.

WOOT! I Pissed of some fucktarded shitdot sheeple (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19286539)

and got a flamebait mod. WOOT! ROFLMAO!!

The fucktarded shitdot sheeple can't handle the fucking truth that open sores and Linsux is the worst options out there since it relates to communism and the destruction of true freedom and all economies.

But keep showing how fucking stupid you are shitdot sheeple. You all need to slit your fucking wrists. ROFLMAO

Re:WOOT! I Pissed of some fucktarded shitdot sheep (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19287573)

You. Your Ideas. Newsletter. NOW

Re:WOOT! I Pissed of some fucktarded shitdot sheep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19289563)

Nice troll, but could you use English next time?

Re:WOOT! I Pissed of some fucktarded shitdot sheep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19292565)

You're just pissed because you thought that since you're 35 and still live in mommy's basement that you should automatically know how to use linux, but couldn't get past having to be able to read and edit text files.

Re:WOOT! I Pissed of some fucktarded shitdot sheep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19293215)

Nope, cool as a cucumber while fucktards like you are 50 and still in mommy's basement editing text files for Linsiux and all of your open-sores shit not getting anything accomplished. Go back to your failed communist mannifesto project commonly known as Linsux and eventually get together with you fellow shitdot sheeple and collectively slit your fucking wrists fucktards.

If you want to actually get into the engine code (4, Informative)

unDiWahn (599102) | more than 6 years ago | (#19285577)

I can't stress enough to avoid TGEA. I can't speak for the original engine (TGE) but the new version has no documentation, and a pervasive attitude of "If you can't figure it out without help, you shouldn't have gotten the Advanced Engine".

The engine is simply not geared towards direct interfacing. If you're happy using TorqueScript to do everything, then give it a shot. If, like me, you need to interface with other C++ components, you're in for a tough ride.

/vertisement (-1, Troll)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 6 years ago | (#19285663)

If this isn't advertising, I don't know what is.

Re:/vertisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19285805)

... for what??? Ogre, Torque, C4? ... I think we can safely conclude that you don't know what "/vertisment" is! This is a relevant slashdot question ... someone needs a product comparison. If you don't have anything to contribute then don't.

Make your own engine! (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19285669)

The time spent trying to figure out the Torque engine is better spent just developing your own engine, the documentation is terrible, tools for torque are outdated, just don't waste your time.

Re:Make your own engine! (2, Interesting)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#19285767)

Hehe, I agree in some way with this sentiment... the last time I tried to use the CrystalSpace engine you had to compile it from source which meant hacking around with the code (it didnt compile in my Windows XP out of the box)... I got very frustrated and, after emailing to the guys in the mailing list asking for a precompiled binary (I just wanted to test the different capabilites and play with the available API) they told me to compile it and in other words told me "if you cant compile it then you are not worth of using it..." WTF??!!

Re:Make your own engine! (1)

eison (56778) | more than 7 years ago | (#19289643)

Reasonable perspective, actually.
It's for programmers, not people wanting to play a game. Programmers can compile things. By definition. If you can't jump that hurdle, the whole thing is certain to be useless to you, so why should anybody waste their time trying to support you wasting yours?

Re:Make your own engine! (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298983)

Yeah, it is like the time I went to a car dealer, to buy a car. I wanted to test drive this machine, but because I can't drive, they wouldn't even help me get it started. You would think the least they could do was provide someone to drive me around. If they can't even provide that low level of help, then please don't waste your time buying a car. It appears they want you to be a Formule one race driver, before they will help you.

What do you think the engine is for? And there are demos (depending on how long ago you made the request, but demos have been around for many years).

Mod Parent Up (3, Interesting)

Khakionion (544166) | more than 7 years ago | (#19286805)

I couldn't agree more. I loved TGE when I first started, but eventually I spent so much time wading through WTF moments of poor documentation, broken functions and the like that I could have brewed my own, or used a well-crafted engine like Irrlicht.

Don't even get me started on its Linux "support." Linux is a second-class-citizen in Torque, the engine even stubs out(!) some important things like joysticks.

If your projects are small, I'd recommend homebrewing your own framework. If you're really not into graphics programming, try Irrlicht or Ogre.

Aaaand, if you want a full-fledged game engine that's easy to use, with Windows/Linux support (Mac support is dodgy at the moment), try Panda3D [panda3d.org] . I don't know how freely-usable it is in commercial projects (something about the libraries it links to), but it's a kickass engine, so much so that I make all my stuff with Panda3D now.

Basically, just don't be swayed by Torque's shinier logo. I mean, damn, it really is a nice logo [wikipedia.org] . ./Khak

Re:Make your own engine! (1)

GrievousMistake (880829) | more than 7 years ago | (#19286833)

You serious? Now I'm as liable to NIH as the next guy, but if you want to actually be productive, use a pre-existing engine. A decent 3d-engine is a non-trivial thing to make, and if he's dissatisfied with the features of the current open source offerings, I'll bet he'd be in for many months work on the engine before he had something usable. It's completely redundant effort, and you don't want to waste all that time when you just want to make a game.

Re:Make your own engine! (1)

LBt1st (709520) | more than 7 years ago | (#19293939)

"A decent 3d-engine is a non-trivial thing to make, and if he's dissatisfied with the features of the current open source offerings, I'll bet he'd be in for many months work on the engine before he had something usable."

Couldn't agree more. Assuming he's not working on it full time, were talking years, not months.
I'm currently 2 years into putting together an engine and I'm just now able to make a demo out of it. Unless you have a team and plenty of time to dedicate, your probably better off using an existing engine.

Make your own blender engine! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19293911)

Or one could use the game engine built into Blender.

That's what I did... (1)

AmazingRuss (555076) | more than 7 years ago | (#19295111)

...I paid for Torque, but never could get very far with it...documentation is pretty scattered.

Just seemed easier to start from scratch. I won't have all the cool stuff torque has, but at least I know what the hell is going on with the stuff i have.

Doom or Quake... (4, Informative)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 6 years ago | (#19285825)

Have you investigated the open source versions of Doom and Quake? While maybe a bit dated (the Quake III engine is from 1999), they are GPL and have a lot of community support.

The original Doom engine has been used in a shit load of games since (including games available for a wide variety of platforms, such as portable music players).

The Wikipedia page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quake_III_engine [wikipedia.org] has a lot more information about the Quake III engine, and a lot of handy links at the bottom (such as http://www.icculus.org/quake3/ [icculus.org] "A project to remove bugs, clean up source code and to add more advanced graphical and audio features via SDL and OpenAL, and to act as a clean base package to build other projects on.")

Go get it!

Re:Doom or Quake... (1)

GrievousMistake (880829) | more than 7 years ago | (#19286869)

When you're considering commercial engines, that probably means you aren't planning to release the game as open source, which would make a GPL engine kind of unsuitable, no?

Re:Doom or Quake... (2, Insightful)

dhasenan (758719) | more than 7 years ago | (#19287077)

There are two aspects to the game: the data and the engine. The data is separately copyrighted. The engine is GPL, so any engine modifications must be published as source if they're published at all. So if you come up with an uber-cool stealth mod to Quake 3 and distribute it in your game, I can use the mod, but I don't have any more license to the textures, scripts, and world than you choose to give me.

You can have a viable commercial game released on an open source engine. You just have slightly less protection against clones of your game. But the bulk of it is the data, not the engine, even if the engine's harder.

Re:Doom or Quake... (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#19287085)

you can sell a GPL game, the PROGRAM will be under the GPL but the content, maps, textures, models, music can still be copyrighted.

others will then be able to use the code you wrote but it won't make your game available to download for free.

Re:Doom or Quake... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19290899)

http://xreal.sourceforge.net/xrealwiki/ [sourceforge.net]

from their faq:

Q: I'm looking for an engine for our game project. What can XreaL offer?
A: XreaL provides a complete toolchain for game content creation. You will get:

            the Quake 3 Arena engine with many renderer tech updates
            a customized GtkRadiant level editor for Q3A/Doom3 style hybrid mapping
            a customized XMap compiler based off Q3Map1
            a customized BSPC aas compiler
            new Blender3D scripts like an .md3 import/export suite

No silver bullet (1)

tomaasz (5800) | more than 6 years ago | (#19285893)

What exactly do you want to hear? You'll be using it for "games and scientific stuff"? There is no single engine that will fit all those vastly different needs. Tell us what specific game you want to develop, then we might get somewhere. Scientific stuff? With a GAME engine? Oh please.. what do you want to simulate using a CFlyingLaserShootingOgre class?

This whole post seems to me like an advertisement for the Torque engine to be honest, but it's kind of silly because the Torque engine is really only useful for 3D FPS games. It's what it comes from originally.

Re:No silver bullet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19286157)

Not really... [garagegames.com]

Re:No silver bullet (1)

GrievousMistake (880829) | more than 7 years ago | (#19287617)

I'll agree it had the general form of an advertisement, but if you look at the actual text it would be one of unprecedented candidness and modesty. Then again, looking at the comments Torque is getting, I suppose it would have reason to be.

jMonkeyEngine (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19285963)

jmonkeyengine http://www.jmonkeyengine.com/ [jmonkeyengine.com]

Runs on OSX, Win, and Linux. Advanced Shader Support. Open.

Re:jMonkeyEngine (1, Troll)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 6 years ago | (#19286603)

And it's bloody java, so you're looking at 70 meg for a 10 fps "hello world" map. I wish people would stop wasting time and effort on java where it's clearly unsuitable just because that's what they were taught at university.

Re:jMonkeyEngine (3, Interesting)

macshome (818789) | more than 7 years ago | (#19286959)

Java isn't always slow. Jake2 is pretty damn fast...

http://bytonic.de/html/benchmarks.html [bytonic.de]

Re:jMonkeyEngine (2, Insightful)

49152 (690909) | more than 7 years ago | (#19290211)

and it is also based on a ten year old game engine (1997). It is about as relevant to the state of current gaming as world war II planes are to the development of our next stealth fighter airplane.

Nice hobby project though.

Re:jMonkeyEngine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19296253)

Nice try junior, but Jake2 runs faster than the native Quake2 implementation.

I haven't seen too many world war II planes outrun their modern counterparts!

Re:jMonkeyEngine (1)

jma05 (897351) | more than 7 years ago | (#19298485)

Bad analogy. The parent is saying that Jake is like building better WWII planes today that run faster than the ORIGINALS. Sure we can but that does not help as much.

Re:jMonkeyEngine (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 7 years ago | (#19287427)

But for a game does 2 seconds of loading time or whatever comes from Java matter at all? Qnext is an im-client supporting msn, icq, aim, yahoo, webcam and voip conference, games, filesharing, musicsharing and photo albums, written in Java and uses less memory than Microsoft Messenger ...

Re:jMonkeyEngine (0)

49152 (690909) | more than 7 years ago | (#19290177)

No, the 2 seconds loading time does not matter at all. But the fps really do matter, ask any hardcore gamer. In games (and almost all other realtime 3D) frame rate is king. Java is not very suitable when millisecond or even microsecond performance counts.

No commercial serious games are written in Java at all, the only counter example that comes to mind is all those small cute games on web pages, some of these are even written in flash or shockwave. I presume we're talking real games like Halflife 2 and similar here and in that case it is almost all C and some C++.

With instant messaging and all kinds of office applications etc, it does not matter if an operation takes ten milliseconds or twenty because for a human that is pretty instantaneous anyway. But in a 3D game, performance is crucial at least for the game engine itself. You will get away with using java in non-performance critical stuff like scripting inside the game but not for the game engine itself.

This is the reason no commercial game engines are written in java at all.

It is not because java is not a nice language, because it is.
It is not because java in many ways are superior to C/C++, because it is.
It is not because java does not have the features needed (3D bindings etc), because it does.

It is because of performance, performance and performance.

Yes I know Java is not as slow as it used to be, but it is still not as fast as well written low level C and probably never will be. When writing a game engine you usually need ALL the performance you can squeeze out of the hardware and will often even resort to hand tweak assembly code to get critical parts fast enough.

This is really just a matter of choosing the right tool for the right job. When writing a 3D game engine Java is not the right tool. If your writing a typical business application or an instant messaging client it probably is.

BTW: I don't think current Microsoft products are good examples when it comes to performance and memory use. Considering their track record for writing bloated software I'm surprised Messenger is not even worse than it is.

Re:jMonkeyEngine (1)

Phil John (576633) | more than 7 years ago | (#19290347)

One thing to bear in mind:

I highly doubt the jmonkeyengine actually does the heavy 3D lifting in java itself. It probably uses Java3D which is a wrapper to native OpenGL calls. So the bits that need the most speed are still native, but the rest of your core game logic etc. is in Java.

The performance overhead of using Java3D is pretty negligible compared to accessing OpenGL from C/C++.

Of course, writing a game in Java has other problems. It's much more trivial to extract the original source from compiled bytecode for one (although this can be overcome to some extent with obfuscation, but that's just security through obscurity).

Re:jMonkeyEngine (3, Insightful)

49152 (690909) | more than 7 years ago | (#19290523)

jmonkeyengine is not a competitive 3D game engine.

You also need to do a hell of a lot more in a game engine than just call OpenGL rendering calls, which would be fine if all you need was to render the same static frame again and again. In any game you will also need to do lot of CPU intensive tasks like intersection testing, physics simulations, skinning and other types of animations, AI and similar with real time performance and in addition to you game logic. OpenGL will not do this for you (yes, I know there is work being done, moving much of this to hardware, but that is not an option until everyone runs DX10 or later compatible GPU's many years down the line).

All this is of course possible with Java but it is not optimal and sub-optimal simply wont cut it in the game industry.

jmonkeyengine is a nice piece of work for small games and hobby projects. But it is a long way from being competitive in the serious gaming industry. But by all means, if this is just a hobby for you I'm sure it is more than good enough.

To put it in other words, "Bang Howdy" is a cute game but it is not exactly Halflife2.

Re:jMonkeyEngine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19292709)

It's funny, you have Playstation 3 syndrome. It is not enough that the game be fun and the art be well designed, but must also utilize UBER RAY TRACED PARALLAX SHADER MAPPING and other "next gen" techniques.

Also, regarding Java games development, physics (ODE) and collisions (OPCODE) are supported by a native binding. Skinning and animation? LOL! You obviously don't know that next gen games do that ON THE VIDEO CARD with a vertex shader. The only thing Java needs to do is be able to utilize DMA to load the vertex info into shader memory, which it does very nicely.

Re:jMonkeyEngine (1)

49152 (690909) | more than 7 years ago | (#19293001)

Hello anonymous coward!

Obvious trolling, but I'll bite anyway ;-)

I probably do know a lot more than you do since I program 3D real time graphics for a living, not games but we do much of the same stuff. Btw: I do not own a playstation (or Xbox for that matter), although I would have to admit my main PC is excellent for running the latest games ;-)

1. ODE and OPCODE are excellent open source libraries not written in Java, I've used both on a regular basis. If your going to do everything using native libraries written in C/C++ then what is the point bothering with Java at all? You may as well write the glue (because that mainly whats left) in C++ or even use a script language since speed is probably not going to be much of an issue in that part of the code anyway. I have actually done something similar using Python and it was almost as fast as a native C/C++ solution, which makes sense since 99% of the code was C/C++ anyway.

2. LOL indeed, how old are 14? You need to learn how to read. I explicitly mentioned that you can offload skinning and animations to the GPU. But, and there is a big but, this only works if you are writing console games for playstation3 or something similar, everything else (PC/Mac) needs to support a way more primitive baseline of hardware. This is not a technical limitation but an economical. If your game only runs on the latest and greatest hardware then it will not be economically viable (it sucks but such is the real world). This means you may implement skinning or even physics on the GPU but you must still have a fall back to CPU on older hardware. This limitation will be gone in a few years, but I presumed we were discussing game engines for games in the current market or under current development.

3. It is not me that invented the "playstation syndrome". Go take a look at the ten top selling titles the last three years then you can come back and call me wrong.

Of course, as I said if commercial success is not a requirement then you may make your game using any tool at all. After all, no one cares what you do in your mothers basement (except perhaps your mother).

Re:jMonkeyEngine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19294527)

I'll bet.

Re:jMonkeyEngine (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19289035)

1998 called, they want their prejudice against Java back.

Re:jMonkeyEngine (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19289741)

> And it's bloody java, so you're looking at 70 meg for a 10 fps "hello world" map. I wish people would stop wasting time and effort on java where it's clearly unsuitable just because that's what they were taught at university.

You are a fucking bloody cocksucking idiot. Java is PLENTY fast these days for games. Fuck you.

Re:jMonkeyEngine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300661)

Wow, I didn't know James Gosling read slashdot!

Re:jMonkeyEngine (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 7 years ago | (#19287583)

The first wow-lookalike screenshots looks awesome, also the water.

3D on LUA (3, Interesting)

cpaglee (665238) | more than 7 years ago | (#19291233)

This is a great thread. There are so many 3D alternatives out it will be great to see what this thread comes up with. I am only disappointed this topic didn't get rated as a major story on Slashdot.

Not to downplay the benefits of programming in C++, I think it is better to focus game development using scripting language rather than for C++. When I started writing games on the Apple II+ I wrote everything in 6502 assembly but with lores B&W graphics. Today the successful game developer no longer has that luxury. ;-)

Game development now requires imagination, creativity, artistic talent and often times story telling ability in addition to programming talent. IMHO it is better to balance your time developing all the different parts of a game than to waste cycles on the ins and outs of C++ (or assembly). I believe this is why the LUA (open source) scripting language has seen so much success in the development of video games. Games such as Grim Fandango and Escape from Monkey Island published by Lucasarts and Neverwinter Nights and MDK2 developed by Bioware were written in LUA. More information about LUA can be found here: http://www.lua.org/ [lua.org] and here: http://www.gamedev.net/reference/programming/featu res/lua [gamedev.net] .

There are no less than five (and probably more) major 3D engines tied to LUA: Ogre3D (using Emma3D http://emma3d.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] , Irrlicht http://irrlicht.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] (using https://sourceforge.net/projects/irrlua/ [sourceforge.net] , Apocalyx http://apocalyx.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] , Luxina http://www.luxinia.de/ [luxinia.de] , and Electro http://www.evl.uic.edu/rlk/electro/index.html [uic.edu]

I am just getting started learning LUA (for a 2D game - another advantage of learning LUA - the ability to grow) so I make no claims to know which 3D engine is the best. There may be other 3D engines integrated to LUA out there and I would love to hear from other people who have experience developing games using LUA and from people developing 3D games using LUA.

Is an engine by any other name still an engine? (3, Informative)

abes (82351) | more than 6 years ago | (#19286233)

After going through all the choices and possibilties, I ended up with Ogre. It's true, it's 'just' a graphics engine. But it's made that way. The designers have many times over said they don't wish it to be anything more than that. But that doesn't mean you can't use it in conjunction with other packages out there. Projects like Yake are attempting to do so.

It in some part depends on specifically you want to do with the engine. For example, physics stuff can be handled with ODE, Newton, Novadex, or others. There are even Ogre bindings to use these (Gangsta wrapper abstracts this process, though there does exist OgreODE and OgreNewt as well). You'll also find, basically all open source projects end up using OPCODE for collision detection, though you might not want to use it directly (there is also a wrapper for Ogre and OPCODE).

I ended up writing my own code for interfacing with ODE, since I desired collision detection, but not physics. Since the code you can find is open sourced (a good amount is free use without any restrictions -- I believe this is true for anything posted or related to Ogre).

Not having an editor is somewhat problematic, though there does exist world/terrain editors out there -- both free and for pay (some are reasonably priced). For basic 3d modeling there is of course Blender, which can also do scenes, though it does have a fairly large learning curve. If you search around Ogre's web page, it actually provides a ton of links to the other resources out there.

For input management, the new version of Ogre comes with OIS (open input system), which is cross-platform. And you can use OpenAL for sound. So all the components are there, but you do have to assemble them. I like this strategy, as each component has its own dedicated group of people who worry about it, and try to make it the best possible.

However, if you like things prepackaged, you might also want to look at the Irrlicht engine. They've taken the opposite approach to Ogre, and provide a self-contained engine. I haven't used it myself, but I am of the understanding it is much faster to learn and use than Ogre, though I don't know how the performance compares..

One last thing I would add about Ogre, and what convinced me to use it was that there are a bunch of profressional games out there that use it. Again, if you go to the Ogre web page, you can peruse the comercial games made.

Re:Is an engine by any other name still an engine? (1)

Sam Douglas (1106539) | more than 7 years ago | (#19295389)

From my brief experience trying Ogre3D and Irrlicht; Ogre3D seems the better designed (from a software engineering view), however it seemed to have issues with my Intel GMA950 on GNU/Linux so it wasn't suitable for my purposes. Irrlicht worked nicely but its documentation left a lot to be desired in places. If you want to do unusual stuff with your graphics engine; using Ogre or Irrlicht will require you to learn quite a lot about the inner workings of the engine, and in many cases will be more work than if you had a purpose built engine. That was from my limited experience with them anyway. -- Sam

Avoid Torque - at least for now. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19286521)

To give you my background, I'm a TGE, TGEA licensee as well as a licensee of the RTS kit and many of their content packs. I imagine I'm going to get shot for this post, if even half the Torque fans from Gamedev.net visit here also then I'm expecting a -1 Troll moderation within around 30 seconds, but seeing as I can give an honest, first hand, from the trenches opinion of Torque, here goes:

It's probably one of the things I truly regret spending money on the most. Garagegames put a lot of money into marketing and hype but never pull through on their promises. TGEA arrived 2 years late and by the time it arrived had many major features cut from it such as the promised built in terrain editors, OpenGL support and so forth.

The RTS kit was another scam in this respect, it doesn't contain pathfinding, support for RTS AI or anything of the sort by default, Garagegames claim this is because "all games need different pathfinding/AI requirements" however this argument is extremely weak - let's face it, core AI is pretty standard and surely it's better to provide at least some AI to the demographic they sell the engine to on their "why make a mod when you can make a game" premise that provide nothing at all. Also, the RTS kit is about 3 versions out of date with the main Torque Game Engine - Garagegames don't keep it up to date with the main codebase, they simply tell you to do it yourself.

TorqueX is yet another example of Garagegame's cutting of features and delays, it was meant to be ready with 3D support included for XNA GSE's release in their original press release, now however it's still entirely unreleased and anything other than basic 3D has been cut from the initial release.

Do not trust Devmaster.net, it's sponsored by Garagegames and is heavily biased, in it's top 10 list of commercial game engines (http://www.devmaster.net/engines/) Torque is always listed first, even when the site's very own ratings system shows TGE as only have 3.5 stars when the likes of C4 has 4.5 and TV3D SDK 6 has 4!.

Other than that the issues with TGE and TGEA are that the engines have just turned into such messy hacked together swamps of code over the years they're really tough to use. Many features of the engine are also half-assed or extremely dated compared to other offerings on the market, some are even suffering from long running bugs that can even result in fatal crashes - physics and vehicle support for example really need a complete rewrite for anything other than the very simple games that you see in the Garagegames store. The other problem that plagues all GG's products other than TGB is a severe lack of decent documentation - this is really bad when the engine is such a nonsensical mess. The Torque code base is ancient and new features have been hacked in through the years - it's either time to write it off and start from scratch or a MASSIVE refactoring session to clean up and update the code base. The sad fact is, the learning curve for the combination of such a messy engine, non-intuitive scripting system, poor documentation, requirement to fix a lot of things yourself means that you're not far off writing your own engine from scratch over using TGE/TGEA.

So is all of Garagegames stuff bad? No not at all, Torque Game Builder is pretty good if it's 2D your after, that's one product that has a whole lot of polish, good documentation, a good toolset and so forth. Arcane FX is absolutely fantastic too, but this is a 3rd party addon to TGE and is hence unfortunately absolutely wasted on this engine.

I think the problem Garagegames has is bad management and a marketing department that doesn't seem to worry about outright lying to make sales (not that that's a rare thing in marketing of course!). The management problems I'm referring to is the fact they keep announcing new engines or product lines without completing their last projects! Torque Game Builder game along when they were claiming they were too busy to fix the RTS kit. TorqueX came along when not only was the RTS still neglected but TGEA was already 18months+ behind schedule and lacking major features. TGEA, TorqueX, Constructor, TGB all came along when the original TGE had poor documentation, as mentioned above - something that plagues pretty much all Garagegames products even now, many years on.

I don't think the developers at GG mean bad, they generally seem really nice and willing to help the best they can, so it truly is such a shame that their product line has so many flaws in it. I'd recommend the C4 engine, an engine that is so well engineered, has decent documentation and is written in such a way that documentation isn't even necessary, the only problems I have with it nowadays are that a) development seems to have slowed as Eric has hit longer-to-develop portions of the engine such as physics and terrain and b) that I'm aiming for the Windows/360 platform, something that unfortunately C4 doesn't cater for - it does however cater for Windows/Mac/PS3 and seems fairly straightforward to port to Linux.

Re:Avoid Torque - at least for now. (1)

l3mr (1070918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19286813)

This pretty much reflects my experience with Torque GE too. Lets not forget that it was originally created in 2000 for Tribes...and it shows. Luckily, my uni paid for the Torque license, not myself...

Panda (2, Interesting)

I!heartU (708807) | more than 6 years ago | (#19286683)

http://panda3d.org/ [panda3d.org]

Re:Panda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19290237)

I second that. Great engine, open source and it has proven itself in commercial applications. Also, it's C++ and python.

Ogre3D is great (3, Informative)

l3mr (1070918) | more than 6 years ago | (#19286753)

I did my masters' thesis using Ogre3D, and i'd choose Ogre again immediately. I also evaluated Torque and Irrlicht, but Torque is just a mess, and Irrlicht didn't seem as complete ( as far as graphics functionality goes ). Yes, Ogre3D is a 3d engine, not a complete game engine, but it does that ( graphics ) really good. If you need Physics, use ODE or Newton, networking can be easily implemented using RakNet, scripting with python (or lua, or...) and for sound there's OpenAL. In my eyes, using a specialized library for the different things is a real advantage - if something doesn't work as expected, you can replace that part. And Ogre doesn't need to cath up to Torque; Graphics-wise it's more than on par, and the api design is (imho) far better. Ogre has also been used for commercial games already; Ankh comes to mind...

Re:Ogre3D is great (1)

Siberwulf (921893) | more than 7 years ago | (#19289277)

Personally, I found that the Ogre3D game engine was great for making Demos and the likes. However, the supoort was the typical "RTFM, Noob" responses on their forums. The API was nice, but support was really tough to get a hold on, especially if you're new to vectors and the likes.

Re:Ogre3D is great (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#19290139)

What would you recommend then?

Re:Ogre3D is great (1)

l3mr (1070918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19290667)

Hmm yes, but a basic understanding of vector and matrix math is pretty much mandatory if you want to do 3d graphics. And to learn that, get a math book.

Ogre support on the forum and on IRC is pretty good if you have problems with the API or questions about graphics funtionality or certain techniques...

Re:Ogre3D is great (1)

Siberwulf (921893) | more than 7 years ago | (#19291441)

Oh, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying you shouldn't know about vector math, or use a 3d engine as a learning point for that. I'm just saying that if you had a "noob question" it was *really* tough to get an answer from anyone.

Re:Ogre3D is great (1)

switchfeet (982197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19293301)

hey guys, I was just wondering (slightly off topic sorry) where a good place to go (if there's any place for it) to go where I could hire a programmer/programmers to do a small MMORPG. Me and a few friends have been throwing around some ideas for a game and we're wondering some ball park costs to do this. We're all 3D animators so we have that end takin care of. Is there some forum where we can show our ideas for a game and if programmers like it they'll work with you on it (for free or for pay? I'm completely ignorant as to the costs of such a huge project.) Francesco

Re:Ogre3D is great (1)

Falthon (1108115) | more than 7 years ago | (#19294197)

You should consider linking up with an existing open-source project such as WorldForge [worldforge.org] or BuildaWorld [buildaworld.net] (or both, since their products can be used together). They plan to provide tools to allow non-programmers to design their own games. They still have a ways to go, but designing a game is going to be a long-term project for you no matter how you go about it.

Re:Ogre3D is great (1)

CuteAlien (415982) | more than 7 years ago | (#19295523)

"small MMORPG" is already a contradiction in terms. You won't do a mmorpg without a few years programming fulltime.
Start with something simpler and maybe after a few years work you have enough project experience and money that you can consider starting on a mmorpg.

Re:Ogre3D is great (1)

Malkin (133793) | more than 7 years ago | (#19296329)

l3mr is giving good advice. I've used Ogre3D, and I've used some big name professional graphics engines, and I can tell you, Ogre3D is remarkably fully-featured. In fact, I've even found a couple of things I think they did better than the pro engines I've used. Seriously!

Oh, surely, it's a "graphics engine" and not a "game engine." That's their focus, and it's not going to change. In all honesty, if you have a wide variety of sorts of things you want to make, a "game engine" might not be the best thing, anyway. Game engines often end up being more useful for one sort of game than another. E.g. a game engine that was originally made for a shooter is going to be really good for making... well, shooters. A lot of people have mentioned ODE as a possible physics solution, but don't miss out on Bullet [continuousphysics.com] -- a marvelous open-source physics lib which was just released recently (and is both Blender and COLLADA friendly).

RTS? Look no further (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19287011)

Than Spring, for pure RTS games (with novel FPS functionality thrown in). It was built in the spirit of Total Annihilation originally, but is flexible to accommodate a Star Wars mod, Gundam mod, a visually stunning (think Darwinia) mod, various World War II | I | III mods, etc etc. Also has some very intelligent AIs built for it, along with

full 3D maps/units/features, full LUA support, totally scriptable, dynamic particle effects, shadows, cool terrain. Very very active community.
http://spring.clan-sy.com/ [clan-sy.com]

If you're looking for something more in the vein of a tried-and-true scientific engine (you mentioned something like that), give ORTS a whirl (http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/~mburo/orts/). A couple of seniors at my school (University of Michigan) did some cool senior projects with it, its very useful for AI work, backed by a very smart community (several well-know professors work with it), and is also really stable. The graphics are weak, but its not meant to be a "fun" engine so much as a research engine (although you can have some interesting experiences playing it ;) )

Of course, depending on your ultimate needs, you may be best off simply making a mod for another successful game. There are very very rarely situations where you'll need a full engine of your own creation. Most engines nowadays can accommodate your needs in some way or another.

World of Padman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19287247)

They say that all of the stuff will be GPL. SVN repositoryies seem to work on Sourceforge. Originally based on Quake III: Arena as a mod. Changed to full game. Only Multiplayer right now, but has a decent engine.
http://www.worldofpadman.com/ [worldofpadman.com]

Panda3D (1)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 7 years ago | (#19287253)

It doesn't have the cross-platform compatibility you're looking for, but you mentioned you're a Python programmer so Panda3D might interest you. I've been learning Python and decided to learn by making a game, so I've been using the Panda3D [panda3d.org] engine because it has Python bindings. I think it also has a blender exporter, but I'm not 100 percent sure about that.

Re:Panda3D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19289611)

Panda3d does have cross-platform support now. They usually run it on Windows, but there has been a working Linux branch since the start, and at least initial OSX support was finally working maybe a year ago. It's a good engine for learning how to make games, or for making games quickly. And if you like using open source stuff, then you'll appreciate that part of it. The license is similar to MIT or zlib.

That said, I can't recommend it for large commercial games. I've been using it extensively for several years and have found it to be very lacking as a project grows and you want more control over the fine details. Fine-tuned animation and general model controls are difficult and buggy. There is no BSP or equivalent structure that will allow you to have a large single environment model; the developers recommend many smaller models in the scenegraph. There is no easy way to draw everything in the order you want and only when you want it; every node in the scenegraph must be turned on or off explicitly, including UI elements that may only show up for a few frames, and reordering their sort is problematic. Texture alpha has odd behaviors. Input handling is rudimentary. And you'll certainly have to write your own versions (or use external libraries) of things like physics, AI, and networking.

I'm sure every game engine out there is likely to have its own list of complaints. I just happen to know this one well.

Wild Magic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19287271)

At http://www.geometrictools.com/ [geometrictools.com] you'll find the Wild Magic engine, an lgpl'ed 3d engine with excellent documentation. The author, David Eberly, has written several books about his engine, describing all the innards and workings of the engine and design. I highly recommend it.

Raw OpenGL (1)

ivucica (1001089) | more than 7 years ago | (#19287363)

I recommend that you do it with raw OpenGL. I like it when I have full control over what's going on. Write your own engine if you want, in the process you definitely learn a lot. See, if I took an engine, it'd be limiting my creativity. It'd be limiting the way I think and lock me into cages of its API. That's why OpenGL is good: it allows tons of different approaches, and most will work just as good as any other. With an engine, you're locked into a way of arranging objects, launching physical processes, etc. Not my way of doing stuff. I wish you good luck in reading the OpenGL Red Book, coz I'm sure you'll eventually go "my way" ;)

Re:Raw OpenGL (1)

CuteAlien (415982) | more than 7 years ago | (#19295609)

It might be a good thing to do some OpenGL as it is great for learning. But once you really want to do applications it's generally a bad idea to reinvent the weel. First of all you can still use OpenGL in many engines, they wont stop you doing that. But you will lose on: A GUI System, loaders for 3d and image formats, any culling support, a scenegraph, texturemanagement, collisionstuff. Sure you can write that all yourself (and some more stuff), but it will keep you busy for 2-3 years in which you can't do anything else.

So even if you like to do stuff on your own, why not start with an engine like Irrlicht which already offers all the basics - with a nice license (zlib) which allows you to do with the sources whatever you like?

Crystalspace (1)

Dingobloo (888090) | more than 7 years ago | (#19288755)

Here are the features I am hoping for are: a cross-platform engine, if possible; modern shader support; a built-in terrain paging system; and model, material and animation import from Blender 3d.

If those are your what you're after as well as ODE integration, I think crystalspace3D would be ideal, the blender importer is perhaps the only mature one for the engine but it's a lot of work has gone into it and even integrating it with CEL entities so that you can load up a level straight away and provide small game play scenarios right out of blender.

  That said, documentation is still a problem and crystalspace seems to have a stigma associated with it of being antiquated. Certainly not the silver bullet, nor the engine for everyone but it does reach your posted requirements.

Re:Crystalspace (3, Insightful)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 7 years ago | (#19289297)

> crystalspace seems to have a stigma associated with it of being antiquated.

Probably going to get flamed and down-modded, but what the hell. IAAPGD (I AM a professional game developer) and shipped titles on PSX, PC, PS2, and soon Wii.

CS has been around, what 10 years? It was crap for the first few years. It overly complicated something simple, with terrible class design and coding style that was clearly written by an amateur. Unless you've shipped a game or two, most developers just aren't aware of all the issues -- not just tech, but features, that a game engine needs. A game engine really needs to run on both PC and consoles so it has the opportunity to have a _clean_ API of the various math, rendering, collision detection, collision response, physics, sound, input, etc.

Since it's not good to criticize without offering a solution, David Eberly's Wild Magic engine and books do a very nice job of clearly explaining the how and why's of engine design. It's not perfect, and you can tell where he had to make compromises, but it's a joy to read. Probably because he wrote NetImmerse before they became Gamebryo.

Cheers

know your engine well (1)

revengebomber (1080189) | more than 7 years ago | (#19289293)

Whatever engine you choose, make sure it's small enough (or you're prepared enough) for you to read through the entirety of its source code. There's tons you need to know if you're starting with an engine you've never used, and something specifically designed to be an engine alone (CrystalSpace, Irrlicht) doesn't give you a solid game codebase to start with, as the Doom or Quake engines would.

No matter what... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19290605)

stay away from the Lawmaker engine. Sure it seems affordable, but it has no fucking documentation, and a severely buggy and outdated editor. This is not to say it isn't awesome, it is just extremely lacking those departments.

G3D Graphics Engine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19291531)

G3D http://g3d-cpp.sf.net/ [sf.net] is Open Source, provides pre-compiled binaries for Windows, OS X, Linux, and FreeBSD, and comes with support for ODE (physics), wxWidgets (GUI), FMod (sound). It has been used on commerical games and appeared in scientific (SIGGRAPH) papers. It supports importing from Blender through 3DS files and supports the latest shaders, with fallbacks for older cards that don't have them.

G3D is a "graphics" engine instead of a game engine because it provides the pieces you need to build your own engine in a few days. This gives you the flexibility to make something that isn't just another first-person shooter.

stock air jordan (1)

kewenlong (1100699) | more than 7 years ago | (#19291569)

welcome to our website: http://www.shoesmonger.com/ [shoesmonger.com] We supply all kinds of stock brand name sports shoes,Here are brief introduction of our company: Jordan 1-22 Air force one (AF1)Dunks Air force two (AF2) air max 95 air max 97 air max 2003 air max 2004 air max 2005 air max TN shox TL/TL2/TL3 shox monster shox turbo shox VCIII shox R4/R5 Shox NZ Timberlands polo predator bape lacoste burberry tuscano andrea redmoney LV etc.

Unity (1)

Penguin's Advocate (126803) | more than 7 years ago | (#19291741)

It's a tad bit more expensive than Torque, and the development environment is Mac based, but Unity is awesome. It can make executables for OS X and Windows, as well as making use of a web-browser plugin for 3D in a web browser. It's filled with features and gaining more all the time, it's easy to install, easy to learn, easy to use, easy to update, and all around easy to get going with. It supports programming and scripting in many different languages, it supports all kinds of plugins. It gives you extensive control of shaders. It has an intuitive interface that allows you to string different parts together (models, textures, scripts, shaders, physics packages, etc) to make more complex things. It supports realtime updates of files from external applications like Maya and Photoshop (edit you model, edit your texture, it's there in engine as soon as you save, no need to reload anything or restart anything). Also, no need to export to any specific format, Unity can load the native file formats of most external programs that people use to make assets. Even if you don't use it, Unity is worth checking out, just so you're aware of what's possible.

Quake 3 Engine and Open Source Mods (1)

VGfort (963346) | more than 7 years ago | (#19292843)

There are a lot of mods that have released code [vgfort.com] for Quake III. So not only can you get the source for the engine you can see how many others have modified it. It's really the fastest way to go in my opinion and a great way to learn. Of course the real hard part is finding open source sounds, maps, textures, images and models. Open Arena's [wikipedia.org] goal is to make an 100% open source Q3 game with all the assests (models, maps, textures, sounds...) open source as well. Don't think the Q3 engine limits you to FPS either, there have been racing games like Quake 3 Rally, stratgey games, single player mods, and games where you can spawn opponents randomly. Someone has modded Q1 into a chess game and Quake 2 into a war game with airplanes and tanks. Their are quite a few people working on engine improvements and other mods, its still very much alive.

C4 (1)

rochrist (844809) | more than 7 years ago | (#19293353)

I've licensed both Torque, and C4. C4 is really very very good, and the development is consistently moving ahead at a rapid pace. The only area in which it falls down at all is the somewhat lacking documentation, but it has a very active user community. Its well worth what they charge for it.

The A6 Engine (1)

Pippilina (194968) | more than 7 years ago | (#19293695)

The v6 / v7 version of the Conitec A6 engine is awesome and has a light and easy scripting language. It's the engine which comes with Gamestudio. Gamestudio itself (the tool suite) is crappy, but the engine is great, fast and inexpensive. It's marketed as having a "Click together" type development deal, but that is absolutely absurd, and if you want to write something hardcore, you can.

I'm developing an indie action platformer which you can see in action here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OU9v30UDu2s [youtube.com]

With a good art path, 3D programming skills, the right tools and sweat you can do something awesome with it. A game like Banjo Kazooie, Prince of Persia, Psychonauts, Animal Crossing, you name it--- the engine can do absolutely the same thing. Just takes the talent and programming skill. Plus its cheap and there's a strong, helpful community.

Torque's community is small and weird, you can't even ask questions on their forum or read the docs if you haven't got a license, and the engine doesn't do polygon collision nearly as well as the A6 engine.

Open Source engines are good to learn with but not very reliable.

Inside scope (4, Insightful)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 7 years ago | (#19294239)

Having worked on a 3d engine for the last 7 years the most important advice I can give you is "only invest in a game engine that can do what you need right now".

Every game engine I've seen, ours included, have a list of great upcoming features. But there is no guaranty that any of those features will be implemented by the time you need them (if they are added at all).

Re:Inside scope (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19297085)

More important, when you want EVERYTHING in your engine, by the time you're finally done you can start over because everything got turned inside out in the new interface and you can't simple adapt your code to use the new features. So you're facing the decision to change enough to warrant a complete redo, or stick with an outdated engine.

This is especially true with DX I don't know why, but MS manages to change JUST enough every time to make a redo sound like less work than adapting. How did you solve that problem?

Several good projects (1)

Falthon (1108115) | more than 7 years ago | (#19294381)

WorldForge [worldforge.org] , Delta3D [delta3d.org] , and CrystalSpace [crystalspace3d.org] are all viable choices. Delta3D in particular has good physics, though I understand it currently has limited scalability.

The bottom line is that no engine is perfect. Some are better than others for certain tasks, and they all have shortcomings. You shouldn't tie yourself too closely to any one engine, because you may want to switch at some point down the road.

BuildaWorld [buildaworld.net] is a project to create an abstraction layer which will make it easy to switch between engines, and to allow different versions of your game with different engines. Ultimately they plan to create tools to enable non-programmers to design their own game or game world. It's still in the early stages, but then, anyone wanting to design a game or build a world has to think long-term.

Ogre Has an Editor (1)

Medgur (172679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19295037)

Ogre + Blender

The latest Blender revisions offer tight integration with Ogre, not entirely unlike UnrealEd.

BlitzMax (1)

DruggedBunny (703795) | more than 7 years ago | (#19295321)

BlitzMax [blitzmax.com] compiles the same code for Windows, OS X and Linux. Although there's no official 3D engine yet, there are several engine wrappers available, as well as the excellent MiniB3D, an unofficial OpenGL-based engine provided with full source.

NeoAxis engine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19295533)

An OGRE3d based C# option is the NeoAxis Engine [neoaxisgroup.com] For a project that started last November it is quite powerful.

irrlicht (1)

CuteAlien (415982) | more than 7 years ago | (#19295705)

I've been using Irrlicht for about 15 months now. I started with TGE but after 2 weeks failing to get it even running on linux or on windows 98 (yes i know MS does not support it anymore, i still do...) i tried out Irrlicht out of curiosity and it did just work. It's a 3d-renderengine only, so for stuff like sound and physic you will need other engines. It supports shaders, but the renderpipeline is not build upon shaders (which i suspect is what you want). A very big bonus is the zlib-license which basicly does not set any restrictions at all. Besides some minor exceptions the code is generally good and very readable. I have also about 10 years c++ experience and found it very easy to do some modifications to the existing code.

I suppose no engine is perfect, but so far i was very happy with Irrlicht and plan to use it again in my next project. You can check my website if you want to find out what i used it for.

Get Features Required Before Deciding? (1)

Pisal (746144) | more than 7 years ago | (#19296637)

I think what game developers need most are tools to help them in the long development process in addition to having a good solid game engine to build on. Based on my experience as a shoe-string budget game developer working on a number of products on different game engines, I could summarize that it is rather unfortunate that you can't find the best of both in most open-source and indie game development solutions (I could be mistaken). I think the author might want to figure what features he/she wants from the game engine, and go through the list of available engines in their budget and finds the best fit. If a quick project is required, tools and scripting language might be high on the priority. If it is the wow factor, maybe an engine with a stronger graphical/rendering engine might be a good idea. Just a few more thoughts on this issue.
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