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Best Game Engine for Indie Game?

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#1 smittix   Members   -  Reputation: 245

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 01:38 PM

I've been working on getting a new Indie game up and going and have gotten to the point of needing to choose which game engine to pick. The game itself is an FPS, the vision of which is only just now being realized by the concept art... and I must admit, the bar it being set pretty high. By trade I'm a 3D graphics/AI/game/physics programmer so I've considered using a series of free engines (graphics/physics/sound/networking) and putting them together to create my own game engine, but it seems much more worth it to spend some $$ and get an existing engine along with tools to work with it.

My Requirements
- Up-to-date graphics (shadow maps/parallax maps/post-processing)
- Physics integration (I'm OK with implementing this part myself if needed)
- Sound Integration
- Tools (scene manager w/ lights, objects, etc...)
- AI would be nice, but I'm OK with writing that too..

Game Engines Compared...

Torque 3D (http://www.garagegam...ducts/torque-3d)
Pluses:
Proven History
Advanced Lighting
Complete Tool Suite
Modular - I can rewrite any part I want
Source included
Cross-Platform
Large range of hardware can be used
Minuses:
$1k per license
Still in Beta

Leadwerks 2.0 (http://www.leadwerks.com/)
Pluses:
$150 license
Advanced Lighting
Complete Tool Suite
Minuses:
Very new - no proven track record.
No source code.
Requires SM 3.0 (GeForce 6 series or better. Losing some potential customers.)
Windows XP/Vista Only (but future plans for possible XB360 & Mac support)

NeoAxis (http://www.neoaxisgr...om/company/team)
Pluses:
Free (kind of....)
Advanced Lighting
Complete Tool Suite
Minuses:
Very new - no proven track record.
Non-Commercial only? I need to have commercial...


If anyone has anything to add to this list or comment on, please let me know. Right now I'm planning on Torque 3D as it seems like the best bet. All funding for this project is coming totally out of pocket though, so I'd rather not have to pay $1k per license if it can be avoided.

** List of all engines mentioned in this thread [2/27/11]


C4 Engine - http://www.terathon.com/c4engine/index.php
Unity - http://unity3d.com/
Gamestudio - http://www.3dgamestudio.com/
Panda 3D - http://www.panda3d.org/
Esenthel Engine - http://www.esenthel.com/
3D RAD - http://www.3drad.com/
Gamebryo - http://www.gamebryo.com/en/Gamebryo/
Crystal Space - http://www.crystalspace3d.org/main/Main_Page
UDK - http://udk.com/
Delta3D - http://www.delta3d.org/
DarkBASIC - http://www.thegamecreators.com/?m=view_product&id=2030
CAFU - http://www.cafu.de/
SIO2 Engine - http://sio2interactive.com/
Maratis - http://www.maratis3d.com/

Sponsor:

#2 Undeadragonslayer   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 01:56 PM

Just a point about the NeoAxis engine, the free version is non-commercial. There is an indie license (Less than $100000 income from the product) as well as a commercial license (More than $100000 income from the product), which cost $95 and $395 respectively (http://www.neoaxisgroup.com/services/licensing).

Other than that, I have used one of the engines listed, Torque 3D or rather the earlier version, Torque Game Engine Advanced, however this was only brief so i can't really give you much of an opinion of it, but i suggest taking a close look at what you need, who you think your target audience is and so on, this should help you to make a choice.

#3 smittix   Members   -  Reputation: 245

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 02:10 PM

@Undeadragonslayer

Thanks for the input. I didn't see anything about a commercial license on the website for NeoAxis, so I'll have to go double check that. To address your questions...

Quote:
i suggest taking a close look at what you need, who you think your target audience is and so on, this should help you to make a choice.

My target audience is primarily PC users, probably more hardcore (thus better hardware) gamers who enjoy FPS games. Although I suspect that 90% of people who would want to play would be Windows gamers with decent hardware, I would hate to have to unnecessarily alienate potential players.

As for what I need, basically I just need a complete game engine including tools to setup levels. I don't necessarily need the best engine ever with an event system, AI, etc.. as I can program all of that myself. It would be nice to have an engine that doesn't require high specs and is cross-platform, but I have no idea how many potential customers I would be alienating if I went with a high-spec, PC only engine like Leadwerks.

#4 BLiTZWiNG   Members   -  Reputation: 349

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 03:34 PM

How many programmers do you have? With Torque 3D you only need licenses for the programmers that need the source to the engine. You're allowed to give a working build of your game to your artists so they can see their work (I'm not sure about leaving the script based editors in you'd have to ask about that), but either way, if they don't allow that there is a non-source license for $250 that you give to other members of your team, though I think they might be getting a little more lenient on this.

I haven't subscribed to it because I'm only a hobbyists and I now prefer C# over C++, so I'm working more with TX3D instead (which is not in the same league as T3D).

#5 ybijgu   Members   -  Reputation: 180

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 03:57 PM

I recommend you take a look at the C4 engine: C4 Engine

Feel free to join the forums if you have any questions. If you ask here, I'll try to answer as best I can, but you will get more complete answers there.

A couple of nice points about the engine:
-$350 for standard license-no limits on features or how many copies you can sell. You just can't charge more than $100 per unit.
-Free updates for life
-You get the source
-Excellent community
-Extremely stable with lots of features

#6 smittix   Members   -  Reputation: 245

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 05:50 PM

@blitzwing

So far I am the only programmer, I wanted to look at all the engines and decide on a technology before getting any more programmers. The only real need for the $1k license was to get the "advanced lighting", which is just parallax maps and shadow maps it seems like. However, I'm going to need level designers to actually setup the levels, and I'm fairly certain they would also need the $1k license to view their levels in the scene editor with advanced lighting enabled.

@zebeste

I tried looking at the C4 engine earlier today. It looked like a pretty attractive offer on the website, but when I went to test the demo things didn't go so great. A couple times I tried to load a level and it just sat there for a while, eventually leading me to have to turn the computer off manually. Also, the physics seem very hoaky.. getting stuck on tiny cracks in the ground, really weird feeling collision detection. I only tested C4 on my laptop so I'll have to try again on my desktop later.. but it just left sort of a bad taste in my mouth. (Sorry if you're one of the developers on it, it's still an impressive engine.)

#7 scgames   Members   -  Reputation: 1977

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 01:13 AM

You might also take a look at Unity, if you haven't already.

#8 ybijgu   Members   -  Reputation: 180

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 01:26 AM

Nope, I'm not a developer of the engine (that title is reserved for Eric Lengyel). I don't know why it froze you laptop, but the physics in the engine is getting a complete overhaul in the next release. Also, one of the members maintains a PhysX integration which supposedly works quite well. Currently, the character uses a collision capsule for physics, which probably explains why it feels a little wierd, but as of the next release users will be able to use the world editor to use combinations of geometric shapes on models to represent more complex collision volumes.

#9 smittix   Members   -  Reputation: 245

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 06:25 AM

@jyk

I had actually never heard of Unity before. I downloaded it and took a look, that's definitely a very nice, professional engine. I'll have to take a serious look into that one.

@zebeste

I don't want to take anything away from any developer that's worked on the C4 engine, I know it's a ton of work to do something like that, but I just don't feel like C4 is solid enough to use for a real game yet.


After doing a ton of testing, the NeoAxis engine is looking like the best option at this point. The downloadable demo is extremely impressive, and the ability to produce something worth playing with a free version definitely says something. At the moment, it is restricted to Windows only platforms, but in the future there are plans to expand to Mac, consoles, and web deployment which is a very promising feature.

On the other hand though, Torque 3D is still a proven, professional quality product and it's nice to know that there is a huge user community of support out there. My plan from here is to test out the actual programming of NeoAxis and see if it's suited for a real game. If not, I think I'll have to go with Torque 3D.

#10 vcjr   Members   -  Reputation: 92

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 08:44 AM

Try the A7 Engine but is not c++ is lite-c it cost $100.

#11 achild   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1704

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 09:11 AM

Maybe look at Panda3d as well? It's got a track record. And it's free. And it's got a large community. And it's used in Python, but made in C++, so you can extend it in C++ and make your game in python. This may be a good or bad thing to you.

#12 NightMarez   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 10:30 PM

There is also this one:

http://www.esenthel.com/?id=news

Really awesome c++ engine, 0$, 200$ or 1000$, depending if you wish to use custom shaders and or sell the game.

Some even says its better then gamebryo ect.

#13 charfei70   Members   -  Reputation: 96

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 10:26 AM

Why dont u try fps creator? Its the easiest engine for making fpses and fps creator x10 has directx10 graphics. Dont use leadwerks as its mostly a rendering engine. Id use unity as its been proven in a bunch of games and is really easy to use.

#14 FlyingIsFun1217   Members   -  Reputation: 128

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 06:44 AM

Quote:
Original post by NightMarez
http://www.esenthel.com/?id=news

Really awesome c++ engine, 0$, 200$ or 1000$, depending if you wish to use custom shaders and or sell the game.


I was just about to suggest you check it out, surprised to see that someone beat me to it. Esenthel is one of those little gems that has all of the pieces needed, you really just have to learn how to use those pieces. OOTB, it comes with a mesh editor and world editor, source updater (to keep it current), and tons of examples covering most stuff people are actually interested in for games.

This isn't to say it's the only engine you should consider, but it does have all of the things you said you were looking for, at a very attractive price if you're not going commercial or wanting more than the default shaders. Definitely worth it to check it out.

FlyingIsFun1217



#15 Andreas Persson   Members   -  Reputation: 162

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 06:57 AM

I put my vote in for Leadwerks, very nice features for it´s price. You can have a character controller with physics and fps camera up and running in minutes. When your game is finished most people will probably have SM 3 cards, check Steam´s hardware survey http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/

#16 HMart   Members   -  Reputation: 136

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 01:34 PM

Quote:
Original post by bengaltgrs

@zebeste

I tried looking at the C4 engine earlier today. It looked like a pretty attractive offer on the website, but when I went to test the demo things didn't go so great. A couple times I tried to load a level and it just sat there for a while, eventually leading me to have to turn the computer off manually. Also, the physics seem very hoaky.. getting stuck on tiny cracks in the ground, really weird feeling collision detection. I only tested C4 on my laptop so I'll have to try again on my desktop later.. but it just left sort of a bad taste in my mouth. (Sorry if you're one of the developers on it, it's still an impressive engine.)


Hi bengaltgrs it seams you were misguided by the simplistic physics of the C4 demo, the engine can use any physics API and there are users with a PhysX and Bullet integration already done, also Eric is making a on house physics engine for C4 version 1.6 (the next version) and will do a revised demo to showcase the physics and the new terrain features. You say you add problems running the C4 engine demo, without your laptop specs i can only speculate, but it needs a fairly good GPU (NV 6600 or better ATI x1300 or better) to run also because of the new voxel terrain shader it will not run on Intel GPU's if your laptop as a Intel GPU them that's why it didn't worked well.

Quote:
I don't want to take anything away from any developer that's worked on the C4 engine, I know it's a ton of work to do something like that, but I just don't feel like C4 is solid enough to use for a real game yet.


About this, it is wrong, C4 engine is ready for real games and that's why there are already games for sell made with it.

Some examples:
http://www.world-of-subways.com/

http://www.questofpersia.com/main/index.html

Games in the making:

http://www.greysoul.net/

http://celestialspheregame.com/

http://www.perfectblackgames.com/tvd/



http://www.bleedingcolourstudio.com/php/adf.php

And more....

I hope this helps clear all misconceptions about C4 engine.




#17 HostileExpanse   Members   -  Reputation: 112

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 02:23 PM

I'm developing an outdoor FPS, and I'm settling on C4 as my engine choice. Unity and Neoaxis are strong contenders. I also considered 3D Gamestudio A7, and I've heard good things about Panda3D as well.

#18 evaclear   Members   -  Reputation: 162

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 02:30 PM

If you ask any professional developer (indie or otherwise) I'm sure you'll find that there is no "Best Game Engine". There are always +'s and -'s when you talk about any game engine be it Unreal or Torque.

So for now what you want to look at is the "Best Game Engine" for your purposes. Which means evaluating things like:

1) Is the engine primaraly a FPS engine? If so then making another type of game such as a RPG or third person action game with it might not be feasable due to design decisions made.

2) Features. If you plan to use HDR and the engine doesn't support it...well you can see where this is going.

3) Support. The game engine you are using either needs to have support via it's developers or through a well established community (no startup engines here). Otherwise how are you going to get questions answered?

4) Tools, Your looking for an engine that has plugins for the modeling program you use, particle editors, ect. Buying an engine that only has max plugins is useless unless you actually have 3d studio max. Other tools for the engine itself help with your development/prototyping pipeline, if they suck then people are going to get frustrated and say "This engine sucks".

In short the best engine is what works for your needs.


#19 FlyingIsFun1217   Members   -  Reputation: 128

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 12:14 PM

Quote:
Original post by HostileExpanse
I'm developing an outdoor FPS, and I'm settling on C4 as my engine choice. Unity and Neoaxis are strong contenders. I also considered 3D Gamestudio A7, and I've heard good things about Panda3D as well.


Wow, you must know quite a few programming languages pretty well.

FlyingIsFun1217



#20 Eric Lengyel   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2284

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 08:49 PM

Quote:
Original post by bengaltgrs
I tried looking at the C4 engine earlier today. It looked like a pretty attractive offer on the website, but when I went to test the demo things didn't go so great. A couple times I tried to load a level and it just sat there for a while, eventually leading me to have to turn the computer off manually.


An application by itself cannot freeze your computer to the point that you have to turn off the power. But a driver can. Either your graphics hardware is fried, and/or your graphics drivers are completely broken, and that's what should be putting a bad taste in your mouth. Levels in the C4 demo load in 1-2 seconds on properly working hardware with properly working drivers, and it would be an incorrect assumption to hastily conclude that any problems you had with the demo are the fault of the engine.






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