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Which game engine.. an indie but experienced programmer?


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#1 CuriosityKills   Members   -  Reputation: 114

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 03:55 PM

My next project will begin (and possibly end) as a personal project, with an overhead view of 3D actors/objects in space, and limited server interactions. I want to have a prototype within a couple weeks and a rough but polishable product within three months. I want to focus on the AI and have as much computing power as possible to bring to bear on that within these constraints. I need PC support. I'd like Mac support. I'm an experienced programmer and am confortable using any mainstream language--especially Java, C#, or Python etc. I know C/C++ and have done assembly. I'm allergic to learning "special languages" that nobody else uses, but I could make do.

The last time I was paid to program an indie game was years ago. At the time, I surveyed Torque and evaluated Unity and C4. I decided Unity was the go-to if one wanted to actually ship a professional iOS app in under six months with a team of a half-dozen.

Any suggestions I should consider this time around besides Unity? Cost is a factor, but I'm okay spending a bit of money, if it saves weeks of development time. Especially in the case that I've made the decision that publishing the product would be in my best interest!

Edited by CuriosityKills, 13 November 2012 - 03:59 PM.


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#2 incertia   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 774

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 04:05 PM

Maybe you want to look into engines such as Unreal or maybe rendering engines such as Ogre3D and Irrlicht?
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#3 CuriosityKills   Members   -  Reputation: 114

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 05:02 PM

Maybe you want to look into engines such as Unreal or maybe rendering engines such as Ogre3D and Irrlicht?


Thanks. Ogre3D and Irrlicht aren't full game engines, but UDK meets that criteria.

UDK's $99 + 25% of profits over $50,000 is perfect for a project such as this and as an engine it's certainly proven. Nice shaders out-of-the-box!

However, UDK's limitation of no OSX support without a prohibitively expensive license is not so good, nor the requirement to learn "special languages" Kismet and Unrealscript. I'm also quickly realizing their documentation is not upto Unity's standards, and they separate the programmer vs. level-designer workflow, an added cost when one does both.

Are those worth saving a couple grand if I self-publish? I'll go with "no" for now, but it was worth writing a couple scripts to check it out. :)

Edited by CuriosityKills, 13 November 2012 - 07:44 PM.


#4 kburkhart84   Members   -  Reputation: 1464

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 08:41 PM

I'd say Unity is still probably the way to go. You get the Mac support, along with iOS/Android if your game fits and purchase the export licenses. Also, you probably already know you can use C# for scripting, so you'll have no problems there either. Lastly, though the price of a "professional" license seems steep, it is actually pretty cheap when you consider what all it does for you. You could go with something free, like rolling your own "engine" by combining Ogre3d and a physics engine, or some other combination of things, but that will take more time, while Unity3d is ready to go now, with all of that already included.

The only other thing that may be better for you would be to look at panda3d. It is free, and is a complete game engine, though it usually is used with Python. I'm understanding you can also use C++ with it. The disadvantage it has from Unity3d is that it has no scene editor, etc...that Unity has. But, it is a better option than rolling your own combination of graphics/physics/sound/etc... because it is all included in panda3d. Lastly though, I don't think panda can be used on MacOS(though I could be wrong) and much less Android/iOS.



#5 CuriosityKills   Members   -  Reputation: 114

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:42 AM

I just completed the Panda3D tutorial. I like it! Options for Python (higher-level) and C++ (lower-level), support for both PC and Mac, some commercial successes, quite a few sample applications to learn from, support for many 3d formats. Also PhysX and PandAI! Thanks for the pointer. :)

I do see the user community and documentation are smaller, but no engine provides everything a project needs wrapped up with a pretty bow.

The important thing is this feels like a tool that's intuitive to me, that I could use to crank out a prototype in a short timeframe, but with enough depth that I could mold that into something unique and meaningful. I would recommend checking this out to other programmers. It may be intimidating for non-programmers.

Edited by CuriosityKills, 14 November 2012 - 09:46 AM.


#6 kburkhart84   Members   -  Reputation: 1464

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:13 AM

Glad you like it...I also just looked, and it does indeed work with MacOS and Linux, so you are in good shape there too.



#7 slayemin   Members   -  Reputation: 1575

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 10:54 PM

Unity3D is my first recommendation. You can get something up and running pretty fast. Admitedly though, I'm not very experienced with Unity at the moment. I've spent about a week on it. I like that it supports C#, but the built in IDE just doesn't compare to Visual Studio.

If Unity3D isn't suitable, you could use XNA. With your time budget, I think you could reach your goal without too much pain. Though, you'd have to recreate engine features, like particle engines, which come out of the box with Unity and is quite powerful.

Eric Nevala

Currently a self-employed indie game dev


#8 CuriosityKills   Members   -  Reputation: 114

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:35 PM

If Unity3D isn't suitable, you could use XNA. With your time budget, I think you could reach your goal without too much pain. Though, you'd have to recreate engine features, like particle engines, which come out of the box with Unity and is quite powerful.

Thanks, mate. I'd consider XNA, but I'm already off to a good start with Panda3D, which features a built-in particle system.

Unity3D is my first recommendation. You can get something up and running pretty fast. Admitedly though, I'm not very experienced with Unity at the moment. I've spent about a week on it. I like that it supports C#, but the built in IDE just doesn't compare to Visual Studio.

I agree, Unity is a great tool. You can actually develop for it using Visual Studio if you buy the pro version, and I recall there being a klunky work-around for non-pro users if you're determined. The one downside, is to go beyond a prototype, I'd have to plop down $1,500. That would be acceptable if I had a committed project or someone was funding my development as in the past. That's less than ideal for a personal experimental project which may or may not turn into more. Posted Image

I also have some Python code I'd like to use, and it's fun to see how another tool tackles the same challenges!

Edited by CuriosityKills, 17 November 2012 - 12:44 PM.





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