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So I have a game engine...


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#1 Green_Gill   Members   -  Reputation: 139

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 02:25 PM

It's not mine. It was coded by a company with a budget of 2+ million dollars (I couldn't find many figures on their budget, just a budget for one game, so I've used that), and a programmer with 15+ years of experience (again, same, founding of the company used as a basis, combined with the fact that the company has been using different versions of the same named engine and the guy in question created the first one).

It's honestly not the first engine I've owned from a company, the first, I think, is available at http://catmother.sourceforge.net.
But that engine was rejected and never made a game, the engine I'm using now has made many in various iterations and the completed engine is currently in use.

I digress, I'm not willing to reveal much more as I'm keeping it a secret. (You will see the rather STUPID reason in a minute)

The universe is retarded. So i have a game engine. And I'm all, "Yay, I'll just give it away until I find a dev who can finish it."

I got a few "ooh's" and "Ah's" and "No thanks" from one of the few guys who actually could have finished it but never even (ironically) looked at it. (I did get some snazzy source though that I'll see if it's better than the core I currrently have, he's a software engineer with 20+ years experience... whereas the other guy is an engine programmer, wonder who stacks higher). I've been following his game engine dev, it'll be about 3 years before he's up to the tech I've got... if he ever reaches it at all (his multicore implementation was pretty cool, so I'm confident he will eventually be able to match the tech I have).

I even showed it to a guy who made another game engine. He was impressed by the amount of code necessary to achieve parallelism. (It's multicore not multithreaded.) The message passing system is probably pretty deeply embedded into the job system, which would put a prerequisite bit of code in every function that uses or runs on the job system... I assume... I'm not actually competent enough to use, understand, or compile the system. XD But I do conceptually understand it, I know the reputation and skill of the developer, and I understand it's upper limits. [It got an IGN graphics score of 1 point below a major commercial game typically known for it's graphics. :D I'd say the name, but again, obfuscating... because apparently nobody's interested until it's a secret.)

Not only that but I have some snippets of code that were theorized by another major game engine programmer (protip: before you theorize that something is the 'next thing in graphics' make sure that it doesn't already exist, and hold a world record). Also, again, you would be amazed at what you can get a license to if you just try...

Heck, even these guys are giving away some really nice stuff.
http://www.gamedev.net/topic/630597-an-impressive-open-source-aa-shader/
People really don't look around.

Anyway, I basically have everything I could ever possibly dream of having 90% complete... and i'm trying to get the last 10%. I talked with a programmer who I 'BELIEVE' could have finished the engine... he said 120-150k per year which means I'd need one. Assuming programmer productivity doubles every year... I might need more (though, honestly, if the guy I hire can't finish in two, it's time to hire someone new... and that's when you have a performance contract with independent 3rd party code quality evaluation).

A little over a year after the code drop I have the original dev released an MMO... it's not up to the graphical quality I expect from the engine (and, honestly, saw in previous versions), but I believe this may be related to a design change for the PS3 port. I think it's triggering a ton of cache collisions due to the way data is being stored.

Anyway, I could be wrong, as I've said, I may well be an idiot (hopefully an idiot savant as I've spent 12 years reading game engine design articles even if I can't code my own... all while telling myself I don't really want to program games... I give up, I really do want to learn to make games.).

I've come closer I ever have by being secretive. Honestly, admittedly, I've always had some secrets related to the engine. I have some improvements, related code snippets, and about 3 years of research related to the game engine design while I was waiting for the original dev to complete it. (I only gave him what he needed for fear of slowing him down/interfering/derailing the engine with some idea I had).

Basically, being secretive about the engine has brought me closer to getting it completed than ever being open about it would.

Could it rival the top tier engines, yes... will it ever be faster than Crysis? **** NO! But, as an in-house engine, i'd match it up against ANYTHING!

Any ideas? My dream is sitting here. Don't say 'upload it to github'... that happened with a previous version... it died too. Hell, even the linux port died. This isn't the kind of engine that was ever designed to be used by a single person. It may have been coded by a single person, but he was a MONSTER... seriously... the guy vanishes for MONTHS and finally reappears... I think all he does every day for 15 years is CODE! I would trade an arm, and a leg... BOTH for this guy's experience... i don't care if I had to type one handed from that point on. (Though, I'd rather trade two legs). Open source has NO incentive or motivation to improve it... besides, I'd rather not divest from ogre... I don't care if it is a rendering engine, I don't care if it will never be anything else... at least it's MIT licensed and useful for a single person. It's the same reason I don't really want to compete with Unity3d... it wins usability hands down.

I have explored open source, sharing, uploading to various sites, etc... no developer capable of doing so was EVER even inclined to take a look at it. (This fact is exacerbated by just how few developers on this world are both not employed by major companies who own everything and have the requisite experience... there are probably twice as many developers of sufficient experience as there are major game dev companies.)

Also, I read a rant about how facebook likes young developers and I hope that Game Dev companies aren't doing this to save money. (Speaking of which, to any game dev with 20+ years of experience who was recently fired for being too expensive, if you want it to come back and bite them in the A**, I am totally on board. :D Though, let me know if you have kids... weighing survival, profit, and the potential need to get another paying job is difficult... you might be better off just looking for a new gig if you have less than a year of savings. Unless one of my quick games earns enough. )
[Quick Games: Ludum Dare style 1-week game design, designed for a kickstarter to earn enough to finish + finish engine{if all goes well}).

I keep trying to connect steps down from where I need to get to, and connect steps up from where I am... but I'll be honest... there aren't many steps up you can go when you don't have $20 to your name and spent years telling yourself you don't want to be a game programmer... yet most of what you think of in spite of this is game designs. And when I say game designs... aside from things I'd like to do with this engine, my most complex designs are 2d/3d platformers. (Complexity is a luxury, and not necessary for profit).

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#2 Green_Gill   Members   -  Reputation: 139

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 02:26 PM

Reserved for exposition.

#3 JTippetts   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8649

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 02:53 PM

That was kind of a weird ramble. If you summed it up in a TLDR, you might get more response.

It sounds like you have a partially completed monster of an engine that isn't done, created by some kind of weird reclusive genius, it would take a genius savant to finish it as a single developer, you haven't a penny to your name and thus can't hire a team to finish it, you don't want to open source it because you're afraid it won't go anywhere, and somewhere in there was a sort of non sequitur about Facebook liking young developers. Does that about sum it up?

I'm not sure exactly what you're asking, but if you're asking how to finish the engine, I'd say, you're stuck. Without funds, your only hope would be to do it yourself, find a talented hobbyist, or make it an open source project. If you go the hobbyist route, you probably won't get an experienced developer, if you go the open source route you need to offer something that the other engines don't, or you likely won't draw audience and devs. And it doesn't sound like you're interested in trying to finish it yourself, or don't think you're capable. So that leaves you with pretty much nothing. Maybe you could try to find some VC capital, maybe you could get lucky with a hobbyist dev willing to work for free against a future share of profits (this has a very low historical record of success), maybe you could get a Kickstarter to fund. But whatever you do, it's not going to be easy and stands a very large chance of failure.

Is it so important that this engine thingy be salvaged? If it's such a freaky huge monster made by one guy but so unusable that it "was never meant to be used by a single developer" then IMO it might not really be worth trying to salvage. Set it aside, work on something smaller, and after you get more engine experience or someone who has experience on salary, then pull it out and see if it's worth saving.

#4 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10158

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 03:47 PM

I don't know what Gill is looking for with this thread, but it is not "getting a game job," so it doesn't belong in Breaking In. I'll try moving it to Business And Law, maybe it'll get useful responses there since it seems to be a "I have a business venture and I need advice about it" question.
-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#5 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 19350

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 04:31 PM

Forget the engine and learn to make the 2d platformer idea you have.

If your description of the situation is accurate then this engine is just holding you back and wasting your time - it's an endless quest you'll never actually complete - an incomplete engine meant for large teams when you can't afford a single programmer isn't going anywhere, so it doesn't matter how good it actually is.

If you really want to proceed with it your best bet would be to seek funding though.

#6 Green_Gill   Members   -  Reputation: 139

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 07:12 AM

I don't think it would take a genius savant to finish it... just someone with reasonable experience. (Note, 8 years IS NOT reasonable experience when you've been making games and not working with serious engines. 8 years of doggie paddling does not an olympic swimmer make.)

For those of you making an engine, I encourage you to look at Jobswarm by john ratcliff scarab, G3D available at http://g3d.sourceforge.net, and The DirectX Command Buffer Lib by Emergent. It's not as good as what I have, but as a base it should be usable by a single person. Yes... I have one monster of a game engine.

G3D was used in the commercial game Titan Quest (though, a while back), you can also sub your own rendering thread. Job Swarm's creator also made Planetside, and The DirectX Command Buffer Lib is from Emergent, all technologies I listed are commercial, not hobbyist.

I don't want advice about starting a business venture. I'm having the same problem someone with an idea has... getting a game company to even look at the engine. It is clearly a problem of 'breaking in'. Ah well, I won't dispute the change/relocation.

#7 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 31800

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 07:41 AM

So, what work needs to be done on this engine? What is a 90% completed engine?
Do you have a full toolchain, or just a runtime?
Why is it such a secret?

Edited by Hodgman, 18 December 2012 - 07:48 AM.


#8 C0lumbo   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2496

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 07:42 AM

The problem is that an engine that hasn't been used in a finished game is not 90% finished. Until it has been through that cycle of bug fixing and being tested on multiple hardware, etc, there is still a lot of work to be done.

I can't imagine any games studio seriously considering using an engine that hasn't been proven in some way. Also, the engine runtime is only a part of the equation when a studio evaluates tech - the tools and art pipeline are at least as important, as is decent support from someone who knows the engine well and ideally a strong community of other users. It sounds like none of these things are in place.

Oh - and if 8 years of professional experience programming in games is insufficient for someone to get grips with the engine, then there's something seriously wrong with the engine.

#9 Olof Hedman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2949

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 08:08 AM

Yeah, that was a weird rant... I'm a bit worried that you reserved space for even more exposition too :)

A common software engineering "wisdom" is that you will spend 90% of the time on the "last 10%" of any software project...
so time and money-wise, you might only be 1/10th of the way, even though it source-wise is 90% of the way to something usable. (however you measure that...)

Really hard to say anything without anything to go on though, and its not clear at all what you are asking if anything.
My general suggestion is though that you need to get some demos up and preferable at least one really kick ass game to prove it, if you want to sell it.
Without it, it's very hard to assess its usefulness, and there are so many alternatives with proven track records.

#10 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10158

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 09:02 AM

I don't want advice about starting a business venture. I'm having the same problem someone with an idea has... getting a game company to even look at the engine. It is clearly a problem of 'breaking in'. Ah well, I won't dispute the change/relocation.


It was unclear what it was you were looking for. Since you are not trying to leverage your work into a game job, this is not a "breaking in" topic. Since you are trying to "get a game company to ... look at the engine" (albeit for unspecified reasons) this is a business topic. You want to get something from "a game company" (other than a job). That makes this business. You say you have an idea, but it's not clear what the idea is; if it's an idea for an engine, you should finish the engine and make games with it. If it's some other kind of idea, for something you can sell or license, you should pursue the idea in the proper manner.
If you want to sell or license your engine, finish your engine and make games from it.
If you want somebody to finish your engine for you, hire somebody or give it away.
If you want to leverage your engine into a job, finish your engine and make games from it.
-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#11 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 19350

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 06:46 PM

Firstly, I would suggest that you stop trying to intersperse advice into your posts in this topic. Along with your rather unfocussed writing style, they're mainly serving to make your actual questions and the explanation of your situation less clear.


getting a game company to even look at the engine.

Why would a game company look at the engine? As far as we know from your posts, you personally don't have any proven track record or good reputation within -- or even outside of -- the industry. Given it's incomplete your engine certainly isn't proven or well known.

Games companies are a business, and in the business world people generally look to minimise risk, especially when investing potentially very large amounts of money. They either use proven, capable engines (Unreal, CryEngine, etc.) created by developers with good track records (Epic, CryTek, id, etc.), or they develop their own technology in-house.

For a business to even consider your engine you would need to first complete the engine and produce at least a demo showing it's capabilities.

Given you apparently don't have the money to do this, your best bet to proceeding would probably be to seek investment so that you can hire the programmers you need to get the job done. Investors will want to see a detailed business plan and that you have a reasonable chance of success.


No games company is going to look at your incomplete and unproven engine, so if you want to proceed with it you are looking to start a business venture.


Note, 8 years IS NOT reasonable experience

8+ years of experience is a senior developer, and will be appropriately expensive. If you absolutely must have developers with that much experience then your engine is either poorly designed or isn't nearly as complete as you're suggesting. Consider that Epic Games (Unreal) has a number of positions for engine programmers. Link. Link. Link. They're only asking for 3+ years experience. If you genuinely require a developer with 8+ years of experience you're setting the bar really high, and should expect your costs to be really high as well -- expect to have to defend this requirement if you approach investors.



Honestly, I really think you might be better off simply moving to a readily available proven technology to create your own games. If your ideas are really for platform games and similar then you simply don't need a great AAA-quality engine like you're describing, and given your apparent financial situation it would be far more achievable to pull together ~$500 for Game Maker, or use the free version of Unity (or the $1,500 version), or similar rather than having to find a very expensive developer to work for you.


Unless you are able to raise the money to complete it, what you really have isn't an nearly complete engine, but a collection of completely useless code that will never see production use. Sorry if that comes across as harsh, but it's the reality of your situation.




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