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# Of Mice and Mittens

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I've been spending the last few days with the the Torque Game Engine, and I must say, this is some of the most fun I've had programming in a very long time. Here's a quick run-through of the things I've been playing with over the last few days. Of note, though, is that I haven't stayed up this late in a while, so I may not be quite as witty (read: less than zero), verbose (no treatise on immersion :(), nor creative as I may [or may not] usually be.

The first thing I did with Torque was, naturally, play around with its terrain editor and particle editor. After about an hour of playing around with the editor, which has a built-in texture blender that can blend up to six 256x256 resolution textures (this 256x256 is a limit which made me angry) and having a lot of fun trying to figure out the particle editor without having so much as a clue as to what the various parameters did, I came up with this image:

The particle editor in Torque was surprisingly capable and powerful, though maybe not quite as powerful as the Max Payne 1/2 particle editors, nor as some of the particle engines I've cooked up over the years, but this will certainly do. And it will certainly do better as I update it. One really nice thing is that the editor already has support for a relatively large number of animated textures for the particle sprites (if I remember what I read correctly, it can support up to 5^6 animated textures for particles).

After playing with the particles and terrain, I set up an empty project in VS.NET 2k3 for all the various script files for the project I was working on at the time. It's a fairly large image (height-wise), so I don't want to post it here, but it's there if you want to take a peek at it.

Throughout yesterday and today, I was working with the GUI system to create a slightly more aesthetically-pleasing look for the game's option screen, and though I haven't started work on fine-tuning the rest of the GUIs yet, they do operate off certain parameters/images that I altered while playing with the look of the options window. I still have yet to finish my tweaking of this window, since I had gotten sidetracked, but eventually I'll be adding transparency to every GUI window as well. Here are a couple shots of the options window (left being the original look, middle being a rough draft, the third/final image being the near-current state of the options GUI):

What I got sidetracked with was the build of the Torque Shader Engine (I am now officially near-broke with just enough money to cover the first month's rent of my house for school this fall) that I decided to buy, going against my previous claim that I wanted to upgrade the engine with an entirely unique shader system of my very own (instead I'll just be working on a dynamic lighting and shadow system of my own). This decision came from the fact that I got an actual game idea in my head that I plan to flesh out and create a prototype level for all in the next six months. The screenshot below is the first build of the engine where I finally (only after about an hour of work) got the FPS demo from the first screen in this post working with the TSE:

If I didn't have class tomorrow, I would almost certainly be able to stay up all night just playing with the engine. I'm having an absolute blast with this. Another update tomorrow night.

Please keep posting about TGE, I haven't had a chance to dig into it much yet (although I am planning to) as I have been working on Torque2D. I bought TGE because I needed access to a lot of the engine docs that T2D owners don't get, yet they are the same engine.

If you do get some more money you might want to pick up T2D. Its a drop in compile for TGE and you can layer T2D gui elements over the TGE screen. Meaning all the fancy menu stuff you can think of with sprites and particle engines you can do.

Right now I've been hacking up T2D to use as a client for my multiplayer game server I'm developing. I've been posting my exploits in my GDNet journal.

I must reiterate how impressed I am with the Torque engine. Sure, it has its limitations, but getting the engine and a $250,000 or less profit license for$100 is pretty damn amazing.

The only issue I do have is how the GG site charged for things like the ShowTool Pro (something that should be part of the engine suite) and their soon-to-be-released map editor. I feel that the community provides so much for the engine that things like this should just be free (as of now, while it is a symbiotic relationship, it's a slightly unbalanced one, in my opinion).

"The only issue I do have is how the GG site charged for things like the ShowTool Pro (something that should be part of the engine suite) and their soon-to-be-released map editor. I feel that the community provides so much for the engine that things like this should just be free (as of now, while it is a symbiotic relationship, it's a slightly unbalanced one, in my opinion)."

TGE is amazing engine which IMO is worth a hell of a lot more than $100 (same with TSE and T2D) ShowTool Pro was made by a third party developer (nothing to do with garagegames) which is why it's on sale. And the soon to be released "Torque Constructor" is being made by GG with most of the work being contracted out to third party developers, and is looking pretty amazing... I don't think GG should supply this free because they sell the engines for such a cheap price, they deserve to make money off other products (they have make up for the low engine price and they have to pay the bills some how) No one has to buy the products/addons... TGE/TSE has it's own built in show tool type function, and there’s lots of free software on the internet you can use to make content for TGE,TSE and T2D. I'm not trying to flame you or anything, the problem is GG gets too many people (mainly new people to the engine) saying the tools should be free.:( They say the tools should be free... I (and many others) say GG should charge much more for the engines :\ But anyway, hope you continue to have fun with Torque... look forward to seeing your progress. -Joseph #### Share this comment ##### Link to comment Well, to be honest, I really think it would be nice if the GG site explicitly said that the engine cost doesn't include the cost of certain tools. I never was told that the engine specifically included the tools (but I was confused as to what the package included, to be honest), but for some reason the screenshots led me to believe otherwise. So I guess the problem is just that I felt misinformed. Though, while ShowTool Pro was developed by a third-party (which I knew), my point was that that particular program should be part of the engine suite. It seems to me that it is a fairly necessary (not necessary, but helpful to the point where it's almost a required buy), and should have been included by the Torque guys to begin with. And the engine is great, don't get me wrong, but it's not like you get an incredibly polished, perfectly-working product for your money. The$100 you pay for the indie license seems about right to me, considering that the graphics tech in the engine is a bit "aged" at this point in time; but if you consider you can get the shader engine for $150 more, the$250 value is fantastic for the whole engine (a bit of a steal for the developers, actually). Though I'd say the \$100 for the Torque Game Engine certainly within reason.

"I never was told that the engine specifically included the tools (but I was confused as to what the package included, to be honest), but for some reason the screenshots led me to believe otherwise."

Theres a feaure list on the product page that lists what you get (and states what they do)

I do agree when you say "the tech in the engine is a bit "aged" "
But this is changing all the time with new versions being released, and it hasen't stopped people making amazing looking games such as the one being made at the moment called Poacher...

(Pics are very early dev shots made in TGE)

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