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3D engine Development

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For a 3d Engine in the class of Unreal 4, Far Cry or Doom III ... 1) is it better to build one from scratch or to license one ? 2) is it advantagous for a company to license it and build many games upon that technology ? 3) is it possible (or can it be added to it's functionnality) to have a 3d Engine who is well adapted for all type of games like RPG, first person shooter, real time strategy game (warcraft), 2d scrolling etc... 4) when building one, does the numbers of coders affect the quality or extend is functionality ? I mean what's the advantages of having 500 coders working on 1 engine rather then 10 ?

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1.) Better to build one in scratch in my opionion. You'll learn more about them. You'll definitly struggle more, and it'll take more time, yet if you're making a game that needs to take advantage of certain features, then building your engine is the way to go. If you're trying to make A Doom II colon, then you might as well try a free one.

2.) Definitly is an advantage as far as budget and speed if the engine is designed and built to be expandable.

3.) Yes, it's definitly possible. Look at engines such as the Quake 3 engine, or even things like Dark Basic and Blitz Basic.

4.) The number of coders won't effect the engine quality one bit, yet it is the quality of the coder. If you have 500 good coders, you may end up worse then if you only had ten. Reason being, you might have to many good or bad ideas floating around during production time. Not to mention, planning for 10 is easier than many. Many 3D engines like OGRE for example, only have 6-10 people working on them. That seems to be a good number to shoot for, but that doesn't stop 1 person from making one by themselves either.

Hope those anwsered your questions. This could be an interesting topic.

:)

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I thought I'd add that the Torque engine, at $100 per programmer the last time I saw, is very nice looking for the money. I don't have a link for it, I think it's something to do with garage games/Jay Moore.

Personally I'd program my own engine simply because it's not as hard as everyone says and in a long term commercial future will be an asset (whereas a loaned one can only go stale).

Mark
Cornutopia Games
http://www.cornutopia.net

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1- If you want to learn or have some odd feature set in mind you might be better off making your own if you have the know-how and time. That said...

2- In a Commercial setting its almost always better to liscense if a viable option exists. An engine like that probably takes 3-5 programmers 1-2 years to complete; at say, 65k each per year thats alot of money! The "average" case, 4 programmers for 18 months, would run you about 400k, and you've just spent all that time and money developing an engine that could have been put into the game. Rolling your own is still viable if you want to own the technology though, perhaps to liscense the engine to third parties yourself.

3- A 3D engine is basically just a renderer, maybe collision/physics, and some helper functions. Some engines provide more, some less. Its a balance. If the engine is too low level and generic its difficult to use, but if its too high level it might start locking you into a genre. If it locks you down, its not worth your time or money, unless it happens to be the genre you're producing.

4- Too many cooks in the kitchen is never good. Everyone starts to get their own idea of what's going on and usually few, if any, have it right. Smallish teams are better, I would even argue that 10 good programmers are better than 100 good programmers because you can keep 10 programmers coordinated and busy. It doesn't matter how much horsepower you have if you're just spinning your tires, right? In reality you've probably got 2-3 great programmers and some grunts of varying skill level (competent - good.)

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