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Rebuild game engine from scratch?

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I've never built a game engine, but it seems to me that a major trend in game engine development (especially in the industry) is to build an entirly new game engine from scratch whenever an older engine becomes obsolete. I'm just wondering, isn't it possible to create a new engine which utilizes currently technology by updating an older engine? I'm interested in learning about game engine technology, and this is a topic which has always confused me.

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Well, you could start by using google.com to find a free open source engine on your prefered programming language.
Those engines have typically generic design so you can make any kind of game whit them.

Unlike some engines used in games wich specialize to the a certain genre. Wich is one reason you need to make a new engine or modify the current one to suite your new game project.

You should also write abstract code layer for your graphics engine so you can basicly 'plugin' DX or openGl whit out changing your higher level code.

I hope some one else has better words for above.

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I think some of you were missing his question. To me it seems that new engines are written when a new technique is developed that would be incompatible with the current generation technology. For example, I don't think it'd be very feasible to shoehorn in Doom 3 technology into the Quake 3 engine.

Sorry for the short and somewhat crappy response, I've got to run to class.

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Quote:
Original post by Ainokea
I am now rewriting my game engine now because mine originally used classes but wasnt OO and was very ugly to use.

I feel your pain Ainokea - I had to do the same thing. I'm so happy that I did though. So keep at it.

As for the question at hand, technically, if you built the proper interfaces and kept everything generic enough, you could update, say, just the graphics part of the engine or just the input part or just the physics part (if you have physics). So yea, it's certainly possible.

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Game engines are probably rewritten less than you think. The reasons for rewriting a game engine are:

1. The original doesn't fit the type of game.
2. The original was badly written and/or has been extended/modified to the point where it can no longer be extended/modified.
3. Technology advances have made the original obsolete.
4. Not Invented Here.
5. Ego

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I think the main reason why game-engines are rewritten so often, has all to do with Morse Law. (Computer power doubles roughly every 18 month or something like that)

This means that entire concepts that were impossible to code in the present, are a must have just some months ahead. And on top of it harware changes the rules just as fast.

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For the newbs or unprofessional people ... most of the like to rewrite their entire engine even if a small error happens. I was among the list too until I realize that 95% of time has been wasted in reorganizing and rewriting the engine :(

The professionals in the Gaming Industry rewrite their engines due to the reasons that "JohnBolton" mentioned in his post above. However, if I am correct they do use most of the features that their old engine was giving.

If you look at 10 different applications programmed by one programmer ... you will find atleast 75% similarities between the coding logics and techniques used in all of the application. Not sure ... but thats what I have observed :)

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Actually, apparently Epic does a very good job of reusing the previous Unreal engines codebase in the newer Unreal engines. Id, on the other hand, is all about the complete rewrite.

Still, look at the opensource world for some sexy extensions of old code. Tenebrae looks as good as Doom3 (stencil shadows and all), and its all based on Quake 1 (to the point of backwards-compatibility with Q1 game data).

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