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roos

Are any free libraries used commercially?

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Hi, I am interested in getting into the game industry... I think it'd be good if I get experience with the same tools used by actual game companies. Unfortunately probably 99% of the tools companies use are either home-brewed or very expensive. Does anyone know some good free libs/tools that might come in handy if I learn them? So far, here are a few things I've come up with: Lua scripting language Milkshape ATI RenderMonkey?? Make a mod of an existing game For physics, I'm not sure if ODE is used by anyone commercially... Havok or Havok 2 would be nice, maybe they might let me use an evaluation copy for free but I dunno. There's also something called "Havok Xtra" which is apparently free, but can only be used with Shockwave 3d, not sure, maybe might be worth looking into For graphics, that's tricky, most companies would use something very expensive like Renderware, Cry engine, Doom 3 engine, etc. So far the Truevision3D engine looks promising. I *think* it is free for non-commercial games. For audio, what do companies use? Also are there any good level editors or related tools that are free (or can be bought cheaply) and used by any game companies? Thanks and sorry for the long post! roos

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Well from your list the Lua scripting language has been used in several games (such as Far Cry), Python which is another language you can embed in your programs has also been used in several games.

Just take a look at the RenderMonkey testimonials page here to see who's using it. As you can see from that page there's various people from game companies using it.

As for Milkshape I've never heard of it being used for commercial games. Milkshape is functional but isn't anywhere near packages such as 3D Studio Max, Maya, and Softimage. All 3 of these packages cost a lot of money though there are free versions (GMax, Maya PLE and Softimage|XSI EXP) that are limited in some way which means you wouldn't be able to use them for actually creating content for a game (because the free versions won't allow any kind of exporting and if you can work out some cunning way to load the model in your game anyway you're breaking the licence agreement so they could sue you). However you could use these free versions to learn how the packages work and get experience with them.

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For Audio is your game is going to be Windows/XBox only then DirectSound would be used, however probably via a custom wrapper.

For X-platform stuff OpenAL has had some useage (UT2K3/4, SoF2, JK2, JKA, AA:O to name a few) and FMOD probably has as well.

Freetype has also been used in Dawn of War.

[Edited by - _the_phantom_ on November 30, 2004 11:19:48 AM]

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PNGlib and zlib are used often; if I'm not mistaken, IE uses PNGlib and you can find the DLL in many games bin directory. FMOD for sound is a good one (free for personal, $100 for shareware, expensive for commercial license).

I wouldn't worry too much about learning engines since most are by their nature designed to be easy to use. It's good to know some API's such as OpenGL, SDL, any of the above libraries, and of course know how to use standard libraries like STL. Companies know you can't learn their proprietary software in advance so don't worry about it.

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Quote:
Original post by roos
For graphics, that's tricky, most companies would use something very expensive like Renderware, Cry engine, Doom 3 engine, etc. So far the Truevision3D engine looks promising. I *think* it is free for non-commercial games.
There are many free engines avalible, such as Genesis3d* which has been used on a varity of budget commercial games. Ogre, Cube and Crystal Space 3d are among several dozen free engines you can use.

There are varous free 2d engines as well, like Kyra Sprite Engine. (Free if you include a splash screen)

Most companies go with more expensive engines, because they get the documentation that goes with it. Cheaper engines are usually just as good, but they usually lack understandable variable names or tons of documentation.

*I find it humorous that Genesis3d was used on a Nazi hate game & a non-violent Christian game.

[Edited by - Binomine on December 1, 2004 12:59:43 AM]

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SDL and OpenAL are used in most (if not all) of Chronic Logic's commercial games, along with some other related stuff (OGG Vorbis, perhaps).

Mark

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Cool, thanks a lot. That's a pretty good start, now I just have to actually learn all that stuff :)

@ Puzzler183: Yeah, you're right that companies won't really care if I know a lot of this stuff, especially if it's proprietary... This post was just inspired by an article I was reading about getting a job in the industry and they mentioned that if you can show a company you have some proficiency in the tools they use, that'll give you a bit of an edge.

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