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Which 3D engine is best for what I'm doing

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I am in a project in a course called "Innovating Game Development" with three other people, and we are trying to figure out a good engine to use for our project. The course supports Dojo/G3D, but that has been a bit cumbersome and if we can find a better engine, that would be great. I am currently looking for some other ones, but it would be helpful if any experienced game programmers could point out any really nice engines we could use. Are there any superior FREE engines out there? Me and my partners were checking out Ogre3D and were impressed with that. From experience, does Ogre seem like a superb engine that we could use for our project? To provide an idea of what we're doing, here is a rough draft of our project description: Genre: Racing Mechanics: Diddy Kong Racing meets Kameo: Elements of Power with free roaming elements Setting: King Kong meets Batman Target Audience: people who like racing games, people who don't like racing games, explorers, completionists, casual gamers, teenagers, people who like to blow sh*t up. Goal: Choose a transforming vehicle that will take you across a huge map to the finish line faster than your opponents while sabotaging them in the process! It's fun because... - Each time you play can be different, since there are many possible paths to take and many vehicles to choose. - You can discover how your vehicle can be used to overcome obstacles better than other vehicles. - Powerups not only attack your opponents or boost your own abilities, but they can also affect the environment itself! - Some vehicles are equipped with weapons that allow you to sabotage other vehicles, making the race. It takes a conniving player to beat the odds. It's innovative because... - It is a racing game but instead of traveling around a track that will be the same every time, it is up to you to figure out the best route from start to finish. - The terrain you travel on could be taken from satellite scans or you could create your own maps with randomly placed obstacles - Vehicles are widely different, and powerups affect each of them differently Scenes: The map would be huge and contain lots of different areas (city, jungle, underwater, etc.); some examples of advantages vehicles would have over others: - you might be a transforming vehicle that transforms into a humanoid robot to climb ladders and jump over rooftops rather than navigating through the streets - you could glide on or even swim through water, rather than avoiding it - you could have extra shock-absorbers or something to recover quickly from large drops or damage taken from powerups - you could have knives or something to cut through underbrush and move quickly through thick forest areas - you could even have no special abilities except immunity to powerups and above-average speed, acceleration and handling Vehicles with varying traits like these will attempt to find the best path through the map to reach the finish line. Powerups would include standard things like missiles from Mario Kart and also transform-disabling attacks and effects that would alter the environment (i.e. turn water into mud or something). Important note on AI: Racing games have never had stunning AI. Although to be fair, racing games have never needed any particularly good AI. There wasn't much the computer opponent needed to do except stay on the track and try not to crash. But in this game, things are different. With the environment-racing concept, not only has the terrain upon which the racing takes place changed, but so has the opponents against which one races. Gone are the simplistic, go forward on the track at a steady pace and basically being an ignorable part of the background AI opponent. Now the opponent will learn and adapt to your strategy in an attempt to cut you off, or to stop you from reaching your goal. Be it by physically body blocking you, or changing the terrain to become hostile to you, or perhaps even using the powerups against you, the AI opponent can and will try to stop you every step of your way to the finish!

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