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Just starting out

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To make a long story relatively short, I've been messing around with the idea of making a game for about 2 or 3 years now. This fall I'll be attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh for Game Art and Design. I want to begin working on this now, since I have a couple of friends into the same field who are willing to help with the process. My goal is to make a 3d tank combat based game. Alot like a 3d version Gunbound or Scorched Earth (for those of you who haven't played these, think along the lines of the recent 3D Worms games.) My goal is to first build a single player setup, then implement direct connection, and then possibly server connection. My only problem is that I have relatively no experience in this at all. Between my friends and I we have a decent enough grasp of VB, LUA, Java, and C++ (some of them more than others). So, I'm turning to the community for help. What engines should I look into? (they almost defintiely have to be free. My only stretch might be putting $30-$50 if there would be a significant improvement over another option.) -Physics -Sound -Networking -Graphics implementation I currently have access to Maya and 3D Studio Max, so building the 3d models and applying their textures shouldn't be an issue.

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