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My Project and the Problem with Licencing and Engine.

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First off, before I get into my problem I need to say two thing right off the bat. One is that I could not figure out wich forum this post should be in, so if I posted in the wrong forum I am sorry for my foolishness and please move it to the correct forum. Two is that I cannot spell very well, my language is handy capped due to a brain disorder. However, I am going to try the best I can and proofread so sorry for any spelling errors or grammer mistakes. Now, on to my problem. Every so often, I go back to a certant Game Design Document and begin to proof-read it and patch it up for the `nth time. I have been doing this ince 1998 and I am surpised how many of the ideas and story concepts are fresh in new 9 years later. However, I re-invented my Tech Document and now I would just like to reflect my thoughts to make sure that at least from a design point of view I am doing the right thing. After looking over all the requirements graphicly, sound-wise, programming-wise and such, I have made my move to state that to accomplish these goals the project will require its own engine. Now intitaly I though it would be nice to lets say...licence Unreal or something and moddify it to my needs. After all, the technology is there and many people know how to scrip and program in Unreal. However, I have looked everything over and found two reasons why this could be a bad thing for this project: #1) Control and Power on the Engine and Design Unreal, Source, Doom and all engines were made around a certant type of game and technology requirements at the time. They also are build around the inforstructure for their programmers and designers to understand. If we licence a new Engine, we will have to learn all the ups and downs of that engine, thus what we can do is limited to what that peice of hardware can do and its boundries. Also, for some of the stuff we want would require to re-code and re-structure parts of it inorder to achive results. From my own experinces and talking to other programmers and designers, re-tooling and totaly redesigning another game engine can almost be as difficult or as worse as building one yourself. The way I viewed it and talking to programmers, having an engine of their own design while taking more time to program, will allow unpreceedence of control and flexability for what we need to do and how fast and effective our goals can go through the pipeline. #2) A Foot in the Door Since this game we plan on breaking grounds with story and visuals (more so in animation than in rendering), it would be hard even with a 100% finnished bug-free product to present it to a Publisher and have them be like "Yea, thats groovy! We will give it to our marketing team and sell it! $$$" I have notest over the years that were the real money and popularity seems to go is not the game, but the tech behind the game. Source, Doom 3 Source, Unreal 3, Reality, Saber 3D. Each got there game in the door by selling the SDK's and wre able to spark products based on the SDK's they were selling. I am sure that when they pitched TimeShift, they were not talking about the in-deph story and charcters, but how Saber 3D can bend time and render objects very pritty. Since our current in-house SDK is focused on being more like Gamebryo than lets say Unreal 3 (since we would like to reuse the SDK for other things) we think that premoting our Game with the SDK we are willing to make would be a good thing. Plus, this can give us extra cash for every licence sold. Right now, we plan on creating this SDK by using a moddified Irrlicht framework (wich we have done tests in and have had good success with very few errors) and creating a scripting language that suits our needs. My question is if we are doing the right thing by going this rout? What bumps in the road can you forsee that we do not? I welcome all comments and oppinions on this topic. Please let me know as soon as possible! :-D

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The game engines that are licensed have thier reputation from the title game they were made for, not the other way around.

If you are making a FPS, then consider making a mod for one of the big FPSs (Quake/DooM or Unreal); I do not know the actual licensing cost for one these engine, but I am lead to believe it is hundreds of thousands of dollars. However you can make a free mod for them without buying a license. If you are not making a FPS, then these are not good choices.

Other options to consider are a low budget engine such as Torque or Auran Jet (roughlt $100-$150USD) or the popular open source engine, OGRE, which gives you access to all the source code and has no licensing fee. I think it is LGPL, though you should double check that, which means you do not have to GPL/LGPL your game source code, but do have to make engine improvements/modifications LGPL.

(I'm sure there are numerous other engines available if anyone wants to pitch thier favorite.)

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I udnerstand. Its just that the games that are noticed are the ones with licenced engines. For instance, they always quote Quake 3 with the "DOOM 3 Engine" and I think if ID used like Quake 3 or some other propritary engine instead of creating their own, it would not have gotten the level of major hype it did. Minus the popularaty of the game itself btw.

We are currently using the Irrlitch engine for test and while compiling is slow we have achived some interesting restults.

The "problem" with our game is it not a run of the mill FPS. Its a Third-Person game that involves shooting and hand-to-hand combat that flows in and out of eachother. Their is also a hub world and ways to upgrade your combat abilities while you wad though the story.

So its not just about running and gunning, you have to use all the skills and moves we plan to get around. Plus, you are rewarded with style. ;-D

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