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New game idea: should I make it as a mod or should I buy a game engine?

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After browsing some forums over the weekend I discovered a game that had terrible graphics, a terrible intereface, terrible controls, but a GREAT game idea. I'm looking to take some ideas from that game, add my own new features, and release it with a much better intereface with a much better engine. What I'm not sure about is what I should use to write the game. Right now I'm mostly considering two engines: 1) Steam; the game would be written as a mod. 2) Torque; the game would be written as it's own game (eg. standalone) I'm really not concerned about making money from the game. I'd be thrilled if people even play it. Also, money is not really a big problem so paying $100 - $200 for Torque is really not a big deal. My concern is that Steam's modding community doesn't seem to be very active. The main developer forums receive one or two posts per day and the documentation wiki is extremely lacking. However, using Steam would allow me to use the models and textures from their engine. (a huge plus) On the other hand, Torque has a very active community but doesn't have as many nice features as Steam. For example, Torque fully supports physics and networking, but it doesn't use anything like Havok or have support for advanced lighting. However, with Torque I can completely create the game as I want to, but I need to use free 3d models and textures, etc... Also, Torque doesn't look anywhere near as good as Steam. Finally, Ogre3d is a free 3d graphics engine, but it doesn't include support for sound, networking, input, or physics. You can implement freely available libraries but this requires a ton of knowledge and a lot more work. The screenshots from Ogre3d look simply amazing, but the code is pure C++ and you need to do *everything* yourself whereas with Torque you have lots of stuff already done for you. So what do you think is the best way to go? Here is a brief description of the game I'd like to create... (Some ideas borrowed from "Murder Mansion") The basic idea is you are inside a small mansion with 4 to 12 other people. One person is randomly picked to be the murderer and must silently (and secretly) kill all of the other quests. If somebody see's (eg. line-of-sight) somebody murder somebody else they can report the murderer and win the game. There will also be features such as seeing blood on the murderers hands, washing their hands, cleaning their hands (but leaving a bloody towel), etc, etc. Any advice for me would be greatly appriciated

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By Steam I assume you mean Source, Steam is just a online delivery platform, Source is the actual engine that powers HL2 (there are however games on Steam that don't run on Source). As for modding Source, there's very little documentation and the Source SDK consists of half a million lines of C++ code which isn't very beginning friendly. So if you've got plenty of experience working with C++ you'll probably be alright but otherwise I wouldn't recomend it.

Did you take a look at Crystal Space and OpenTNL as I suggested in the other thread?

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Well... the problem with Crystal Space is that it doesn't include anything networking support. I understand that I can add-on OpenTNL but I would need to program all of the networking support code as well as code for latency, etc...

With Torque and Source I don't need to worry about anything. I just drop down player entities and the built-in networking automatically controls player sync, lag, and all of the other nasty networking issues...

I'm decent at programming but I'm worried about the difficulty of programming my own networking code (even with a good foundation library such as OpenTNL).

That's the reason I'm staying away from Ogre3d. It looks to be an AWESOME graphics engine, but I'd still need to add-on physics, networking, input, and sound plus I'd need to manually intereface everything as well as code for lag, player sync, object sync, etc, etc...

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Well Source can be a bit of nightmare in terms of coding, Torque has a built in scripting language that will be easier to use, I don't know what the source looks like but they do give you documentation which is more than you get with the Source SDK (well there's a little bit of half-decent documentation on the SDK wiki and loads of copy and paste tutorials). You can get a torque demo which allows you to play around with the scripting, so why not take a look at that and have a poke around the Source SDK and see which you prefer.

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