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I've been programming in C++ and OpenGL for years now. Making my- say you call- engines from scratch and re-using this for other games. There are several game engines out there where you can include them in, add plug ins to work, and create games from there. To me, I fell like using a game engine is cheating. Strange isn't it? I know your not supposed to re-invent the wheel.
  • How much do game engines really help?
  • Would you consider it as 'cheating'?
  • Are there any free engines out there that support only OpenGL based programs such as Glut, Glu , etc.?
  • Say you are making a commercial quality game -or close thereof- what engine would you prefer?
  • Do game engines themselves act as a new language or are they merely calling commands?
This may seem ridiculous, but here at GameDev, I've always got my questions answered, and thank you all.

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  • How much do game engines really help?



Well a good engine can take upwards of three years to develop, and even then would probably use other engines internally (for instance the Havoc physics engine). Pretty much every game that you'll have played is built around some type of engine, so they help a lot :)

Quote:


  • Would you consider it as 'cheating'?



No definitly not. The game engine is simply a tool that lets you create your game; a fairly sophisticated tool admitedly. There are many game companies out there that use third party engines to create their games - take Bethesda Game Studios for example, they used the Gamebryo engine (heavily modified) to create their masterpiece Oblivion.

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  • Are there any free engines out there that support only OpenGL based programs such as Glut, Glu , etc.?



Yes definitly. http://www.devmaster.net/engines/. Irrlicht and The Nebula Device 2 are both really good. Although they wouldn't be using GLUT, it's no longer being developed. However there are a number of engines that support OpenGL and multiple platforms.

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  • Say you are making a commercial quality game -or close thereof- what engine would you prefer?



I'd probably go with the UT3 engine, but I don't have that kind of cash; I think BioShock was built using it. Crytek would be fun to play around with too :)

Quote:


  • Do game engines themselves act as a new language or are they merely calling commands?



Not a new languange, no. They're like the engine for a car, you build your game around them. Game engines are like APIs more than anything else, and many of them provide level designers and model viewers etc.

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It all really depends on what you are trying to achieve. Are you in it for the pleasure of writing technology/learning, or to actually make a game? I personally really enjoy getting into the guts of things and writing tech for the sake of it, but I have never actually finished (well, to the point that I'd call finished) an actual game :). I know people who just get frustrated with getting bogged down in technology, and just do whatever is required to get the game done (I somewhat admire such people -_^).

If you're making Tetris, then Unreal 3 won't help much. If you're making BioShock then it's invaluable. In the real world, engines are not usually used as a black box and are tweaked/customized/optimized for a particular game's requirements, so it's not as if you'd be never touching the low level stuff. If you're in the business of writing games, then you use what you can to get the job done faster (i.e. no it's not cheating).

I'm not sure what you mean by "Do game engines themselves act as a new language or are they merely calling commands". To me an engine is (ideally) a set of discrete libraries brought together to make a particular game.

Thats my 2c. Gotta get back to work :).





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If you're making Tetris, then Unreal 3 won't help much. If you're making BioShock then it's invaluable.


I just had to point that out. It was funny! ^_^

Thanks for your opinions.
@Capoeirista:
I'll look into those. They seem promising, and thank you very much.

[Edited by - PCN on September 19, 2007 3:33:15 PM]

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i feel the same as you, i dont like using other engines because i feel like im using someone elses work mainly because i dont know whats going on behind the scenes.

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Original post by fitfool
i feel the same as you, i dont like using other engines because i feel like im using someone elses work mainly because i dont know whats going on behind the scenes.
Do you really need to know what's going on behind the scenes? Unless you want to spend a lot of time designing, coding and then fixing and refixing an engine without getting much done it's generally better to Write Games, Not Engines.

Promit on reinventing wheels. Reinventing the wheel isn't neccesarily a bad thing, it can be a good learning experience, and sometimes existing wheels just aren't suitable for your purposes. Unless you're very good at it you're probably not going to make a better wheel anyway though, and may not even be able to correctly judge the merits of those that already exist.


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Original post by PCN
How much do game engines really help?
If you're trying to get a game up and running a suitable existing engine can be invaluable; it'll save you a lot of time and effort that can instead be put into the actual game.

Quote:
Would you consider it as 'cheating'?
Do you consider using the standard library of your chosen programming language to be cheating? You didn't write that either and you may or may not have much of an idea of how most of it works, but it would be foolish to recreate all that functionality without a damned good reason. Professional developers use engines all the time, why not give yourself the same advantage?

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Do you consider using the standard library of your chosen programming language to be cheating? You didn't write that either and you may or may not have much of an idea of how most of it works, but it would be foolish to recreate all that functionality without a damned good reason. Professional developers use engines all the time, why not give yourself the same advantage?

I never thought about it that way before. Good point.

[Edited by - PCN on September 19, 2007 3:33:47 PM]

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I can remember a similar post years ago on (flipcode I think). Where somebody started ranting on saying that using OpenGL or DirectX was cheating. And I can also remember back on the amiga where a lot of people considered it to be cheating if you weren't using assembler.
So no using an engine is definatly not cheating. If you want to get any sizeable game working then you're going to eventually use a third party engine.
As to which engine for a comercial quality game it depends on the genre and alos the platform that you need to support.

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Original post by PCNWould you consider it as 'cheating'?

I *FEEL* the same. I like the feeling that I did everything by myself. There would be no point in arguing with me on that point. [simle] It's just how I feel. I don't claim that's a good way to go, I don't claim I'd do that if I were running a buisness, etc. Coding things from scratch is fun and rewarding with regards to self-esteem. I guess for other people, making a brilliant use of existing libraries is rewarding too. Making a game that works is not what I aim at (in a near future at least), it's just the process of doing it from scratch that I enjoy. In fact, as soon as I think I overcame the main difficulties, I usually quit and move on to the next challenge.


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