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arcooke

Please help me decide on a game engine.. round 2.

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Ok, here's the deal. I've been on the hunt for a game engine for almost 2 years now. I've got quite a few strict requirements and that's what's making it so difficult for me. I've looked at Torque, 3DGS, DX Studio (favorite so far), DarkBasic, Sylphis3D (dead project but looks good), Game Maker, and many others. Maybe one of you can help me decide on one. Here is a list of my own personal requirements: 1) RAD. Meaning I don't HAVE to dig into any of the engine's source code, I don't want to have to create my own tools (like a world editor, particle editor, etc). 2) A built-in scripting language that can take care of pretty much everything. I don't have the free time to go out and learn the ins and outs of C++ or anything. 3) Able to produce decent quality games that run at good framerates. I'm not looking for something next-gen, just something that is capable of visual results similar to games like Thief 3, GTA 3, TES3 Morrowind, Beyond Good & Evil, etc. I'm aware the overall visual design depends on the artists/developers.. but many of the engines out there have low ceilings for how many faces can be visible in any given scene, no shader support, etc. 4) Built in world editor/designer, or at least able to utilize a 3rd party world editor like Quark. 5) Inexpensive or Open source 6) Works on Windows, and can produce Windows binaries. Support for other platforms is optional. 7) Networking/internet/multiplayer support. I'm basically looking for a complete kit.. like DX Studio, Game Maker, 3D Game Studio, etc. Since those few were my favorites out of all I've tried out, here are the things I liked and disliked about them. DX Studio Good - Great results possible, built in scripting, decent community, shaders, editors. Bad - To get any sort of network functionality, you need the pro version which is almost $400 Game Maker Good - Great scripting language, very flexible, HUGE community Bad - Slow engine, terrible 3D support. 3D Game Studio Good - Complete kit, built in scripting language, decent graphics possible Bad - Buggy, pretty slow, lacking many important features like shaders. I want to do this in my free time (which I don't have much of), and just for fun. So, is what I'm hoping for non-existant? Can anyone help point me in the right direction? Thanks!

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You didn't mention C4. It was my favorite when I was researching game engines not long ago - I don't remember the details but I know it's got built-in editors/tools and supports networking for only $200.

Worth checking it out, I suppose.

http://www.terathon.com/c4engine/

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Have you looked through this list yet? If not, I suggest looking over it, especially as it includes columns for a number of features, as well as space for further comments.

I'm very new in its use myself, but I'd suggest at least considering Panda3D. I don't think that it has many of the tools that you want (world editors and the like), but I'm not sure that some aren't at least in development (I haven't searched their forums for such things, I'm afraid).

Even without them, and especially given the amount of time that you have apparently put into searching, perhaps you should consider Python scripting, as used in Panda. It involves learning the use of the language, but it doesn't seem to have the learning curve of C++, at least. ;)

On the plus side, some of the screenshots that I've seen for Panda look pretty good, and I've found the community to be rather helpful.

There's also the NeoAxis Engine, although I haven't tried it myself, and I'm not sure that it includes networking support.

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Two years? You're wasting too much time on this, just pick one that's OK and use it. If numbers 1 and 2 matter *a lot*, then you don't have much of a choice other than modding a game or using Game Maker. You didn't say if you were going to be publishing this commercially or for free. If it's non-commercial, I'd say just mod a game. You'll loose out on some of your audience, but the tools can be top-notch, it's free, and there's generally a large amount of documentation and help available for it.

The main thing is to just go and pick one! You've already found that there's no perfect solution, just find one that works. Don't let "perfect" be the enemy of "good". And don't expect to not need to spend large amounts of time on this project; no engine can do that.

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Thanks for the replies.

@Cecil_PL
I sure did check out C4, and it looked great. But upon further inspection, it looks like yet another authoring package where you can handle "some" things with a built in scripting language, but are more than likely going to need to dive into the engine source. Take this review from DevMaster for example:

"The only general drawback is that you (or a member of your team) do need to know your way around C++ in order to implement certain things specific to your game project. C4 is a game engine, and a fully featured one at that, but it's not a complete authoring system - and while the built-in nodebased scripting works really well within the scope it was designed for, it is quite limited compared to what you could do with, say, full Python support or something like that - so, at the end of the day, you do have to crawl in under the hood and start coding actual C++."


@Thaumaturge
Yep, I've checked that site (which seems a bit outdated). I've also been through and through DevMaster's engine database countless times. I also tried to check out Panda3D lately, but the site has been down for a few days now.

As for Python, I don't mind learning it. My main issue is that I have a heap of trouble with memory management (no pun intended).. which is why I'm so anti-C++. That, and the fact that C++ is just much slower in terms of development time.

I ALSO looked into NeoAxis. I think what it was that turned me away from that one is that on DevMaster, it said you don't get the editors (resource and world) unless you buy the $500 commercial version. I'm definitely going to read more into that one though, as it does look like a pretty good engine.

@Ezbez
Two years on-and-off. I haven't been actively looking the whole time.. just every once in a while I get a bug to make another game. I spent about 3 years with Game Maker before I tossed it because of how slow the engine is and how terrible the 3D support is. Yes, numbers one and two are very important. Modding is a possibility I suppose, but I really don't like requiring people to own a game in order to play mine. If you know of any that allow stand-alone mods, I'm all ears.

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Quote:
I also tried to check out Panda3D lately, but the site has been down for a few days now.


It has? That's odd. I've been logged onto their forum today, was looking at their documentation earlier, and just performed what I'm pretty sure was a hard refresh, and it seems fine to me. o_0

What URL are you using? The link that I gave in my previous post is the URL that I'm using...

Of course, it could, I suppose, be a routing issue on your end, or perhaps a firewall conflict... (I have had some firewall conflicts with their site over the past few days, as I recall. Temporarily having the firewall "allow all" seemed to work.)

As to memory management, I'm afraid that I'm new to Python myself, so I'm not sure to what degree memory management comes into it, but I've thus far managed, using Panda, to produce some basic wasd-based walking (including basic mouse-based character and camera orientation, with the camera being a third-person view locked behind and aboe the player) without touching anything that called for memory management that I'm aware of.

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