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gentrinity

Help choosing my new approach into game development

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I have been trying to get into this industry for a while now without much success. Im trying to go a bit too low-level, I think, wanting to develop my own game and physics engine. Im noticing that maybe its not for me and what I really need is a framework that can allow me to focus my effort on actually building the game and not low-level coding and stuff. What game engine would be best for me at the moment? I am doing research on the main stuff available right now. What had me really amped for a full 2 hours was the Unity Game Engine. I played the Demo, saw the web player, read the feature set, noticed you could code in C# which I already know. I instantly said "this is what I will be doing from now on, this game engine is God". All that came to an abrupt and depressing end when I found out its only available on Macs. Now, I have been doing research and I have found 3 engines that look like I can make some kick ass games, but all are obviously out of my reach, them being Valve Source, Unreal Engine 3, and CryEngine 2. Not to mention, they probably are a bit too advanced for me. Do you know of any engines that can atleast come close to these and be accessable to me? Which brings me to Torque. I am just not sure about this engine. Torque Advanced looks like it can do some nice things but im not sure. If anyone has used it, please lend your thoughts on what I can accomplish and whether or not it is trully a time-saver. So whats left? XNA by itself is out of the question. I need an engine. But I could try the following combination; XNA 2.0 Framework Torque X Engine Ageia PhysX XSI Mod Tool Those are 4 completely different technologies that would each require their own learning curve, but it sure beats the pants off learning to build my own game and physics engine. Plus, other than Ageia, the 3 are made for each other. The only problem is that I wont have much in the way of a visual 3D editor, although the website at Torque did mention they are working on it. So heres my question, would those technologies allow me to do the following two things; 1.) Get my 3D gaming ideas up and running very fast. I would imagine Visual Editors are best for this so any recommendations would be helpful. Basically, I want to get things done as fast as the current available technologies allow it. 2.) Have the depth to allow for some pretty high-end games with great physics and graphics if I decided to dedicate the time to making it so. Im not looking for next-gen graphics, but anything good enough to make my game look respectable. Physics are important since I would like to implement rigid bodies and cloth physics, which I know Ageia includes. I think the answer to 2 is "yes", but not necessarily to 1. So how about this; Cinema4D Torque Game Engine Advanced This is interesting cause I would get the WYSIWYG editor of the TGEA which I know will allow me very fast deployment and I saw the graphics are nice enough for my needs. I heard that Cinema4D is one of the easiest 3D apps to get into, so thats a plus. This sounds like an interesting choice considering I have some Torque books I can use to learn. Please let me know what you think and if you can come up with a better suite of technologies to accomplish my two goals. Speed is important for just getting something up and running, but I dont want to invest my time on technologies that might hold me back if I do get advanced in the game. Please analyse both options and comment on their pros and cons and if something should be added/removed. I thank you very much for your time.

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Do you want to make games for yourself, or do you want to get a job making games? If the latter, what kind of job are you after? The best thing for you to do will depend on what you actually want. If you just want to make 3D games then the quickest thing to do is pick the moddable engine that has gameplay closest to what you want, and then mod it.

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I highly highly highllly recommend the C4 game engine. Its very cheap, has a lot of capabilities, is structured extremely well, and comes with full source.

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

TA is also a good engine if C4 isn't for you.

You may want to rethink your strategy though if you are trying to break into the industry. Make tech demo's showcasing your strong points, whether it be 3D, physics, networking, whatever, to show to prospective employers. If you just want to build a game then go with buying an engine.

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@phear- and @Kylotan

I have absolutely NO intention of getting a job in the game development industry. To give you guys a little bit of background on me, I get creative orgasms a lot where I will basically come up with what I believe can be a good selling game. I come up with so many miniscule details, its sick and I discuss my ideas with other gamers and they think "wow dude, thats a good idea". I want to be able to take all of my ideas and turn them into a reality. For that, I need to stop thinking about building a game and physics engine and get the easiest solution to get my games up and running. I would also like a technology that is advanced enough that after the initial design and creation phase, and the concept is to my liking, I can work on it to produce a commercially viable game.

@phear-

I saw the C4 engine and it looks rather nice. I think I might get into it, it even had a pdf explaining how to implement the PhysX engine which is good. I couldnt find that TA engine you mentioned, do you mean Torque Advanced? Of the two engines, which one do you prefer and why? One thing I am worried about is not having enough programming experience to be able to take advantage of the engine right now, I do know how to code, like I know C# and Actionscript 2.0, but I dont really have tons of experience.

http://www.dulcefina.com/as2/asteroids.html

Thats the most advanced thing I have done, dont know if I am ready for that game engine. Maybe you can recommend a better starting point if you dont think im ready for that engine. I do have SOME experience with XNA though. Anyway, share your thoughts, I would appreciate it.

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TA was abbreviated for Torque Advanced, sorry for the confusion.

I was assuming you were trying to get into the industry, rather than be an indy developer, because the first sentence of your post was "I have been trying to get into this industry for a while now without much success." Sorry for the confusion again, haha.

You really have three viable options in my opinion:
A) You take the jump (which really isn't that much of one for you if you already know C#) and learn C++, grab an engine like C4 or TA, and start coding your game. This option will take you a very long time compared to the other two options.
B) You stick with C# and use XNA. This would probably be the 2nd fastest route to go to for making your game as you're already familiar with C#.
C) You take a pre-existing game such as Unreal, Half Life, Crysis, etc. and modify it. This would be your fastest route to go, and you get all the eye candy you could dream of without having to program it.

Out of the two engines in my first reply I believe the C4 engine does the job better for me in my game than TA did. The major selling point for me about the C4 engine was the fact that you get every update in the future for life. And on top of that the creator of the engine answers any and all questions within an extremely short amount of time on the forums so the support for the engine is top-notch.

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Quote:
Original post by phear-
TA was abbreviated for Torque Advanced, sorry for the confusion.

I was assuming you were trying to get into the industry, rather than be an indy developer, because the first sentence of your post was "I have been trying to get into this industry for a while now without much success." Sorry for the confusion again, haha.

You really have three viable options in my opinion:
A) You take the jump (which really isn't that much of one for you if you already know C#) and learn C++, grab an engine like C4 or TA, and start coding your game. This option will take you a very long time compared to the other two options.
B) You stick with C# and use XNA. This would probably be the 2nd fastest route to go to for making your game as you're already familiar with C#.
C) You take a pre-existing game such as Unreal, Half Life, Crysis, etc. and modify it. This would be your fastest route to go, and you get all the eye candy you could dream of without having to program it.

Out of the two engines in my first reply I believe the C4 engine does the job better for me in my game than TA did. The major selling point for me about the C4 engine was the fact that you get every update in the future for life. And on top of that the creator of the engine answers any and all questions within an extremely short amount of time on the forums so the support for the engine is top-notch.


Sounds great, I have a question about using pre-existing games then... how exactly do I go about using them for my games? I dont quite understand the concept so if you have a link or you yourself can explain it, I would appreciate it. I am very interested in using the Crysis engine since I would love destructable environments, but again, I dont know how to get into that. How does it work? Do you import the source code and read it all and try and figure out how it works? Can you actually extract the Unreal Engine 3 from Unreal Tournament? Or is modding just adding maps and characters? What about adding functionality like different cameras, multiplayer concepts, and physics?

I think you are right about the second option, it would probably be the fastest route since I already have a basic understanding of XNA and some experience in C#. I would then just need to learn XSI Mod Tool for the nice tools it would give for XNA, dont know what they are, but its the only 3D app thats free and offers that.

Best of all, Torque X Engine has a binary version which is free to use. That means I can get some basic stuff that can help me with the game. I ask you though, what do you think about Torque X? Do you think its worth it to use the binary code provided? Its free so that instantly makes it a good idea, my question is whether you would use it or try and make the stuff it provides yourself?

Ageia PhysX looks powerful enough to handle all of the things I want it to do, however it wont run on the XBOX 360 which is a bit of a bummer cause atleast one of my games was definitely going to be specifically designed to be used with a controller. The Torque engine physics dont include the cloth physics I really want for the game.

Either way, for now, I should just concentrate on building a workable game in XNA without any of that, even if its not advanced or anything, and maybe start building some classes. I need to realise that while XNA doesnt provide a lot of code, if I can write me 20 or so classes that handle a lot of the recurring tasks I plan on using in future games, then I will inadvertedly create a game engine, a simple one, but one non the less.

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