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HolyGrail

what would you do with a middleware ?

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I often see interesting columns on the Gamedev.net frontpage dealing with commercial or not middlewares, most of the time they are a bit expensive for an indie creator. My question is quite simple ( sorry if it is the wrong place to post it ) : suppose you win the lottery or you have enough money what would you do if you had the possibilty to buy a commercial game engine ( like Unreal for example ) or middleware tools like Criterion Renderware , thousand us dollars or euros worth ? I mean a game middleware with many features ( WYSISWYG editor , full 3d objects support, scriping engine, particle engine...) that can afford a lot of productivity ? * would you like to see the game(s) of your dreams published with this tool ? Suppose you have a license for the Unreal Engine, have you got ideas to make games with it ? *do you think is it worth investing money for such a tool ? Or instead using Open Source tools such as Ogre,Blender....could be considered ?

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Nothing really. Blender and XNA affords me everything I need.

I'm a one man hobbyist operation with realistic goals. I don't need an industrial strength solution.

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I'd actually prefer a gamemaker with full 2D support to one with full 3D support. Or course one that did both would be great. But I wouldn't be in the market for anything over $200 for the full/professional/commercial version. The main issue I've had with existing gamemaker-type programs is that the ones which produce good-looking games have either awful tutorials or very limited pre-made game feature code, and the ones with good tutorials make crappy retro-looking games. Also, there is some great middle-ware out there already that's totally incompatible with each other, making it really hard to use several of them together to make a game. Wouldn't it be more useful to have a 3D engine built around Poser for the character models and clothing so the developer could just purchase from the huge number of existing models? Or 2D Gamemaker for Flash as a set of tutorials and libraries that would guide a clueless person through making complex games of various genres in Flash?

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<english pedant>You do things with 'middleware', not 'a middleware'. It's like code, or sand, ie. a mass noun.</english pedant>

Generally speaking, I wouldn't recommend that a lottery winner buys expensive middleware. It works best in the hands of experts who know exactly what sort of functionality they need and how best to utilise it. They also tend to assume that you have access to other tools, often of equally high cost. The amount of productivity they would give an inexperienced or small indie developer might actually be negative due to the extra complexity.

Indie creators are better off working with things pitched at their price range until they get a good feel for the sort of limitations that will be a problem for them.

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@Daaark: this is a good reply.Do you think that XNA could compete with other "middleware" tools
@sunandshadow : yes this is a good idea, having a 3d engine built around poser.You should suggest this idea to companies developping middleware tools
@Kylotan : sorry for my bad use of english language. I wanted to speak of a particular "middleware tool"

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Quote:
Original post by HolyGrail
@Daaark: this is a good reply.Do you think that XNA could compete with other "middleware" tools
No, XNA doesn't compete with those big middleware packages, they are 2 different things. Also, you lump all middleware together.

Unreal3 is a game engine.
Other middleware is specialized and offers specific functionality like physics or animation, or lip sync, or sound, etc...

Quote:
@sunandshadow : yes this is a good idea, having a 3d engine built around poser.You should suggest this idea to companies developing middleware tools
That's a horrible idea. Poser figures aren't suited for realtime use. A figure with clothes and hair ends up with well over 100,000 polygons. If you want something from poser, all you have to do anyways is export it.

Sun, are you aware of MakeHuman? You can export a figure from there into Blender, and then animate it, and load the resulting .x file into XNA with 1 line of code. :P

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Even if I were to suddenly acquire shirt-loads of cash, I still wouldn't use an ultra-expensive 3D tools and middleware like Unreal's engine. Partly this is because I prefer making 2D games anyway, but also I just don't have the time to make enough content to warrant those kinds of tools. I'd be far more likely to spend that money on contracting additional artists to make my 2D games look better.

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Quote:
Original post by HolyGrail
My question is quite simple ( sorry if it is the wrong place to post it ) :
suppose you win the lottery or you have enough money what would you do if you had the possibilty to buy a commercial game engine ( like Unreal for example ) or middleware tools like Criterion Renderware , thousand us dollars or euros worth?

I imagine that, if you're an indie developer with a full time job, you could quit your job and live on the money you won for some time. That should give you a lot more productivity (assuming you're using your time well). Either way, I would buy tools and libraries that I'd need, and those depend on the kind of game you're working on. For the game that I'm working on nowadays, Ogre 3D works well. For the art, I'm using Paint.NET, although I also bought a program named Artrage 2, because I want to experiment with a paintery art style.

So no, I wouldn't buy the latest 3D engine and toolset, simply because I'm not working on games that require that kind of power. Most games that do also require an army of artists and designers, so by the time I'd start on such a project, I wouldn't really call myself indie anymore.


Oh, two more things come to mind: music and art. That's where some money comes in handy. :)

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Quote:
Original post by Daaark
Quote:
Original post by HolyGrail
@sunandshadow : yes this is a good idea, having a 3d engine built around poser.You should suggest this idea to companies developing middleware tools
That's a horrible idea. Poser figures aren't suited for realtime use. A figure with clothes and hair ends up with well over 100,000 polygons. If you want something from poser, all you have to do anyways is export it.

Sun, are you aware of MakeHuman? You can export a figure from there into Blender, and then animate it, and load the resulting .x file into XNA with 1 line of code. :P

So perhaps the middleware could specialize in converting polygons into a simpler polygon mesh plus a texture to emulate the higher level of detail? It's not a horrible idea, it's just not a complete idea. Plus there are always non-realtime-3D uses, like a middleware that could automatically convert an animated figure in poser into a series of sprite frames...

Yeah I'm aware of MakeHuman, that doesn't address the point that if you try to buy premade 3D content like 80% of what exists is for Poser, and the poser stuff is also mostly for a few standard character models, while in non-poser stuff it would be really difficult to find a character model that already came with 50 outfits.

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You speak of the Unreal engine as of some godly tool that bestows you powers to create games of one's dreams, and cannot be acquired by mere mortals. Well, sure, the license to publish a game with it is expensive, but that doesn't mean you can't buy an Unreal-engine-powered game and mod it.

Say you win a lottery and buy a copy of Unreal Tournament 3. It can be thought of as the complete Unreal 3 engine, with some sample code/models/maps (the UT3 stuff).

Does that mean you can easily make 'the game of your dreams' mod with it?

I may not be 100% right about functionalityOf(Unreal engine licence) == functionalityOf(Unreal engine powered game mod), but I'm sure it's close enough. I'm pretty sure all you need is the SDK and UnrealED to make a GoW-like mod for UT3.

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