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Recommend a 2D Game Engine, Experienced, Making 2D Online Game

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Hey guys, I'm looking to make an actual game and finished product rather than small projects and experimenting. Just to start off, I've been programming in C/C++ for a few years now and I've been scripting with different script languages for longer. I've done some web projects with php, C#, and javascript as well. I also work as a software development intern during summers to generate some positive flow. My assessment on my experience level would be in between intermediate and expert. I've done work with the source engine, UDK, and the A7 game engine as well as LOVE and a few other obscure ones. Basically I would love if you guys could show me good game engine to work off of given what I'm trying to do. I want to make a networked game in which multiple players can join a match and compete in side scroller shooter type action. I wanted it to be a highly customizable game with destructible terrian and physics. There will be some basic social networking in the game to like a server browser and friends list. Also planned is a map designer and army editor so I need a good simple but powerful GUI library. I know of Box2D for 2d physics and I'm sure I could search around for game engines and appropriate libraries, but I'd like to get some expert's advice on where to start. I didn't want to spend too much time creating things that are already done and probably done better. Also another note, if you couldn't infer, I would need source access too. It would be a nice perk to have a scene graph with a sort of entity based system but I could code my own if need be. Thanks in advance. Edited: I can see after doing more research that integrating physics with destructible terrain will be no easy task. I'm not able to even find any examples or resources online that would even suggest how its done. It can be done however and I am determined to figure it out. [Edited by - AlexH on April 24, 2010 1:21:12 PM]

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Thanks, I've known about XNA but never took an in-depth look at it or its community. I'll do that now. Though last time I checked XNA was for xbox releases and not to popular amongst PC developers. I am targeting the PC only.

So far on my list are Haaf's Game Engine (HGE), PTK, and Allegro.

I foresee my biggest challenges being destructible terrain and getting it all networked. Maybe I should contact the people at Datarealms and ask how they optimized their game Cortext Command.

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