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Unity RTS Game Creation: Engine Recommendation/Design

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Hey all, have an important series of questions for everyone. My friends and I have decided it is time to begin creation of an RTS game we have been cooking up for the past year. After much research and careful preparation, our last hurdle we need to overcome to begin is the engine system. I have decided to appeal to the GameDev community for recommendations. We need an engine capable of running RTS mechanics, preferably one that is open source, as we have a few radical new mechanics we wish to try, and likely will need to program. We have no need of cross-platfor capability, but do require DirectX capability. Preferentially, the engine will also be low price, as a small 8-man team does not have the most amazing budget. We are capable of creating our own engine as well (although we would prefer to find one that is available to increase speed of creation). If we create our own, a few questions toward that as well: Is OGRE or Irrilicht a better graphics engine? (better defined as while OGRE has more features, are they easily available? Which is faster? Is Irrilicht stable enough for a commercial-quality RTS? etc.) For a GUI, is the standard widget library still the best choice, or is using a system like Hikari or even Scaleform GFX for a flash based system better? For a game that is going to be oriented around a LOT of scripting, is Python or Lua better (prefer power and ease of use over speed here) Could anyone point me to a good resource on how to make a good 3d map editor? That's all (for now)-thanks for the help!

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My suggestion is to write the RTS with 2D or 2.5D graphics first, in plain DirectX or Opengl.
If you already familiar with DirectX and/or OpenGL then OGRE is a good library for your 3D needs.

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The pygame mailinglist had a post about rts code. ( pygame is the python SDL wrapper )

they might have more specific advice on python scripting.

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I suggest u use Ogre 3D it has a large developer base and it's engine is close to state of the art in terms of 3D to handle 100's of animated objects on screen. However for a RTS you'll find it's not the 3D engine which will be your biggest hurdle but the game simulation and AI.

To that end some technologies which you should look at :

Open source pathing and steering library

http://opensteer.sourceforge.net/

Fast high level scripting language capable of handling realtime RTS logic

http://www.lua.org/

If you go with Lua you will need realtime debugger like

http://www.unknownworlds.com/decoda

Also for the added boost (if your going with Lua) you should get the JIT compiler for Lua (an instant 3-5x speedup)

http://luajit.org/

Good Luck!

-ddn

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@hiigara: Thanks for the rec, but no dice. I am fortunate enough to have some expert modelers and texturers on my team, and we plan to challenge the graphics of CNC3 with our game. 3d only.

@ddn3: Ok, I'll look into it-sounds good. OGRE was at the top of my list anyway, for its powerful features.

One final question I need answered though: Should I go with the standard widget style graphics user interface, or use a Scaleform GFX/Hikari style flash based system?

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I've never used Scaleform GFX, but I'm familiar enough with flash and know that a slick UI goes along way to selling a game. Scaleform GFX seems legit enough (they seem to have enough use cases) that I would go with it. My only concern is the cost. If you can afford it, go for it.

Good Luck!

-ddn

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