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Game Engine / Language- Java, XNA C#, Engines?

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My goal is to create a multiplayer action-based 2D isometric rpg that can support 20, 40, or 100 players at once (and eventually into 1000's if population rises).

I have studied some Java programming, but once I found Torque Game Builder (2D) I stopped because I thought I found a great game engine. Yesterday, I discovered its network code was horrible (it only supports turn-based game networking, and doesn't have what it needs to provide action-based multiplayer networking...) As well as Torque2D (torquescript) has horrid horrid HORRID documentation written by monkeys on typewriters.

Now I'm back to square one! I've pretty much got a beautiful and large set of 2D graphics, sprite sheets, etc. that I've been working on. Graphics won't be any problem!

The game engine is though. I really liked Python but discovered the game engines (libraries) were poor and I would prefer at least some basics out of the way. So I went with Java, bought a comprehensive reference and began learning pretty easily. The only Java game engines I can find though are Slick2D (based on LWJGL) and well, LWJGL, lol. I saw a few others but they didn't seem any different than Slick2D. Later my brother (both my brothers are programmers) showed me to XNA with C# as the language. I went through the 2D tutorials and liked it as well, although I liked Java and Python better than C# (especially since I have a huge Java reference book the size of a bible)

I figure if I can't find a game engine like Torque2D with multiplayer support, I might as well just start from scratch and build my own engine while learning more complex programming.

My question though is what game engine? What libraries? What programming language? I want to speed up as much as I can to not recreate the wheel over and over. Simplification also helps as game programming is not easy.

I want to specifically go 2D (isometric, so maybe 2.5D but from 2D sprites and tiles) and skip all the headaches and bruises associated with anything 3D.

Is XNA Game Studio 4.0 my best bet? It seemed pretty powerful...

I don't see much on Java or Python game libraries or engines.

The biggest question is "What engine, library, or language provides excellent tutorials for Multiplayer Action Isometric 2D RPG's"?
I am sooo tired of remaking Arcade classic games over and over just to learn the basics. The "basics" are always soooo easy to learn, it's a waste of my time to repeat these steps most of the time. I want to learn how to create actual GAMEPLAY (such as adding in combat, stats, character skills, button-pressed attacking (hit E to swing!), targetting, damage, health, inventory, GUI, Networking, Splash Screens, etc.


Every single tutorial I find on every engine, library, or language is all about the extreme basics which I have already learned in C#, Python, and especially Java. Any advice? XNA? Java? Slick2D? Pygame? Thanks.

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I have found a few Isometric 2D game engines, but don't know much about them. I am getting tired (just bc of how often and how much I have been researching and googling) to find a game engine and am really dying to create. I've been working on graphics since forever (they're nearly complete!) and during the last 6 months been looking for a good game engine and programming language.

XNA can port me to the XBOX, but I love Java's use-anywhere-on-anything philosophy and its ability to port to the iphone and mobile gaming.

I have looked though and found a few game engines I have next to no clue about:

*EXPLORATIONS*
http://www.explore-rpg.com/

*ISOWORLD*
http://www.spritec.com/legacy.htm

*ISOMYR*
http://pypi.python.org/pypi/Isomyr/#introduction

*JAVA ISOMETRIC ENGINE*
http://sourceforge.net/projects/jisoman/




Anyone know of these? I am especially looking at EXPLORATIONS, but am very very skeptical.

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If you would be prepared to go back to using a game engine similar to torque then I would definitely give Unity3d a try:
http://unity3d.com/

It is free for indie use and very fully featured. There are plenty of tutorials.
After you have covered the interface and scripting basics (would take no more than 2 hours - probably less) I would take a look at the tutorials on the site.

The first one I did taught me how to make a 3d platform adventure with enemies, animations etc. There is also a 2D platformer tutorial which might help you. All scripting is done in Unity's version to javascript, C#, or Boo - you can use all 3 in a single game if you like.

After you've got to grips you should be able to use it to create a 2D or 2.5D game. You may even stray into 3D as it is so easy to implement.
I would also add the networking functionality is well documented and "easy" to use (it still requires you to read and learn but it is well written). You can also build your apps to run in a webplayer which might also suit your needs.

Here are some useful links:
http://unity3d.com/unity/download/
http://unity3d.com/support/resources/tutorials/
http://unity3d.com/support/community

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So it won't be too much trouble to use Unity, a 3D engine, to create a 2D sprite-based game (with absolutely 0% 3D in it)?

I am going to be using sprites and sprite-sheets, similar to the one shown here:

http://2dsprites.webs.com/SouthEast.png

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