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      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
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kelicant

Is an engine necessary for 3D games?

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[size=4]My summer break starts in a week so I’ve decided to start a summer programming project. My goal is to create a playable prototype for a 3d game. I’ve programmed simple games for school in java and c++, but never anything 3D or complex. This will be a learning experience.[/size]

[size=4]The prototype I’d like to create is a 3d Pokémon battle game. I loved the Pokémon series, but in gaming I’m not a fan of turn-based or 2d gameplay. You choose the starter Pokémon you want from the menu and then the battle starts. The environment would be just a simple flat arena. Attacks are programmed in (attacks like flamethrower may need a particle system or something). The Pokémon fight until one’s HP goes to zero and then it’s over. I’d also need to program an AI for the opponent. Once the prototype was fleshed out, I’d add networking where you could play a 2[sup]nd[/sup] player.[/size]

[size=4]The problem is I’m not sure what to use to create it. I’d like to do as much myself as possible, so I kind of shy away from using Engines, but I’m wondering if it is necessary. I have the resources (models, sound, etc) but I would need to handle rendering, animations, scripting, and such. Is it feasible to create my own 3d rendering with everything I would need (animation, particles, etc) or use OpenGL/Direct3D instead of using a commercial engine (like UDK)? [/size]
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No you don't have to use a third party engine, (You can make your own or just hack something together without even worrying about the engine abstraction).

Using one does however save alot of time, (Creating a prototype in Unity3D can be done in a few hours for example) and if your goal is to make a game then using a third party engine is a really good idea. (If your goal is to learn lower level programming then using an engine won't help you, if you want to learn engine design then it doesn't hurt to atleast look at a few different engines to get some ideas)
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Thanks. The end goal is a game for sure. I'm not really looking for lower level programming, however I want to have the freedom to do everything. For instance, if I wanted to try my hand at making a server to play the game from, or putting prediction in the game, I don't want to be limited in what I can do.

And if possible I'd like to avoid using commercial software that requires licensing to publish. I have no intentions of ever publishing but it's just something I'd prefer.
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You can create your prototype in Unity or Unreal Engine SDK. Both have good video tutorials (for instance, digitaltutors.com [url="http://www.digitaltutors.com/training/unity-tutorials"](http://www.digitaltutors.com/training/unity-tutorials[/url]) and are incredible solid. With this you can focus in the game design without worrying in aspects that are not related with gameplay.

Then, if you want to make a real game of your prototype you can use noncommercial software like an XNA engine. The good part is XNA and C# allow making games easier than C++ plus OpenGL or DirectX and Unity works with C# so that you can port directly part of your code.

Here are a list of XNA engines: [url="http://nelxon.com/resources/xdsk2.php"]http://nelxon.com/resources/xdsk2.php[/url] (My engine is trying to be Unity friendly, but still are much work to do).
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