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Unity Best game engine for MMORPG?

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Hi
We are looking for a free and user-friendly game engine for writing a MMORPG with a first person (FPS) view (like Mass Effect). Looking at all the engines and libraries available, it is very difficult to make a choice at this early stage, but I do not want to start with one engine only to find out that it will not work half-way through the project. And at this stage we are not interested in writing our own engine from scratch.

So here are the requirements:
1. Free (at least until (if!) we start making money from the game).
2. FPS-like (similar to Mass Effect), but does not need the latest and greatest graphics (we would actually like something lighter that can run on lower-end PC's).
3. The language in which it is written and used is not all that important (Preferences: Object Pascal/Delphi, C#, C++, Python, but C, Java or some scripting language might still be OK).
4. Preferably support for Linux (for the server) and cross-platform (for the clients) (at least Windows & Linux).
5. Fast networking is a must-have.
6. The ability to import Blender models will be nice.
7. Source code availability would also help.
8. An IDE (and possibly WYSIWYG ability) would be nice.

I am new to game programming (although not to programming as such) and the variety of available engines & libraries are almost overwhelming.

A general question: Is it better to use a single game engine for everything or rather use a combination of tools (e.g. Blender for the "human models", something else for the sound, another tool for the maps, another tool for the game-play & game rules, another tool for the networking and authentication parts)?

Some options we are currently considering (I know there' s a lot I have not even looked at yet - so please let me know):
1. glScene (Lazarus/Delphi): does not seem to be a full game engine, but rather only toolkit. Might have some important pieces missing. Not sure how easy/possible it is to import 3D models from Blender or created in other engines (e.g. ioquake3 models).
2. Asphyre Sphinx (Lazarus/Delphi): No Visual Components? (No WYSIWYG). Not full game engine, toolkit only?
3. Cube2 (Sauerbraten). (C++, OpenGL). Looks nice. Can edit maps etc. from game itself! Importing of 3D models? Easily extensible to write MMORPG game rules and logic?
4. ioquake3 (only C?) More abilities then Cube2? No GUI/IDE? Extensible to MMORPG-type game?
5. Allegro (C++/Pascal/...?) Library only? Import of 3D models?
6. MonoGame (C# / XNA). No GUI (in MonoDevelop)? Import of 3D models? Not full game engine, toolkit only?
7. CrystalSpace (C++). Actually used to write MMORPG. Not first person. No GUI for developing maps/3D models? Import of 3D models? Finicky to install on Linux (Debian) with all dependencies.
8. Unity (?C++?). Easy to use & import Blender models. Windows only (but could be used to write windows clients?). Source code? How easy to extend to MMORPG without source code?
9. Panda3D (Python). High level language. No GUI? Import of 3D models/maps? Full game engine or only toolkit/library?
10... any other suggestions?

If you have had experience in using any of these engines or know a better option, please give your opinion on them.

Thanks
Chavoux

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You didn't research most of those options very well.

Realm Crafter, or Unity3D with an MMO toolkit add on.

Unity3D is multiplatform (Flash, Web plugin, Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS), can import blender models (but FBX works better), and uses a few different scripting languages (C#, Javascript, and Boo (python clone)) to drive the gameplay.

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In addition to the above mentioned [url="http://www.thegamecreators.com/?m=view_product&id=2130&page=index"]Realm Crafter[/url], take a look at [url="http://www.heroengine.com/"]Hero Engine[/url] and [url="http://www.bigworldtech.com/"]BigWorld[/url]. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img] Realm Crafter will allow you to easily create a basic online RPG to play with a few friends, but probably isn't suitable for a larger or more professional-feeling product. Hero Engine is very capable and probably meets most of your needs. I don't really know anything about BigWorld.

[quote name='Chavoux' timestamp='1350601929' post='4991590']
5. Allegro (C++/Pascal/...?) Library only? Import of 3D models?
[/quote]
Allegro is a lower-level library with similar capabilities to SDL or SFML. The built in rendering functions are for 2d games, but it can be used alongside OpenGL or Direct3D for 3d. This is almost certainly [i]not[/i] what you are looking for.

[quote name='Chavoux' timestamp='1350601929' post='4991590']
8. Unity (?C++?). Easy to use & import Blender models. Windows only (but could be used to write windows clients?). Source code? How easy to extend to MMORPG without source code?
[/quote]
Unity [s]only provides a Windows-based editor (for now)[/s] provides an editor for Windows and Mac, but can export game clients for multiple platforms. Scripting is normally done with C# or JavaScript (actually UnityScript, but it's essentially the same language), although Boo (similar to Python) is also an option. Assuming you stick to the normal licencing options you do not get source-code access.


You should definitely do some more research on the options you're considering, there are a number of mistakes in the information you've got thus far.


Hope that helps! [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/cool.png[/img] Edited by jbadams
: Corrected information about Unity, thanks to the below post from Saruman.

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[quote name='jbadams' timestamp='1350620634' post='4991668']
Unity only provides a Windows-based editor (for now), but can export game clients for multiple platforms.
[/quote]
Just a quick correction on this. Unity actually started as a Mac-only editor (and only had Mac support for years) but with release 3.0 they built a cross-platform solution and the editor now has both Mac and Windows versions.

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Well, remember an MMORPG is, by definition, a massive game. You're going to want to aim for AAA quality in terms of not only the graphics, but also the production values. World of Warcraft was and is an amazing game because of the top-notch gameplay created by an extremely innovative and hardworking development team. However, if the said gameplay was buggy or "didn't feel right", it wouldn't have captivated so many players.

I'm not sure about FPS MMORPGs honestly, but here are the "only" engines currently for sale(without private connections) that I would consider using for an MMORPG.

[u]GameBryo[/u]
This engine is hugely underrated in my opinion. This is a modular set of multi-platform C++ libraries, along with graphical tools, designed to help developers build a powerful game. It's also been proven to work on countless AAA games, including RIFT(near-perfect example of a high quality MMORPG), Oblivion, and Fallout 3. This would definitely be my #1 choice for a traditional MMORPG.

[u]Unreal Engine[/u]
If you want to make a quality game, this is definitely the way to go if possible. I don't think I need to tell you much about this engine, it's pretty well known what it's capable of. Unreal Engine 4 will be dropping unrealscript in favor of native C++, which is a great move in my opinion. This engine makes it very easy to support a large number of platforms, with some of the best design tools out there. Note that UnrealEngine 3 isn't proven to work with 100+ players in one world, although it may be possible in Unreal Engine 4.

[u]CryEngine[/u]
Again, very well known for quality. I haven't looked too deep into the details of this engine(I have heard many good things about it though), but it seems like it would be better suited to a MMOFPS game than a traditional MMORPG.

(HeroEngine has a great feature set, but seems to be too managed for an MMORPG)

Note that these three engines are all relatively expensive to license. However, UDK3 and CryEngine both offer free versions for development until you go commercial.

The reason I've limited my list to three is because no other engine on the market has been proven to work with an AAA MMOG. Yes, it is possible to build one with many other engines, however you're much more likely to run into large road blocks well into development(such as issues that require large work-arounds) and even in production(such as serious glitches arising).

I realize you probably aren't willing to pay the millions in funding a MMORPG costs to make, so in my opinion, you're best off learning with either Unity or UDK. Let me know if you have any questions or comments. I've had only 2 years experience working with MMORPGs, but I've done a lot of research into these matters.

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[quote name='xLethal' timestamp='1350700588' post='4992025']
I'm not sure about FPS MMORPGs honestly, but here are the "only" engines currently for sale(without private connections) that I would consider using for an MMORPG.
[/quote]
Regarding GameBryo there is a reason that Trion and Bethesda use a heavily modified version of GameBryo. I know that Trion only uses some of the tools (which were to get them up and going while building their own engine) and Zenimax Online is not using it for their MMO. The architecture of this engine is old and stale and the main reason Bethesda stayed on it for single player games is because they built on it over many years and games. GameBryo is very similar to the Wild Magic engine in architecture although it has evolved slightly over the years.

Regarding UE2.5/3 it has been used by numerous companies in the past but you [b]*need*[/b] a source license and a lot of work in order to get anything up and running for a massive online game. Also I really don't see any benefit to using UE3 over something tailored directly to the genre.


[quote name='xLethal' timestamp='1350700588' post='4992025']
(HeroEngine has a great feature set, but seems to be too managed for an MMORPG)
[/quote]
Star Wars TOR (heavily instanced / story based), The Repopulation (complete open world sandbox), Faxion Online (traditional type MMO) have all been built on HeroEngine and as I mentioned in brackets they are extremely different types of games. I'm not sure what you mean by "too managed"? The tools are extremely in-depth and give you everything to build, run, and manage an online game. Also note that Zenimax Online licensed HeroEngine for The Elder Scrolls Online just for the use of the toolset so they could get started on world building, design iterations, etc while they build their own custom engine.

Another great choice is to use a combination of Unity and a socket server like Photon (definitely the best to pair with Unity). You can download the free version of Unity and Photon and get started right away... plus they even give you a small sample to get you started quickly before you have to dig into the docs. Unity has been used for MMO games such as Battlestar Gallactica, FusionFall, etc... so I don't see why there is an issue there either.

[quote name='xLethal' timestamp='1350700588' post='4992025']
The reason I've limited my list to three is because no other engine on the market has been proven to work with an AAA MMOG.
[/quote]
Actually HeroEngine and Big World have a massive number of AAA MMO games built using their technology and the above you listed really only have a couple (being a few that use a modified UE3... the only MMO I count for using GameBryo is Dark Age of Camelot as the others use a version that isn't even recognizable. Meanwhile UE3 hasn't powered that many either and the ones that did used it had to heavily modify and add to it as well. Edited by Saruman

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Thanks for all the feedback so far! One of the things we want in the game is the possibility for huge battles (maximum of 1000 players in each army if all players join the battle at the same time). I know this is smaller than WoW for example, but would be sufficient for us. I would prefer either an open engine (like cube2/ioquake3) or one where you don' t pay any money until you go commercial. This will be (at least in the beginning) a hobbyist project done in our spare time, so the bigger and better commercial engines is not really an option unless it has the free start option (and we can pay the more expensive license _if_ the game take off and we want to improve it). Would GameBryo be able to handle 2000 players concurrently (assuming the server hardware is up to it)?

One of the reasons for not wanting a game with too high graphics requirements is that we would prefer the ability to support more players (even those on outdated hardware or laptops) rather than having the latest and greatest graphic effects.

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ioQuake3 is an engine for a corridor shooter. It has nothing to do with, and no concept of, MMO type stuff. Wanting to use ioQuake3 because you don't want to buy Hero Engine is like trying to use a screwdriver to drive in staples because you don't want to buy a stapler.

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Again, take a look at [url="http://www.heroengine.com/"]Hero Engine[/url]. It's not free, but the [url="http://www.heroengine.com/heroengine/licensing-options/"]licencing options[/url] are pretty affordable from $99 per year or $299 for a lifetime subscription, with a 30% royalty for published games. Sourcecode licencing would be out of your budget though, starting at $75,000 with a 7% royalty.

[url="http://www.bigworldtech.com/bigworld-indie"]BigWorld's indie licence[/url] is $299 per year with 10% royalties and a maximum of 10,000 user subscriptions before you need to upgrade to a [url="http://www.bigworldtech.com/bigworld-commercial"]commercial licence[/url].

Consider however that unlike a lot of other options these are both [i]intended[/i] for creating MMORPGs, whilst a lot of other options will require you to design and code your own networking; a lot of them do include networking, but not suitable for thousands of concurrent users.


[url="http://mycryengine.com/"]CryEngine[/url] has a strictly royalty-based (20%) payment option for indie developers.
[url="http://www.unrealengine.com/udk/"]UDK[/url] costs only $99 when you publish -- that is, [i]after[/i] development -- and then begins taking royalties after earning quite a bit of money.
[url="http://unity3d.com/"]Unity3d[/url] is a great option may be ruled out for you, as it costs $1,500 up-front for the professional licence you would likely want, although you [i]can[/i] start development with the free version.


You need to [url="http://www.gamebryo.com/licensing.php"]enquire about licencing for Gamebryo[/url] if that's what you're looking at, although you might want to seriously consider Saruman's advice on why it might not be an ideal choice.



You should consider the amount of work you'll have to do if you start from a more basic engine rather than a more complete solution. An MMORPG is not normally a suitable project if you're just doing it as a hobby that you aren't willing to commit any money to -- do you have any prior development experience?

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[quote name='Saruman' timestamp='1350703288' post='4992034']
Regarding GameBryo there is a reason that Trion and Bethesda use a heavily modified version of GameBryo. I know that Trion only uses some of the tools (which were to get them up and going while building their own engine) and Zenimax Online is not using it for their MMO. The architecture of this engine is old and stale and the main reason Bethesda stayed on it for single player games is because they built on it over many years and games. GameBryo is very similar to the Wild Magic engine in architecture although it has evolved slightly over the years.
[/quote]

Actually, from what I've heard Bethesda did not significantly modify Gamebryo until they created "their own" engine for Skyrim, which highly resembles Gamebryo. Trion has stated multiple times that RIFT was built using Gamebryo engine. I wouldn't imagine them lying about not having their own engine for the game. I don't know where you get your information from, but I'm suspicious considering the only way you could actually KNOW they were using a heavily modified version of Gamebryo is if you worked with them or had seen the source code yourself. Your definition of "highly modified" also probably is different from mine. Of course they're going to modify it or add wrappers over some classes to better suit their needs. The ability to do so fairly directly is a big advantage Gamebryo has over other game engines such as Unity.

As for the architecture being "old and stale", this is an opinion. If I were investing millions into a game, I'd definitely prefer a traditional and proven approach rather than a radical and risky one especially for a game engine. If the company wants to take more risks, they should develop their own engine in favor of unproven solutions.

[quote name='Saruman' timestamp='1350703288' post='4992034']
Regarding UE2.5/3 it has been used by numerous companies in the past but you [b]*need*[/b] a source license and a lot of work in order to get anything up and running for a massive online game. Also I really don't see any benefit to using UE3 over something tailored directly to the genre.
[/quote]

I'll agree that it would definitely take a lot of work to get it running with an MMO, and you're right that UE3 isn't the best solution if you want to have support for population condensed into a small area. However, I've seen some MMORPGs that are more instanced and could be developed without support for more than 64 players in one area. This isn't an ideal solution, but certainly a possibility.


[quote name='Saruman' timestamp='1350703288' post='4992034']
Star Wars TOR (heavily instanced / story based), The Repopulation (complete open world sandbox), Faxion Online (traditional type MMO) have all been built on HeroEngine and as I mentioned in brackets they are extremely different types of games. I'm not sure what you mean by "too managed"? The tools are extremely in-depth and give you everything to build, run, and manage an online game. Also note that Zenimax Online licensed HeroEngine for The Elder Scrolls Online just for the use of the toolset so they could get started on world building, design iterations, etc while they build their own custom engine.
[/quote]

I apologize for being unclear. By "too managed", I mean the scripting language seems like very high level code in contrast to a much lower level language like C++. The reason I said "seems", was because I haven't played around with it much, but I have played SWTOR for awhile and in my opinion the controls and overall gameplay is quite clunky compared to games like WoW or RIFT. I indeed have not played The Repopulation or Faxion Online. I'm simply stating my opinion based on having played SWTOR and having worked a bit with the engine in the past.


[quote name='Saruman' timestamp='1350703288' post='4992034']
Another great choice is to use a combination of Unity and a socket server like Photon (definitely the best to pair with Unity). You can download the free version of Unity and Photon and get started right away... plus they even give you a small sample to get you started quickly before you have to dig into the docs. Unity has been used for MMO games such as Battlestar Gallactica, FusionFall, etc... so I don't see why there is an issue there either.
[/quote]

Unity is a good engine for browser clients. That's about as far as it goes from what I've seen. Both examples you cited only use Unity for their browser client. In my opinion, if you're going to have 64+ players visible in one area, you're heavily limiting your performance by forcing players to use a web browser. That being said, it may be a good idea to use Unity for a web client, then use another or your own for other platforms. The web client shouldn't be the main platform for a MMORPG in my opinion though.

[quote name='Saruman' timestamp='1350703288' post='4992034']
Actually HeroEngine and Big World have a massive number of AAA MMO games built using their technology and the above you listed really only have a couple (being a few that use a modified UE3... the only MMO I count for using GameBryo is Dark Age of Camelot as the others use a version that isn't even recognizable. Meanwhile UE3 hasn't powered that many either and the ones that did used it had to heavily modify and add to it as well.
[/quote]

Your definition of AAA is very different from mine. The only MMORPGs I've seen Big World's engine produce are Asian(mostly Chinese it appears). I've tried a couple of these said games, and they seem clunky with poor production values typical of Chinese MMORPGs. I'd like to see some proof that RIFT doesn't use Gamebryo heavily. There have also been successful Korean MMORPGs (definitely) using Gamebryo, but I wouldn't count these as AAA. You're right about UE3, but I would still prefer it over Big World or Unity for developing non-browser clients due to the quality of the engine coupled with the successes of RPG games using it.

You seem bias against enterprise-level solutions in this discussion. No development company with a large enough budget to make a decent MMORPG is going to use Unity for an MMO as anything other than a browser port. Unity is great for many genres of games, but MMORPGs doesn't seem to be one of them. I'm not implying that it's impossible to make a multi-platform MMORPG in Unity, but it's definitely unreasonable.

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[quote name='jbadams' timestamp='1350722828' post='4992082']

You should consider the amount of work you'll have to do if you start from a more basic engine rather than a more complete solution. An MMORPG is not normally a suitable project if you're just doing it as a hobby that you aren't willing to commit any money to -- do you have any prior development experience?
[/quote]
I have development experience, but (almost) no game development experience. I am not totally unwilling to extend a basic engine, but don't want to reinvent the wheel (and will not do as good a job as experienced game developers in any case). So I will want as complete a solution as I can get (for free at this stage). I assumed that I would need to do quite a bit of coding to implement the game rules in any case, since I don't think anything like what we plan, exists at this stage. But I would like to be able to get to the game logic and story ASAP without working too much on the graphics at this stage (we will probably want to upgrade the graphics etc. later on, but by then will hopefully have a bigger development team - e.g. if we make it open-source).

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I'm not going to get sucked into an internet argument but I'll respond to a few points generally and it will be my final response.

[quote name='xLethal' timestamp='1350727218' post='4992091']
Trion has stated multiple times that RIFT was built using Gamebryo engine. I wouldn't imagine them lying about not having their own engine for the game.
[/quote]
Certain engine core components being rewritten due to horrendous performance issues in various subsystems were done.

[quote name='xLethal' timestamp='1350727218' post='4992091']
The ability to do so fairly directly is a big advantage Gamebryo has over other game engines such as Unity.
[/quote]
I agree that not having source access to the client is a big disadvantage to using Unity for a game like this.

[quote name='xLethal' timestamp='1350727218' post='4992091']
As for the architecture being "old and stale", this is an opinion. If I were investing millions into a game, I'd definitely prefer a traditional and proven approach rather than a radical and risky one especially for a game engine. If the company wants to take more risks, they should develop their own engine in favor of unproven solutions.
[/quote]
No it isn't an opinion in the least. The core renderer is nearly replaced in every game using it, the scene graph is cache miss heaven and the old way of doing things which doesn't scale with hardware, there is virtually no multithreading due to not having a job proper system. Also note that as I mentioned BigWorld and Hero Engine [b]are[/b] proven solutions.. just because you don't like the gameplay or design decisions it rarely has to do with the engine.

[quote name='xLethal' timestamp='1350727218' post='4992091']
By "too managed", I mean the scripting language seems like very high level code in contrast to a much lower level language like C++. The reason I said "seems", was because I haven't played around with it much, but I have played SWTOR for awhile and in my opinion the controls and overall gameplay is quite clunky compared to games like WoW or RIFT.
[/quote]
You can also write extensions in C++ without a source license if you run into scripting performance issues. Also controls and gameplay in SWTOR are design decisions you could easily clone WoW or RIFT with it if you chose to do so.

[quote name='xLethal' timestamp='1350727218' post='4992091']
Unity is a good engine for browser clients. That's about as far as it goes from what I've seen. Both examples you cited only use Unity for their browser client. In my opinion, if you're going to have 64+ players visible in one area, you're heavily limiting your performance by forcing players to use a web browser.
[/quote]
You could just as easily cross-compile a native desktop application if you wanted to. Not to mention there is no 64 player limit unless you are going to use the default Unity networking subsystem... which they will even recommend you not to use and to go with Photon, Smartfox, etc.

[quote name='xLethal' timestamp='1350727218' post='4992091']
Your definition of AAA is very different from mine.
[/quote]
AAA is commonly known as big budget titles and has nothing to do with whether you like the game or it was a flop commercially.

[quote name='xLethal' timestamp='1350727218' post='4992091']
You're right about UE3, but I would still prefer it over Big World or Unity for developing non-browser clients due to the quality of the engine coupled with the successes of RPG games using it.
[/quote]
Then you've never looked at the source... the amount of work needed to modify the networking subsystem is extremely substantial. Ask anyone who has worked with UE3 how fun it would be decoupling the networking and building a new system. Sure it definitely has been done before but the amount of work is staggering. At the same time the OP isn't asking for a 6-7 figure engine... which you would need since you couldn't do it with UDK alone.

[quote name='xLethal' timestamp='1350727218' post='4992091']
You seem bias against enterprise-level solutions in this discussion.
[/quote]
Not at all, Big World and Hero Engine [b]are[/b] the enterprise level solutions that come boxed and ready to go without extremely heavy modifications.

[quote name='xLethal' timestamp='1350727218' post='4992091']
No development company with a large enough budget to make a decent MMORPG is going to use Unity for an MMO as anything other than a browser port.
[/quote]
Completely your own opinion once again. Companies like BigPoint, EA, Cartoon Network, etc have large budgets and have put together some great games using Unity. None of them are "browser ports" but that is their target. If they wanted to they could have distributed Windows and Mac binaries by cross compiling.

[quote name='xLethal' timestamp='1350727218' post='4992091']
Unity is great for many genres of games, but MMORPGs doesn't seem to be one of them. I'm not implying that it's impossible to make a multi-platform MMORPG in Unity, but it's definitely unreasonable.
[/quote]
It's already been done multiple times.

Also for the record I've actually worked with GameBryo, UE3, Unity, Reality, and have worked on more than a few custom engines. Edited by Saruman

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[quote name='xLethal' timestamp='1350727218' post='4992091']
I'd like to see some proof that RIFT doesn't use Gamebryo heavily.
[/quote]

[quote]
Heroes of Telara runs on a heavily modified version of the Gamebryo engine - [url="http://mmorpg.gamesource.it/Articolo/151/Heroes-Of-Telara--Intervista-2.html"]source[/url]
A heavily modified version of Gamebryo 3, indeed, with extra bells and whistles added on by us. - [url="https://twitter.com/HeroesofTelara/status/3565646280"]source[/url]
[/quote]

[quote name='xLethal' timestamp='1350727218' post='4992091']
No development company with a large enough budget to make a decent MMORPG is going to use Unity for an MMO as anything other than a browser port.
[/quote]
Not relevant -- we're advising a beginning developer who has little to no budget.

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[quote name='Saruman' timestamp='1350730503' post='4992109']
I'm not going to get sucked into an internet argument but I'll respond to a few points generally and it will be my final response.
[/quote]

All right, then I'll make this my final response as well.


[quote name='Saruman' timestamp='1350730503' post='4992109']
Certain engine core components being rewritten due to horrendous performance issues in various subsystems were done.
[/quote]
I'll give you this, although I have doubts on how you would have obtained this info. I've only used a demo of Gamebryo, so it's hard for me to be certain that it would require any major rewrites. However, poor performance on certain components is far from breaking the engine. The source code license is relatively cheap compared to MMORPG development costs, so I wouldn't say having to rewrite certain components would be a big reason to rule out the engine. It's far from ideal, but I'd definitely rather be able to rewrite certain components than being forced to make work-arounds without source code.

[quote name='Saruman' timestamp='1350730503' post='4992109']
No it isn't an opinion in the least. The core renderer is nearly replaced in every game using it, the scene graph is cache miss heaven and the old way of doing things which doesn't scale with hardware, there is virtually no multithreading due to not having a job proper system. Also note that as I mentioned BigWorld and Hero Engine [b]are[/b] proven solutions.. just because you don't like the gameplay or design decisions it rarely has to do with the engine.
[/quote]
Have you ever played SWTOR? I can't say that the engine is at fault, but there are many reasons why SWTOR flopped after the first couple months of release, and why RIFT is still going relatively strong(especially if you compare the initial player base).

[quote name='Saruman' timestamp='1350730503' post='4992109']
You can also write extensions in C++ without a source license if you run into scripting performance issues. Also controls and gameplay in SWTOR are design decisions you could easily clone WoW or RIFT with it if you chose to do so.
[/quote]
I'd definitely prefer native control over the game executable in such a big project. Extensions are far from ideal for core components in most cases. I would argue you could not clone WoW or RIFT with either BigWorld engine or HeroEngine without source modifications or major hooks to the engine. It might be possible, but certainly wouldn't be easy to get that same level of performance.

[quote name='Saruman' timestamp='1350730503' post='4992109']
You could just as easily cross-compile a native desktop application if you wanted to. Not to mention there is no 64 player limit unless you are going to use the default Unity networking subsystem... which they will even recommend you not to use and to go with Photon, Smartfox, etc.
[/quote]
Of course you can cross compile it to desktop, but the question is why are they marketing it as a web game. I haven't played any of these Unity MMOs, but I may give one a try soon to see what they have achieved in terms of performance.

[quote name='Saruman' timestamp='1350730503' post='4992109']
Then you've never looked at the source... the amount of work needed to modify the networking subsystem is extremely substantial. Ask anyone who has worked with UE3 how fun it would be decoupling the networking and building a new system. Sure it definitely has been done before but the amount of work is staggering. At the same time the OP isn't asking for a 6-7 figure engine... which you would need since you couldn't do it with UDK alone.
[/quote]
Yes, it's a huge job to redo the networking. However, if you're looking to go big(which any MMORPG should be in my opinion), it's certainly worth considering the proven power of the UE core.

[quote name='Saruman' timestamp='1350730503' post='4992109']
Not at all, Big World and Hero Engine [b]are[/b] the enterprise level solutions that come boxed and ready to go without extremely heavy modifications.
[/quote]
I would be curious as to how many modifications Bioware had to make with HeroEngine for SWTOR's development, but I'd wager a lot. A ready-to-go solution is nice, but can be very misleading.

[quote name='xLethal' timestamp='1350727218' post='4992091']
Also for the record I've actually worked with GameBryo, UE3, Unity, Reality, and have worked on more than a few custom engines.
[/quote]
I'm envious of your experience. You may be right that using Unity would be a great solution for an MMORPG, but I'd just prefer a more controllable environment for such a large and expensive project.



[quote name='jbadams' timestamp='1350730990' post='4992114']
[quote name='xLethal' timestamp='1350727218' post='4992091']
I'd like to see some proof that RIFT doesn't use Gamebryo heavily.
[/quote]
[quote]
Heroes of Telara runs on a heavily modified version of the Gamebryo engine - source
A heavily modified version of Gamebryo 3, indeed, with extra bells and whistles added on by us. - source
[/quote]
[/quote]
I never said anything about Heroes of Telara, but that could be relevant. Remember that heavily modifying an engine is still usually easier and cheaper than building your own.

[quote name='jbadams' timestamp='1350730990' post='4992114']
[quote name='xLethal' timestamp='1350727218' post='4992091']
No development company with a large enough budget to make a decent MMORPG is going to use Unity for an MMO as anything other than a browser port.
[/quote]
Not relevant -- we're advising a beginning developer who has little to no budget.
[/quote]
True, but the topic clearly asks what the best engine for an MMORPG is. I don't like going around to topics saying, "Well don't even bother asking this because you aren't anywhere near experienced enough to make <X>." Although that may also be an appropriate response, I prefer to answer the question without judging the person's motives for asking the question. He never asked if a beginner can make an MMORPG(like Mass Effect as he stated). If you tell him to use a free/cheap solution like Unity, he may put a lot of work into it in hopes that it will end up like Mass Effect, which would likely lead to disappointment.

My advice to OP: Use a free/cheap engine to learn only. Start with small projects, a MMORPG is a huge project in almost all cases. Once you're more familiar with the world of development, then decide what you want to do.

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[quote name='xLethal' timestamp='1350759498' post='4992230']
I never said anything about Heroes of Telara, but that could be relevant.
[/quote]
Actually you did :) That was the name for Rift all through development and even to initial marketing stages until they changed it to Rift: Planes of Telera.

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What about [url="https://github.com/GarageGames/Torque3D"]Torque3D[/url], which recently went open-source? It was originally made for the FPS-MMO [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribes_%28series%29"]Tribes[/url], and it seems to be what you are looking for in an engine.
It's coded in C++ and uses TorqueScript (very similar to C-syntax) for scripting.

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[quote name='Amadeus H' timestamp='1351247939' post='4994097']
What about [url="https://github.com/GarageGames/Torque3D"]Torque3D[/url], which recently went open-source? It was originally made for the FPS-MMO [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribes_%28series%29"]Tribes[/url], and it seems to be what you are looking for in an engine.
It's coded in C++ and uses TorqueScript (very similar to C-syntax) for scripting.
[/quote]

Tribes is not an MMO, (Tribes2 capped out at 128 players per server, the original had an even lower cap) and Torque3D is capped at 255 players, it requires quite heavy modifications to be suitable for an MMO.

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[quote name='SimonForsman' timestamp='1351251080' post='4994103']
Tribes is not an MMO, (Tribes2 capped out at 128 players per server, the original had an even lower cap) and Torque3D is capped at 255 players, it requires quite heavy modifications to be suitable for an MMO.
[/quote]

You are right. There have been MMOs created with it though. I still argue that a more robust, free, engine (and focused on multiplayer) is difficult to find.

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Hey I am new at this site. I really love this I am finding so much info about games and stuff. After reading this post I remember a full framework i once found for creating your own mmorpg. Its so cool you even have character costumization a client and a server you can extend. WTH its all opensource i remember. I found it in Wikipedia. It really great if you would like to build up from scratch. You can import heightmaps and alot of things. It wass a while back i used it its probably updated now.

http://www.multiversemmo.com/

Its awsome.

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