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Beginner engines

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I need some help to pick free beginner engine that is 3ds max -export -friendly,to have easy interface,
be artist and beginner friendly.

I am 3ds max artist,animator and level designer ,and no programmer,and do not expect to get help.Also the budget is zero so think only the beginner and free engines if there is one not in the list.

I had tried unity3d,Udk,dxstudio,Cafu,Neoaxis,and other.Half engines were too difficult for me and the other half were feature crippled free versions that you had to pay for demos and examples-which could not get.Or simply there were good enough documentation
Through the years i vhae seen various game engine lists,but lately i am looking at that.


Right now i am checking Ardor 3d since i noticed they got enough recent forum posts.
I am also considering Delta3D , Away3D (unfortunately (for me) Intermediate)
PixelLight looked good but the forum does nt look like many are using that,

JMonkey Engine does nt look from far that easy to me and but i could be mistaken,but it could be like unity 3d that you got to script all from scratch (since i can not buy any premade stuff).

Most of all i need alive forum so i can expect some help and nice help documentation,if the docs can be downloaded even better.

I was thinking to work on 3d isometric dungeon crawler hack n slash with WASD movement - not so click and move.
Have default textures applied automatically during export and not having to do all things like that by scratch,and generally the shaders to be easy to set up.

Could be offline or web based online small open world forest with some dungeon entrances to enter further,free to play.

Now,except that style,if the engine can be easily customized through script to make 3d side scrollers for possible future projects,or has such bug free demos -even better.

I could do the game editing as a hobby to get the game design and monsters as i want them to look as i want.Yet consider this is not my main occupation and i do not have unlimited time to spend,but i could spare enough hours every day.

If needed i would fake some functions i can not script with plain animation and various tricks.

Are the 3d web games still slow,or do you think one of these beginner engines can do it?
Like uploading open world huge forest area as a small online a free to play

Lets say this is not my main occupation and i can not spend day and night at the pc to try engines.
I now check each engine forum and if i see many today and yesterday posts at their forums im thinking it may be worth browsing the forums and google them for degree of development.

I used reality Factory from 2001 that required no programming and was nice and easy but it got too old to use from some point and the dungeon looked to empty because i could nt put enough polycount in it
I would appreciate if you can warn me about some engines,whether it is just about the web functionality or general performance and ease of use.

Thanks in advance

P.S.world beginner could make you think :ok let them know the basics using that now and later they can switch to another more decent engine.
I would prefer if i spend enough time to finish at least one game with the engine ,and not having to transfer a project during the middle of development.

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Hi there,

A nice 3d engine I can recommend is Torque 3d which I think is compatible with 3DS max. Torque 3d is now free to use.

My advice is, instead of trying many many different engines, try one and just stick with it for a few weeks (providing it has good support).. Sometimes there is a just a learning curve, but once you are past that it's all much easier. Torque is good like that.. Just down as many tutorials and youtube videos as you can find and you will be making your own game in no time.

Torque is definitely good for beginners to create a nice world with your own models, and it has built in multiplayer features if that's what you want.

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It's seems like your really trying to do 3d games instead of starting out small and starting with 2d games.

I would reccomend starting with easy game engines like Game Maker, which require little to no coding skills.

Then after you've got the game programming concepts down, you can then move on to 3d game engines.

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Thanks for the replies.I am not thinking anything big.I am used in making 3d stuff so far.The 2d would require too much extra work for rendering frames if i have to model all sculpt then in mudbox and paint ,animate and last render the sprites to files.

I would gladly do 2d horror cartoon platformer or Castlelvania-like or Rastan saga inspired small game but i do not know if the effort would worth it,with other words i do not know if it would sell enough to justify the trouble i would get into.

If i can manage to just paint by hand the graphics and they look good ,then i got to go browse the Game maker forum.
Cant they make a free game maker for 3d stuff ?

Ashaman, about first learning the basics like you first should study anatomy to make sculpture (i m a sculpture of plasteline and clay working mostly relief) i was trying to say i can not program the hard core of the engine to adapt it to each game.
Just wanted an easy,visual script based engine,that has enough buttons visible and drop down lists with defaut prefabs to check modify..
The thing is most of the effort goes in making all the million things you need to fill game and polish it.After all the daily work that needs to be done to the graphics there is nt much time and strenght left to do much scripting to link all events together and add atmosphere.
Just the run level and test mechanics needs lots of time.Dont have time for all and cant ask for help,at least not until i know the whereabouts to make levels and set up the basics to make and post viseo.
But even then i dont trust that others would stay in the project.Most say i ve got something that came up-got to go -bye and luck-almost like in the party members that leave party in the mmo's.

At 1999 i was running few custom Unreal levels but did not go far.Around September that year Valve's Torque came out and i wanted to get that but i did not have means to buy it through the net and it got forgotten for long and i later got into genesis based Reality Factory.
I could set up the world events through scripting like :When the Orc chieftain health drops below 40 ,its triggers an event state to on where the door opens and the monster can try making an escape or raising the highest amount of health the player can have making it look like the dungeons you cleared so far made you stronger etc.

I say so that it does 'nt look like i do not want to script at all.
That Udk got something that is supposed to make scripting visual and easy enough but it i can not understand much of the video tutorials and i was checking Udk since long,since it first came out.
I expected that if i see watch every day the video tuts i might learn something but it looked like some day i will come across something can not overcome and will have to abandon project and all effort would go wasted for nothing.

Many artists might make levels with custom prefabs , nice shaders ,might put some of their own characters but i think they do not go further that and create a small game,they just make some level you can walk through it.
Almost all demo videos of small games i ve seen made in Udk were done from programmers.

My brother proposed me try Udk again but not only i was at minimum requirements then,but as i said so i did not understand much and i do not want the 100$ fee and the rest they keep if the sales go well above a certain amount.
Udk has great community and you do not have to wait long until you get replies in the forums.

I also tried cryengine at march 2005 and i liked it,just the low level like scripting looked too heavy for me to learn so i asked for help no one came and i abandoned,
Recently, when it became free to use giving only 20 % of sales,i went back to check again and asked the forums but they told me it is heavy to mod.

I hope the Torque engine has enough free demos to help me get started and that its forum community will keep being alive for long.
I will download torque,it cant be that bad generally,in manner of updates and anything.

The question i did in the first place is in few words:Could there be another good free 3d game engine these days besides Udk,Unity,Cryengine,and Torque..seems no form what i see.....

Thanks again all,you helped a lot.
Edited by Veleran

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I just want to clarify something really quickly:

Any 3D engine you pick will be 3Ds Max export friendly, I promise. You can also export 3D models as .obj files in 3Ds Max, which is preferred considering they are the standard, which means all 3D modelling programs can open them. Using .3ds means only 3Ds Max can open your models, which makes working with Animators / other 3D modelers which prefer Blender / Can't afford 3Ds max very hard.

I would recommend Unity, simply because I like the interface, and, coming from programming my games in C++, it takes very little coding. You can seriously Drag and Drop everything, and with their new kismet-like tool, coding has a drag and drop interface also. However, I've also used UDK. The problem with UDK is that you can only really use it for an FPS game. It is extremely hard and pointless to use it for anything else.

Unity-3D, on the other hand, can be used for pretty much all genres, including 2D games. What you need to ask yourself is: What type of game do I want to make? Once you know that, you can pick whichever one suits your needs.

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So,-Unity..and no word about Torque....I tried Unity,once at 2010 ,and again more recently--
I know Udk is for fps games and it is one of the reasons i did nt study it since the Unreal mod days.

I would work on Isometric for 2-3 years minimum.Other genres like platformers would have to wait .
Are there enough free templates to use to make the basic game systems you think?Some say Unity free needs everything done from the scratch.I guess after that you can just copy and modify the pre made stuff-your prefabs.

Well if i go Unity i will have to do without dynamic shadows and other goodies the free version is stripped from.
Maybe i got to do a search here for Unity to learn more about user experience on the engine,
I mean how far could you go by using the Unity free etc.

Unity free says it does nt have Static Batching.Does that mean if i instance clone the same tree 200 times the cpu will cycle every single tree and consume much more resources?
Does that mean i would have to attach meshes in max and then export and use a separate collision mesh and tricks like that?

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I am not sure but if Unity3d free does not have mesh attachments,like when the characters change their armor, it would be bad.

Well,the most important and helpful is that during the last years Unity has gathered endless video tutorials on youtube that show you how to do everything.

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