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raccoonone

What engine to use for an Escape Velocity clone?

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I'd like to build a game similar to Escape Velocity (one of my all time favorite games). For those not familiar with it, it's very basic 3D, top down view: screenshot and their website, kind of like an RPG version of Asteroids.

 

I work as a software engineer, so I'm quite familiar with programming in general. However, I haven't done any game programming since high school, and that was very basic.

 

Do you have a suggestion for where to get started? I read a bit about Unity3D and Panda3D, would one of those be a good choice, or is there something better? I'm comfortable doing all the programming, but will likely hire someone to do the art, so an engine that will make that easy would be great.

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For those not familiar with it, it's very basic 3D

Escape Velocity is actually using entirely 2-dimensional graphics. The impression of 3D is made via cleverly designed sprite images, which are rendered out of a 3D content creation tool, and include baked-in lighting and shadows for a variety of rotations.

 

For example, see this sprite sheet for the Pegasus transport:

ch5o.jpg

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Actually, I would suggest going with a 3d engine and limit yourself to using and moving in 2 dimensions.  Then, when you decide to move into 3D games, you've got some experience and at least some base in a qualified engine.

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Ok, cool. So would Panda3D or Unity3D be good choices? Which do you think would be a better place to start, or do you have another suggestion?

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Actually, I would suggest going with a 3d engine and limit yourself to using and moving in 2 dimensions.  Then, when you decide to move into 3D games, you've got some experience and at least some base in a qualified engine.

Meh. A 2D game is substantially easier to build, and sprite artists are arguably easier to find than 3D artists/animators. Moving from 2D to 3D isn't a worthwhile consideration if it reduces your chances of finishing a first game.

 


Ok, cool. So would Panda3D or Unity3D be good choices? Which do you think would be a better place to start, or do you have another suggestion?

Unity would generally be my first recommendation. However, the free/indie edition does not support dynamic shadows, and compelling space scenes pretty much require a robust dynamic shadow system.

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Ok cool, I'll check out Unity. Any tutorials you would recommend? I'll probably go with the C# libraries, since I already know Java and C++

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Actually, I would suggest going with a 3d engine and limit yourself to using and moving in 2 dimensions.  Then, when you decide to move into 3D games, you've got some experience and at least some base in a qualified engine.

Meh. A 2D game is substantially easier to build, and sprite artists are arguably easier to find than 3D artists/animators. Moving from 2D to 3D isn't a worthwhile consideration if it reduces your chances of finishing a first game.

 

 

 


Ok, cool. So would Panda3D or Unity3D be good choices? Which do you think would be a better place to start, or do you have another suggestion?

Unity would generally be my first recommendation. However, the free/indie edition does not support dynamic shadows, and compelling space scenes pretty much require a robust dynamic shadow system.

 

 

2d is easier than 3.  But with unity, it's as simple as making your camera align with one axis (I use z for simplicity), limiting your physics to X/Y axis.  You can either use 3d models or use planes w/ textures for your sprites. And the new version 4.3 is specifically showcasing new 2D tools.

 

(Also, I think the Free edition supports dynamic shadows, just only with directional lights (not point or spot lights). Not sure how broadly those terms are used in other engines, so if you're not familiar with the differences, basically your "sun" light can do shadows, but a "flashlight" or "lightbulb" couldn't cast them.

Edited by Aspirer

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Actually, I would suggest going with a 3d engine and limit yourself to using and moving in 2 dimensions.  Then, when you decide to move into 3D games, you've got some experience and at least some base in a qualified engine.

Meh. A 2D game is substantially easier to build, and sprite artists are arguably easier to find than 3D artists/animators. Moving from 2D to 3D isn't a worthwhile consideration if it reduces your chances of finishing a first game.

 

 

 


Ok, cool. So would Panda3D or Unity3D be good choices? Which do you think would be a better place to start, or do you have another suggestion?

Unity would generally be my first recommendation. However, the free/indie edition does not support dynamic shadows, and compelling space scenes pretty much require a robust dynamic shadow system.

 

 

Actually, you get dynamic shadows with a single directional light in the free version now (since, 4.2 or 4.3 IIRC, it is still a bit bland but far better than nothing)

Edited by SimonForsman

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