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where does a game engine start?

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hello! just curious if anyone can give guidance on how to start a game engine? assume that knowledge of the necessary API''s is there... do you just start building some classes and away you go (yea right)? how do you decide what classes should exist, etc.? Also, a question i''ve never known the answer to... How do you make a game engine specific to a certain type of game? For example, why can''t the quake III engine be used for a flight sim? What really differentiates between engines? thanks a ton!

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My friend and I are working on our 1st 3D engine, its going to be for a Quake 3-like FPS. (that kind of game, not Q3 quality). We are doing it one component at a time, then we''re going to go back and design an system that makes them all work together.
What we''ve done so far is ask what parts do we need? A map file format and loader, model file format and loader, and a mouselook/movement system are all we have right now. Next we''ll need collision detection/physics, bot AI, stuff like changing weapons/score keeping, etc.
There are several reasons your engine has to be specific to one type of game. One is the map system. For an indoor FPS you could use BSP or a portal system. For a flight sim you would have very large outdoor maps, and you''d need to use octrees or quadtrees. (Search on google or gamedev if you don''t know what this stuff is). Also, in a flight sim you need to have good physics. I doubt Q3 wastes processing power on realistic physics.
A game engine is a big project, so make sure you design it well. We abandoned our first game, Rampage, which was a 2D quake3, because the code got so messy.

Proceeding on a brutal rampage is the obvious choice.

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