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FootNipple

Do most game shops build 3d from scratch or use software platforms?

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Empirical evidence seems to suggest that most shops use engines licensed from other companies (not all of whom are pure technology companies), but a fair number develop custom engines for their projects. Generally, if a shop is well-established, it either has invested in developing an engine to be used for several projects or has a license relationship with a technology provider.

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Thanks to Kylotan for the idea!

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Guest Anonymous Poster
we reviewed many engines (renderware, netimmerse, intrinsic to name a few). we ended up choosing the one that was being developed in house. the problem with engines out of the box is that they are usally designed with one type of game in mind, or they are built being to generalized to get anything specific to happen fast. if you want a just program a game than using a pre-made engine is great. if you want to push the envelope a bit..its usually best to build your own.

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I would actually refute everything that AnonPoster had to say... if you are looking to push the envelope, then going with licensed solution can be the best route (given the right solution) as it can let you focus all your efforts on pushing the envelope, not just getting to the normal stuff.

For example, RenderWare provides a plug-in architecture for extending pre-defined objects and provides a rendering pipeline construction kit for creating custom rendering effects. So you get the best of both worlds: quick start-up out of the box with the option to push the envelope if you want.

The AnonPoster seems to represent a pretty commonly held misconception about licensed graphics engines. While it was definitely true at one point, both RenderWare and Intrinsic provide highly customizable pipelines.

The problem with engines developed in house is that they are almost always developed with a specific game in mind, let alone a specific genre. And they are 99% of the time under-documented and poorly tested. So, when going with in-house solutions you end up debugging the graphics engine while working on the game; developing the graphics engine while working on the game; documenting the graphics engine while working on the game. Notice a pattern? Unless your lucky enough to be in a large game company, the engine developers are the same programmers working on the game.

If you think graphics engines are too general to be fast, you''re wrong. Burnout on the PS2 (and now Xbox and GAMECUBE) was built using RenderWare, and according to Sony''s Performance Analyzer it is one of the highest performing production games out there weighing in between 10 and 13 million triangles per second.

To be honest, re-inventing the wheel is never the best route to take. After ten years of 3D games, do we really need to be writing triangle rasterizers, lighting and transform pipelines, or clipping and culling? Do you really want to invent a texture cache manager? And what about documenting all of it for new programmers joining your team and for other teams who plan to use it? Then you''ve got to write exporters for your art package, document and bug-fix those, and viewers and tools for your artists...

...and, after you''ve done all that for the first 3-6 months of your development cycle, you''ll then spend the next 6-12 on your game. Yeah, you''ll probably spend some of that time on your graphics engine, probably fixing bugs, or adding features you didn''t anticipate, or reworking the architecture to support features you didn''t know you''d need. But guess what these licensed solutions are doing the whole time you''re working on your game? They''re optimizing, improving, extending and enhancing their solution the whole time. They''re writing more documentation, more tutorials, more effects, more whitepapers, and fixing bugs being uncovered by a customer base of hundreds of programmers banging away at their code every day.

So, do you license or do you write your own? License. Unless your John Carmack and you''re *creating* great technology (or Tim Sweeny, et. al.) you''ve got no reason to re-invent the wheel. Of course, if you''re a garage developer who can''t afford a $50k licensing fee, then you''ll obviously be limited in your options, but then again you''ll be limited in most of your options.

I would challenge anyone to suggest any project that couldn''t be done faster and better using licensed technology!

And, as recently announced, RenderWare has been licensed by the likes of Infogrames, Electronic Arts, Capcom, Take-2/Rockstar, THQ, Interplay, Eidos, DMA Design, Activision, Acclaim, Midway, SCEE, SCEA, Sierra, etc, etc, etc...

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"Why reinvent the wheel?", my favorite cliche and the ultimate money saving strategy in business...most of the time.

I appreciate the responses given thus far. I can tell that there are some very different perspectives on this subject which almost certainly find their roots in the age old rivalry between businessmen and craftsmen.

Res Ipsa Loquitor

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Simagery
I would actually refute everything that AnonPoster had to say...

For example, RenderWare provides a plug-in architecture for extending pre-defined objects and provides a rendering pipeline construction kit for creating custom rendering effects. So you get the best of both worlds: quick start-up out of the box with the option to push the envelope if you want.

The AnonPoster seems to represent a pretty commonly held misconception about licensed graphics engines. While it was definitely true at one point, both RenderWare and Intrinsic provide highly customizable pipelines.



true, but you need to have several programmers dedicated to such optimizations and they need to be familiar with the engine to make such customizations, plus all the support needed from either criterion or intrinsic to get things to fit in smoothly. when we first looked into renderware and intrinsic for our project, our in-house engine out performed both by a large margin.

quote:

Unless your lucky enough to be in a large game company, the engine developers are the same programmers working on the game.



i do..in fact, i work at one of the companies that has licensed renderware for a few of our games. in-dire situations it is a life saver, but overall i dont think they are up to par.

quote:

If you think graphics engines are too general to be fast, you''re wrong. Burnout on the PS2 (and now Xbox and GAMECUBE) was built using RenderWare, and according to Sony''s Performance Analyzer it is one of the highest performing production games out there weighing in between 10 and 13 million triangles per second.



you make me laugh. its a driving game, very little besides the car and the tires actaully animates..i know ive made a few of em''. i wonder what their numbers wouldve showed if they had a couple of 50+ boned skinned characters running around. i seriously doubt they would hold..to do so something else would have to give, be it texture reduction or that cool projected shadow!

quote:

To be honest, re-inventing the wheel is never the best route to take. After ten years of 3D games, do we really need to be writing triangle rasterizers, lighting and transform pipelines, or clipping and culling? Do you really want to invent a texture cache manager? And what about documenting all of it for new programmers joining your team and for other teams who plan to use it? Then you''ve got to write exporters for your art package, document and bug-fix those, and viewers and tools for your artists...
.
.
.
So, do you license or do you write your own? License. Unless your John Carmack and you''re *creating* great technology (or Tim Sweeny, et. al.) you''ve got no reason to re-invent the wheel. Of course, if you''re a garage developer who can''t afford a $50k licensing fee, then you''ll obviously be limited in your options, but then again you''ll be limited in most of your options.



yada yada yada..do you work for criterion by chance? in sales maybe?

quote:

I would challenge anyone to suggest any project that couldn''t be done faster and better using licensed technology!

And, as recently announced, RenderWare has been licensed by the likes of Infogrames, Electronic Arts, Capcom, Take-2/Rockstar, THQ, Interplay, Eidos, DMA Design, Activision, Acclaim, Midway, SCEE, SCEA, Sierra, etc, etc, etc...



see comment above.


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...

"Why reinvent the wheel ?" -> salesmen''s way of thinking
"Why don''t improve this ?" -> searchers'' way of thinking

I really hate one of those way...

Don''t forget people that makes it possible...

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www.RenderWare.com :
Latest News:
22nd March 2002
Electronic Arts, Infogrames And Capcom
All Choose Criterions RenderWare For Future Games

That''s right. But I think that it is better to build your own.

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