A really useful engine


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#1 The Veteran

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 10:21 AM

Ok so I mentioned in another post that I may start somewhere for engine discussion and this is it! So far I've had several suggestions but they don't really mean very much to me so I'm hoping there are a few people here who can shed some light on the matter along with my own team of course but most of them don't come here yet!

The goal for our engine will be easily comparable to the original titles in the franchise with all the standard features and a certain degree of elaboration on them. We'll need a geoscape and battlescape first and foremost with research and development features and base management to boot. New additions are fairly insignificant to the extent they will require minimal additional coding so I won't list them here.

Based on this, the suggestions I've had so far are the Unreal engine, one called OGRE and a third which was mentioned by our new developer Andy this morning is the Source engine.

In my mind the unreal engine strikes me as a FPS framework but I have no idea how flexible such things are. Apparently Left4Dead was built around the Source engine but this again is a FPS design, though Andy does seem to know his stuff and thinks this is a better suited option than unreal for our project. OGRE was suggested by our old lead dev when I spoke to him yesterday and he also mentioned Unreal but said OGRE may be better suited to our project.

So if there's anyone out there who knows about engines please feel free to throw in your 2cents! Hopefully Andy will drop by at some point too as our newest team member! Remember to check our forums often and give us your feedback whenever you can spare it!
Welcome back to the wonderful world of Fan-fiction! (it's short for fantastic!)
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Also why not check out XCom : Colonisation over in the special projects forum. Won't kill you if you do, might kill you if you don't!

#2 Civilian

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 11:08 AM

I do know nothing about engines, but i remember reading about this freeware 3-D engine, maybe it is what you want:

http://www.cubeengine.com/
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#3 The Veteran

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 11:30 AM

Nice link Civilian thanks! Looking at the images for Cube 1 on that site I'm getting the impression it's primarily a FPS engine but the big problem I'm having right now is that I'm not very clued up as to how exclusive that makes it. I don't know for example if an engine designed for FPS software is usable in something like a squad based strategy game. I really need someone to clear that up for me if there are any takers!
Welcome back to the wonderful world of Fan-fiction! (it's short for fantastic!)
Go check em out, UFO TFTD and Apocalypse all under one roof!!!

Also why not check out XCom : Colonisation over in the special projects forum. Won't kill you if you do, might kill you if you don't!

#4 Civilian

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 11:42 AM

My pleasure.

I found a freeware 2D-engine as well http://love2d.org/home
I always wanted to make a small game but never found a simple (and free!) 2D game engine. Game-Maker is great and there is a free but functionally limited version available, yet it simply was too limited imho.Maybe Löve is better....
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#5 The Veteran

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 11:52 AM

I actually have a licensed copy of GameMaker7 Pro which is nice but you're right it has its limitations. Obviously we're bringing 3D to our game so Love won't do what we want from an engine but it's another good link and I know some other people who may be after such a thing so I'll pass it on! Thanks again Civ!
Welcome back to the wonderful world of Fan-fiction! (it's short for fantastic!)
Go check em out, UFO TFTD and Apocalypse all under one roof!!!

Also why not check out XCom : Colonisation over in the special projects forum. Won't kill you if you do, might kill you if you don't!

#6 Azrael Strife

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 03:15 PM

If you want a good shot at successfully completing a game, I'd suggest you use XNA, there are some nice engines for it too ;)
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#7 The Veteran

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 04:32 PM

Thanks Az, funny you should mention it but it's actually the first thought I had even knowing nothing about engines as I do! When Ivan (Bulma) was doing all of the programming for Colonisation last time around we were using MDX or whatever it was called which used the .NET framework and was basically the old XNA so it seemed like a good thought! So there's another one for the list! Thanks Az, noted and observed!
Welcome back to the wonderful world of Fan-fiction! (it's short for fantastic!)
Go check em out, UFO TFTD and Apocalypse all under one roof!!!

Also why not check out XCom : Colonisation over in the special projects forum. Won't kill you if you do, might kill you if you don't!

#8 Thorondor

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 04:57 PM

If you haven't already checked it out, I'd suggest having a look at the Torque 3D engine/game creation
platform by Garage Games. Note, however, that it's _not_ free!

Still, Garage Games is well known for it and for its support of the Indie game dev community.

You'll find their demo of the Professional version available for download here (note: direct download link).

I haven't used it myself so I really can't offer technical insight regarding actual performance and range of abilities, though there are examples of games created with it from just about every genre.

Add-ons like Genre Kits (3D Isometric, RTS, etc), tools (landscape rendering, team management, etc), art packs, exist for purchase as well...

To give you a little extra hand with your assessment (the "what can be done with it" question) I've browsed games made/in the making with Torque 3D and picked a few relevant screenshots for easy perusing:

• Penny Arcade Adventures [Action/Adventure RPG] screenshot
• Frontline Nation [TB, Tactical/Strategy] screenshot1, screenshot2
• Legends [Action/Adventure FPS] screenshot
• Age of Decadence [TB RPG] screenshot
• NASA's Distributed Observer Network simulation (collaboration with Valador) screenshot
• Dreamlords [MMO RTS] screenshot
• Cyberwing [RTS] screenshot

Some of the games made are currently on sale via Steam (one or two rather widely known). They also have high-profile licensees like Ubisoft, Bioware, EA, etc.

::

I hope this helps, Veteran. ;)

#9 michal

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 05:35 PM

Hello,

Could you answer those question first?
1) What language do you want to use?
2) Do you want to create open source software or closed source?
3) What platform do you want support?

For example, if you want to use open source software, it won't be good to use commercial engines like unreal or source. Or torque.

If you want to create multi platform software, you can't use xna because it's supported only on windows.

If you would like to program your game in python, you could use fife engine (but it's isometric engine, not 3d)
http://fifengine.de/

If you would like to program it in C# (but not XNA), you can't use for example cube or sauerbraten (cube 2) engines.

Make wise decision, because it can judge if your project will be successful or not.

For comparison - Oroject Xenocide is programmed in C# and XNA - they can't provide support for linux or macos. UFO: Ai is programmed in C and is using quake2 engine. Because of quake2 engine limitations they can't implement destructible terrain.

#10 Civilian

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 06:12 PM

Here a link to the free the Unreal engine for those interested: http://www.udk.com/
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#11 The Veteran

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 06:17 PM

Wow thanks guys for two great posts!

Firstly to Thorondor thanks for bringing up Torque, I've definitely heard of it and some of the games ring a bell too! Will definitely be added to the list for our devs as it looks like a very versatile engine. I have no real problem with purchasing the software we're going to use apart from the fact I can't really afford it but in that instance how would it work in terms of multiple installations? Once bought for example could it be installed by all of the devs on the team or would each one need to buy it individually? The latter option rules it out straight away! No matte how good something is we can't afford to buy it five times!

Michal thanks for your post too and a bit of an insight into the various options available as programming is not my strongpoint! Basically I wanted to work with a library that would be easy to port at any stage in development so we were covered later on so we orriginally went with one called Irrlicht and built a framework from scratch. Unfortunately this alienated a few possible devs who didn't know it and ultimately has failed due to the loss of our lead dev who was really the brains behind this specific engine.
This time round, bearing in mind we're going to cut our losses and start over, I'm not bothered about running across multiple platforms and am simply interested in finding a good capable engine that has an easily accessible library and is preferably free. Most importantly though I want one that the devs are familiar with and happy to work in, that's why the ultimate decision will rest on their shoulders!
So platform wise we're looking at desktop pcs running windows XP or higher, nothing else is of massive consequence right now but Andrew, the old lead dev, does work off a linux system so in order to keep him involved in the project he would still need to be able to code it on his OS.
We discussed open-source last time round and we're not looking to work in it for several reasons and as far as I know anything about coding I believe we're most likely to be using C++ but don't take my word for that one! Hopefully one of my devs will stop in here at some point and answer that query as best they can!

As you said in closing though Michal it's all about making the game we want Colonisation to be. It's no good us using the quake2 engine for example if it doesn't support destructible terrain as that's something we want our game to have. I'm not willing to compromise the integrity of the game or any of it's features for any reason which is what makes choosing an engine so important. We're up to four developers on this project now so next time they all get online at the same time we'll start talking seriously about possible engine choices at which point I'll direct them here so please continue to leave any thoughts and suggestions you all may have! This is one of the most important decisions we're going to make throughout the entire project so it really needs to be the right one...
Welcome back to the wonderful world of Fan-fiction! (it's short for fantastic!)
Go check em out, UFO TFTD and Apocalypse all under one roof!!!

Also why not check out XCom : Colonisation over in the special projects forum. Won't kill you if you do, might kill you if you don't!

#12 michal

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 06:27 PM

So maybe ogre3d would be right engine for you? It's very capable and (probably most important) has big community of people who probably can help with some technical problems. It's even used in commercial products.

But i think there are better foras than this for asking such questions. You should probably try on some gamedevs foras.

#13 The Veteran

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 06:46 PM

Thanks Michal I'm having a look on GameDev.net now, seems to have a lot of support for pretty much everything! You seem to have a pretty good idea about all of this stuff, are you a programmer yourself?
Welcome back to the wonderful world of Fan-fiction! (it's short for fantastic!)
Go check em out, UFO TFTD and Apocalypse all under one roof!!!

Also why not check out XCom : Colonisation over in the special projects forum. Won't kill you if you do, might kill you if you don't!

#14 michal

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 07:02 PM

Yes, but PHP programmer. But i'm also interested a bit in game development (open source games etc), hovewer didn't developed any ;)

#15 Azrael Strife

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 07:27 PM

The downside is that you're forced to code your game in C++; with the whole open source teams dynamics, I would advise against it, you're very likely to be continuously short handed in the programming department until your game achieves a certain level of development, and in C++ it gets really really hard to make a game as complex as the one you're aiming to create, for an example see what happened to Project Xenocide... took years to have a semi-working geoscape in C++ and Ogre3d; the same level of development was achieved using pure XNA in, say, 6 months and only two programmers.
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#16 michal

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 07:34 PM

You're right. Hovewer there are probably more programmers who knows C++ than C#

#17 Thorondor

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 08:16 PM

@Veteran:

Quote

(...) how would it work in terms of multiple installations? Once bought for example could it be installed by all of the devs on the team or would each one need to buy it individually? The latter option rules it out straight away!
According to what I've dug up it's indeed the latter...

Unfortunately they've dropped a "Basic" version ($250/developer) which currently leaves on offer the "Professional" version ($1000/developer) and a higher-priced case by case negotiable "Studio" version which removes some higher-end team constraints. (see this table for better reference)

They are also planning on releasing a special "Artist" version this month for the non-programmers of the team, expected to be priced at $500/artist. Check out this thread on their forums to get a gist of it.

::

They aren't playing any games are they?... ;)

#18 The Veteran

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 09:48 PM

Thanks for the research Thor, fairly obviously we won't be spending $1000 per dev to code in this!

Az if those numbers are even close to accurate then XNA sounds like a pretty damn amazing idea! We seem to be putting together a decent sized dev team right now but even so noone can predict the next 2 years so it really isn't sensible to assume we have that long to be able to produce no more than a geoscape.

That said we had a basic Geoscape in place using Irrlicht within a matter of weeks thanks to one of our programmers and that was a code he'd never even written in so fingers crossed it's down to the team as well as the engine! That same dev has just told me that XNA is a goer though so it may be a good contender!
Welcome back to the wonderful world of Fan-fiction! (it's short for fantastic!)
Go check em out, UFO TFTD and Apocalypse all under one roof!!!

Also why not check out XCom : Colonisation over in the special projects forum. Won't kill you if you do, might kill you if you don't!

#19 michal

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 04:38 AM

If you want to use C# you can also look at axiom which is based on ogre3d.

http://axiomengine.s...x.php/Main_Page

#20 The Veteran

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 08:34 AM

Cheers Michal will add it to the list lol Almost ready to start bashing this topic out with the devs so might have a decision made in the next day or two!
Welcome back to the wonderful world of Fan-fiction! (it's short for fantastic!)
Go check em out, UFO TFTD and Apocalypse all under one roof!!!

Also why not check out XCom : Colonisation over in the special projects forum. Won't kill you if you do, might kill you if you don't!




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