Languages Written In:
C/C++, Java, C#, Visual Basic 6, VB.NET, Basic, D, Perl, Python, Delphi, Pascal, Fortran, Lisp
C/C++, Java, C#, Visual Basic 6, VB.NET, Basic, D, Perl, Python, Delphi, Pascal, Fortran, Lisp
Leadwerks Engine 2 features a unified lighting system with dynamic soft shadows. Our advanced deferred renderer can draw dozens of dynamic lights at good speed. Advanced shader effects and support for huge terrains up to 33 million triangles delivers next-gen technology at an affordable price.
|License Name||Price in $US||Source Code Included?|
|Single user commercial license|
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I have been using leadwerks for about 7 or 8 months, and I have loved every second! I think it is great for game developers of all fields. I honestly don't know why anyone would rate it below 4 stars.
its one of the highest graphic engines in the world it kills unreal and unity and a lot of other competitors! I LOVE LEADWERKS!!!
whats not to love about it?
its the NEXT CRYENGINE
you can make any game on it and the graphics wont suck.
has great lighting,water,vegetation, and is overall one of the best engines ever!
This is one of the easiest to use and create games in Also very fun to use. The engine i found to great to use with the basic language with Darkbasic Pro from The Game Creators.
First of all, Leadwerks is not a point-and-click game maker. To really use it to its full extent, you need to know how to program, or at least be an artist working with a programmer who does the code. Fortunately you can use C++, Lua, C#, and some other languages with Leadwerks, so most everyone is happy.
If you do know how to program, Leadwerks is a breeze to code with. It takes graphics like Crysis and makes them easy to control. You just have to try it to see how well its designed.
Some of the tools can still be improved, but compared to Torque, Unity, C4, etc., this is a much better engine. They're working on version 3.0, and I expect that to be really amazing.
Like a few posters, I have used and or evaluated most of the engines here, which means I have used this site as a resource for years.
And though I have never posted I felt the need to "correct" certain, found by experience to be, inaccuracies that could lead to misunderstanding. And for the sake of just plain fairness.
So, first things first;
C++ programmers can just dive right in... I did. Some people use LUA script, and yes, some do indeed use Blitz, I assume one can guess which route I took (I think there are more, as well. To keep you from having to scroll "C/C++, Java, C#, D, Delphi, Pascal, BASIC, Ada, Fortran, Lisp, Perl, Python, Visual Basic 6, VB.NET").
One of my favorites is that LeadWerks hasn't crashed, yet.
After going through the many, actually quite informative tutorials I found I had to usually slow the frame rate, quite a bit, actually.
Come to think of it, LeadWerks also gives you access to OpenGL, too. And ... some few engines no longer give the kind of finer grained access to the underlying functional elements as LeadWerks, still, does. Which is how I ended up posting here in the first place, lol. In other words there are things you can do in LeadWerks (directly) that you simply cannot do (at all) in some of the higher ranked engines listed here.
The proof is in the pudding though ... so, check out the screen shots in the gallery, perhaps? And perhaps StarCraft, which comes out tomorrow will have better graphics than you will see there, but not many; and I am talking commercial offerings, here, do. There is a lot of very good work being done with LeadWerks, obviously.
The community is great, and it is entirely possible that you would have any questions you needed to ask or issues that arised answered or addressed by the devs themselves.
I consider my two hundred bucks well spent.
Again, you must check out the gallery and the community blogs.
I consider my self a game enthousiast, rather then a game developer. I can't program but I can do some moddeling and typing over some code of the files that come with tutorials.
I bought this game engine pure out of interest and fascination by games. The videos on the leadwerks website and the website itself explained to me more then enough about what I can do with this engine. I don't need a super advanced engine with tons of features.
I consider the engine "Next Gen". Why? Because the graphics you can achieve with this engine are astonisching. Leadwerks engine provides a good lighting system and a robust physics system (Newton). The games you can make with this engine are specificly ment for newer systems. I;ve heard many people complain about the system requirements. It clear from the beginning that this engine is for the newer generation, and if your hardware doesn't support it: too bad.
What the forum and tutorial make clear fast enough, is that this is a 'game engine' and not a 'game maker'. I have small experience with Torque 3D and 2D, FPS creator and Darc Basic. Do not think that this engine allows you to set up an entire game without programming. However, if you are motivated enough, this engine is perfect to make your entrance as a beginner programmer or gamedeveloper. This because of its ease.
The forum of leadwerks is a clean and clear forum. The community is very active and you will get a reaction on like 99% of your forum posts. Also in the wiki for leadwerks you can find every single command availeble, often with an example.
- powerfull 'next gen', updated frequently game engine
- very good price for its features and power
- strong forum and community
- TUTORIALS: especially for beginnners: a good way to get started!
- easy to use sandbox system, drag and drop, realtime lighting modification.
- Features: For beginners actually just enough. However, scaling or object editing could be handy.
- Sometimes crashes for no good reason
Deffinetly worthy of it's price. powerpull, clear engine, no bullshit, good forum, wiki, community, good tutorials for starters. The fact that there are always reports of new features and improvments gives you the idea that this engine has a good future.
After comparing this engine to both C4 and Torque3D, I must say Leadwerks is a much better solution.
C4 is looking VERY outdated at this point and Torque3D is a nightmare. Leadwerks looks amazing and the graphic features are second to none. The physics implementation is very fast and equally important, accurate.
Leadwerks is very easy to use. You have a wide range of options when it comes to programming languages. You do not need to be a coding god to use Leadwerks.
Leadwerks has yet to crash on me. That is a great sign.
The forums are great with a lot of very helpful individuals.
I highly recommend this engine. This engine would be worth the price at $1000.
UPDATE: v2.31 is out... and things have come a long way.
Lua Scripting/Physics/Editor/_Incredible Graphics_/etc.
Ease of use: 5
- To the point, powerfull api.
- You'll be able to create something that really looks amazing with this engine in no time.
It would be really nice if animation could be integrated into the editor.
Stability & perfomance: 4
- Feels solid but does crash now and then. Reading logfile's for a clue sometimes doesn't help at all.
- Performance is decent.
- Video/pdf tutorials! really good!!!
- Wiki style online documentation
- Forum/Community support is pretty good.
- No form of offline documentation whatsoever.
In general it is a nice engine, and as time passes it keeps getting better.
Rendering wise it's not comparable to anything else I know of anymore, this is as good realtime graphics as I've ever seen...
Leadwerks is a fast-growing engine that has evolved from being just an awesome graphic engine into a fully-fledged game engine.
Its multi-language support and the recent addition of lua scripting makes it easy for any user-level to pick it up. Advanced programmers will squeeze the best out of it while newbies, like myself, also feel comfortable with the provided tools, tutorials and samples to get started.
A great community and social game development network backups your growth with the engine and it's very supportive. The community, that once started with a few users discussing about the future of the engine, has also grown along with the new features Leadwerks has gained through these past years.
Its developer is permanently listening to the user's needs, suggestions and feature requests and is very supportive and honest towards what's and what's not possible to develop for/with Leadwerks.
The engine's features and specs are available at the site, but only till you check out any of the videos available around the net or get the latest demo SDK to run its examples can you harness the real power.
Leadwerks' engine is bright, it can only evolve into one direction and that's getting better day by day.
I think this is a great moment to hop onto its train and be a part of a proactive development. For that price you're getting a lot more than other engines offer for a much higher price.
It is indeed targeted at high-end computers, so maybe not having the ability to export to web may be a drawback, but day by day the required technology to run leadwerks is becoming the standard, and who knows, maybe someday we'll be able to publish to web with ultra high settings!
Updated review of LE 2.3 engine.
FEATURES (5) : The engine really generates fantastic visuals. that's the main point. many 3d engines make me sick when i watch them for too long because their 3d render is unrealistic and my brain simply refuses and flips my stomach ... Leadwerks does not make me ill, and gives beautifull renders.
Everything is there HDR, normal mapping, vehicles, physics, bloom, fog, SSAO ...
The only features missing are :
- no console path
- only basic waterplane.
EASE OF USE (5) : If you're a programmer the engine is very easy to program. The engine even can handle some things by itself like the player Tcontroller, that's cool. If you're not, the new Lua way of 2.3 will help you alot when seeking help with coding. The latest scene editor is now really wysiwyg and customisable.
The only annoyance in the ease of use is the missing feature of an integrated art path. Some things must be done manually like converting DDS, and the only supported 3D format is the proprietary GMF that makes the additional buy of Unwrap3D a must have if you're not going the 3Dstudio path.
STABILITY AND PERFORMANCE (4.5) :
The performance is fair for the render quality, but low end graphic cards can't run the engine even if they handle SM 3, complex shadows are not replaced by stencil shadows automatically so fps drop quick with shadows enabled. My 8600GS runs between 20 and 25 fps on a complex scene with maximum settings. It's a fair result for such a medium card but limited for playing.
I can't give 4.5 stars, so i'll give 5 it'll compensate a little the idiotic bashers that gave 0.
SUPPORT (3) : the real weakpoint. It's only community support. Leadwerks is a one man engine, so he cannot be in the forums and work at the engine the same time. And when he is active in the forum he will only provide short hints but no code samples... so if you're already skilled in coding it's ok, if not.... The community is great and will try to help, but you just depend on the mood of the forumers there is no guarantee the one that knows the answer will see your question. Also tutorials and samples are very slowly updated for the same reason. But the engine now reached what i consider a stable state where the lead develloper can say "ok i did it, let's rest, it's complete now". And then write samples and focus for a while on LE 3.0 roadmap.
With 2.3 Lua will allow better support and allow the exchange of reusable code... and hopefully more forum answers with code samples instead of vague suggestions that lead to a guru meditation.
To Aurora's review to NOT RECOMMEND this engine.
First off, the GMF file format IS PROTECTED, and assest's CAN NOT be modified. Also, if you really want to protect more that that, then you can load ALL the assests into a password protected PAK file, that only your coding has access to.
second, I think your recommendation of GG is quite funny, because their system absolutely has NO protection on assets or the scripting... Now with the LUA, you can even encrypt the lua script, password protect the PAK file, and viola, source protected.
Third, if you think for $150 you should get access to the source, go to GG and pay them $150 and demand the source. Good luck.
For now $200, you can not find a better engine,and you will NOT feel like your money was waisted.
And yes, I have TGEA, DARKPro, BlitxMax, RealmCrafter and RealmCrafter PRo, and ALL of them, I don't even remotely feel like I got a good deal.
There are many complaints about the engine having high requirements, and these are quite unfounded. Even in May 2008. The requirements were far from extreme, a GeForce 7 series card was not expensive, which is about the only hardware requirement for the engine. Processor-wise, games written with this engine could need as low as 1.5 GHz to work, so the requirements are quite low.
The graphics are rendered in OpenGL, and the engine requires that a graphics card that supports OpenGL 1.2 be present. Due to not requiring DirectX 10, with this engine, you could theoretically have a next-gen title, playing on Windows 2000 - whereas most other equally capable engines require at least Windows Vista for DX 10 support.
Many indie developers will undoubtedly have played around with many cheap 3D engines, most have the same hardware limitation, 8 lights. With Leadwerks 2.1 and up there is no limit to the number of lights, and the performance is not hit very hard by large numbers of lights either.
Post-processing effects are made simple with the addition of 'Framewerk' an optional extra that is bundled with the engine at no extra charge. Which is useful for programmers who are not especially shader-literate.
Whilst most of the engine seems too good for its price, there are one or two very minor issues. The first is networking: Networking was a late addition and it costs and additional $50 to upgrade to a 2.3 licence from a 2.0 licence (2.0 is no longer on sale, so new users have to fork out an extra $50 for this, regardless). For $50 you might expect an example packet-set to demonstrate tracking numerous players. Their health, items, world position or even which avatar they chose. In reality, what you get UDP only with only one example of sending a single string, followed by receiving one. Reliability and sequencing are available, but it seems that someone has missed the point of UDP by a country mile. UDP is not designed to be reliable nor to ensure correct sequencing of packets. TCP is designed to do this, and it does so without using RAM or CPU cycles. Hence the reason that TCP is still in widespread use, TCP is also better suited to multi-threading, but multithreading a very minor issue, as the engine is not thread-safe anyway. With winsock available for free, providing both TCP and UDP support, the upgrade seems to be a large rip-off. However, in the engine's defence, the 2.3 upgrade does offer more than just networking support.
The other issue is assets. The 3D model format is proprietary, and whilst plugins are freely available for most 3D packages, it still can be a little confusing making sure you do everything correctly so that after exporting your models, all the textures and animations are correct. Despite being proprietary the file format is available so it doesn't make it any harder for your work to be used without your authorisation. Additionally, the only way of protcting your assets at the moment is with a password protected zip file. It's not possible to load models directly from an address in RAM, which means even if you encrypt your files, you still have to place them out on the hard drive so they can be loaded into your game.
Aside from those two small issues the engine is extremely good for its price. Almost as if it's a limited introductory offer. Additionally, the listed issues are only really likely to impact larger, more successful titles. The engine is backed by a strong, friendly community. This is rather lucky as aside from a wiki, which could probably be updated a little more frequently, they are the best form of support. Leadwerks Software appears to be a one-man company, and so it seems a little unfair to score the support so negatively. But unfortuntely this is probably a harshly accurate reflection. It seems like the engine's developer has a choice of either:
Help those that get stuck, but have hardly any time to improve the engine. or, Hope the community can help instead, and devote more time to the engine, with the latter being the apparent choice.
When I first started to look for an engine I demo'd as many as I could, in the end the choice (for me) was simple. Leadwerks Engine 2, and as soon as the upgrade was available to 2.3, I had no reservations about going that route too.
Ease of Use:
Extremely easy to use, currently I use Blitzmax, C++ and now lua. The wiki documentation has all the engine commands along with their syntax for the three languages I use. There are tutorials with new ones in the works. A big plus was the helpful and friendly user community that has been a true source for help with just about every aspect of the engine, from programming to graphics and modelling issues.
Packed full, and still growing. Even now after upgrading to 2.3 last November I am still trying to get to "play" with all the features, and that certainly is not a complaint, considering some of the new ideas and features being talked about and currently being worked on I have plenty to be getting on with.
I have had no problems at all in this regard. I have a pretty standard run of the mill, mid ranged PC, and it all simply flies along. On a side note when searching for an engine I read quite a few reviews, one of the complaints about this engine, from a few, is it does not support low spec hardware, well if you have to boot your PC with a shovel full of coal and a cranking handle and only when the wind is in a certain direction you really only have yourselves to blame for missing out on the delights a pretty standard run of the mill, mid ranged PC can bring.
The developer Josh Klint has always been very helpful, and as stated in "Ease of use" the helpful and friendly user community has been a true source of help with just about every aspect of the engine and game design in general.
if your looking for a good an affordable game engine.then the leadwerks engine is your answer!
with great graphics and a easy to use interface,you wil make great games in no time!
It's a bit hard to write a review for a game-engine which is updated to freqently. I also have to ask myself how should it be compared to other engines to determine how many stars Leadwerks 2 (LE2) is worth? Unreal- or Cryengine? I think every engine will be compared with the best. This is the nature of game developers. Everyone wants the best tech available. ;)
I'm an artist only and have no idea of coding. So I'll write about level design, environments and how the engine "feels" while editing/designing. I also think coding has been covered here quite well. Theese LUA scripting looks clean and powerful.
I use LE2 since August 2009 as my engine of choise. I also worked with game-engines in a professional field since 2001. Leadwerks offers a good tool pipeline which is also supported by a nice and helpful community.
You can export models with materials right out of 3dsmax and use the basic Leadwerks material editor to fine tune and preview the materials. The material editor could be a bit more optimized for an artist concerning the shader selection. All the code monkeys will get used to it very fast. ;)
There are some file (texture) converters with batch functionality to speed up things.
So I think this area is covered very well. Last but not least does LE2 support a nice amount of file types. I don't miss anything in the tools pipeline.
The abstract file system is another nice addition although I needed some time to get used to it. But it's because I use a lot of underlines in my asset naming conventions which results in new folders in LE2.
After getting used to the system it's easy to pass project assets to the client and have them all together clean and organized which is very important for my business.
The Sandbox editor - your main tool - is clean and tidy. It's possible to create own color shemes and reorganize menu buttons via text formated files. You can drag and drop objects, entities and whatever you coded right into the main window. Some small things need to get polished and needed to be added but taking a look at the development speed I'm sure it will be in there soon.
Talking about stability, I was testing the engine back and forth and really push it to the limit. So I overdo it some times and the editor crashes after placing millions of trees or doing incredible large terrains with crazy shadow ranges and uebersized textures. For the regular user it'll be stable in most situations. It's always possible to sent broken or buggy files to Josh for evaluation and bug tracking.
Performance depends strongly on the set up environment and detailing of objects. I ended up doing one more LoD level to the objects to keep my stuff in a playable but detailed way. As a site note: I like that every LoD model is a seperate file. You can work on it in a clean way and don't have to export all the models again.
The visual fidelity can compete with most engines out there. Crap assets will still look crap on a top engine.Thats a well known fact. A talented artist can squeeze out eye candy even on most engines. In LE2 I can use AO in a different UV channel, use satellite images for my entire terrain have lots of vegetation objects, streets, water and so on. It would bust this review but no questions will be left after looking at the feature list. :)
For further versions more of everything would be nice to really match engines like Cryengine. Especially more terrain layers. But I'm sure this often requested feature will be added soon.
The price is an aspect every professional developer has an eye on. I think the engine is way to cheap. 150$ for such an amount of work and features you get could create the impression the engine is not that good.
I think something between 500$ and 1000$ would be adequate. Or at least a basic cheap price with a plugin like structure to buy needed features depending on the project. Some engines use this plugin model and I think it's a fair solution for everyone.
I know Josh did the whole project alone and I still can't believe this but I feel he should organize himself a bit better. I really can imagine that he's getting bombed with emails, bug reports, requests (a lot from me, hehe) plus has tons of ideas and dreams what LE2 should look like. In my feeling this ends up in finished but not polished features sometimes. He should concentrate on one feature make it rock solid and 100% done then pass over to the next on his list/roadmap/whatever.
This is one main difference between working with a 250.000$ engine and a 150$ engine. The 250k engine feels almost "done" in it's workflow and stability.
To sum my review up I'm happy every day that I've found LE2 with Josh Wink as a skilled developer. He's a nice guy with an open ear for my wishes and I trust in his capabilities. I'm starting my arch-viz and realtime-engine business in 2010 with experimental and innovative stuff. For this business I rely on Leadwerks Engine 2 technology and I trust in further development because I know Josh is doing LE2 with heart blood like every deverloper out there who loves his "digital baby".
With a very permissive license and features paralleling the AAA engines sich as CryEngine and UnrealEngine, the Leadwerks Engine has an unbeatable pricing of only $150. The best part is that it keeps becoming better and better, and so far the updates have been free of charge (hope they still will). Its more than usable for anyone who has any programming knowledge, and soon will be entirely scriptable. It performs at high FPS on regular-end machines. Really, I almost feel bad for buying it at such a low price: as if I was stealing it.
The only counterpart is that since the developer is independant, it isn't possible for him to provide professional support. However, the forum users are quite efficient and nice, and you rarely need support if you even do. Works for me, if it keeps me from paying an incredibly high price.
A definite 5/5.
I have enjoyed using LE. I have found it relatively easy to navigate the artwork into LE as well as getting a starting base program for my game. The graphical quality really cannot be beaten for this price.
The only drawbacks at the moment that I see are the constant upgrade releases that break other features or lack of documentation to show how to fix said broken feature. Documentation is a little flawed atm but hopefully will be revamped and updated with the new LE 2.3.
As for the other engines mentioned here... if you want to go mod something, use those engines. If you want to make your own game with the only limitation being your imagination, buy LE.
This is an exciting time at the LE community with the new LE 2.3 coming and various users showing AAA work on the forums. Expect big things from this little engine.
When i bought LeadWerks engine a year ago, i was amazed by the graphic quality, features, ease of use, stability, and support.
Updates are very frequent, it has great documentation and wiki, the tutorials are the best i've seen, makes learning c/c++ easy, if that's your language of choice. It's extremely stable, never crashes on me, and a very helpful friendly community.
With Leadwerks 2.3 coming out soon, with all new Editor, scripting, it's the best bang for your buck, hand's down.
This engine is a great renderer, the lightning is fabulous,
the water planes are quite real, even if sea waves disappeared in recent versions...
this point is quite annoying though, that an update can cause all that worked well before to no func without an advice... shaders are commonly the cause for my case... ATI card and LE shaders are not always friends ...
in fact, if the lead developper, Josh, found a thing not at his taste, (not as god as he wanted) he drops it out as this...
If you want to practice you need to be xp cause Blitzmax license is not delivered with the pack and C++ is not fully supported (as far i know), need to read all wiki/forum before asking a question if you don't want a laconic answer...
As i am not a developper, in the futrure release,
Lua script will be a time saver for me, don't get Blitzmax and don't master C++, hope so...
All in all, it is a great little jewel engine among a lot of others on the market.
Big Bang for your Bucks
I bought this engine back in 2008 and I was very pleased with my purchase. This is the first engine I ever used, and learnt how to use all the tools very quickly and easily. The new version (2.3) to be out soon, looks mind blowing. The addition of scripting to this engine will surely make it the best, cheapest engine out there. If anyone will ever ask me about a game engine to use, I will definately point them over to leadwerks, As the ease of use and quality of the engine is just mind blowing.
Leadwerks Engine 2 have so far been great to work with, extremely simple to to use with a very forgiving art pipeline.
Issues I have encountered over the last year have been easily solved by simple methods.
The tools provided with the engine makes life quite easy.
But best of all is the future direction of this great engine, it provides power of freedom coupled with choice of scripting.
I say, the price justifies quality ten folds!
I bought Leadwerks about 5 minutes after I saw this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4uh5j4BM7w and have not had any regrets about my purchase since.
The absolute highlight of the engine for me is that it enables my very mediocre Nvidia 8600 GT to render hundreds of thousands polygons on screen with reasonable framerate, amazing!
It ships with a couple of handy tools concerning creating textures, terrains or gamelevels, the most noticeable of which is Sandbox. Sandbox is a terrain/level editor that allows you to sculpt terrain and place objects. It also allows you to assign properties to those objects, which in turn can be used inside your game, so it's quite easy to create waypoints, trigger zones, etc.
- fast, high quality rendering
- great physics engine
- great level building tool (Sandbox)
- usable with, but not limited to, C++ (can be used with most programming languages)
- price/quality ratio is great
- deferred lighting!
- 5 textures per terrain limit
- textures can only be in DDS format (you may need to re-save a lot of your models)
open your browser,
download evaluation kit.
now you can go to bed. :D
(don't spent your money just for your tummy)
This engine will be best game engine for just a few years later.
I WILL BE HERE, so see you then! ;)
Its Really nice engine . i see in the future will be one of the best engines in the world .also its easy in use ,and good performance with nice quality. i hope the performance will be More good with the next version.
Came from Dark Basic Pro to this Engine and purchased it a couple of releases ago. 'It's a Ride'. Really still in it's development stages but making good headway with release 2.23 I enjoy using it though some of it is well over my head, I can still create a scene and even got an object to animate in a world recently. I use Blitz Max to write and compile as it's close to DBpro language. Using the Sandbox makes world creation fairly simple and the art pipeline has just taken a leap forward with FBX support and a new Terrain Creation update. Spreading trees and grasses etc is fun and easy. It looks like the next version will be a further improvement too with terrain colour blending..
If someone were to ask me if the Leadwerks Engine is for them, I would say it would depend what they were trying to accomplish. I think it has a way to go to be a complete package yet.
It must be said that Josh, the Author, although being an obviously clever fellow has a poor track record of support for previous applications and tends to make it up as he goes. (Nothing wrong with that of course). It just means that One is hesitant to commit with confidence to a project. So far, so good with the LE because this is his current baby. I'm hoping that support for Blitz Max won't be dropped entirely in favour of C++, that would be very problematic for me.. so fingers crossed that the 'ride' will continue and that the current economic recession fuels rather than hinders the Indie cause.