Nevrax Library (NeL)
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- User Reviews
NeL (Nevrax Library) is a toolkit for the development of massively online universes. It provides the base technologies and a set of development methodologies for the development of both client and server code.
Particle system with support for various representations, including dot, line, triangles fans, bitmaps, shockwave, ripples, meshes
- Static light maps: up to 3 layers of light map simultaneously
- Dynamic lighting
- Shadow Mapping Static & dynamic shadows
- Mesh Loading
- Animation export plugins for 3DStudio Max
- Skinning export plugins for 3DStudio Max
- Skeletal Animation
- Animation Blending
- Bezier patch landscape modeling. Support for vertical faces and overhangs
- The ROAM algorithm is used to provide adaptive subdivision of the landscape
- Geomorphing is used between LODs (levels of detail) to eliminate popping
- Landscape texture mapping at a constant 1.5cm/texel, with the possibility of a second complete additive texture layer. Texture continuity breaks due to bilinear filtering have been eliminated
- Landscape is dynamicaly streamed into memory with background loading
- 'Snap To Ground' functionality allows objects that are on the ground to remain attached to the surface as it geomorphs
- Basic Physics
- Collision Detection
- Master Server
- 2D Sound
- 3D Sound
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I'm in the process of trying to use this engine so I can't speak to stability yet.
The code quality seems to be of decent without being overly complicated. It contains inline assembler and many coded in assumptions so it's not trivial to port.
There are many external dependencies that are sometimes difficult to get working.
Many of the features of the engine will not work under Linux though it claims to be cross platform.
The main drawback of this engine is there is almost zero support. The parent company asked the opennel to close and pledged to support the project. I've been to the new site many times. The documentation on opennel.org is much more complete even though the project has been closed for almost a year. I saw one code update and only one regular poster in the forums besides myself. There's a wiki but nobody will grant access. If you can't figure out how to make the code work from the source you'll never get this working correctly.
NeL - Fitting A Critical Niche In Open Source MMORPG Frameworks
While the support on NeL is difficult - it is community run - the community is always willing to pitch in and help whomever comes to the channel or posts on the new forum. The project has even recently received a new website (www.opennel.org) and all new software.
Being an MMORPG framework the ease of use of NeL is not very high - but you can't expect a framework for such lofty endeavors as MMORPGs to be easy to use. The on-going efforts in the community to document the engine on the wiki have made adopting the framework much more easy, though.
As for features - no other Open Source framework provides the total features necessary to build a full blown MMORPG. While OGRE3D might out-shine NeL in 3D and RakNet in networking - NeL is the whole package with all of the elements necessary working in unison. The fact that it is open-source and has a flexible community behind it means that any features lacking from it anyone can add.
The NeL is a great library for developping games. It has a lot de possibilities and we can find some examples bundled with the library.
The only drawback is the documentation really poor (doxygen generated documents). We have to read comments inside sources and try several times before to get used to.
Nevrax forums are not very active and community who use it are really small.
But once we understood how to use it, it's really easy to do what we want.
Nice concept, not done well
Without very good C++ knowledge move on to another engine. The source doesnt even compile out of box without lots of manual corrections. The documentation is not very complete as well.
Even when Nevrax is used by Ryzom it appears that the GPL version lacks lots of stuff used in Ryzom and isnt updated from the devlopers regulary.