The agony of choice - yet another engine selection thread

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LordTherapy 101 Dec 01, 2008 at 14:39

Greetings to all,

Sorry to trouble you all with yet another ‘help me select an engine’ thread, but I wanted to tap into the wealth of experience that is available here :)

I’m looking for a 3D game engine to develop a 3D simulation of an underground mine as part of my Phd, requiring:

  • Dynamic lighting and shadows
  • Basic texturing, including bump maps and reflective textures
  • Scripting and event trigger / response capabilities, including the ability to create and modify a number of variables within the virtual environment to model the behaviour of the underground mine
  • The ability to closely monitor and log user activity
  • The ability to import 3D models from external software (such as 3DSMax)
  • World editor / terrain builder, with the ability to string a series of separate levels together into one scenario
  • Special effects such as fire and smoke

Ease of development is also a definite requirement here, as the simulation environment needs to be deployed to field asap in order to start collecting data.

I have spent a considerable amount of time trawling this site and checking out the engine database and have also downloaded a number of demos to check out. However, I was really hoping that any of you with some experience in this area might be able to help me out by eliminating engine choices that aren’t compatible with what I’ve outlined above. I’m not afraid to do some coding if requried, as I have some experience with C++, Java, OpenGL etc, and I also have funds available, so I am not limited to just the engines that are free to use. If any of you here could provide some insight based on your experiences, it would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks,

  • LordTherapy.

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vrnunes 102 Dec 01, 2008 at 15:37

Phd in which domain, if you don’t mind telling us? Just curious…

As of the engine, I would just write one for that. But then, ok, generally people recommend OGRE, IRRLICHT and/or C4.

Take a look at ESENTHEL as well, there is a recent demo here: http://www.devmaster.net/forums/showthread.php?t=13360&goto=newpost

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starstutter 101 Dec 01, 2008 at 17:03

@vrnunes

As of the engine, I would just write one for that. But then, ok, generally people recommend OGRE, IRRLICHT and/or C4.

I couldn’t say yes or no to IRRLICHT (because I don’t know what format its in) but ogre may not be the best choice. It is a very good engine but you have to do a substancial amount of advanced coding to turn it into anything playable or a good demo. Good for long term development, but probably not for this. I would also recommend c4 or maybe neo-axis. I don’t know much about ESENTHEL but it sure does look pretty. :)

EDIT: Btw, engine questions are fine as long as we get specifics and a sign of actual intellegence. We only get mad at “Ima m@k3 A kikA$$ MM0RP9. Whut 3n91ne y@ n00bs!?”

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vrnunes 102 Dec 01, 2008 at 18:09

@starstutter

EDIT: Btw, engine questions are fine as long as we get specifics and a sign of actual intellegence. We only get mad at “Ima m@k3 A kikA$$ MM0RP9. Whut 3n91ne y@ n00bs!?”

LOL

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fireside 141 Dec 01, 2008 at 18:35

You might want to look into the Blender game engine. I don’t know what modeler you use but it’s free. It does simple imports, you just push p for play once you get the models in, and it has a pretty good physics engine built in. I think they just added dynamic shadows to the engine. It’s a tad slow but would probably work for a mine simulation. I’m not sure about the special effects, though.
Another choice might be 3d game studio or Shiva.

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LordTherapy 101 Dec 01, 2008 at 23:48

Thankyou all for your replies.

I have been considering C4, Irrlicht, and 3D Game Studio and have downloaded the respective demos which I will check out asap. Which of these do you feel is the easiest to develop for? I’m looking for things like built in editors and straight forward scripting interfaces for rapid development.

I’m doing my Phd in computer simulation based training by the way.

Many thanks,

  • LordTherapy
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fireside 141 Dec 02, 2008 at 02:17

I’ve only used Irrlicht of those. If it’s a first person perspective, you can pick up on it fairly fast, but still, the editor is a separate project from the engine and there is a learning curve involved. At least when I looked at it about a year ago, you couldn’t do bump mapping and light mapping at the same time. C4 has a nice license, I don’t know if you looked at it, but you only pay once and don’t pay for updates. I don’t think there will be a big difference in them. One thing I would check for is if it has pre-written bump mapping shaders, unless you’re into that kind of thing. Also, try and load some models into the demo to make sure you’re not going to have problems, including skeletal models if you are going to use them because importers can be a pain sometimes. It’s good to do a search for your modeler on the forum also.

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LordTherapy 101 Dec 03, 2008 at 00:11

The C4 license does seem very reasonable for all the features that the engine provides. From what I’ve read on this site regarding the reviews for C4, the support from the author is also excellent.