Yet another help me pick an engine thread

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Demented 101 Jun 08, 2009 at 15:03

I know everyone hates these posts but another one won’t kill you. I am a .Net developer with a college background in Java/C++. I have the ability to understand most code and to modify it but I really don’t want to rewrite the wheel here. My gaming background on the internet started about 15 years ago with MUDs and then eventually moved to MMO’s with UO/EQ and then up the chain until today.

What I’m looking to do is recreate the atmosphere from the MUD that I’ve been involved with for many years. I’m very limited in my ability to create graphical models so something with a decent free or low cost art pack would be ideal to start off. Here’s my list of wants:

Server/Client Model
C++ source code available
DX9
Decent Art Pack Available for reasonable purchase or free
Working Game Logic
-Inventory
-Interface
-Combat
-Good World Editing Tools
-Server/Client Model

I’m willing to pay a modest amount to get started but not really more than a couple hundred.

I’ve looked into:

RealmCrafter(not quite far enough along in beta)
3d GameStudio A7
Visual3d.Net(not far enough along in beta)
Abyssal Engine(too expensive)
Torque3d(too expensive)
Planeshift(no content pack)

It seems that no one really has it all together yet. I’d love to be able start up a game using just the provided content pack and having a running bare bones world that I can then begin to modify. I seriously considered 3d Game Studio but they want too much for the pro edition. Should I be looking towards open source or am I just asking too much for what’s available in my price range. Realmcrafter looks to be what I want but it’s not any near complete. Visual3d is also in that same group.

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Reedbeta 167 Jun 08, 2009 at 15:14

Regarding art packs, I doubt you’ll find any prepackaged with an engine, but you may want to check out Arteria. I can’t vouch for the quality but they do have a variety of art packs, both environment and character art. (Also search the forums for them as there are a number of packs that have been advertised here but not listed on their main site - it seems they’re in the middle of a redesign or some such.)

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Demented 101 Jun 08, 2009 at 15:39

I’m not talking a huge collection of artwork. Just enough for me to stub out the game. A decent human male/female with all the animations, some decent ground/sky textures, a few buildings, maybe a weapon or 2. RealmCrafter has a pretty good pack but the engine just isn’t ready.

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alphadog 101 Jun 08, 2009 at 16:07

@Demented

What I’m looking to do is recreate the atmosphere from the MUD that I’ve been involved with for many years.

What exactly do you mean by this?

I ask because all anything like RealmCrafter will generally allow you to do is knock-off WoW. If you want to do something out of the WoW mold they cast, then you are at the mercy of getting source, understanding it and then modifying it without hitting up dependencies.

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Demented 101 Jun 08, 2009 at 16:14

I am definately anti-Wow when it comes down to it. Gameplay speaking, I’m looking to a mix of Shadowbane and Asheron’s Call. I realize that I’ll need to hit the source at some point but I was hoping to find a framework that had a lot of the non-game logic already accounted for. Really, I should just build one myself but honestly I don’t want to wait years just to produce something that will probably be crappy.

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Demented 101 Jun 09, 2009 at 00:45

Anyone have opinion on 3dGameStuido Commerical Edition? It seems fairly straight forward but I’m wondering how much in the way of base scripts it comes with. I know it has some generic content packs and a purchasable 29 dollar higher res pack which I might look into. Any opinions? I’d like to discuss exactly what features I’ll need to implement to get started.

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fireside 141 Jun 09, 2009 at 12:42

Really, I should just build one myself but honestly I don’t want to wait years just to produce something that will probably be crappy.

Have you thought about doing a mod for a multiplayer rpg game? You will probably get more people playing your game that way then if you do something like you’re talking about. There’s already an established fan base that is usually willing to try it out. Otherwise, I would think about narrowing your scope and trying something where you write more code since you don’t seem interested in the modeling end of it. I would start with the cheaper version of 3d gamestudio and just start hacking around with it, possibly buying content packs, and see where it leads and what you find yourself capable of doing. There’s a networking plugin for the cheaper version. There are getting to be more and more security issues so people are less and less apt to download somebody’s game unless it looks very professional so you have to think about that. Personally, I’m going over to Flash for that reason. I don’t download any games anymore and don’t buy many. There are some multi-player type sites like this:

http://www.come2play.com/developer.asp, and there’s foxserver if you want to run your own.

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Demented 101 Jun 09, 2009 at 13:47

Well part of the idea behind this venture is to expand my skill set. I’m a .Net developer who primarily works with web applications, I’d like to grow my skill set to include C++ and some general game design. I’ve used the NeverWinter Nights mod system and I own a copy of NWN2, but the last time I had checked it wasn’t suited to large scale development. I don’t plan on distributing anything I do until it’s reached a playable stable point that I’m satisfied with and I would do a viral system from my friends network and possibly guild from MMO’s I currently play. My current target would be to build something capable of handling 100 users.

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Rofar 101 Jun 09, 2009 at 16:02

@alphadog

What exactly do you mean by this? I ask because all anything like RealmCrafter will generally allow you to do is knock-off WoW. If you want to do something out of the WoW mold they cast, then you are at the mercy of getting source, understanding it and then modifying it without hitting up dependencies.

Just in case you believe this statement regarding ReamCrafter, I think you should disregard it. It’s not so much the tools/engine you use as it is how you design and implement your game. RealmCrafter only gives you the foundation to build your game and whether or not you try to get the WoW affect from your game is up to you, not the tools.

I think RealmCrafter could be a good choice for you. Maybe not until the pro version is out of beta though.

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alphadog 101 Jun 09, 2009 at 16:44

@Rofar

It’s not so much the tools/engine you use as it is how you design and implement your game… RealmCrafter only gives you the foundation to build your game and whether or not you try to get the WoW affect from your game is up to you, not the tools.

No. Not at all. What you can design and implement is directly constrained by the tools and engines selected, or vice versa.

By “WoW knockoff”, I mean that if he wants to create something truly unique or with high reqs functionality- and capability-wise, not look-and-feel-wise, there are inherent limitations based on the current state of the codebase of RC.

There will be functionality or reqs you can kinda sorta creatively twist into RC to do without much coding, and some that require access to and modifying source, and some just really difficult to the point that alternate approaches would be warranted. If there are many of the latter, then RC is not suitable.

It’s not about bashing RC, but the reality of any toolset questions a developer needs to ask him/herself before adopting…

Also, Demented, you’ll want to gauge the community that surrounds any toolset you use, because you would like to have a community you can lean on for help.

PS: One of the difficult part of RC is the closed environment. For example, let’s say I wanted to know about realistic limits of players per server on RC Pro, or if one could successfully implement a physics-heavy, realistic jousting MMO, I have to buy RC Pro before I can ask users on the locked, licensee forums. That’s like a contractor only giving you references after you sign the contract…

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Demented 101 Jun 09, 2009 at 18:24

I know.. I purchased a pro license due to the details available on the website and then realized none of that functionality was available. They let me return it though. I even asked questions on the ‘limited’ board and got faulty responses. I don’t have any issues with realm crafter, it seems to work well but just not to the level I’m looking for right now. I may look into it when it’s ready.

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Demented 101 Jun 10, 2009 at 17:37

I’ve done a bit more research into available engines. Does anyone have an opinion on The C4 Engine? It’s more than I was looking to spend \~$350 but I like the object oriented layout, the full source code and the tool set. The biggest downside is the lack of any content packs. Someone pointed me to dexsoft-games.com . They have some nice stuff. Does anyone have any experience with C4 and the amount of code I’ll need to write to get the game logic started?

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alphadog 101 Jun 10, 2009 at 18:37

C4 is a solid engine with a good community. The lead developer himself often answers questions on the forums. The “amount of code” you will write is heavily dependent on what you want to do. No one can realistically answer that, except that, relatively-speaking, it’s more than using something like RC.

As for content, there are plenty of sites selling content. For example, see TurboSquid, The 3D Studio, WireCase and Renderosity. (Although the latter seems to be more for amateur digital porn that ends up looking like mating mannequins, but, with patience and a subsequent cold shower, you can find good building and other models sometimes).

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tanis3d 101 Dec 12, 2009 at 21:52

I have become a recent fan of Visual3D, with their Beta 6.3 release. With it, they have finally hit the mark of making it so that I can create my own games, and the terrain editor and rest of tool set is a dream for me. I’m having great success with it.

It’s low cost, and comes with a 30 day trial. They are running a half-price December promotional deal right now, so if you want to save some money, you can buy now.

When this post was first made, back in June, Visual3D looked good for it’s demos, but the tool set was not usable nor was the terrain editing. I found it frustrating. But now, my mind has been changed in a big way.

Tutorials are being added weekly, video and written. Check these out.

You can download and try it now for 30 days free.

http://www.visual3d.net/game-engine

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flodihn 101 Dec 14, 2009 at 11:45

Very nice project, very similar to mine. However I found no existing engines would be able to handle such dynamic worlds that is necessary to deliver a MUD feeling.

I started building my own engine, www.next-gen.cc, I am almost finished and have started building my game www.abydosonline.com.

The next-gen.cc is not ready for production use yet, since I release it under the BSD license you could use it for your opensource/commericial game.

The engine also comes with a 3D client written in C++/Ogre/SDL.