Recommendation for: 2D game engine & animation tool?

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furryDice 101 Dec 16, 2010 at 18:17

Hi,

Sorry to add another “can you recommend a games engine” post, I’ve been looking but it seems info on 2d engines is a bit thin on the ground..?

2d Engine:
I’m looking to make some 2d games (with a view to hopefully moving onto 3d later - but most likely not with same engine). The first one will be a top-down-view, turn-based board/strategy game with simple animations (later looking to move on to others with more advanced graphics/animations/interaction).

Ideally looking for an engine that’s well documented with good API’s (i.e. doesn’t take too long to get up to speed/scratching head trying to find docs on how to use them), ideally integrated/plug-in support for audio and networked multi-player (LAN and internet - a few players, not MMO), and packages exes for others to install (developing on Windows 7 and running on Windows XP +). Don’t mind DirectX/OpenGL, whichever is most used/supported. More advanced features (physics, collision detection, shading etc, would be nice but not essential). Also need to be able to program some fairly involved AI. Ideally looking to program in C/C++, but happy to use/learn scripting languages if it gives better options.

Animation tool:
I guess most engines/game IDE’s import 2d/3d animations built in other packages. So am also looking for a good 2d animation tool, ideally using vector graphics(?) (so don’t have to redraw each frame from scratch?).

Ideally for both of the above freeware, or not too expensive. If anyone can help, and has some tools they would recommend, would be great.

(Quick personal info: I have a fair bit of programming experience, strong on C/C++, written a few apps in Java, JScript & scripting languages, and for Symbian OS (including some v simple animations), also played with making simple 3d Blender animations (a walking man with a hat:). But this is my first attempt at a game/graphics engine.)

ps I stumbled on GDK, and heard a few people mention it’s quite good for 2d games (plus can integrate into Visual Studio), but was too slow for 3d. So I’m toying with the idea of giving it a try, but would be great to get some advice on what else is out there before wading in.

(ps sorry for the long post)

Many thanks.

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fireside 141 Dec 16, 2010 at 19:27

In c++, sfml, haaf, and allegro are popular.

In Java, slick is popular

For vector animation there’s a program called Pencil, Inkscape is very nice but not especially geared for animation, but I would recommend it as it’s really a nice program. You can use layers for animation. Generally you are going to want to do very simple animation in 2d. Inkscape will output svg, so you might need gimp for conversion. Another thing you can do, at least for character animation, is make a model in Blender and toon shade it with lines. Animation is much easier to do in a 3d modeler, although the learning curve is steep.

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Nerd_Skywalker 101 Dec 16, 2010 at 19:43

I personally use allergo, and especially since allegro 5 was released I highly recommend it.

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furryDice 101 Dec 17, 2010 at 17:25

Hi,

Thanks for relpies. Had a look at the engines you mentioned, and all look pretty interesting, might give a couple of them a go. Had a quick look at the allegro documentation and didn’t seem to mention any networking libraries, does it have networking support?

Nice one on the drawing tools (as it happens already had a couple of them and have been meaning to give them a go), guess all I need to do now is learn how to draw ;-)

How do you do 2d animation in a 3d modeler, do you make a 3d animation, then export the rendered 2d animated output (toon shading? - still got some reading up to do on animation)?

Thanks again…

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Nerd_Skywalker 101 Dec 17, 2010 at 19:39

No it does not have networking support, but don’t worry about that when choosing your first 2d game engine. You won’t be doing networking for a while anyway.

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fireside 141 Dec 17, 2010 at 19:55

“How do you do 2d animation in a 3d modeler, do you make a 3d animation, then export the rendered 2d animated output (toon shading? - still got some reading up to do on animation)?”

Blender will output frames in png format with alpha transparent background, so they can be used for sprites. I don’t know about any other modelers. But yeah, you make 3d animation, then set the camera for front, side, back.