Artist, looking for gameEngine for personal project


#1

I am graduating college next year, and my final project should be a game. I am studying multimedia, in a goddamn third world country.

And for that i would need a game engine, wich should be like this:

  1. Should be artist friendly - I need more or less compiled package, but with access to just about any aspect(I am not a programmer). I am expecting a visual interface, not scripts over scripts.
  2. Should be inexpensive or even free. Mainly educational versions

Do you know anything close to this?

Until now I was messing arround with the Unreal2Runtime, and with the Quake III engine (With Quark), but the problem is, that with Unreal2Runtime IO can’t really see how to do a standalone, by using only .uc scripts, and with the Quake…well, it will be only a mod. I am aiming for a standalone(Always aiming to make things good, from the start).
I also started to think about Auran.Jet, but I just found it. Torque? I don’t know. It looks the best for my interrests, but if I can’t integrate the content (ds max), i throwed away a lot of money for nothing. And most of my programmer buddies are just… they don’t hit that well.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, but never rewarded. sorry


#2

There are some ‘visual’ systems out there for creating games, but most of them are not cheap. Perhaps for cost considerations your best bet would be FPS Creator from TheGameCreators. It’s not out yet, but they have something called The3DGameMaker right now that will let you produce a simple but limited game. Don’t expect stellar performance from 3D Game Maker.

Other options would be Quest3D, which is ‘visual’ (you program using connected graph nodes they call ‘channels’ - but in my opinion they are even more difficult to produce a game with than conventional programming). However, it is not cheap. But it is powerful, and produces nice results.

Another visual system, which is perhaps the most powerful and best suited for making games is Virtools, but it is VERY expensive, so probably isn’t really an option.

Another visual game-making tool to consider (ah, it would be but for its price) is CosmoCreator by RadishWorks but is now being sold by RightHemisphere.

Another option that is visual, has very affordable versions of itself is Conitec’s 3DGameStudio. This might be your best option. If you stick to default objects and settings, you can produce a running game with pretty much just the mouse. But they also have available a C-like scripting language. There are other people that are artists like David Silverman (look him up in their forums) that use it to produce the kind of stuff you are wanting to make.

I would also suggest you try looking into the 3Impact engine. Although it requires C++ programming, it was designed to be very easy to use, even for those who haven’t programmed much before. It comes with easy to modify tutorial lessons that are well documented and will allow you to experiment and get something up and running fairly quickly. It is also inexpensive.

Another similar up and coming engine is TrueVision3D. It also has tutorials that explain how to use it, and you can program it using a variety of languages - including Visual Basic, Delphi, or any of the 30+ languages that are .NET compatible. But a word of warning - the forum at their site can be rather unfriendly to newbie programmers. The 3Impact site is geared more toward artists and new programmers, IMHO. Certainly it would be much easier to get something up and running using either 3Impact or TrueVision3D than the Torque engine.

Well, hope this helps. At least it’s a start. :slight_smile:


#3

If you`re just starting out or just beginning programming, engines like True Vision 3d ,Power Render or any suck SDK(Software Development Kits) may be too advanced.

If you want something easy but very customizable, try Darkbasic 3d or Blitz3d. They both have a easier syntax than real C++ but it`s mostly as customizable.


#4

Blender haves a built-in game engine, but i think some python-scripting is required to make a game, it produces stand-alone exe’s iirc.
oh, and it’s free


#5

in my personal experience there isn’t anything that good out there. an artist creating a game single handedly isn’t realistic anyway, are you not allowed to have programming assistance? my suggestion would be the far cry engine, as you could do quite a bit merely in sandbox, cutscenes, levels, play aspects, shaders, can all be setup visually, and it’s the most powerful engine graphicswise out there. the sdk is not out, but the community has started on the tools, and you now do all that plus import static models of your own. animation is hopefully coming.


#6

Since you’re still a student, you can purchase the educational version of Virtools 3.0 for $500. Granted you can’t use it professionally but it will allow you to build an interactive demo very easily. I’ve been playing around with Quest3d and although it’s quite powerful, you really need to know some basics of programming and math to take advantage of the channel system.

Good Luck,
Jeff


#7

Honestly, you’re using the best free product available right now. The Unreal2Runtime is what they used to build all the content for UT2K4 on top of sans a few small tweak. You’re not going to find anything more fully featured and if you spend $40 and get UT2K4 you get the Maya PLE -> UnrealEd tool path that will let you make everything you would need to make good looking levels.

In short if you invest the time to learn that engine U2R is going to let you do more with less headaches.

-L


#8

I have some questions! For example: Small new team decided to start develop games and they decided to start from add-on to UT2004 (partial conversion or total conversion). New levels, new characters, new weapons, new rules. It might be even single player add-on. A team doesn’t want to deal with engine programming. That’s why they decided to tka UT2004 engine as a basement for a project. Do you know how much the license is going to cost (make add-on for the certain game and sell it) ???
Or other way. Team wants everybody can play their total conversion, not only UT2004 owners. And on CD/DVD they want to put UT2004 executables (as it was on original UT2004 CD/DVD). Is it going to be another type of license?? How much it’s gonna cost??
Thanks you.


#9

First of all, thank you for your support. I looked arround for things you suggested(and I am still wandering). I only asked for a tool, because somebody said there are some. I believed him, but obviously he was wrong.
However, I decided to give a second shot to Unreal2 Runtime, based on the fact, that I started to work more with it, but I still suck at scripting.

I am allowed to work with other people, as long as I do most of the work, but unfortunately I know nobody who can help me. The programmers I know work only for money, and they won’t do a favour to me.

To motorsep:
The unreal engine is one of the most expensive technologies in the known universe. I don’t know how much it is, though. They are also some special requirements, to get a license(three relased game titles, informations about the income of the company, etc, as I remember) The Runtime is a free version, and it has every single feature of the licensed version, but I can’t distribute anything I make with it(I am not allowed to give out even a free game made with Unreal).
Unreal Modifications are distributed freely, as far as I know, and usually require Unreal to run. I think you can work around this, when you figure out the file structure, but I don’t think those at Epic would appreciate something like this.
For more precise information, go to

http://udnbeta.epicgames.com/Powered/UnrealEngine2Runtime
http://www.epicgames.com/licensing.html


#10

I think Blender (www.blender.org) is a good bet, as it can model, texture, animated and create game logic (with or without Python programming, using Blender´s “logic bricks”).


#11

After compiling a few modified DLLs for the 3Impact engine and playing with the physics the engine has to offer, I’m ecstatic. This engine is alot of fun.

Opening the sample cpp file in Visual Studio .NET 2k3, I was able to compile and run within 5 minutes. That beat the time it took to send Darkbasic an email saying I hadn’t received an order number yet.

The $99 cost is nice too. I think I’ll buy it. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to buy these engines for $100 or less and just try them out.

Do you know of any shareware games or fun demos made with 3Impact that might be interesting to play around with? The hovercar demo was a blast. The Monster truck stunts reminds me of the old favorite Stunts with the construction kit.

This engine makes physics and constraint modeling easy for anyone.


#12

Daimyo:

I am working solo right now on a project which is a combination of a board game and a FPS game.

i was highly influenced by a game called “Archon Ultra”,
you can see screenshots from that game here:

board screenshot:

combat screenshot:

Basically, it’s a board game (like chess or checkers) BUT when you “eat” the opponent unit, instead of automatically eating it (like in regular board games) you get into a combat scene with that unit.

The difference in my game, is that the combat scenes are an FPS game :slight_smile:

you can see a movie from my game here:
http://legion.gibbering.net/zedus/ProjectilesEntities.avi
it’s a recording of a real game i played against my bots, not scripted or something like that :wink:

(it requires divx, so if you don’t have divx, please email me and i’ll find a way to show you the movie :slight_smile:
just send me a mail (i’ve written my email adress at the end of this message).

as you can see from the movie, my game looks right now like a quake3 MOD, basically, you may treat my game as a quake3 MOD, since i’m using quake3 levels and models animation.

Despite all that, my engine cannot be called a MOD, since ALL the code is mine :wink:

anyway, i have many more details on the game, and i can give them to you once you’ll show interest. my email is yoel_shooshan@hotmail.com, feel free to ask anything.

I truly feel that we can “use” each other talent in this project (my coding skills and your art skills) and create a really great game.

game progress state:
Battle (FPS):95% finished.
Board Game: 25% finished.


#13

I am a rookie with game development and I did look into blender, wasn’t that based on Direct X programming thoe? I went with the Torque Game Engine which is nice and a affordable price (a $100 bucks) also it is muti 3D programm based to, you can import your game art from different programs, thus far they have 3D Max, Lightwave, Maya, Milkshape, and some additional others that they’re working on, there are limitations but it’s enough to get you feet wet, also there coding is C+ like, but a tad bit easier, and they have programmers that are creating new codes daily with tutorials, on the side, I just lucked up on a PS2 Linux development Kit, to design games for a platform PS 2, there’s alot more into it for this and it’s based on Linux and a Branch in of C+, but it’s good and you get some of the same options that actual developers are using for the platform, there’s still more I have to learn and becoming a hermit is key factor for me


#14

I can´t code in neither, but isn´t Blender´s Python easier to code than C++?
Check this reference: http://www.flat222.org/mac/bench/


#15

Yeah I just read the article and it seems that Python is easier, but I don’t know much about it, C+ is difficult to debug, but you really have to know what you’re doing, I guess from what I know now is that C+ is some what standard (and I’m sure that will change) for developing on Platform game systems if you want to go that direction, PC development helps you better understand the setup and then leads you to the Major Leagues, I would go with what you feel you can handle, my insanity helps me breeze thru everything, and it may be a struggle to most, they’re plenty of options out there, it’s what direction you want to take it, low budget, low sofware, no matter what, if you really want to do it, it will get done


#16

Hi GameBoy mentioned cosmos creator. (www.radishworks.com)

If your a student - the student edition is $50.00 and probably comparable to Virtools.

There is a home edition which is USD$249

The academic institution price is circa $695 for a school lab license - so you might want to talk with your school.

Note to the Mod: sorry for the advert but wanted to correct the assumption Gameboy made on pricing. The full commercial system is targetted at professional 3D interactive media developers and priced accordingly but there are lower cost versions for home and student users which might be of interest.

If the student or home edition is outside your budget - then I’d recommend you look at Blender - its a great package, with a well thought out toolset and a brilliant active user community and the most recent versions have the game engine re-integrated!

hope the above helps.

  • best,

Phillip


#17

Hi all, I´m in the same situation as Daimyo. wanna get my 3ds max skills into a game, and I know nothing about programming, but would learn if that what it takes to make something good. I have a year to present something, want to make a 3rd person educacional game, wanna be able to model/texture the models in max and the import it into the game and then program it it that´s what I would have to do. i was playing with UnrealEd an thought it was quite good, specially since I was following 3dbuzz´s VTM, check for them at www.3dbuzz.com.
What you guys sugest, I could buy something around the 100 bucks or a bit more.
I want to take the time to learn C++ so things can get better, I have a friend that can draw like hell and he´s gonna do all the concept design, another 2 friends will help with the models and texturing, but I got to get into the programming part, all this in one year, you guys think it´s possible?

  1. Quest3d is awesome, but I think it´s too expensive for me.
  2. 3dgamestudio seems really nice, i might pick that one up.
  3. 3dimpact is nice too, but does anyone know how well it could work with max model inported, is there a 3ds importer?
  4. Well blender could be it too?

I thank you guys a lot for the insight, it really helped, I need to pick something and start working, I need to present to my project supervisor at college, the tools i´m gonna use and all, I hope with a litlle bit more chat I can make that decision.

gameboy vbmenu_register(“postmenu_1440093”, true); - do you have msn? or email, please let me know :slight_smile:

cheers
vbmenu_register(“postmenu_1438455”, true);


#18

Hi Brazz,

ok disclaimer first - I use Cosmos Creator for these sort of apps - hence the pricing knowledge etc and I help out in the CC community with support. Just so you know my bias - but that said:

Quest-3D - great tool - well thought out user interface, cool company - brilliant community. starter price is around 89 Euros. This is the lite version so doesn’t have the AI or Database support (does support csv data files). Its a greater starting point and Quest3D can do some very nice things and has a max importer and a number of the community use Max - so a lot of local knowledge which can help a lot. you’ll need the $799 version for publishing the game un branded - but you can do an awful lot with the lite intro version (pretty much everything that you want) and there is a free C++ SDK for writing extenstions etc. As noted earlier in this thread you will need some knowledge of how 3D apps work and maths to get the most out of the way you ‘script’ Quest.

3D game studio - decent platform -very capable - a lot of examples and large enthusiastic user community. Personally I don’t like the world editor that much, but thats a personal thing. Its a good starting point especially given the community knowledge and existing examples - but not sure it supports all the nice things you can do in Max such as multi-stage material maps etc and for animated characters think you will have to export from Max as a .X file using something like the Pandasoft plugin exporter for Max. (IF anyone who knows 3DGS can correct/confrim this that would be great!) IF you want to use physics there are some limitations depending on the version you buy (unless you buy a third party physics engine like Newton).

Blender - great price, comprehensive functionality - amazing user community.- you can import your max work via an intermediate format,probably best via VRML or 3DS for static stuff, and you can character rig and animate in there. (Not sure what character animation importing is like - best to ask the blender folks). The user interface will take a little while to get up to speed with (v.different from Max) but its a good tool and some of the capabilities are really suprising (in a nice way!) Dev wise you will need to learn Python to get the most of the game side of things.

Cosmos Creator (CC)- very easy to use, fast to prototype, well thought out integrated development environment, good max integration, great active community though while growing rapidly is smaller than for the above tools. If you have a licensed version of Max - has a dcom plugin so you can take your Max models including character animation directly into CC. There is a full C and C++ SDK that ships with the authoring tool and gives you access to pretty much everything in the authoring and run time environments. There is an in built modeller and support for procedural textures and shaders which can keep file sizes down to very small but deliver compelling results. There is a chunk of Max users in the community and on the support team - so any questions there will usually get answered quickly. By the sounds of it you would qualify for the academic student pricing - so its 50 bucks to get started.

As for project timescale - is it doable? Would say a definite YES! If you use a tool like Quest3D or Cosmos Creator you can cut down a lot on the programming need esepcially for thinsg like environment interaction - and that gives you breathing space to learn the programmingside while progressing wiht the project. Quest uses a visual flow charting approach which some folks love and some folks hate. CC uses LISP as its scripting language and is really easy to learn or C/C++ if you go the SDK route. (Most folks use LIPS for prototyping and C++ for optimisation). C++ is not that difficult to learn and when you use it with a good designed SDK (Both Quest and CC have very good ones) you can become very productive in a short space of time.

One team developing art assets in Max and using CC for realtime shipped a small commercial game from start to finish inside 4 months - but yes they are an experienced crew (though they didn’t know the tool and they lived through the early beta’s of the Max importer stuff). If you want to verify this, post on the CC user forums and I’m sure one of the team responsible will answer. I know from the quest community, folks have pulled off complex projects inside 3 to 5 months with their starting point being Max and just learning Quest. So while it is a lot of work, it is certainly doable.

For a while, the blender game engine was going through some changes and I think that interrupted some projects, but I believe with the latest release (which I think is 2.34) all that is now rectified and there are some good examples on the blender.org website of what is possible but best to post on the Blender forums and see what answer you get.

As for which platform is best suited for you. Well I’m biased, but all of the ones you mention are capable and it will really come down to what you feel you can do, which you will feel most comfortable with in terms of workflow and authoring approach (since all these apps have a slightly different approach to game/sim authoring) and what can you get up and running with on a small budget. I’d recommended downloading each of them (they all have free trial versions) and trying to do some simple test cases - get an object to move, build a room with animated door, build a simple environment with textures, environment maps and see how quick it is to get an end result… check out how easy is it to build / import stuff, how easy is it to get Max content into a scene etc, what is the accompanying documentation like. Usual assement stuff. I’d also check out the user communities for each - do a posting like the one you made here and see what the response is, read through the forums and check out info relating to using Max with each tool etc. Which ever tool you end up choosing you will be spending an incredible amount of time working with it- so its worth putting some ground work into the selection process.

Hope this helps and good luck with the project.

cheers,

Phillip


#19

:0 Thanks a lot philips for the answer, I really apreciated. Gonna look into what you said.

I thought quest3d was great, I saw that video of a car and was amazed by the reflections and lightning.

A quick question :slight_smile:

  1. How can a character walk and do the movements it does in a game?
    Do I import the animations done in another 3d app to the engine? but what if I got several animations like, the character walking front, to the side, punching and all, how do I do it, I need to program events like when you press the front key on your keyboard it will snap to the walking animation, if that´s how it works the workflow is similar to “if front key pressed, do this animation”? of course it must have other things to it like the direction on the plane where the character will walk, but I´m asking this cause it´s been a doubt for quite some time.

cheers and thanks a lot, do you have msn so we can talk more?
mine is bdazo2003 at yahoo.com


#20

Hi Brazz,

the quest car demo is cute - as are the cc car ones - see the Ka images in the gallery but don’t think the realtime stuff has been posted yet- it was shown as SIGGRAPH - so guess it will be up there soon. but basically you gain a lot by baking in textures and lighting in to the model - using lightmaps, good quality environment reflection maps etc

re: game characters:

A very simple way is to animate a motion sequence for a character with a number of motion ranges in a sequence for instance:

frames:: motion sequence
--------------------------
1-14    Walk (normal)
15-30    Walk - tip toes
32-44    Spin
45-59    Run 
60-68    Punch
69-72    Arm in Block position
73-83    Forward kick
84-87    down from standing to crouch at frame 87)
88-93    stand up from crouch
94-102    Jump
103-111    Jump without height (for programmer controlled jumps)
112-125    Side Kick
134-150    Backflip
146-158    Climb
159-165    Death -from standing - forward to ground
166-173    Death - from standing - fall backward to grounddd
174-182    Idle 1- move head, look around
184-205    Idle 2 - Breathe heavily
206-250    Idle 3 - hands in pocket, kick ground

Then in the game code you simply trigger an animation sequence to be played. 

A more complex means is to use and have secondary motions - that you dynamically blend based on an in game event e.g object collision and when the character walks you then blend a limp motion or combing animations such as walk and hold injured arm etc but this requires a different structural set up than above. so a search on Cal3D for a good opern source example of this stuff

A third means is a combination of dynamic blending and coding up character behavioural animation routines e.g. you want your character to bend forward to pick up a glass from a table and then stand up and drink the contents of the glass. You could either do this witha dedicated animation - but what happens if one of the other game characters moves the glass… If you know the position of the glass and you know the bone and deformation rig of the character so you can use real time inverse kinmatics routines, animation blending and direct control of the character/characters bone rig etc to give a good way to achieve this - needless to say this usually means a lot of coding and being proficient with how your game engine works.

Most complex game characters control systems use a combination of the above with a few other bells and whistles such as AI pathfinding etc.

there are lot of good texts on character animation for games and its worth chasing a couple down. From a programming side character animation can get quite complex very quickly. For a beginner who knowns max its probably easier to start with a scheme similar to the first one mentioned here and then as you find your feet and get comfortable with the game programming API’s to explore the other options.

sorry don't have MSN  but hope the above helps .