Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Game engines

So this time I will talk a little bit about game engines. The use and differences of some of them. Unfortunately there's too many to go into all of them but I will keep it about a few big ones.
So what is a game engine ? The game engine much like the name suggest is the engine behind the game.
It puts all the little pieces together and directs them to the final outcome. The place where assets, sound, Coding, effects like particles and game-play blend into the game it's supposed to be.

So it's safe to say that game engines themselves do not make good games but simply provide the tools to create master pieces. Often when getting an engine the developers ( of the engine) have already set-up some tools that they think will commonly used by the user however here also comes a big difference.

Some game engines will have a component based architecture. This means that certain elements can be replaced by other components like Havoc for physics  or Blink for video's which could potentially make a game stand out a lot better on certain area's. However not all engines allow this. Some game companies have decided to make their own engine a few of those are ( Valve,Crytech,Square, ID) and others prefer to use the already existing engines such as for example Bioware, Trion and NCSoft.

So what would be some of the differences of the engines then ?

basically different engines work in a different way. For the current project i'm working on I had to do some research into UDK and Crytech to decide what would be best suited for the goal we're trying to achieve. This was a pretty difficult task because there's a lot of shallow discussions going on by people that use the standard assets rather than the functionality and pro's and cons of using the engine itself.

A good discussion I found on this topic was:

Where most people say UDK and Cry engine are fairly the same. Apparently the license for the Cryengine is a lot more expensive than the UDK and obviously UDK has been around a lot longer so there's a lot more documentation/help to find for UDK. However Cry engine is a lot easier to use. A lot easier to use at the cost of less customisation though. So trying to read this all and figure out a solution i noticed how every single tutorial for Cry engine was for exterior levels rather than interior like we we're trying. This kind of pulled me over to one side and made me choose UDK ( and in the end we all agreed on this) Where UDK would be more made for " corridor" shooters Cry engine is more made for outdoor shooters. This doesn't mean you won't be able to do the other with it but it would be a lot more effort and struggle to achieve the same thing. Another few good engines that I'm definitely interested in would be the Luminus Square engine from Square enix or the Hammer engine from Valve.
Unfortunately I haven't had the time to look at either yet but I'm looking forward to the summer holidays to spend some time messing around with both.

The last engine i would like to mention is Unity.  Visually this might be the weakest engine of the ones mentioned before however the freedom and customization far surpasses the others and has a cheaper license too. The con could be that coding is a lot more important in this engine than the others as there's no real basic gameplay/set-up for this engine however because of this and the freedom to use different coding languages it's easier to make quick and visual changed to the gameplay style/shaders and add effects in.

Official website for UDK - http://www.unrealengine.com/udk/
Official website for Cryengine - http://www.crytek.com/
Official website for unity - http://unity3d.com/

-- edit -- i just read that square enix will not release the luminus engine to the public :(.
Source:  Luminus not open for public..

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