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Dark GDK / DarkSDK vs....

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Briere
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Posted: 28th Jun 2005 06:00
For people who have used both products listed, please tell me your experiences and compare/contrast them

DarkSDK v.s Torque
DarkSDK v.s NV3D
Torque v.s NV3D

http://www.truevision3d.com/products.php
http://www.garagegames.com/products/1
http://darkgamesdk.thegamecreators.com/

Formerly The Fixxer
http://www.xiemsoft.cjb.net
Dot Merix
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Posted: 28th Jun 2005 06:09
or how bout...http://www.3dstate.com/



WindowsXP Home(Service pack 2), Athlon XP 2400+(2.1Ghz), 1GIG Ram, Ati Radeon 9800Pro 128MB.
OSX Using Happy Dude
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Posted: 28th Jun 2005 07:18
Mike Johnson
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Posted: 28th Jun 2005 08:18
No need to lock this thread Bouncy. Will be interesting to see what peoples thoughts are so we can see how the Dark Game SDK can be improved.
Briere
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Posted: 28th Jun 2005 09:40 Edited at: 28th Jun 2005 09:41
I am just wondering, cause i saw a thread on gamedev and everyone was bashing the dsdk and hailing these other things. Those people thought that the DarkSDk was some how all basic...? I dont know what they were thinking, it made no sense, i think most of them were doing it because it was the "cool" thing to do.

Formerly The Fixxer
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Argon Knight
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Posted: 28th Jun 2005 12:03
I have both Torque and DarkSDK. Your request for comments is welcomed by me, because I'm trying to compare engines features for my next project. I have found you really need to know what you want to build in order to choose which game engine to use.
Briere
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Posted: 28th Jun 2005 12:18
Well, I may be buying torque if and only if garage games want to publish my game. Otherwise its probably dsdk or N3D.

Formerly The Fixxer
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Argon Knight
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Posted: 28th Jun 2005 12:25
I feel Torque is best if you want to make a FPS style game. I have not tried the FPS Creator, so I can’t compare to those features here.

As you might know, Torque is the current version of the Tribes engine.

The whole Torque engine is built around a Scene Graph. That way the physics can be applied in bulk and easily transmitted over the network. Plus, I think that allows the engine to handle indoor and outdoor maps seamlessly. (build a random outdoor terrain, plop down your BSP dungeon, and you can walk in and out of it without a pause).

The scripting language is a little rough. Way too c oriented for a scripting language. But very powerful. I think the best part I like is the fact that game events are wired to the script engine, so just about every aspect of the game can be scripted. The worst fact is they use the “.cs” file extension. Nowadays, thats a C# file. And a lot of programs assume that. They suggest you break your favorite editor and map the .cs files to TorqueScript. But I use C# way too much to give that up. I’ve sent a complaint to Garage Games, and it comes up on their forums regularly. They will change the extension at some point in the future. Till then, you are own your own.

The so called built-in editors are really part of the common library that comes with the demo game. They are written in TorqueScript. You can change them around, or leave them out of your published game. I like the GUI features that are built in. Very useful not to have to write your own. Or use someone else’s. The terrain editor is nice. And there’s a mission editor that you define the parameters of what the players are suppose to do.

Having the full source code to the engine is nice, if you know how to read C++, and this engine is C++. I know plenty who bought it and just use the scripting portion. And so far, I found that I have not needed to make a change to the engine. But its there if I need to. The code is well organized. Not perfect, but well enough.

The network layer is so good, they also sell it separately. You can get a copy at [href]www.opentnl.org[/href] It is based on UDP, and includes bitstreaming, Remote Procedure Calling, and guaranteed packet delivery. No sassy DirectPlay here, and you can write your own server from scratch, with or without using their network library.

Now, the models are something else. They use their own “DTS” format. At first, 3D Studio was the best tool to make models. The format demands a very strict structure to the model. But now, Gamespace, Milkspace, even Blender can make well enough models. One trivia piece I like is that the animations are stored in a separate file. So all you have to do is switch the animation file for a model while in the game, and your running ogre will stop and do a chicken dance. So, I’m not that good with modeling, so I have to rely on others for Torque models.

Garage Games will soon put out the Torque2d engine. That started as an engine mod to give us a 2d scene graph. It looked so good, they decided to hire the guy. Sp this will compete with DarkBASIC soon. I know I’m thinking about it. Because it will make all my games on 1 platform.

I think the Shader Engine is just optimized to handle shader languages. I have not looked into it much.

Whew, that’s enough for one post.
Argon Knight
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Posted: 28th Jun 2005 12:35
I bought DarkSDK because I felt it would better interface with my older c-coded games. I was tired of rewriting them into the limited DarkBASIC language. I code VB6 and VB.Net, so I like to have more advanced features like classes. I don’t like like the fact I have to go outside the basic language into C to write a DLL to interface with a common game lib. The DarkSDK just lets me write it all in C++ to start with. And over time, you’ll find more C++ code for games than you will for basic. So, if you are an old time C game programmer, and want to update your games, then the DarkSDK is the way to go. It offers the best flexibility.
Argon Knight
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Posted: 28th Jun 2005 12:43 Edited at: 28th Jun 2005 12:48
I just looked at Truevision last month. I felt it was no more than a wrapper to functions that are accessible now. Just because he put in some of the libraries that are available, doesn't mean I need to pay him for something I can do. Now, he’s not asking for much money.

At the same time, I looked into Reality Engine http://www.artificialstudios.com. They quoted me a $5000 price tag. It is almost a awesome engine. I felt it too was nothing more than a pieced together construction. Ok, it had Novodex built into it, but it also used RakNet, and that is already free. Its scripting language is the .Net codedom, which is also free. Ok, Ok, it was good enough for Epic to buy them out. But I was not $5k serious enough to look any further.
Argon Knight
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Posted: 28th Jun 2005 12:46
I guess to sum it up, just evaulate a game engine on what game you want to make, and your skill level in its primary language.
Briere
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Posted: 28th Jun 2005 12:48
lol. Torque seems like a nice product, and im pretty good in C++, so it shouldnt be too bad.

I hope garage games contacts me tomorrow!!

Formerly The Fixxer
http://www.xiemsoft.cjb.net
OSX Using Happy Dude
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Posted: 28th Jun 2005 16:49
Quote: " No need to lock this thread Bouncy"

Very well, but watch it descend into anarchy...

Here's my thoughts on Torque :

Hard to use; you have to compile the library yourself (and it comes with lots of compiler warnings); documentation is practically non-existant.

Argon Knight
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Posted: 28th Jun 2005 22:55
The Torque demo game exe will compile your scripts, so there's no need for someone to re-compile the engine. So it can be downloaded for free. If you buy it, then you get the script source to the demo.

Using DOxygen to build the engine docs is a skill serious C++ coders should have anyway, I found them useful when I did my first engine mod.

And, if you expand your doc search to look for Tribes and Tribes2, you'll find far more info and examples than DarkBASIC has.

Plus, the google search on the Garage Games forums actually works. I've used the one here many a time and found nothing, only to post a comment and be told someone else had already talked about it, then given a link.

OK, I do hate using CVS to get the source. But they are planning to move away from that.

I've been building mod's since DOOM. Torque offered me a complete solution out of the box that is compatible with my skill set, compatible with the "industry", and, for a few dollars more, gives me the ability to sell my content if I so desire.

I guess I've said enough overall, I'll step down now...
Briere
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Posted: 28th Jun 2005 23:29
I dont really want to use torque, but hey, if using torque means making money, by all means ill use it!

Torque seems like a very powerful tool though.

Formerly The Fixxer
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Xiotex Studios
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Posted: 29th Jun 2005 08:21
Second time lucky (not sure if my first post went through..)

One thing to be aware of is that if you intend to sell games through GarageGames that they seem to have requirement that it be cross-platform - although for exceptional games they would probably waiver this.

They claim in the FAQ's that they sell more Mac games...

Xiotex Studios
www.xiotex.com
DarkGameSDK@xiotex.com
Alberto
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Posted: 2nd Jul 2005 04:14
I tried Torque for a period of time and Honestly I do not understand why it is so famous
Maybe thanks to Tribes
Its C Like programming language is a mess , IMHO, also it seems lacking a lot of key functions.
Never tested Truevision but I went through demo's and class descriptions, it seems ok.
DarkBasic is both powerful and user friendly
However I am honestly scared about bugs.
I am coding a sport game.
From time to time the screen gets blank without any evident reason.
I am not blaming DarkBasic SDK ( not yet) maybe I'am doing something wrong

Alberto
shiny
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Posted: 2nd Jul 2005 04:35 Edited at: 2nd Jul 2005 04:40
I have found dark game sdk to be very stable, as a whole it works wonderfully. No crashes, no glitches. Just certain functions that do squat, especialy shader / graphics related ones. Dark sdk's biggists selling point isn't its graphics though, it is ease of use. It is quite honestly the easyest to program engine I have ever used. (I own torqu, and have tried a number of other engines, including ogre, irrlicht, and Netlimerse's Gamebryo (for ps2 & xbox).

I found torqu to be hell to do art for, but torque script is fairly simple a language. Torque really is all about first person shooters, its not exactly very multi-purpose.

Truevision 3D looks very pretty... I wonder how easy it is to use.

Dark SDK is just fantastic if your looking for an egine which allows for quick turn arround times & ease of use, while if your looking for power, flexibility, or graphical power then I wouldn't go with dark sdk. Ogre is my choice for graphic intensive games (although of course ogre is just a graphics engine, not a game engine).

Rock on Dark SDK!

I'm glad this thread wasn't locked. Nothing wrong with some healthy comparisons! Its not as if dark sdk comes out on bottom!

Alberto
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Posted: 3rd Jul 2005 20:14
I have found dark game sdk to be very stable...

I do hope you are right.
Unfortunatly DarkBasic does not have a high reputation , in the dev comunity, as far as stability is concerned.
It is a pity the 3d engine being really user friendly and powerful.
Probably the development should be less faster but more care in the details

Alberto
Guyon
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Posted: 4th Jul 2005 11:12 Edited at: 4th Jul 2005 11:14
I am liking N3d a lot. Commands are being added quickly and I have not found any real problems yet. Plus it will have Nuclear Glories GREAT collision built in.
It has tons of examples and a few absolutely incredible commands.
nuclear glory
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Posted: 4th Jul 2005 12:45
We don't want to let anyone down.

I'll have a list of commands being added (shortly). There are a whole wallop of upcoming commands even without NGCP.

The ultimate goal of N3D is that you'll be able to use it to do virtually anything. We're not boxing her in.

Lead Programmer/Director
Powerful Collision DLL for DBPro and DBC: http://www.nuclearglory.com
Lightwave Scene Exporter to .X also at: http://www.nuclearglory.com
Briere
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Posted: 6th Jul 2005 00:58
its true, i just got N3D and they even have a ton of Windows API commands so you can build apps, as well as games.

Formerly The Fixxer
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SoulMan
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Posted: 9th Jul 2005 03:36
DarkSDK is the way I will go. Torque and all those others are fine if you just want an engine to work with, but I would rather design my own system. This may be slower, but I know I will get the results I want. The nice thing with the Dark SDK is that I just installed Visual Studio .Net 2002, install DirectX SDK, install Dark SDK, point the include and library paths to those directories and the code works without having to some strange include, compile or configuration. The only thing that I am running into a problem is documentation. I guess I wanted a little more than just the commands and explanation for the commands. Plus some of the access levels.
I imagined those will be fixed though, sooner or later.
SoulMan

This is as backwards as is This
Willy
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Posted: 3rd Aug 2005 05:31
Any thoughts for adding a C#.net capability?

Willy
Erick G
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Posted: 3rd Aug 2005 08:53
DarkSDK will kick seven shades of s#$t out of most 3d engines, if we can have

MyMesh = LoadObject(mesh);

and more OOP compatibility, even as it stands, it is very powerful and I enjoy it a lot. Also, once all the expansion packs are converted, its case will just get stronger.

The only other thing that may influence it negatively, is the dx9 requirement, especially for people who may want to buy your products. Most indie's developer for dx7 and dx8.

Other than that, the DSDK seriously rocks.
mperdue
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Posted: 3rd Aug 2005 17:04
Quote: "MyMesh = LoadObject(mesh);

and more OOP compatibility, even as it stands, it is very powerful and I enjoy it a lot. Also, once all the expansion packs are converted, its case will just get stronger."


I agree! I'm new to the SDK, but there are a few changes that need to be made in order to properly support OOP. Hopefully those changes are coming. Getting the expansion packs converted would be great.

Mario
Wraith Glade
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Posted: 3rd Aug 2005 18:30 Edited at: 3rd Aug 2005 18:45
to search for and compare 3D engines or game engines, try this link:

http://www.devmaster.net/engines/


here's an example of an alternate engine than Dark SDK, called Cipher (its open source - so once you buy a license you are free to modify and distribute the client-side of it with your releases, also, it has support for using audio as though it is actualy located within the 3D environment - aka distance relative sound, and also network and system aspects, along with updates and tools such as terrain generators and other editors without extra payment for them, unlike Dark SDK products | it is supposedly derived from the same technology methods that were used to create Quake III and its shaders are advanced enough to even allow you to make your models 'phantom'-like or 'ghostly' and so forth | it's engine is written in C, and its 'higher-level' usage is C++ --> which causes excellent performance because of the optimum usage of either language for what its better at doing, and thus also engine modification capacity | also, its camera - which also allows mutliple view-ports and such - and camera movement tend to be smoother, much better quality camera usage than a typical DarkBASIC program):

http://www.cipherengine.com/


personally, I think im gona switch to Cipher soon, but feel free to argue
_
BTW: does anyone know what forum software "thegamecreators" use?, this forum software is the best I've ever seen
OSX Using Happy Dude
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Posted: 3rd Aug 2005 18:39
So, it doesn't have much that DarkSDK hasn't then...

AtomZ - its got an A. Its got a Z. Now its just needs U
Blog:http://spaces.msn.com/members/BouncyBrick/
Web Site:http://www.nicholaskingsley.co.uk
Erick G
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Posted: 3rd Aug 2005 19:01
so you are switching based upon camera ? and ghosting ?

What is so weird about the camera ?

Explain.
Keaz
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Posted: 3rd Aug 2005 20:36
I am currently developing in DBPro I think most of the limitations there can be over come by DLL calls. I'm hoping by developing in DBPro first it will make migration to the DarkSDK fairly easy. I'm not yet ready to get a copy of Visual C++ to use it with yet however. If I eventually find a limitation I need to overcome I will either switch or write a custom DLL for it.

For starting a new project it will come down to what type of project are you creating, who will your audience be(PC/Mac etc..), do you ever plan to port to a different audience, and what language are you most familiar with (C,C++,DB etc..).

I don't think one engine is best for all projects, but each will have it's strengths and weaknesses. For me I like DB's strengths and can deal with the weaknesses if/when they present a problem.

Well that's my $0.02 worth.

Breaking Stuff=Fun!,Bug Testing<>Fun!, Bug Testing=Breaking Stuff, so...
Bug Testing=Fun! Hmmmm....
DOES NOT COMPUTE! SYSTEM MALFUNTION!
Wraith Glade
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Posted: 3rd Aug 2005 21:28 Edited at: 3rd Aug 2005 21:34
sweet!, meh avatar hath returned (good ol' hot-linking and free-loading off of other websites , even though I have my own domain, heh)


Anyway, I'll post a list/explaination of my current reasons soon concerning Dark vs Cipher, but I'm using a different computer than the one that has Dark on it. So, I'll post it when I can get back to my usual computer. (but until then here's the Cipher link again, so you can look at it yourself: http://www.cipherengine.com/)

and again, anyone know what forum software this forum uses? or is it just customized?



until then, pretend that these two smilies are a Ninja and a Samurai about to fight:


_
MikeS
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Posted: 3rd Aug 2005 23:33
Rich Davey(site admin) made this forum all by himself.



A book? I hate book. Book is stupid.
(Formerly Yellow)
Keaz
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Posted: 4th Aug 2005 01:59
Using Apollo?

Breaking Stuff=Fun!,Bug Testing<>Fun!, Bug Testing=Breaking Stuff, so...
Bug Testing=Fun! Hmmmm....
DOES NOT COMPUTE! SYSTEM MALFUNTION!
Wraith Glade
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Posted: 4th Aug 2005 02:56 Edited at: 5th Aug 2005 18:30
my avatar appears to have disappeared again...though it worked on the other computer...o well, I 'spose it doesn't matter much



anyway here's my current comparison:

key:
+ is advantage
= is equal
-+ is arguable
- is disadvantage

_____________________________________________________________________
Cipher:

+ open source engine code (you can modify the engine itself)
+ $100 for full license
+ shaders (more advanced graphics than Dark, and not dependant on coding the shaders -> ie it has a shader GUI)
+ shaders can morph very impressivly (eg: tranparentcy, reflections, "swelling", etc -> see tech demo for shader, its on the website somewhere), and such shaders are supposedly derived from the similiar technology as Quake III - remember how Quake III photon machine-gun had a glowing blue ammo clip on top?
+ tools for converting to its file formats
+ camera is slightly smoother than typical Dark program
+ demos show engine in strong environment (ie the engine is tested in a more complete form, rather than the isolated demos of Dark)
+ BSP collision (reputed to be very flexible, controlable, and effective)
+ support for 3rd party physics engines, even for state-of-the-art physics like Havok (and you can always use a system of your own to augment the physics system)
+ Dark tools such as Treemagik, Plantlife, and of course the basic imaging tools can be used with Cipher (thus you can still have a symbiotic relationship with "thegamecreators")
+ beta Linux build of Cipher is available

= tool support
= source code of demos
= particle system
= lighting
= audio, with distance relative sound
= memory control
= animation control
= community tools and contributions
= "open genre"
= Windows OS

-+ network/multi-player supports 1-32 players (but can be modifyed to support more, if you know how to code the networking system you intend)

- smaller community
- openGL only (does not support DirectX)
- few file types directly supported (only supports .ase; you can only use 3ds max, milkshape, or anima8or to model, except convertion tools are often created and made available, such as for Blender and Maya)
- API and some other main website features cannot be used until you have purchased Cipher
- less pre-made content available (ie beyond basic prototyping you must create your own models and art)
- no 2D graphics system

_____________________________________________________________________
Dark:

+ large community
+ $60 for limited license (ie its more basic forms are cheaper than Cipher)
+ supports/"advocates" various tools (ie Treemagik, graphic editors, etc)
+ such tools often allow for an exceptionaly broad range of file types
+ content packs (ie DarkMATTER, SoundMATTER, etc)
+ 2D graphics system (which is reputed to be exceptionally fast)
+ network/multi-player supports 2-256 players

= tool support
= source code of demos
= particle system
= lighting
= memory control
= animation control
= audio, with distance relative sound
= community tools and contributions
= "open genre"
= Windows OS

-+ BASIC is not better to learn than C++ and C, despite of hype

- no open source engine code
- $140 for full license ($200 total vs $100 for Cipher)
- moderate hype and advertisment (irritates me at least, might not apply if you actually enjoy such)
_____________________________________________________________________

here's some information about my own endeavors that might further explain my current reasons:

I intend to program my own 2D engine anyway (so the lack of a 2D engine for Cipher does not concern me much)
I only use Windows because the other OSs have become lacking in support due to the monopoly (which the possibility of an eventual full Linux version may offer an alternative to Windows)
I intend to code as innovative as I am able, thus a closed source engine is a programatic burden I don't want to bare


Yes, Cipher will probably take more work and time to use, but I think the differences favor Cipher (at least for me and pertaining to my endeavors).

However, "thegamecreators"'s tools such as Treemagic, Plantlife, and the basic graphic editors such as the "pixel-perfect" editor and the texture maker seem very effective. (so I will probably continue to use those)

Regardless, I recommend looking at the demos and videos from the website (just for the sake of "eye candy", if not for anything else). - http://www.cipherengine.com/

[during the "temple demo"]
press "1" on your keyboard to view the demo in wire-frame or "dot" mode
press "2" to display your frame-rate, if it doesn't hit 60 occasionaly, then your video card suxxor
press "c" to reduce light
Erick G
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Posted: 4th Aug 2005 07:54
Well dude, do what you have to do, if you feel that it will suit your needs further, then go for it.

Have you tried Torque ?

Personally I have, and it is a pain in the ass to use, I hope for your sake that cipher is not the same.

NOTHING so far that I have seen, beats the ease of use of the DarkSDK.
Keaz
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Posted: 8th Aug 2005 14:00
I personally am hoping and praying for a positive response to an e-mail I sent Rick regarding the source code of the SDK. I asked him about custom licensing. Basically, if he would consider it. If not I will likely move toward RealmForge instead. It's C# and based on OGRE's 3D w/physics from ODE and a bunch of other game development bits added in. I would prefer an SDK custom license because I already now DB well and have seen it's engine's capabilities, the no source is the main issue I have for a large commercial product. For an excellent example of what can go wrong that way just look to TGC at their own IDE. With source it doesn't matter if the egine of choice goes under or development stops, you can still debug your own product.

For an indie developer with a moderate-low budget a few nice options are available, but if your budget is $0 then check out RealmForge. It's learning curve shouldn't be quite as steep as OGRE but you do get OGRE's power and full source.

Keaz
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Posted: 8th Aug 2005 14:01
Once you decide on what you want to build, then decide on your engine based on that and build your game with it's limits and advantages in mind.

Jimmy 9 Toes
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Posted: 11th Aug 2005 16:35 Edited at: 11th Aug 2005 16:36
I'm a HUGE dark SDK fan.

When I bought DBPro I was really excited about all of the direct x features it supported. But, I was quickly turned off by the buggy basic language (And it's just wrong to put spaces in function names).

Dark SDK opens up the possibilities. We have all of those awesome features in an easy to use format, and none of the hang ups of the basic language, or the buggy IDE.

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