The C4 Engine is a comprehensive suite of professional, robustly implemented game programming tools for PlayStation 4, Windows, Mac, and Linux.
A fantastic and powerful game engine made with love and passion for those who want a maximum control over their projects development.
Couple of years ago it was a diamond in the rough, now it is a glorious diamond in its full splendeur.
And for 88$ !!! You can't go wrong, give it a try.
I can't say enough good things about this engine. The community is very supportive and active. The engine is in constant development and the quality of the engine code is unsurpassed (for instance I have never seen such short build times for a project of this size).
Coming from Unity the world editor can be a bit intimidating at first but having full access to the engine, rather than the black-box Unity is, is invaluable.
I do recommend reading the two published books about the engine to get started quickly.
I went through two other engines before I settled for C4, Irrlicht and Ogre. I wasn't necessarily looking for a free engine but at the time (7 resp. 4 years ago) there wasn't much choice.
C4 works in the render department and if something doesnt work, it's a good chance it's you doing something wrong and not the engine. However, when it comes to other fields around it, like the User Interface, particle effects or usability, it begins to lack quality. One problem is that the engine is written in a way that assumes that you don't use any other third party library, including the STL. The new and delete operators are overloaded which cause a tremendous number of problems with other libraries. Number one is you cant use Visual Leak detector. Instead you have to rely on the "leak detector" of the C4 engine which gives false file and line information at times.
That said, I reversed my original rating from 10 to 4. I save myself the bother of repeating everything that Argoon has said in his review, because he sums up my own criticism after over a year of C4 usage very well.
Writing an application outside the given framework is possible but with a lot of woe. You wont be able to write stand alone tools for instance, only tools that use the engine GUI and start from within the engine main frame.This means in the end that you have to keep and maintain several copies of the data directory hierarchy.Also dont expect any help when you do. Help is provided in the forums, but you have to use the engine the way it was intended by the developer or you're on your own. A typical question is: "Have you altered the source code in any way" and if the answer is "yes" that was it in most cases.
There is not much documentation on the library,in order to do anything beyond the obvious you have to go to the forum and ask for help and hope the developer is in the mood to help. He may or may not. The engine contains absolutely no source code comments and the included header comments often just repeat the function name and parameters and otherwise leave you in the dark. In fact it is impossible to write any non trivial application without asking for help in the forum over and over again. As for the community: If you criticize the engine in any form,you will be yelled at and silenced pretty quickly.
The tools including the "world editor" are cumbersome to use at best. Alas you have to use the world editor because it's the only way to use most of the engine features, unless you program everything by hand for which there is hardly any documentation.
Facit:A stable render engine, but no complete game engine, alas usability leaves a lot to be desired.
Great support, solid efficient visuals, and competitive pricing. Plus full source code.
The community is very helpful / supportive, this is the first time I am dealing with a game engine and the community is very supporting and understanding. I was honestly surprised at the maturity of the community, and that has kept me as a customer.
I've been using the C4 engine for about two years now. The market for game engines certainly has changed a lot during that time, and I've also looked at the big names that are selling their engines for peanuts these days, but I always keep coming back to C4. There are a lot of reasons why this engine is such a great choice:
- Performance. C4 is highly optimized and runs very well even on legacy hardware.
- Stability. C4 is rock solid, it rarely crashes during design and run time, and those rare cases usually are due to some bugs in the GPU drivers of Nvidia and AMD and not the engine itself.
- Clean code. The engine's structure is well organized and consistent. This will reflect in your game code.
- Open source. With a license for C4 you'll have access to the complete source code.
- Support. C4's community is very friendly and helpful. In addition, Eric Lengyel (the author of C4) is present on the forums daily and will answer tricky questions, usually within hours.
- Functionality. C4 has a tons of features, some of which aren't apparent at first sight (and not marketed aggressively). It has a nice graphical shader editor, a very performant mechanism for indirect lighting called "radiosity space", a full suite of CSG tools, an out-of-the-box implementation for infinite oceans, impostors and much, much more.
- Cross-platform. C4 runs on all desktop OSs (and by the way has been available for Linux for years now), and an iOS version is coming soon.
- Price. With the new licensing model for version 4.0, the engine is just $88 per year. No royalties. And if you don't extend your subscription, your still allowed to use the engine and publish games with it.
Admittedly, C4's user interface looks a little dated, and the engine is currently lacking some graphical features like HDR (which is being worked on), but that shouldn't trick you into believing C4 isn't capable. Game development is hard, even if some big names seem to claim that you just have to buy some ready-made assets and stick them together with some scripting, but it doesn't work like that. If you're doing anything more involved than Tappy Chicken you will have to roll up your sleeves and get coding. And an engine that won't let you run into a wall at some point is much more important than a shiny user interface.
With the new pricing there is no excuse not to try C4 and see for yourself why this is such a great engine!
Eric is a very good coder and has made a very nice engine, the code is clean and professional and the engine is as stable as rock. But unfortunately the tools aren't very artist friendly, they don't support multi screen setups, many developers use more than one screen so this is a major pita for fast work, instead of working almost exclusively on a 3D view it requires you to perform some tasks on the 2D orthographic views more times then what is desirable, the window where you pick and search for your models and game objects (called nodes in C4) is a very complicated and strange hierarchy tree like system, it should be much simpler then that, i will not mention other engines but theres much better implementations of this on other engines.
Eric is also a coder that tries to put too much stuff in the same basket, what do i mean by this, for example he tries to make all himself without using any other 3rd party software on his engine, for example the physics engine, Eric instead of implementing a already made physics engine, like the majority of his concurrents, he made his one, it makes for a better integration and support is true, but unfortunately it slows down the development of other important features, and the physics aren't that good, objects don't behave realistically, for example theres no self rotation when an object is flying from a explosion, and sometimes the character controller becomes stuck at the boundaries of floor geometries. Because of this Eric is slow at implementing more visible stuff, things that could make the engine stand out, HDR that is being promised for a looong time now but is being pushed further and further away, the grass system and the underwater capabilities that could make the engine really stand out are also still to be made, etc, Eric prioritizes stuff that don't really give much exposure to his engine and because of that, a very good engine is being brushed aside for engines imo much worse.