Leadwerks is the easiest way to make games that look amazing. With a rapid development pipeline, support for C++ and Lua programming, and plenty of learning materials, Leadwerks is the perfect platform for your next project.
The quickest way to summarize it I think, is that the engine is seemingly designed to slow down workflow in favor of looking complex and cool. I really feel like this was designed that so it looked really good in promotion, but in practice it's just not great. The wording in descriptions and the site is very particular, making the engine sound far more pleasant and robust than it is (though I suppose you can't expect developers to do anything but that). I mean, really, "Our renderer redefines realtime with image quality more like a cg render than real-time games of the past." Come on.
First and foremost, the documentation is puny. It's hardly worth mentioning. You will be learning how to do everything through trial and error.
The few included functions and "features" are very basic.
The UI seems to be designed to look robust and complex and useful, as it's mostly simple operations spread out and often duplicated in menus. The console at the bottom isn't useful much of the time and there doesn't seem to be any obvious way of hiding it, and so a large portion of your workspace is taken up. All of the tabs at the right side of the window take up way, way more space than they require, using up even more space. Even after familiar with where everything is, finding everything still feels like a game of Where's Waldo. Don't even get me started on texturing brushes.
This is actually one of the few things that Leadwerks had me smiling about. Importing assets is incredibly easy and quick. The conversion from source file to engine compatible and usable file is so quick and automatic. I really, really like the integrated material editor. Props for this.
I've got a decent amount more to say, here: Goo.gl
1- inferior graphics when compared to Leadwerks 2.0...
2- convoluted, misleading and confusing (if not outright deceptive) promotional hype...
3- censorship on the forums of legitimate questions and comments...
4- the head of the company has followed me around the internet trying to get web publishers to delete my critical comments...
a long time licensee and proponent for Leadwerks, i can no longer support the company and the direction it is heading... there are other more dependable and less expensive development alternatives out there that offer more... i feel that Leadwerks has lost its vision and has become little more than a money making machine for Joshua Klint, the head of the company...
nice piece of software but its just a tool to play with. nothing against the big engines (unity, unreal, cryengine)
- no decal support (waiting for months for a update)
- no texture baking for lights/shadows (performance drops)
- GUI is very bad designed (no threads for generating textures and other stuff -> Editor is freezing all the time)
- GUI usability and logic is very bad designed.
- very buggy (random access violation error, random crashes, sometimes steamversion crash steam client bootstrapper also)
- editing animations is very hard to solve (no chance to edit something except the ID, no blending in the editor between animations just in code)
- terraineditor has very small functionality
- No terrainmanipulation in code possible (no classes given)
- time between updates is too bug but updates contain not much new stuff
- very small workshop with user created content (I dont need it, I create stuff myself or buy it) that wasted a lot of codingtime for other things
- supports only .FBX models
- navmesh is not updated when something changed (the product info say so)
- ONLY OpenGL 4.0 graphiccards supported (means your game can only be created/played on OpenGL 4.0 gpus)
- "negative" critic or asking for functionality that was promised months ago ends in deleting threads/posts or a ban in the forums
- to expansive for me - $199 for standard edition (LUA/CPP)
- no GUI classes to create a GUI
- no networking (client/server, p2p) -> raknet only works with cpp version by default
- no performance monitoring
- it sells as crossplattform engine but only windows and linux is supported. osx support is coming (no date given)
- android/ouya support was canceled
- very small community (over 10k registred but maybe just 10 guys know how to use leadwerks)
- royality free (but only interesting when you can create a complete game and sell it)
- LUA/CPP language support
I have been using the Leadwerks Engine for a few years now, and loved every minute of it. Leadwerks 3.1 is great for beginners all the way to advanced users. Cheap engine to buy and the licensing terms are very reasonable. Bugs are fixed in a timely manner and questions of the forums generally go answered. I highly recommend this engine.
Leadwerks 3 has a lot of improvements over the earlier versions. The editor's interface has been vastly improved, and it seemingly resembles Valve's Hammer Editor a lot now. This also means that the engine supports brushes, which is ideal for laying out interior level designs, and the workflow is really smooth, with textures and model importing being easy as pie. Community service is also very good, and Leadwerk's creator Josh frequently answers questions on the website's forum.
Be warned though that this engine is still mostly geared towards programmers, which means you need to have an experienced programmer on your team to do the compiling or learn it yourself.
Absolutely the best game engine for the small indie developer. I have licenses for Leadwerks, Unity Pro and T3D. Guess what. I uninstalled both Unity and T3D lately because in the end I found that Leadwerks gives me stunning graphics in combination with a very easy and straight forward C API.
I highly recommend you to have a look at thins engine if you are willing to program in LUA or C++.