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What game engine is the cheapest for commercial developing? (Forums : General Banter : What game engine is the cheapest for commercial developing?) Post Reply
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Apr 7 2014, 1:13am Anchor

From what I have gathered;

Source engine- $25,000 for physics portion of engine

Unreal engine- $19 per month/ %5 of game revenue

Unity engine- $1,500

Cryengine- $10 per month

id tech- ???

So technically, the valve engine is the most expensive? I'm just curious to know what engine is preferred or better suited for commercial game development at a fair licensing cost. I understand Unity3d is often preferred by indie developers, but the prices for the other engines (other than Valve's Source Engine) seem to be alright. Also, is it true that id tech 5 engine is not to be licensed to 3rd party commercial use? What about id tech 4- what are the licensing costs for that engine?

Edited by: pookpunk

Apr 7 2014, 4:03am Anchor

It all depends on the type of game you want to make, really. There are open-source 3d engines, such as Irrlicht. There are also other relatively-cheap commercial engines, such as RPG Maker VX/VX Ace (for an example of which, you can check out the games on this website, including my own game, A Pawn's Game) or Game Maker Pro. Another open-source engine, if you'd be interested in developing games in the vain of the old point-and-click adventure games, there is also Adventure Game Studio. Hope this helps!

SinKing
SinKing bumps me thread
Apr 7 2014, 5:10am Anchor

Well, Unity is free as far as I know - until you sell a certain amount of copies at least. The 1.5k you mention are for the pro version and "per seat". So if you have three people in your team that could sum up to 4,5 k (though realistically only 1 needs a pro engine license, in my opinion). No idea.

Unreal 4 is a good deal, but you might wanna wait until it is optimized a bit better. It works fine for me, but some friends claim it is very ressource hungry on their PCs. Cryengine - is complicated. It looks good in the end, but getting there - OMG! EVERYTHING is a proprietary format and custom exporters that often don't work right cause you hours of fumbling around. It has great tools inside the editor, but the asset pipeline in other engines is more accessible and faster.

IdTech 4 (Doom 3, etc) could be an idea if you have a good coder with experience with the engine and don't mind the tools. I always thought those Id engines have a very special look to them. Plus they are moddable now, which makes great things possible. That game "Overdose" was/is build on Id-technology and looks good. It may take longer to ceate a game with an older engine. Depends on the game, really.  

I believe the RAGE engine cannot be used by indie developers, because of the megatexture technology used for landscapes. I'm not sure about that, but I've never seen it around anyway.

You might consider using Havoc engine (Giana Sister Remake and other great looking games!). I think it is possible to get a free or cheap version of that. And there is Anarchy Online, which is kinda the mobile version of Havoc. Pretty great looking engine and tools, especially for mobile!

Edited by: SinKing

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User Posted Image

Apr 7 2014, 10:38am Anchor

id tech 1/2/3 (quake 2/3) include AI, weapon & entity's.  Id tech 4/BFG does not, those are all script based.  From what I've been told, Source, Unity, Crytek & Unreal tech don't include AI, weapons, entities, etc.  They might contain some examples, but you'll need to provide all those yourself or buy them (not sure if that's done with Crytek or Unreal). 

I like Torque.  It's not free in cost (no pay, royalities, etc) & rights (not GPL or closed license like Source,Unity,Unreal, etc. you can never share the code, give it away, whatever you want).  I liked it before all this though.  You can also buy pre-made scripts/entities for it, so for ~$80 you can get decent AI.

As for the cheapest: if you're doing single player, Id Tech 2 or 1 (if you want super-pretty features (Darkplaces) but not as well done AI.  It includes EVERYTHING you need to get a game going with nothing new but assets.  For MP it's Id Tech 2 or 3.  There's several GPL Quake2/Id Tech 2 (R1Q2 client/server engine is considered a Q2 standard and is very very very stable) & Q3A/Id Tech 3 games out there that are very fleshed out.  Blendo Games used id tech 2 & 4 for two of their retail projects.  KOT used Id Tech 1 for their game.

EDIT: Id teh 4/BFG can use Megatexture.  The issue is there's no tools to actually make the mega texture that allows you to use it fora commercial purpose.  It's not a fleshed out as ETQW or Rage, but it can do it.

Edited by: TheHappyFriar

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Go play some Quake 2: q2server.fuzzylogicinc.com
It's like Source v0.9, only... better!
Play Paintball for Doom 3!: d3server.fuzzylogicinc.com
Doom 3 Paintball to the Max!

Apr 7 2014, 2:03pm Anchor

Thank you for the information. So developers are still using old engines (id tech 2/ id tech 1, torque, etc) to make commercial games? That's pretty cool.

How is the torque engine, it seems pretty cool. Also, what about using Source engine and how does it compare with the others? I read somewhere that valve will pay half of the $25,000 (they charge for their physics ) depending on game revenue. Is it worth developing with Source SDK? I hear Hammer editor is a pain and that the engine is outdated, but seeing that developers are using idtech 2/1 tells me that a outdated engine doesn't really matter.

Apr 7 2014, 4:23pm Anchor

No engine will be perfect, but some things to consider (from a variety of engines):
*There's more recent content (can't prove solidly) created for HL2/Source then any other game I can think of (I want to say that Doom 1/2 & Quake 1/2/3 have the most custom content, ever).
*Most indie teams that made 3D games seem to use Unity & UDK.
*Radiant (id tech) & UnrealEd are, perhaps, the oldest and most widely used editors out there (Radiant because so many games use it & UnrealEd because of UDK).
*The most popular GPL shooters games are from id tech 2 & 3 (Alien Arena, Nexuz, Gloom, OpenArena, etc).
*Most engines today aren't made for games any more, they're made for licensing (Source, Unity, Unreal, Crytek, Torque).

pookpunk wrote:Thank you for the information. So developers are still using old engines (id tech 2/ id tech 1, torque, etc) to make commercial games? That's pretty cool.

I interviewed Brendon Chung of Blendo Games a bit ago and, to me, what was more important then him using id tech 2 was that he's making a living off making and selling games.

Torque's not "old".  It gets occasional renames & what not like Source, Unity, Crytek & Unreal.  The id tech ones can be considered old, but id tech 3 will run on almost any computer on the planet (with Q3A's qvm modding binary you can even take a mod & run it on anything that can run Q3A, included portable devices) and will even run on off-the-shelf machines from Walmart & the like.  Depending on your target audience, stuff like that can matter.  You can also find the Jedi Know 2 branch that has a lot more features, but it's no official any more.

Edited by: TheHappyFriar

--

Go play some Quake 2: q2server.fuzzylogicinc.com
It's like Source v0.9, only... better!
Play Paintball for Doom 3!: d3server.fuzzylogicinc.com
Doom 3 Paintball to the Max!

SinKing
SinKing bumps me thread
Apr 7 2014, 7:07pm Anchor

Yeah, I've seen some pretty decent looking driving game made with Torque a year or so ago. It just depends on what you can do yourself, how much you manage to get out of an engine. What you want to look at are the tools - and see what you can do with them. Building maps with brushes is certainly harder to learn than to build them from static meshes, so a lot of things depend on how experienced the team members are with an engine.

If you start from scratch, I'd say look at something like Unity or Unreal Engine 4, because it's easy to import and iterate content. In the beginning it is crucial to try out different things and see the effects in-engine. So you don't want to have difficult import procedures and waste a lot of time browsing through forums looking for answers; there will be plenty of that anyway.

What I want from an engine first are 4 things:

- easy import and file handling 
- great lighting
- great tools
- good documentation

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User Posted Image

Apr 7 2014, 8:02pm Anchor

It's import to remember that the most important part of making the game is the people: the worst game I ever played was done in the Unreal engine and my most played wearn't done in any popular 3D engine.  If you're doing something by yourself, so like SinKing said and look at something that's easy to learn and get stuff in to.  You want to make a game, not learn how to make a game.  ;)

--

Go play some Quake 2: q2server.fuzzylogicinc.com
It's like Source v0.9, only... better!
Play Paintball for Doom 3!: d3server.fuzzylogicinc.com
Doom 3 Paintball to the Max!

Apr 7 2014, 10:18pm Anchor

I was leaning more towards Unity since it seems better suited for small teams. The support seems pretty good to. I opened up source SDK Hammer, etc. and was a little turned off by the winXP/win98 interface. Also, kept crashing everytime I loaded a TF2 map! Not sure if source is the best to go for stand alone total conversion games... seems better suited for modding/maps/ etc.

TKAzA
TKAzA Community Manager
Apr 7 2014, 11:07pm Anchor

Source is awful, avoid it unless you like spending more time trying to fix broken tools or faffing around with the .smd model exporter than producing content.

Unity (free) is the most popular due to the amount of prebuilt assets and its fairly simple drag and drop importer, this makes prototyping super fast.

Edited by: TKAzA

Apr 7 2014, 11:40pm Anchor

So really Unity is good for small indie projects and prototypes? Essentially, maybe UDK is probably one of the better engines then? I know Dreamfall Chapters is being made with Unity and it looks pretty good (but not really a drastic change 2005-07 era of games, but I think its going for a different target audience).

Also, source SDK was a huge turn off for me... right when I opened it up I was already having problems. Forget that! How does Valve produce that amazing content with those tools? They must be constantly updating the engine/tools inhouse without updating the public version. Half-life 2 Episode 2/Portal 2 actually look decent, but they need to do something new with that engine. Don't get me wrong its a great engine housing some good games (left 4 dead, portal), but it's not that impressive to look at anymore.. it just looks average.

SinKing
SinKing bumps me thread
Apr 8 2014, 5:27am Anchor
pookpunk wrote:So really Unity is good for small indie projects and prototypes? Essentially, maybe UDK is probably one of the better engines then? I know Dreamfall Chapters is being made with Unity and it looks pretty good (but not really a drastic change 2005-07 era of games, but I think its going for a different target audience).

That is exactly what is happening in my current team. Bit of a bummer is that Unity is coded in C# and Unreal in C+ now. I expect the two code languages to overlap, but it still means you have to redo code for the target engine. We bought some "packs" for Unity, such as Human IK that have functionality we need. That's why Unity is good for prototyping - you can get these packs on demand and they're often on special offer and put some of the features into your own game (e.g. make an adventure - can start with an adventure starter pack). That's why it is nice for prototyping - and who knows - Unity 5 is around the corner and might be good enough to challenge Unreal Engine, altogether. Even Source 3 (?) was announced a while ago and will probably be available this year; though that is only a guess - I haven't heard anything new.

Don't let yourself get fooled by looks alone. Source has a nice render engine, which was superior to UDK's default renderer, but not to Unity (Pro = PBR) or U4 or to Cryengine. I've seen maps on Unreal Tournament 2 that had better lighting than some of the maps today (even though it was all baked into textures then). There are scores of things to learn besides the engine and editor. Organizing assets and shaders and finding an efficient workflow with an engine is a huge part of creating content.

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User Posted Image

Apr 17 2014, 11:05am Anchor

a lot of people ignore Torque, but it's probably a good choice (compromise) for many types of games... despite being based on a
First Person Shooter, it's flexible enough to accommodate a  variety of genres... 
it's free... it's solid... it's graphically rich and flexible... and the multiplayer is first rate and built into the core of the engine so it
gives first rate performance on low end systems with not the best connections to the net...

the only issue i see in using Torque is learning the engine... not that it's hard, but you'll have to hunt around the site for all the 
knowledge you're gonna need... the best path is to get an old book ("3D Game Programming All in One" by Ken ...)... although it's based
on an earlier version of Torque, it's still relevant, is an easy read, and 
it'll get you introduced to the concepts you need  to understand
and work with the engine...

Apr 22 2014, 8:48pm Anchor

Hah, I just stumbled upon this discussion :) Interesting.

We are working on Storm Engine 2 (modified and enhanced Doom 3 BFG GPL), so hopefully pretty soon it will be released to the public and indies will get a powerful free engine!

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