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If I did develop games I'd seriously consider using the Torque engine. A freelance game coder I know has been working with it for a while; it has some pretty impressive stuff.
Have you any idea how many companies started or with such a small development team? Just take a look at ID Software, and Interplay.
Just a few of the games/franchises started by these humble companies include: like Doom, Quake, Unreal Tournament, Baldur's Gate, Descent, Freespace, etc.
Most of the differences are visual, historic, and gameplay based. Trust me when I say that this is one of the best mods for the game, especially if you love the ancient period.