Are there any alternatives to Torque Game Builder for 2D games?

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by sofakng, May 16, 2007.

  1. Matt Langley

    Matt Langley New Member

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    I hate to tripple post... but hopefully everyone will approve. If you currently use TGB (or have) and have any specific major issues that are either blocking you or will block you please e-mail them to me, please give me a description and a test case if you can:

    mattl@garagegames.com

    I am set on ensuring all of these issues are currently logged in our bug tracking system and may spend some personal time trying to fix some of them (as well as advocate them internally). Personally I feel TGB could contribute a lot more to a group of people that currently are running into a few issues that are important and major blockers to them, though relatively small issues in the entire engine's scope. So hopefully this can lead to solving some specific issues.

    We do take feedback from our community, which is why we have a report bugs forum, in this case I'd be interested in e-mail regarding such issues though. No promises, other than I will see what current state they are in if they are currently being addressed and will advocate their importance internally.
     
  2. Total Eclipse

    Original Member

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    Matt, thank you for your replies.

    You seem to be the only one at GG who really cares about developer's issues with TGB and in fact it's strange coming from a "Lead Documentation Engineer" and not an official Support person.

    I do believe what I said, that we've been treated with neglect, and ultimately this is bad for TGB and Garage Games in general, as I don't see my company using Torque again and I don't see many hit games based on TGB coming to existence.

    Garage Games should "take advantage" of the fact that there are companies (not 1 or 2-people teams) working with TGB and use that as leverage to further improve and promote the platform. At its current state it seems more like a hobbyist's tool than a professional's.

    At this point in our production I feel there is no way we can make our publisher deadline in time unless we have Garage Games' full support and I frankly don't think one should depend on external aid so much.

    I would like to thank you for your invitation for help and trust me when I say this, you'll be getting a LONG e-mail from me. :)
     
  3. Total Eclipse

    Original Member

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    I've already posted this on the Garage Games forums but I figured the more people test this, the better:


    Hi everyone.

    I'd like to export fonts (PNGs), spice them up in Photoshop and then import them back to TGB.

    Today I realized, however, that when I use weights and styles (bold, italic, etc.) for some fonts (I say some because I don't always get this behavior), I get an Arial font rendering, which I guess is the default font for TGB.

    I would like as many of you as possible to perform this test.

    Here are the two functions you need:



    Code:
    function populateFontsEX(%font,%sizes,%chars)
    {
    for (%i = 0; %i < getWordCount(%sizes); %i++) {
    %size = getWord(%sizes,%i);
    populateFontCacheString(%font,%size,%chars);
    }
    writeFontCache();
    }
    
    
    function fontbitmapIOEX(%font,%sizes,%import,%padding,%kerning,%alreadyImported)
    {
    %pngdir = "pngs/";
    %fontdir = "./common/ui/cache/";
    
    for (%i = 0; %i < getWordCount(%sizes); %i++)
    {
    %size = getWord(%sizes,%i);
    
    if(%allreadyImported){
    %padding = 0;
    %kerning = 0;
    }
    
    %fileName = %fontdir @ %pngdir @ %font SPC %size @ ".png";
    if (%import)
    importCachedFont(%font, %size, %fileName, %padding, %kerning);
    else
    exportCachedFont(%font, %size, %fileName, %padding, %kerning);
    }
    
    writeFontCache();
    }
    Here's how I'd like you to use the functions above:

    Code:
    populateFontsEX("Arial", 30, "0123456789ABCDEFGHI");
    fontbitmapIOEX("Arial",30,false,5,0,false);
    
    populateFontsEX("Arial Bold", 30, "0123456789ABCDEFGHI");
    fontbitmapIOEX("Arial Bold",30,false,5,0,false);
    
    You can see the result on my computer at www.testudios.com\files\temp\FontsAgain.png.

    By the way, what happens if I want to use other weights such as Semibold and Extra?

    To further illustrate my point, here's a test based on "Courier New" and "Courier New Bold": www.testudios.com\files\temp\FontsAgain2.png

    Let me know what you all get. This should be interesting!

    Thanks!
     

    Attached Files:

    #203 Total Eclipse, Aug 1, 2007
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2007
  4. Matt Langley

    Matt Langley New Member

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    Posted my results from your test on the GG forums
     
  5. Matt Langley

    Matt Langley New Member

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    Just to cross post my results... I didn't run into any problems:

    Arial results

    non-bold

    [​IMG]


    bold

    [​IMG]



    Courier New Results

    Same test with

    "Courier New"

    [​IMG]


    "Courier New Bold"

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Matt Langley

    Matt Langley New Member

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    Random Font results

    Tried a random font in my fonts folder...

    "Futura XBlk BT Extra Black"

    [​IMG]


    Then I tried it as bold, even though I don't have a ttf bold font file for it, which as you suspected it defaulted to Arial

    "Futura XBlk BT Extra Black Bold"

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Ricardo Vladimiro

    Indie Author

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    Matt, would you mind if I forward you an email I received?
     
  8. Matt Langley

    Matt Langley New Member

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    Not at all, feel free to.
     
  9. Ratboy

    Original Member

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    (bump)
    So is anyone using 1.5? How is it working out for you? I'm getting back into the creating mood, and I'm curious as to how easy it is to get a game working in it. Thanks :)
     
  10. Total Eclipse

    Original Member

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    I would like to mention that we've abandoned Torque development altogether, over a month now, as we saw that there was no way for it to cover our development needs in its current state.

    We believe it needs a lot of work before it can be considered a commercial tool. The main reason for our move to Flash 9 was not only the 10x performance improvement but the lack of support when it comes to Torque. You may pay for the product but there is no guarantee that anyone from Garage Games will support you (that's the official word from the company).

    The move to Flash happened even though we were 85% into production with Torque and it was a tough decision that was sanctioned by our Publisher. Note that since TorqueScript is far from being Object Oriented, we have to basically re-write the game from scratch and in really short time (we have to compress over 8 months of programming into 2 months).

    The platform one chooses to develop their game on is a really serious investment and great care should be taken into making sure in advance there will be great and fast support throughout the production.

    Hopefully my comments will help someone evaluate Torque to the fullest before they make the decision to use it (or not) in a commercial project.
     
  11. jankoM

    Indie Author

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    Compared to what you mean 10x? to flash8 or torque?
     
  12. Total Eclipse

    Original Member

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    jankoM, that would be compared to Flash 8, but we noticed some significant lag times in Torque and didn't seem like it was running in C++.
     
  13. jankoM

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    my gues would be that flash9 with AS3 is much faster than torque script, but on the graphical side (HW vs SW rendering) torque is much much more capable.

    If they plug hw acceleration in flash some day there will really be hardly and good reasons for not using it.
     
  14. Total Eclipse

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    jankoM, that day may be closer that you thought. :)

    http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flashplayer9/

    • Support for H.264 video and HE-AAC audio codecs.
    • Multi-core support for vector rendering.
    • Full screen mode with hardware scaling.
    • Flash Player cache for common platform components, such as the Flex framework.
    • Support for Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA) in the Windows plug-in.
     
  15. sofakng

    sofakng New Member

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    I'm just curious, but how do you get a performance increase when going to Flash 9? I didn't think Flash even supported hardware acceleration and even on very, very fast computers you may only get 10 - 20 fps with certain Flash games. (and that's something like 640x480 resolution w/o any fancy 2D/3D effects)
     
  16. sofakng

    sofakng New Member

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    I wish it supported non-fullscreen mode acceleration too.... :(
     
  17. Total Eclipse

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  18. Matt Langley

    Matt Langley New Member

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    For anyone coming in and reading this please take the words of everyone here, including mine, with a grain of salt. If you are considering TGB simply evaluate it. We have a full 30 day trial. You get to use a full features versions of TGB including all of the documentation for 30 days. We also just opened up all TDN engine sections to be accessible to everyone who has a GG account (tdn.garagegames.com), keep in mind this is a wiki and is community maintained (though some good tidbits once you get the basics down already).

    No solution is the right one for everyone. We've had lots of happy TGB developers. Before that we had lots of happy T2D Early Adopter developers (when there were hardly any tools or docs). In fact the first game released was 2 months after T2D Early Adopter on msn games. Just like most engines out there we have people who love it and still use it, some who use it for certain things, others who have gone away and don't use it anymore. I'm sorry for the later, but you can't make everyone happy. We can only do our best and we've seen lots of very happy developers using it (we've had a huge influx of game submissions over the last year it's been out) so that shows us at the least there's quite a few people enjoying it and finishing games in it.

    Is it perfect, no... will it ever be perfect, of course not.

    Is it better than Flash... obviously there's no yes or no answer. Keep in mind TGB is a game engine, Flash isn't (though it supports games, better, in the latest release). For those who are familiar with Flash it probably is easier to use, coincidentally those who aren't familiar with Flash but instead are familiar with game engines I've seen typically like TGB better. This is pretty obvious, maybe TGB isn't enough to pull long time flash developers away, that wasn't exactly our goal so it doesn't bother me (though we have pulled some).

    In any case evaluate as many options as time permits when looking into game solutions, keep in mind their intentions, those who back it (besides what has been said I still feel we provide at least moderate forum support), what it's limits are, it's weaknesses, and it's strengths. Then simply try it. Any solution worth it's time will have some sort of trial, so give it a shot. Take others comments as that, other peoples comments. Decide for yourself based on usage. No one else can define what solution is the best for you.
     
  19. Ratboy

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    I will admit that I've installed the TGB demo twice (before and after the 1.5 release), and each time, I was able to play around with it for a day before a huge freelance job landed in my lap. Next thing I know, 30+ days have passed and the demo won't do anything for me anymore. So TGB is making me money, just not in the usual way :D

    I do like the drag & drop part of it. As an artist, it's really satisfying to throw a bunch of layers and effects up and see them doing their thing in realtime.
     
  20. jankoM

    Indie Author

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    Very clearheaded and straight answer Matt...

    The choice of tools is IMO highly dependent on what a person is trying to do. I use flash (haxe) lately because I do small web games. If I were to do a shooter or even a match-3 (with particle effects and stuff) game that I would sell as downloadable game I would not use flash.

    The choice is also highly personal and I am sure there can be no engine that everyone would like to use. even if it's totally perfect a lot of people feel better without an engine or framework (framework vs library dilemma).

    I have license for TGB (and BlitzMax and PTK) and it would perfectly match my current personall decision of how to do games where HW acceleration is needed if TGB would use a more general language. (I would prefer LUA by far, it is simply amazing and very fast now)
     

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