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'm sorry if I gave that impression but that is definitely not the way it was. What I was saying is that TGB has maintained it's team size for quite a while. THis means that it is indeed doing well and bringing in enough resources to justify the continued work on it. What else I was saying was that during any of our past releases we haven't had to sacrifice resources that were dedicated to TGB, which is another good thing. TGB is doing very good on a whole. Torque engines are doing very good in fact. Torque engines are doing better than ever, we also have over 100 Universities using Torque.

    Please don't get the impression that we aren't doing well on it :) Sure we could do better, but there's always better for anything. We've also have been consistantly working on it (despite what people may think). I thought this would be evident in that we've had 1.1.1, 1.1.2, 1.1.3, and up and comming 1.5 releases of TGB ever since we officially launched last June. We've had continued communication with the community, a very active beta with some major new features... TGB has grown quite a bit and very healthily :)
     
  2. spellcaster

    Original Member

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    Right - but there are other libs out there, and not everybody needs all the stuff that tgb provides, sometimes some features even get in the way.

    TGB provides:
    - Tile editor
    - Particle editor
    - client/server RPC communication
    - GUI editor (not sure if the widgets are going to be used in a game, though)
    - Sprite engine
    - Sound engine
    - Scripting support
    - 2d physics (as long as you know the limitations first and design your game around them, but I think that's something you need to do with every physics engine)
    - Support to render 3d models in a 2d space

    I think that 1 month should be more than sufficient to collect a bunch of libs / tools doing the same - esp. if you don't need all of the things listed.

    TGB should be more than the sum of it's parts. Right now it feels like it's actually less. But still - the list of features it has is "yummy enough" to make me recheck it every couple of months.
     
  3. ChrisP

    Indie Author

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    Fair to say. I appreciate the honest answer.

    It seems I was misled on the porting front, so apologies for that!
     
  4. Matt Langley

    Matt Langley New Member

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    True, but collect a bunch of libs, integrate them, make them play nice, have as an optimal API + scripting system integration and efficiency together equivalent to that of a game engine that is designed to work well with itself?

    Then fixing issues that crop up with said resources (often times libraries and frameworks out there have their own set of bugs and hurdles, good luck getting each of the authors to listen to you too) as well as fixing integration issues.

    Then of course you will -still- run into issues depending on your goal. Game dev isn't easy, game engines have the goal of making it easier, though none out there make all game dev truly easy. You have to be prepared to get your hands dirty (even if you don't have to) or you already are dooming yourself to fail.

    I would honestly estimate the task I listed at taking a good 6 months to a year to get it working in any sort of complete form that relates close to a game engine. That means to stack up to TGB it must have a certain level of visual tools (much much easier said than done as well), cross-platform like TGB, and be fairly game type independent to accomplish the goal of an engine you can use for multiple games.

    To fully complete that you'll be looking at over a year most likely, though getting it working enough to make a couple good games with it that aren't radically different, maybe 6 - 12 months.

    That said even if you could get said done in a month (which I highly disagree you could, especially dealing with bugs that separate libs have and integration issues) that still makes TGB worth the price in my opinion. 1 month of time.... even on indie schedule, say you get 15 hours of coding in a weak (2 each weak day and 5 each weekend), this is assuming you have a day job and are doing this on the side... thats about 60 hours a month. Lets even be generous and say a coding hour = $30 (very low)... 60 X $30 = $1,800.

    Thats assuming 60 coding + testing could get this done (which I highly doubt), and going this path requires you to get your hands dirty, which is an argument you are using again TGB.

    TGB, even the pro version with source code, is $250... which allows you to tinker with the engine all you want, integrate any resources you want... A breakdown of $30 hour for coding hours (which is very very low, should be in the range of $50-$120 an hour)... thats roughly 8.3 coding hours. Thats all of TGB, all the 2D specific systems as well as all of the inherited Torque Core systems...
     
  5. Matt Langley

    Matt Langley New Member

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    That said:

    Though I, and others, don't completely agree with that I can respect that... others agree with you or fall in between somewhere. Hopefully we can change your feeling on that in the future :)
     
  6. Nikos Beck

    Nikos Beck New Member

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    It is not as easy as as you think to mash together free libraries into an engine. I'm working on a project (not game related) that is exactly that. We're using xml, graphical widgets, networking, databases... and it's not a matter of installing everything and it all fits together. We're looking at months of work to write a product that can interact with every piece and provide the functionality the end user wants.

    Has anyone tried this approach? I think this calls for a new thread.

    I like TGB so far. I'm a programmer used to C so I'm loving the script. One feature I think is excellent is that levels are just script files. I can read everything in a text editor (except particles). I can actually read what it's doing. What that has allowed me to do is create objects in script as I need them. If I have a match-three game I can create the board and tiles in script when it loads. I have absolute freedom within a well designed and layed out API. Oh, and I never use the GUI. It's frustrated me too much but... I don't need to use the GUI, the level builder does just fine.
     
    #146 Nikos Beck, Jun 27, 2007
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2007
  7. Backov

    Original Member

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    Sorry Matt, but that's a ridiculous worst case scenario estimate.

    When I ditched TGB I had my Java/LWJGL 2d engine up and running in 2 weeks. It didn't have everything TGB does, but it didn't need it - and it worked a hell of a lot better than TGB did for me.

    A good example of the usefulness of Torque is the adoption rate for TorqueX. As far as I can tell from the XNA forums, it's near 0. No one needed it. With a good intermediate visualization library everything TGB did is easily subbed in, often with much better, best-of-breed components.

    I understand you work for them, and it's obvious that you love the product, but I heartily disagree with the spin you're putting on things here.
     
  8. Matt Langley

    Matt Langley New Member

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    6 months - 1 year a worst case scenario... sure thats a bit high, but definitely far from worst. There are many games that people spend far more than 1-2 years on and never get finished and thats without dealing with integrated many different components.

    What exactly did you get up and running, what game is this, what features, what lacking features, what compatability, efficiency, tested cases, etc. Also what needs do your game need and the various other inumerable details about a game that can't be expressed by any general expression. My expression of 6 months - 1 year is with a moderate sized game with moderate features. Obviously the smaller the game the smaller the needs.

    Also if I may ask, what didn't work well for TGB that did for the java library? Also what sort of tools does the java library have? What sort of support does the library offer? What feature set? How active are the forums, how often do the devs respond in the forums, how often do you get answers from other community members? How easy is it to use, what type of games is it ideal for, is it an option for newer users who don't know scripting well? What sort of tutorials does it have, how much reference documentation, what sort of support for tutorials. What games have been done in it. What sort of functionality does it have built into it, what might you have to adapt, etc...

    If you want to do a tech to tech evaluation all of these are viable information. What if a feature that isn't offered in said library but in TGB, how does that effect the "2 weeks". How experienced of a coder are you, etc. There are lots of values. I stick to my estimation for a complete commercial quality game in a good majority of options for a moderate sized game needing a moderate amount of features.

    I find your evaluation lacking considering how active the TorqueX forums are on our site. It's been a while since I've been to the MS XNA boards but I know originally there were definitely a good number of people using it. Microsoft packages it with the Creator's Club, they obviously find it useful, they've also used our demos at many of the XNA demos (if not all) so I have to question your validity and your motives.

    Yes I work for them. GG is like a family to me. I used Torque Game Engine over a year before I came to GG, I used T2D (what TGB used to be called) from day one, while not working for GG. I've participated on the other end for quite a bit and was a highly active member of the community before coming to GG. Don't try and slant this as me trying to push TGB just because I work at GG. I work at GG because I love it here, GG is dedicated to accomplishing some very good goals and have always provided a great option for many Indie games to get cheap tech that is very functional. We are consistantly working on it as well.

    Also here is your post before you changed it (yes I got the notify):

    Hmm... obvious marketing bs. I guess being honest is such. You seem to have a vendetta against GG or Torque engines, please don't spread that spin. STep back, make an objective evaluation and post respectfully, this is what I try to do. We don't have to disagree, but you don't have to go and insult me.

    Btw I am not on the marketing team. I have worked on TGB dev and TGB documentation for quite a while, I have never been in marketing and don't plan on it. I give lots of my spare time to the community because many give it back. Such is the GG community and I'm very proud to be a part of it.
     
  9. Backov

    Original Member

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    The Java library is LWJGL, which is a wrapper for OpenGL. That's it. No other features.

    As for what I implemented - 2d graphics, input, sound and networking. Not hard. Not tested much, sure - as it was never released.

    As for what my game needed - do you really think that TGB is BETTER suited to LARGER game projects? LOL. What you should be asking yourself is how suitable is TGB to the target games made on it - the answer is very well suited, if you're building one of the game types you envisioned - otherwise, not very well, and that's what most of these complaints are about.

    Your estimate is dead on if I was trying to release a commercial engine for sale to end users. For a game, most engines are one offs based on whatever base because that's most efficient. Trying to be everything to everyone (or even everything to a smaller group) is hard and often makes for bad engines.

    As for my edit, yes, I edited to make it less inflammatory, but they're basically equivalent statements.

    Finally, about XNA and TorqueX - there was a thread posted on the XNA forums about TorqueX by one of the Torque evangelists, basically asking if anyone was using it. The responses were many, and the majority of them were "why would I use it" "poorly documented", "don't need it", etc.. I think you'll find that almost none of the games submitted to DBP are using TorqueX.

    Anyway, that's all. I'm sure you'll have a point for point response, but I'm done. Unlike some people posting here, GG doesn't pay my bills.
     
  10. Matt Langley

    Matt Langley New Member

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    Unlike the rest of the people here, you already have your mind set and aren't here to make discussion but to make pot shots. So good luck with your game, I wish you the best and if you ever really want to honestly evaluate TGB and give me feedback feel free to drop me an e-mail.
     
  11. Backov

    Original Member

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    Sure, if I get a chance to look at TGB again I'll be glad to give you feedback.
     
  12. Joe Rossi

    Joe Rossi New Member

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    I don't work for GarageGames nor am I an "evangelist". I'll admit that I'm not even a fan of XNA or TorqueX. I have good experience using various game related libraries and I will tell you right now, it's harder than it sounds to use them together. I worked for 2 years on my SDL/OpenGL engine that also used lua, freetype and other libraries together. I got frustrated after a couple of years of full time work. Then I found TGB. It had more features than my engine, a ridiculously affordable price tag, full source code, and a good community. So I was sold.

    About being "spread too thin", Matthew said they keep the same team working on TGB. Work is obviously being done with the new releases coming every now and again. They could maybe do smaller releases more often but to me it seems like they add an incredible amount of changes with each update. While it may seem like they've been slacking lately (the latest version is a ways past it's expected release date) they are making progress on TGB.
     
  13. Ojuzu

    Original Member

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    @Matt: I have to say that I admire your passion for GG and your willingness to engage in debate. I also appreciate the fact (and find it encouraging) that you seem to be willing to acknowledge some of TGB's shortcomings.

    Obviously, everyone has different needs and that directly determines how happy or displeased they are with TGB or any other engine for that matter. Personally, I'd prefer to pay a grand or two for a nearly perfect 2D engine (assuming there is such a thing) without the source code than $250 for an incomplete engine with the source. But I know that not everyone feels that way and/or has the financial means to take that approach.

    As I stated earlier in this thread, I own TGB and I think it's an above-average tool. However, I do find myself continually running into limitations that require me to sometimes change my game design because the obstacle is just too big and/or time consuming to overcome. But I do agree that TGB is slowly but surely getting better and better and I'm anxiously awaiting the 1.5 release.

    That said, don't forget to keep an eye on Flash and Director in the coming months. Adobe is currently working on an update to the Flash engine that will allow developers to utilize hardware accelerated graphics (seriously cool!) And Director is getting an update that will focus heavily on turning it into a serious game development tool.
     
  14. Laralyn

    Original Member

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    I'm debating between TGB and Director for my current project. I know Director really well, but it has been so long since an update that I'm hesitant to work in it, and it doesn't have the robust hardware acceleration and particle system that TGB has. I know there's an update to Director coming this year... but I hadn't read anything about Adobe targeting game development. Do you have any links that talk about it?

    Thanks!
     
  15. Bad Sector

    Original Member

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    I'm dropping in to mention my SiSIG development tool, which is a platform for making 2D, based on UndeadScript. It's a young thing and i'm still working on releasing the first version (a few "WIP" versions are released - the latest being WIP-4 and i'm working in WIP-5). Once the first "0.1" version is out, you'll have access to the full source code which will be licensed under the terms of the X11/MIT license (or a similar license).

    Although currently it cannot be used for making a commercial-grade game, its in a nice state to have your influence on it by using it - if you come after most of the work is done, then you'll have less luck forcing your opinion on how stuff should be done (that is not to say that everything suggested will be implemented - although once the source is available nobody will stop you from implementing it - but just that now it's easier to influence it's development).

    Since i haven't announced it but in a couple of forums (it isn't ready for prime time yet), there aren't many users. However, i'm proud to say that a few simplistic games were made for it (unfortunatelly not in the site yet) by 3rd party people. One of them, is this little balloon game (includes only the win32 runtime - you can play it under linux using the linux or the multi runtime from the site, but you'll need to rename data/MC.bmp to data/mc.bmp .. once you do that everything will be fine) and here is the UndeadScript code for this little game (i colorified and applied a little indentation though). I show this instead of my "example" script because this shows a working game with menu and gameplay.
     
  16. Ojuzu

    Original Member

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    Part of what I've heard is industry talk as well as a few quotes from Adobe. Check out this page on Adobe's site for a (very) vague description of what's coming. Here's the main quote of interest from Adobe:

    "Director is a market-leading product with a loyal and substantial user base. Adobe will continue to invest in Director and develop new releases targeting current and future innovations in multimedia development. Future versions will be rebranded as "Adobe Director." Adobe plans to make Director the preferred environment for games creation and to increase the use of Shockwave Player on computers, consoles, and mobile devices. Adobe maintains a dedicated engineering team devoted to the ongoing development of Director."

    Also, Adobe has actively solicited feedback from casual game developers about what kind of features they'd like to see in Director. They also have a wish list on their website where you can submit your requests. It's accessible on the page linked above.
     
  17. Techdojo

    Techdojo New Member

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    Just to stir the pot a little more (as if it needs it), has anyone got any experience with the new Blitz Max product?

    http://www.blitzbasic.com/Products/blitzmax.php

    It would seem (on paper anyway) to be a contender to TGB and GameMaker and at $80 US is within a reasonable price range.

    Jon...
     
  18. Ratboy

    Original Member

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    Except that Blitzmax doesn't have the tile/sprite/particle editors and such. It's a great language, and anything you write in it has a very good chance of running on the target machines without any trouble, but if you need an editor, you'll likely have to roll your own.
     
  19. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    Exactly.

    "
    GLGraphics 640,480

    While Not KeyHit( KEY_ESCAPE )

    glClear GL_COLOR_BUFFER_BIT

    glBegin GL_TRIANGLES
    glVertex2i 0,1
    glVertex2i 1,-1
    glVertex2i -1,-1
    glEnd

    Flip

    Wend
    "

    That's what it takes to set up a black screen in BlitzMax, according to its website.

    ""

    That's what it takes to set up a black screen in Game Maker.
     
  20. Bad Sector

    Original Member

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    That's way misleading. First of all the above example is for using OpenGL, if you want it. The proper code is:

    Code:
    Graphics 640, 480
    While Not KeyHit(KEY_ESCAPE)
      Cls
      Flip
    Wend
    
    but even this comparison is wrong. In fact, it's like comparing which language produces the smallest code by how small is their "hello world" program - not thinking about how much the real-life application's size will increase once you start adding stuff.

    You may be able to write zero code in GameMaker in order to create a blank screen, but how entertaining a blank screen is?
     

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