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

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

  1. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    It was just an illustration, of course it alone doesn't prove that GM is easier to make games in than BlitzMax is. But it's an indication.

    Here's another example. Let's say you want a character who jumps. In Game Maker, you'd just give him a gravity with a downward direction, put a solid floor under him in the room editor, then connect the 'up' key with adding a vertical speed to the character. If you wanted to use code (you wouldn't have to, you can also use the drag and drop system), you'd do this:

    Code:
    gravity = 0.01;
    gravity_direction = 270;
    if (keyboard_check_key(vk_up) and (vspeed == 0))
       then vspeed = -10;
    Four lines. In Blitzmax, my suspicion is you'd probably have to write 20-30 lines of code to get the same behavior.
     
  2. Sybixsus

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    Great! I know which tool I'm using for my next Blank Screen Simulator.

    On a slightly more serious note, taking little snippets of code completely out of context and comparing them really doesn't tell you anything about whether it's easier or harder to make a game. If this thread should have taught us anything it's that you only find out which tools are easier or harder to make a game with when you're really buried deep in a half-completed game.
     
    #162 Sybixsus, Jun 29, 2007
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2007
  3. mot

    mot
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    Sorry to stomp into this thread but seeing this...

    The question is what language/platform will allow you to fix this code to
    actually work correctly with moving platforms and to NOT let the player jump
    any higher from the highest point of the jump (vspeed will be 0 just before
    he starts falling back down) etc.

    My suspicion is that the easier it is at the beginning, the harder it gets towards the end.
     
  4. Cartman

    Indie Author

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    I've been using it for my projects for the last two years and have nothing but good things to say about it. Before settling on BlitzMax, I evaluated T2D, GameMaker and PTK. I didn't go with PTK because I've never been more than competent with C++. I didn't go with T2D because it was slow to fix many problems and I had alot of problems with the docs in the early beta. I'm sure it's better now, but at the time it wasn't what I needed. GameMaker was very nice, but it was too slow for what I needed, and it didn't have Mac support.

    BlitzMax is a great product. The community is very strong. Games run very fast. Mac ports take me about 1 hour max, and there are some great supporting libraries for Sprites, GUI's and other things(many in the $50 price range). Also the updates are pretty regular with lots of feedback from the community being implemented.

    There are a few things I don't like:
    1. They don't promote the engine like GG does T2D, so they dont' get the exposure.
    2. Debugging is a pain. With editors like Blide(which is a free, and very cool), it's become easier, however it is a problem.
     
  5. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    Yes, GM is slow and Windows-only, those are its two biggest problems; but I was talking only in terms of ease of use. If you value a higher fps, lower system requirements, and having a Mac and Linux version over about making a game in half the time, the other engines are preferable.

    I'm not sure it'd jump again at the peak of the jump, because the vspeed has to be *exactly* 0, and it'd be a rare fluke that it'd reach exactly 0.00000 during the course of the jump (if it did, you'd just change the gravity slightly, to 0.10537 or something). But yes, I wouldn't code it exactly that way myself, it was just an illustration.
     
  6. HairyTroll

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    I haven't seen anyone link to Unstdio yet. The author says that the environment is faster than TGB and HGE in both development and execution.
     
  7. NoisyPerlin

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    On the subject of 2d engines, I'd like to give my vote to Popcap's sdk. It's free (unless you use their sound library), you can see the source, and it has some nice tutorials. It's very well thought out (It should be, since it's the sdk that Popcap uses for their own games). It doesn't have some of the fancy bells and whistles that TGB has, but it's a good, solid, well thought out engine. I started using it a month ago, and I really like it.
     
  8. Aisle5

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    I'd like to throw in my two cents about Torque.

    We've made our first game, G.H.O.S.T. Hunters, with TGB. It is currently being published on many major portals. We had to recompile the engine to add an encryption library that one of the members of the Torque community developed, but other than that we did not have to touch the source code. I mention this because of previous posts that suggest you need to tweak the source code in order to get published on the portals. It may have been the case for those devs, but for our case, we did not have to modify the code other than the encryption part. Of course I should mention that our game is a Hidden Object game and maybe it is not as complex as what others are trying to do with TGB. Also, we might have had a better product if we did tweak the source code but the reason we purchased TGB was because our company consists of 2 people, neither of which is a programmer.

    Also, just because the major portals have published our game, doesn't mean they didn't have issues with it. The main thing that some portals didn't like (and we don't like either) is the minimum systems requirements to play games made with TGB:

    Windows
    Minimum
    500 MHz processor
    256 MB RAM
    Windows 98
    OpenGL or DirectX compatible accelerated 3D video card

    Recommended
    1.0 GHz processor
    512 MB RAM
    Windows XP
    nVidia or ATI accelerated 3D video card

    We actually made the recommended requirements our game’s minimum requirements. The reason is that the game ran with the minimum requirements but it did not run well. As far as we were concerned, it was unplayable and we didn’t want to sell to someone with those systems specs. We have had many people that ignored the requirements, and emailed us that the game didn't run on their machine. We have no idea how many sales we have missed because of this but my guess is that it is quite a bit. From what we can tell, any computer that had an onboard graphics card, could not run our game. That is pretty bad for the casual game market where much of the customer base has lower end machines. This is the most important issue for us with TGB. If Matt is still reading this thread, please make TGB able to run on lower end machines. That is our biggest request!!! I realize that TGB is based off the 3d engine, but we don't need our users to have a 3D graphics card.

    We also had a few portals request a window mode of the game. Unfortunately, TGB behaves very poorly in window mode so we had no choice but to publish G.H.O.S.T. Hunters in full screen mode only. We have been reamed a little in various reviews for having no window mode.

    And yes, there is a problem wrapping our game with Armadillo. The way I understand it, TGB does not shut down processes the way many other programs do, and Armadillo cannot display the "post reminder screen" for games made with TGB. We decided to leave off the post reminder screen. However, one of the portals had a problem with this. We haven't found out yet if they have developed a solution for it or not.

    We also have had customers complain that it takes 2 to 3 minutes to load a level. On our higher end machines, it only takes about 15 - 30 seconds. Our levels consist of 3 to 4 background images (1024x768) and about 80 - 100 static sprites for each images. I am curious if other game engines would have the same type of load times for such a level. If so, it is not a TGB issue, it is just the nature of our game. However, there are tons of Hidden Object games out there and I haven't read any complaints about the load times on any message boards.

    Those are really the main issues that we have with TGB. Getting games to run on lower end machines is our biggest concern. I didn't see anything about that in the notes for TGB 1.5 beta so I was disappointed about that. I am eagerly waiting for Amanda's TGB dev guide to see if they have any work around for this. If not, we will be hiring a programmer to help us with this. So if there are any programmers that know the TGB engine inside and out and believe they can help with this, feel free to send me a private message.

    All that being said, TGB has many positive points. I was just highlighting the issues we have with TGB and would liked fixed. We intend to use TGB on our next game.
     
  9. zoombapup

    Moderator Original Member

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    changing the TGB engine from a 3d hardware based scenegraph API to a software rendering non scene API is going to be a big ask.

    Having said that, its relatively easy to alter the graphics calls (or at least it will be) so if you can find a fast 2D blitting library, it might be doable.

    Not fun though.
     
  10. Agent 4125

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    I've been using BlitzMax for a year and I really dig it. The only real problem I've encountered is lack of built-in audio streaming. So I just use FMOD, which was pretty easy to set up. The one or two bugs I filed were fixed within a day or two, and available right away via the automated syncmods system.

    The main advantage I see in the other engines are the built-in editors, but the nice thing about having a custom editor is that you can release it to your players as an added feature.

    I like the GM interface a lot though, and own the full version. I would probably be using that if I hadn't started with Blitz3D earlier. The community seems really creative and focused on game design over graphics, which I can appreciate.
     
  11. Greg Squire

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    Isn't FMOD pretty expensive to use for a shareware/commercial game though? It looks like it's free for freeware, but for a commercial game it looks like it's $3,000. The odd thing is that FMOD is built into Blitz3D. I guess Mark Sibley couldn't work out a deal to have this in BlitzMax or something?
     
  12. Backov

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    Ya, at least for us it's quite expensive, but for "hobbyist" developers the license is $100. For us (us meaning my new company, not my indie dev) it'd be $3k for 1 product. Ick. Too bad, as it seems to be quite a nice, simple library. It's at least the best documented of the ones I tried recently.
     
  13. Laralyn

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    Thanks for the info! I had seen some press releases about Director, but managed to totally miss that part. :)
     
  14. Agent 4125

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    Here's the $100 license on their site. I hadn't seen the part about "low price point" until now. I guess I'll e-mail them and find out.

     
  15. Backov

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    To be honest, I'm not sure what about FMOD they think is worth that kind of cash. It's not like audio libraries are rocket science.
     
  16. eppskevin

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    Well, what I like about FMOD is that you can set loop points, use FMOD Designer to create sounds that can be called using reference calls in your code, and it's just easier to work with, for me anyway.

    I've used Bass and OpenAL, and FMOD's the only lib that can set loop points. I like that because some of my tunes may have an intro, then loop after the intro.

    It only takes on line of code to achieve that.
     
  17. Mr. Sanity

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    3K per SKU? Yikes! At that price point, why not stick with a heavy hitter like RAD Game Tools' Miles Sound System? Is there something about FMOD that puts it into the league of Miles?
     
  18. Matt Langley

    Matt Langley New Member

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    @Ojuzu:

    Thanks for the nice comments. I was a community member using T2D and TGE long before I started working at GG (in fact over 50% over GG is from interns most of which who are from the community). So I always find it hillarious when people refer to me as not understanding anything from an outside perspective just because I work at GG. As if I still don't do most of the same things as before as well lol.

    Very well said... in the end it comes down to this: TGB is currently (or more than) sufficient for a group of people (much larger than many people think since they don't post as often as others), it is mostly sufficient for others, partially sufficient for yet even others, not quite sufficient for some, and far from sufficient for some.

    In the end these values will always be there in any engine. Now whether or not too many people fall into the wrong category that reflect back on the engine needing more work in certain areas, well thats a hard thing to establish. Most people base such an assumption of their limited perspective, while others state it simply as their own (you have done so very respecfully). From my perspective TGB fits q uite a few people in the first through third category. Much more than the final ones fill out. This is simply from my perspective and I try to keep a very objective and open minded perspective.

    Now in my personal opinion we have too many people in the later. Part of this is due to needing documentation that details features more (since a lot of people complain about features that exist), some of it is working on some very minor changes to make it more casual friendly (one month worth of work is very minimal in retrospect do developing an entire game) as well as add features that people have been wanting.

    The problem is it's impossible for us to please everyone so we will can just continue to try the best we can and respond to the majority. So keep mind that we do consistently read the forums and take suggestions, so if you have a request keep suggesting it, it does make a difference.

    One thing to note is that a lot of things people run into are a common place in Game Development. Talk to any proffesional game development studio and ask them if they've had to modify their workflow, game designs, or approach to succeed at what they do. Game dev is not easy, we want to make it easier in many areas and are continuing to do so, though there will always be aspects that are not easy. In fact the easier the tools are the more people will expect w hich demand more features which demand more from an engine. It will never level off, it's just not the nature of things.

    Very true... Every once in a while I check out other engine options. I also go to post on Game Maker forums and various other forums from time to time too. Flash and Director have very different approaches though than TGB... we're also working on short term and long term goals that will hopefully make you go wow in the future. I'm interested with what Adobe is doing and will be insterested in seeing how it turns out, though I'd suggest keep yourself grounded. Though they are adding various features, such as hardware acceleration, remember that's just the starting point towards what TGB has been working on for a while (as well as various other engines).

    As much as they gear them towards making games, they are tools that have been adapted towards game development and TGB has always been a game development tool so I don't expect too much from them. That said I'll be interested and open minded to what it becomes.



    @Aisle5

    Very well said and informative post. If you haven't submited this already to us that would be invaluable feedback :)

    I'm still reading, though it's been a few days so catching up. Thank you for the feedback and suggestion. That has actually been a major concern for us for a while, we do have a solution in the works (that will be quite adequate I believe) though is not going to make it into 1.5 and I can't even begin to estimate when. It is something we are working on though is something easier said than done. With a lot of our other engine work we've solved some of the problems surrounding this so integrating this is in the process. Unfortunately "able to run on lower end machines" entails a lot. What I can assure yo uof though is that we've bene discussing and planning (and working in some regards) in a very solid long term solution.

    This is the type of feedback that is invaluable for us.


    This can be said to be an "issue" with TGB... though it's more of just a shortcoming rather than issue. TGB currently doesn't have a built in configuration tool that allows you to set your objects up for better asset loading (though it doesn't exactly do horrible, just not ideal for every situation). SOmething like this has been talked about and I personally was behind... would be great to allow you to configure more asset control from the editors. Currently quite a bit of asset control can be had from the script though.

    Very objectively stated and very good feedback... if you could e-mail me any more feedback (mattl@garagegames.com) it would be invaluable :) We really do want to track down and solve the issues for developers that are easy fixes but big gains for you.
     
  19. Ojuzu

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    @Matt:

    What you're saying makes a lot of sense and I do agree that changing game design due to technical limitations is common. However, I've felt that the TGB limitations that have caused me to implement design changes have been particularly frustrating. Though, I have to admit that you raise a very good point that when an engine makes so many tasks so easy, the developer's tolerance goes down. In other words, we get spoiled. :)

    And since you encouraged suggestions... ;)

    There are three things that would make TGB my hands down, undisputed and preferred 2D game dev environment (in order of importance):

    1. Add per pixel rendering and lighting. I know this is probably a huge task and not likely to happen but this alone would dramatically decrease the number of issues I have with TGB. (BTW, I know there's a t2dvector class but I'm looking for a more powerful drawing type of class.)

    2. Allow a scripting language other than Torquescript to be used. Maybe ECMAScript or C#? (I'm sure this is never going to happen but I can dream, right?)

    3. Create a brand new GUI editor from the ground up (though the new textfield is a great help and lessens the need for the GUI editor for basic score display and other such things.) I'm sure everyone who's ever used TGB or TGE would agree with this one.

    There you go, three simple steps to satisfying MY game dev needs! (Kidding, or course!)

    Anyway, keep up the good work!

    Edit: @Matt: Regarding your comments about Flash and Director. I realize they're probably never going to be hardcore game dev apps but the reason I look forward to them evolving is that my level of expertise is much higher than with an app like TGB. Plus, Actionscript 3 is everything I've ever wanted in a scripting language and I actually find it (gasp!) enjoyable to program in. ;)
     
    #179 Ojuzu, Jul 6, 2007
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2007
  20. Agent 4125

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