Which 2D engine should I switch to?

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by bantamcitygames, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. bantamcitygames

    Administrator Original Member Indie Author Greenlit

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    Hi all, I've been working with my own "engine" for ToW and Invadazoid (if you can call it an engine), but I've maxed out its capabilities and its taking me too long to add the features that other 2D engines already have. I've been looking at available 2D engines on the market and am having an awful time trying to decide, so I thought I'd voice my thoughts and get some feedback. I need something that is easy to learn, is quick and has alpha support.

    1. Popcap framework - Its free, its well tested, it seems pretty fast (and smooth) and has alpha support, but after playing around with the demos it wasn't as easy to learn as I would have hoped and seemed to have the same jitter that Invadazoid originally had even when I had turned the movement to the smooth option (with quite a few sprites on the screen of course).

    2. PTK - I like the API, but I always thought it required OpenGL which was a turn off for me because I think the casual market is not as willing to go out and find drivers and such, not to mention my own computer has problems with almost every OpenGL game I've tried. I just recently found out on another thread here though that PTK supports DirectX only as well... can anyone verify this, does it still support alpha values under DX?

    3. Torque Game Builder - This seems really cool, easy to use and I would get it in a second except that I believe its OpenGL only, which could be a problem for the same reasons as above.

    So what does everyone think? These are the only ones I spent any time looking at, but if anyone has any better suggests feel free to add them.
     
  2. jankoM

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    PTK firmly supports openGL and DirecX for allmost a year now. If I were you I would go with ptk - oh.... I did go with ptk :)
     
  3. Emmanuel

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    I can confirm firsthand that ptk now has great support for DX. In fact our last two titles (Fairies and Mystic Inn) use that renderer exclusively on Windows. Based on sales and the lack of support issues, compatibility seems very good now, and so is the availability of functional 3D hardware good enough to do accelerated 2D on casual gamers desktops. We were still able to have working Mac ports using OpenGL with very little effort. (Being able to test OpenGL rendering on Windows is still useful for basically just having to recompile the game on Mac and test it)

    Best regards,
    Emmanuel
     
  4. ggambett

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    1) PopCap framework : I've seen it and looked through the code but not used it. Looks good. PopCap uses it and they seem to do OK ;)

    2) PTK : Haven't used it. Not free and it doesn't appear to have great tech support (PTK users : feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken)

    3) TGB : Haven't used it but own TGE. Not free. I've heard it's not release quality yet and that it's somewhat bloated, but I can't confirm that from direct experience.
     
  5. jankoM

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    What exacktly do you mean by "not great tech support" at PTK ggambett?

    //btw: I bougth TGB but never used it... If you choose TGB I can sell it to you for 60% of the price (it's allmost unused :) ) - I hope selling it is allowed - I don't know how this goes.
     
    #5 jankoM, Jun 16, 2006
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2006
  6. spellcaster

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    I had quite some problems with TGB in the past, but the current release is pretty neat. There's still some documentation missing and some smaller quirks but it seems to become a really nice tool.

    Regarding OpenGL: TGB allows you to use OpenGL or D3D.
     
  7. Coyote

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    TGB supports both DirectX and OpenGL.

    I have a "first-timer experience" review available on my website:

    http://www.rampantgames.com/blog/2006/06/torque-2d-game-builder-quick-review.html

    I haven't had time to mess with it much since then. GarageGames has backed off the release date due to having too many bugs in the RC releases - which was very cool of them. So as of this moment you can still get the complete source code and the engine (and all tools) for only $100.

    The tools provided with TGB are really pretty nice. And it's based off of TGE, which is a fairly mature engine which has been used in lots of large and small commercial projects. It REQUIRES (AFAICT) 3D acceleration hardware, which is a minor issue.

    I can't speak for the other engines, though I have heard plenty of good things about PTK and BlitzMax.

    I have played with the PopCap framework a bit. It's biggest limitation right now is that it is Windows only. It also doesn't have the tools (or 3D acceleration support) of TGB. One other (minor) issue is that the PopCap framework uses two premium sound engines which you will have to license (they cost a minimum of $100 to license) if you use them in a commercial project. So unless you rip out their sound engine and add your own (using OpenAL or something), it's not going to be free - but it's not any more expensive than everything else out there.

    Of course, the complete freebie direction would be using SDL (maybe Python + PyGame, the latter of which is an SDL wrapper). If your game is not one that relies heavily on full-screen refreshes, it's a pretty good option, but it's a bit more limited than the other engines out there.
     
    #7 Coyote, Jun 16, 2006
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2006
  8. Davaris

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    I'm surprised you found the PopCap Framework hard. I thought it was pretty easy to pick up and I used it as a back end for my engine. All you have to do is follow their tutorials and you'll pick it up. Of course I didn't use it they way they tell you to use it. I used the same board for the entire game and used my own interface routines. Also the technical support is excellent. You can post a question on their boards and JPoag or one of PopCap's engine programmers will help you out.

    P.S.
    If you use the PopCap engine don't use FMod with it. For some reason FMod doesn't work right with the PopCap Framework.

    P.P.S.
    They also have some excellent tools that come with the engine.
     
  9. Gilzu

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    You should also consider SDL ( http://www.libsdl.org ).

    Its a great engine that also supports sfx&music, input devices, timing and more.

    What i liked about it, that when a feature isn't present - it automatically falls back to software emulation :)
     
  10. ggambett

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    While I believe SDL is excellent and we use it for our software, OpenGL and Direct3D renderers, I think it's too low level for you, considering the options you mentioned. More than being a 2D game engine, SDL allows you to build your own 2D game engine.
     
  11. Pyabo

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    PTK does support alpha in DirectX, to answer your question.

    It's a low-level library as well... there is no GUI framework like in PopCap.
    Documentation is... scanty. That being said, patrice has been very good about answering any questions I've had.

    The other *HUGE* pros: Mac support. Source. The price is negligible (it should not be a determination factor for any serious developer).

    The PopCap framework is nice. And the price is right. What kills it for me is lack of Mac support. Overall, it seemed to me that PTK does a much better job of taking advantage of hardware acceleration and providing functionality that uses it (but that's a general impression).
     
  12. zoombapup

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    Doesnt the source for PTK cost a hell of a lot though?

    I'd only really ever consider an engine with source code. You never know when a bug will come up that you need it for.
     
  13. spellcaster

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    I've played around with TGB in the last couple of days and I'm pretty impressed. In fact, the longer I play around with it, the more I like it.
     
  14. Emmanuel

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    I understand that you get the full sourcecode of ptk even with the $215 license now.

    Our games have field-tested ptk through millions of downloads. We're very happy with it now in terms of features vs. compatibility.

    ptk and TGB are completely different things. ptk is a 2D engine for programmers that want to make games (and not engines) in C++ with a blitz-basic-like ease of development-- move and blit something on the screen and pump some audio in 30 seconds of programming with free Mac portability, and go from there. Your code drives the engine. It's like the popcap framework or Gabriel's.. On the other hand, TGB is a development tool for making games; the engine drives your code or scripts, if any. I don't know what commercial games have actually been released with it, except for Gold Fever last year, but it looks cool too.

    Best regards,
    Emmanuel
     
  15. Jack Norton

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    The big downside of TGB is that you cannot try it before you buy. I like trusting someone and buy without really knowing if is good for you.
    Yes, they write that's the best engine, could even be true: but is the right one for you? I ended up with PTK because I could try it before I buy.

    I don't like buying things blindly...
     
  16. bantamcitygames

    Administrator Original Member Indie Author Greenlit

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    Thanks everyone for the replies... here are my initial thoughts based on the comments from this thread:

    -I hadn't realized TGB supported DirectX (even if it requires D3D), this may make me take another look at it more closely.

    -PTK also seems like a good choice especially since the DirectX support seems to have improve (according to you guys) since I last tried it.

    @Emmanuel - You make a good point that you have released some top selling games with PTK and TGB doesn't really have much to show for itself yet.

    -I don't know why I thought the Popcap framework was hard to learn, but something about it seemed strange to me when I was toying around with it.

    @Jack - You also make a good point. I should try PTK for a little while and if I really don't like it, then buy TGB and give it a try. I'm sure I would come to like either engine, but its so hard to tell without actually trying them both.

    I may end up giving them both a try and writing a compare/contrast article about them.

    Thanks everyone... feel free to keep the discussion going.
     
  17. jankoM

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    well, since ggambett didn't specify "bad tech support at PTK" I am gonna tell some short facts that I didn't want to ... because I would come out as PTK "fan boy by default" which I am far from because I look in all directions for best solutions.

    - PTK has 1) full documentation, 2) forum 3) and you can email directly to the author (at least I did - I hope it's ok with patrice) and 4) a lots of real games released with it - what else is there possible about support?
    - forum has very few questions - why? IMO because everything is so clear and obvious that even person that never did anything in c++ can make a full game in it and sell it before he learns to for example compile something not in debug mode - or to compile to a .lib (I am having big headaches with this right now)
    - Patrice is the only person in the world I emailed to - that in 90% replies in about 2 minutes after I email him!!!???!! How he does this is still a mistery to me, but I allready got used to that I reload email after few minutes whenever I email him and usually I get the satisfaction of " you have 1 new email" from this.

    If you mean something else with "tech support" please tell and I will see how things stand about that - I am not too good in exact meaning of eng. phrases.

    There are more much bigger things I would like to mention but I don't want to put Pat in uncomfortable position - because then people could begin to expect this things from him by buying PTK - but let me just say - the day I bought PTK, I didn't get just a gaming library but also a experienced friendly guide or menthor that helped me making, releasing and selling my games a lot and in concrete ways.

    Someone said recently (commenting mainly Jack Northon &| Sakura Games)
    Well ... when love grows out of thin air tell me about it... until then I think there is simply a reason that we who use it love it.

    --

    About TGB and PTK ... I have both... all I can say they are completely different and each one can suit someone... while PTK is IMHO a library that gives you grounds that you build FROM - torque2d is framework that you build IN. I as web-developer have used numerous frameworks and while framework allways gives you great and big shortcuts for common things it also means you must make things by it's rules and you have to move inside it's ussually complex structure and you meet the border of predicted use sooner or later (and then have to work much more to comply to the framework)

    I personally like the PTK way where the foundation that I build on is flat simple and I build my own shortcuts - but I know someone else might like it the other way around (so if you do ... I can still sell you TGB for 55% of the price :) ).

    just BTW... Like Jack said... you can use demo PTK allready ... I built the whole game in it and after I had it made I payed for the real thing.

    btw2: althougth my criticall begining I allways had and still have ggambett for one of the nicest people on this forum :)
     
    #17 jankoM, Jun 18, 2006
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2006
  18. delsydsoftware

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    I just bought TGB this weekend, and I'm fairly impressed by it. The tools are great, even though they have some quirks. The biggest problem with TGB is documentation, especially for the tutorials. The tutorials are well written but focus on one particular genre. They also don't supply a lot of information that would be helpful. It's nice to know that I can use Function X to control the x movement of a sprite, but how about providing a simple chart that shows the other parameters you can control(rotation,physics settings, etc).

    Aside from the documentation, it's a very powerful package. In a few minutes, I managed to get a very simple breakout game working using artwork from Brickout. I also slapped together a quick Combat clone, complete with 2 player support. The particle engine is really nice, especially since you can set timelines for every parameter. The rigid body physics are really pretty decent,and it's just plain easy to set up physics for an object.

    So, I think TGB is worth $100, if anything for the novelty factor. Writing a real game will be fairly involving, but at least I don't have to touch rendering code again for a while. :)
     
  19. Sillysoft

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    The only 2 cents I want to add: If you're switching to a new engine, then pick one that supports Mac versions. Not doing so would be crazyness ihmo. Most of the ones you mentioned have mac support in them, but not the popcap framework I think.
     
  20. stanchat

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    King Kong (Skull Island) by Large Animal Games was actually created with TGB. Large Animal games are the creators of RocketBowl Plus. I have used Gamemaker in the past to make my games but for all my future games I will be using TGB.
     

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