would people be intrested in engine middleware?

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by supagu, Jun 22, 2007.

  1. supagu

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a rather impressive engine which can compete with a few commercial engines.

    Just to list off a few key features:
    -DX10 and OpenGL support
    -Runs on windows (Currently porting to linux, Planning to port to mac)
    -audio library uses openAL
    -physics library uses physx
    -3d max exporter
    -custom network library

    this is about the 5th engine (iteration) i've written so im really happy with the architecture (although this is personal preference)

    im using this for my own games

    to see what i can do have a look at the previous version of the engine iteration:
    http://www.blackcarbon.net/explosive/index.php

    im not ready yet to attempt to release it as i have a few things i want to do first, like getting it working on mac and linux

    the only thing i see im laking is some tools, but then again i just write a bunch of 3d max script and use 3d max as my level editor

    assuming the price is right, would indie developers be interested in such an engine?
     
  2. Sybixsus

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Messages:
    959
    Likes Received:
    0
    I guess that's going to depend on what languages it can be used with, for one.

    To be honest, if DX support is restricted to DX10 ( Vista only? ) and if the art pipeline is restricted to 3dsMax only, and with a Mac port quite some time away, you're kind of limiting the interest you might get.
     
  3. Nikos Beck

    Nikos Beck New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Messages:
    321
    Likes Received:
    0
    It looks good. I think you're on the right track. I gave up on writing my own engine some time ago. I bought a license to a commercial engine which I'm happy with.

    I think the approach of using your own engine and developing games to ensure the engine can handle a production environment is a good approach. If you use it to make games, I have a lot more confidence than someone who develops and engine but only has minimal demo's to show it off.

    I agree that the technology you support is a short list but it'd be ridiculous to try and support every single tool and pipeline. Max has import and export tools that you can utilize, let people know some of Max's features to broaden the technology you support. If you support DX, OpenGL, OpenAL and 3DS Max... that's plenty for an indie engine.
     
  4. Paul-Jan

    Original Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2006
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0
    The choice to only support 3DS Max as a content creation tool might be good or bad, depending on the price level you are going to position your engine at.

    If you are going for the <$100-$500 price level, you might find that there is a whole bunch of developers trying to develop 3D games with low-mid budget tools. By restricting yourself to 3DS max, you are going to loose a lot of potential customers there.

    If, on the other hand, licensing your engine will cost about the same as a copy of 3DS max, or perhaps even a good deal more, then Max-only will be no problem at all... better make sure that engine is damn well stable, polished, and comes with a service contract then. :D
     
  5. supagu

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm, probably going to sell this with a generic/flexible game base as well so most users can skip creating the game starting from scratch if they like the game architecture.
     
  6. Backov

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Messages:
    812
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think there's a market for more good middleware, but I think you'll find it a very hard sell. There's lots of free and open source competition, and even some cheap, sort of open source competition (Torque).

    What does your library do that's better than your competition?
     
  7. supagu

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    0
    good point :)

    at the moment i would have to say -

    1) proven technology proven in past and current games in development

    2) simple to use, with advanced features hidden unless you want to use them
    (that why i developed it in the first place, i looked at other free and cheap engines and found them overly complex)
    here's a quote i've ripped strait of the OGRE engine website:
    "OGRE is a large and complex system so the API documentation"

    3) flexible enough to use it how you want to, i've tried to avoid forcing the user to do things a certain way. I've designed the code to be easily extend-able.

    I'm still a while off, but I have started documentation and i'm thinking about releasing these for some people to review + source code samples just to make sure im on the right track, so if your seriously interested in viewing this material let me know.
     
    #7 supagu, Jun 28, 2007
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2007
  8. Captain Wingo

    Captain Wingo New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    I use the Popcap engine for 2D game development, but I'd love to have a better way to do 3D effects. Things like spinning gems or poly-based explosions -- nothing full screen, just little 3D models superimposed on a 2D screen. Popcap lets me do it via a very painful method, but some middleware that made that easy would be worth some money to me. :)
     
  9. supagu

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    0
    hrmm not really designed around 2D, but i dont see why you couldn't do it, you are just rendering sprites (quads) with a 2d ortho camera.
    unless your doing some other advanced 2d trickery?

    How ever i must mention a big negative of my engine which may make it not suitable for a lot of indie games, is that it requires a 3D video card that supports shaders (eg. geforce 3 or better, and i think ATI 9500 or better)
     
  10. Captain Wingo

    Captain Wingo New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ah, yeah, that'd place it well beyond much of my target audience :)
     
  11. tau

    tau New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2007
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you offer XSI tools instead of 3D Max, you will gain a lot of clients, because XSI is more affordable...
     
  12. ChrisP

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Messages:
    971
    Likes Received:
    0
    Rather than "instead", how about "both"? :)

    It's not a lot more work to write a couple of importers for common, well-documented file formats, and by doing so you avoid limiting your market to people with particular tools. What if a Blender user wants to use your engine? Without supporting at least one of Blender's export formats, you lose that segment of the market entirely. And being free, I'm sure Blender is used by a fair few indie gamedevs (those foolish enough or experienced enough to go 3D ;)).

    If you can already support more formats than 3ds max, it pays to advertise that fact.
     
  13. Backov

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Messages:
    812
    Likes Received:
    0
    Make a collada importer/converter and you will support pretty much all of them.
     
  14. supagu

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    0
    yeah i started out trying to make a collada exporter but its just such a mess to use at the moment.

    i have a special export library so it should be pretty easy to make exporters for what ever program needs one, you just have to convert to my engine in the exporter, tell it to save to file and presto!

    i should do a poll an who uses what to guage what i should make exporters for
    :)
     
  15. supagu

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    0
  16. voxel

    voxel New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Messages:
    176
    Likes Received:
    0
    The answer would be resounding yes now that RenderWare is no longer on the market.

    You'd have to target Wii / PS3 / X360 probably... and not have the middleware too specific for a type of game (i.e all these FPS engines aren't good for making a puzzle game ;-)
     
  17. supagu

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    0
    well engine is not an fps engine or an rts engine, its sole motive is to allow you to render as much as you can as fast as you can with providing enough flexibility for you to do your thing.

    as for wii/360/ps3, unfortunately thats out of my league due to a number of factors:
    -I'm the sole programmer
    -I cant afford devkits
    -Don't have the time
     
  18. luggage

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    2,132
    Likes Received:
    0
    So when you say "it's on par with gamebryo" you actually mean "apart from the fact Gamebryo works across multiple platforms"?

    No offence but I've seen nothing in your screenshots or game that would make me think it's on par with Gamebryo or even Renderware (and yes, I've used and evaluated both). I'm not even sure what it's got over XNA.

    Having our own 3d engine which works across multiple platforms\versions of directx I can tell you there's a world of difference between having your own engine and something that can be classed as "middleware". What advantages does your 'engine' have over writing your own quick renderer using dx9\10? Or any advnatages over using more established middleware? What kind of documentation? What kind of support? What about compatibility testing? What commercial\successful games, not by you, have been written with your middleware? What kind of real word testing has it had? What about future improvements? I just can't tell what's "impressive" about it.

    I wish I didn't appear so negative about this as the more engines out there for use the better in my opinion - it's just that writing what you believe to be a decent engine (which is only an opinion) and then charging someone money for the rights to use it are completely different things.

    If the price is £0 then fair enough, but if the price is more than £0 then you have to be in it for the long haul. You can't expect developers to hand over cash and not be concerned that you will get bored trying to get it to work with a certain spec graphics card or fix a particulary tricky bug.
     
  19. zoombapup

    Moderator Original Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2004
    Messages:
    2,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'd say compat testing and stability testing is one of the biggest factors I look for in middleware these days.

    So having only one person on it would pretty much rule it out.

    Unless you'd gone crazy and written an entire unit test framework and a slew of tests. I'd never be able to commercially rely on something like this.

    Frankly, I cant even get that kind of testing on almost ANY engine, but its what I'm interested in these days.
     
  20. supagu

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    0
    on par i mean features not cross platform. Actually I lie! I found more info on gamebryo I've missed, okay so about as half as good :p
    i havent got my animation/skinning system in, and im not sure if i will add IK or FK.

    Obviously I have a lot to do still. The idea of this thread is to see if its worth persuing to make it middleware or just to keep it internal for my own games. And I will be aiming more at the torque game engine level affordability wise.
     
    #20 supagu, Jul 30, 2007
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2007

Share This Page

  • About Indie Gamer

    When the original Dexterity Forums closed in 2004, Indie Gamer was born and a diverse community has grown out of a passion for creating great games. Here you will find over 10 years of in-depth discussion on game design, the business of game development, and marketing/sales. Indie Gamer also provides a friendly place to meet up with other Developers, Artists, Composers and Writers.
  • Buy us a beer!

    Indie Gamer is delicately held together by a single poor bastard who thankfully gets help from various community volunteers. If you frequent this site or have found value in something you've learned here, help keep the site running by donating a few dollars (for beer of course)!

    Sure, I'll Buy You a Beer