Good engines for a serious open source game.

Good engines for a serious open source game.

Postby Selminath » 31 Dec 2022, 17:30

Happy New Year everyone, can someone give a list and personal experience with engines which are suitable for open source games and support 3D rigged meshes, animations, audio, player input and shaders? Programming language doesn't matter as long as it's not something exotic and unknown by anyone.

Is it possible to make an open source game on Unity Engine? This engine has everything I listed and is free and old versions are even stable and optimized, but the engine is not open source and you can't make truly open source game. You can only make a project and share it with someone who also has Unity Engine of the right version installed, which isn't very open sourcy way. You can't just share your game's source and make people download it from one place and then make it ready, you'll have to give an instruction where and how to download the engine (and you also need to register unity account!) and only then they will be able to enjoy your "project" inside non-open-source engine.

Are there true open source alternatives to Unity where you can make a good looking 3D game?
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Re: Good engines for a serious open source game.

Postby Julius » 31 Dec 2022, 18:18

No it is not possible to make a true open-source game in Unity3D.

There is currently no open-source general purpose 3D engine that comes completely without any issues. The closest to Unity is the Godot engine, which I recommend to have a look at first: https://godotengine.org/
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Re: Good engines for a serious open source game.

Postby bzt » 31 Dec 2022, 22:07

Selminath {l Wrote}:Happy New Year everyone, can someone give a list and personal experience with engines which are suitable for open source games and support 3D rigged meshes, animations, audio, player input and shaders? Programming language doesn't matter as long as it's not something exotic and unknown by anyone.

Is it possible to make an open source game on Unity Engine? This engine has everything I listed and is free and old versions are even stable and optimized, but the engine is not open source and you can't make truly open source game. You can only make a project and share it with someone who also has Unity Engine of the right version installed, which isn't very open sourcy way. You can't just share your game's source and make people download it from one place and then make it ready, you'll have to give an instruction where and how to download the engine (and you also need to register unity account!) and only then they will be able to enjoy your "project" inside non-open-source engine.

Are there true open source alternatives to Unity where you can make a good looking 3D game?
Yes, there are, but as Julius said, all have some drawbacks. I personally would advise against Godot, I think it is a terrible engine (hard to work with, and most Godot games are buggy and unplayable due to bad usage of the engine).
  • Ogre3D - more of a rendering engine than a game engine (means you have to code a lot of game logic)
  • Irrlicht - used by many FOSS games (STK and Minetest amongst others), the problem with it is that it's aging, and not maintained properly
  • raylib - probably the best of these, but also a low level engine (meaning you have to code a lot of game logic, like with Ogre3D)
Otherwise have you tried LibreGameWiki, wikipedia and github category?

Cheers,
bzt
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Re: Good engines for a serious open source game.

Postby dulsi » 01 Jan 2023, 13:58

From what I've heard Godot 3 isn't great with 3D. I personally have not used the 3D features so I don't know for certain. 3D is a big focus for Godot 4 from what I hear. They have Godot 4 beta if you want to check it out. In my opinion Godot is the open source answer to Unity. Even if it isn't there yet, it has funding and have shown they can deliver a usable product.

@bzt: What games have you had problem with? If you don't remember or don't want to find them, that fine. Just curious. The few that I've tried have worked well but I probably haven't tried anything 3D.
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Re: Good engines for a serious open source game.

Postby bzt » 02 Jan 2023, 00:23

dulsi {l Wrote}:@bzt: What games have you had problem with? If you don't remember or don't want to find them, that fine. Just curious. The few that I've tried have worked well but I probably haven't tried anything 3D.
Almost all that I've downloaded from itch.io. It would be easier to list what's working properly. Most of them are so buggy that I can't play them at all, some of them are working but laggy to the point where they are totally unenjoyable (2-5 FPS), and only a few works as they should (interestingly some 3D games work properly, and some simple 2D games ares laggy, so it's not the engine, rather how the games use the engine I guess). For an example, here I have posted one particularly annoying bug about a Godot game.

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Re: Good engines for a serious open source game.

Postby Technopeasant » 02 Jan 2023, 02:51

You could also look into using one of the id Tech engines, particularly the advanced source ports such as DarkPlaces. Even GZDoom can be used with 3D models
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Re: Good engines for a serious open source game.

Postby dulsi » 02 Jan 2023, 23:21

bzt {l Wrote}:For an example, here I have posted one particularly annoying bug about a Godot game.

Interesting. I've never had a problem like that. Wonder how common that is. I imagine it has to do with your graphics card (perhaps in combination with mesa version). If it was very common I imagine godot games like Primal Light would have people complaining in the reviews. Either they made sure not to cause the problem or it is not very common.
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Re: Good engines for a serious open source game.

Postby Julius » 03 Jan 2023, 01:31

bzt has a strange PC...

Godot games usually work fine out of the box in my experience. Much better than most other open-source game engines.
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Re: Good engines for a serious open source game.

Postby bzt » 03 Jan 2023, 15:37

dulsi {l Wrote}:Interesting. I've never had a problem like that. Wonder how common that is. I imagine it has to do with your graphics card (perhaps in combination with mesa version).
Julius {l Wrote}:bzt has a strange PC...
I admittedly have a pretty old machine, running Linux and the most cutting-edge version of wine. But I have no issues with other games (even relatively new ones, I've just bought The Forest and The Raft as a xmas gift for my boys, both running smoothly without any probs), so I doubt this is a driver problem. Only Godot games are affected. (BTW, I'm not using mesa, I'm using the DX vulkan wrapper. Unity games are just mostly terribly slow, but no bugs like this. Interestingly some pretty complex Unity and Godot games run like a charm, so this is definitely not a slow CPU / too old GPU driver issue.)

dulsi {l Wrote}:If it was very common I imagine godot games like Primal Light would have people complaining in the reviews.
I'm not so sure. I've noticed that both on steam and on itch.io the negative reviews are regularly deleted. Besides, with that particular game I'm not the only one with video problems, although others have very strange issues I've never seen (like outdated driver message (not in my case), the screen being blank or it is upside down for example...)

Anyway, even though the waste majority of Godot games sucks, there are at least a few that runs well, so my conclusion is, the engine can handle my machine well, it's just most of the games are written poorly and using the engine in sub-optimal way. That's why I've said I think Godot is hard to use properly.

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Re: Good engines for a serious open source game.

Postby Huitsi » 06 Jan 2023, 14:01

While my experience using has been far from smooth – having encountered lighting glitches as well as weird or inconsistent design choices – I have a hard time seeing how the engine could easily be used so wrong as to cause what bzt is experiencing. There are, however two different rendering back-ends that games have to choose between. Perhaps this could be making the difference for bzt?

Despite all of Godot's flaws, I haven't seen anything that can replace it. Not without me having to do a lot more work by myself, anyway. Castle Game Engine deserves a mention, but seems to be more limited
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Re: Good engines for a serious open source game.

Postby bzt » 06 Jan 2023, 17:53

Huitsi {l Wrote}:I have a hard time seeing how the engine could easily be used so wrong as to cause what bzt is experiencing.
And yet, you mention one yourself ;-)
Huitsi {l Wrote}:There are, however two different rendering back-ends that games have to choose between. Perhaps this could be making the difference for bzt?
I honestly don't know. Never used Godot, I'm just talking about end-user perspective here. But if one of the renderers are causing upside down screens, noise, or blank screens, it shouldn't be allowed to be selected in the first place, IMHO.
Huitsi {l Wrote}:Not without me having to do a lot more work by myself, anyway.
Yep, it seems to be the consensus for FOSS engines, no matter the engine.
Huitsi {l Wrote}:Castle Game Engine deserves a mention, but seems to be more limited
Oh yes! If Pascal doesn't scare you off, Castle is definitely a very good choice! I've checked out some YT tuts and it can do awesome and neat things with an ease.

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Re: Good engines for a serious open source game.

Postby PeterX » 06 Jan 2023, 18:52

This list is worth mentioning here:
FOSS frameworks/libs/engines
https://freegamedev.net/d/128-foss-libr ... evelopment

Just for the records: I had lots of troubles using Godot. But until some weeks ago I had a very old PC and gfx card. Now I have a medium old PC but still avoid Godot because of its sillieness. It uses 3D acceleration even if you write a 2D game. But I understand that many players and coders like Godot.
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Re: Good engines for a serious open source game.

Postby freem » 07 Jan 2023, 01:24

About godot, I know at least thrive which is a pretty interesting, resource heavy game (since it have many entities to handle) which works fine on all "my" computers (desktop, laptop, and my employer's one :p which is pretty lame)

About engines, I would advice against Ogre3D, as I'm not aware about *any* FOSS game using it and having been finished. There might be some around, I'm just not aware of them. Also, it's only about rendering. And there, it suffers enough problems so that OpenMW (a game engine) which used it switched toward OpenSceneGraph, despite all the work this switch implied. IIRC, the major reason was that Ogre3D was unable to combine different models or something like that. I do not know the details.
Anyway, if you want to make a 1st person RGP, openMW is a game engine that you could use. It's actively developped. One problem there is, while they do work on a FOSS set of data (models, animations, textures, most notably) that they call "example suite" (go see their forums) and do intend to "de-hardcode" the engine, it's still in practice a morrowind engine reimplementation.

As for Quake's derivatives, if you go for that way, you'll need to learn QuakeC, which might or not be a problem. QuakeC is a non-standard C, I've been told. OTOH, depending on the version of quake engine you use, you can do very different things... by modifying the engine, as UFO:AI shows. If you want to use only standard languages, and still be with Quake-related tech, then you probably should take a look at deamon-engine. Which suffers a lack of documentation problem, probably as most FOSS engines that are used for an actual game. At least those engines are all able to do multi-player, and pretty moddable.

Another engine that can be mentioned is probable flare-rpg, if you want to create a hack'n slash, diablo-like game. It's only for single-player though.

Wesnoth is a game, but some people modded to death, so that they ended up with a different game, so I guess you can also consider this an engine. Targeted at turn-based games, and able to do multiplayer.

Now, for pure engines which let you a bigger freedom, I can name, without having any experience about them:

* panda 3D
* O3DE
* Torque

The only one of those I know a FOSS game using it being Torque, which shows that the engine can do neat drawings, if the user have the computer to go with that. Others I have no idea what they're able to.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Good engines for a serious open source game.

Postby drummyfish » 07 Jan 2023, 16:25

Serious games write their own engine.
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Re: Good engines for a serious open source game.

Postby Julius » 07 Jan 2023, 16:57

freem {l Wrote}:About engines, I would advice against Ogre3D, as I'm not aware about *any* FOSS game using it and having been finished.


Stunt Rally is a playable game, and recently (after some longer hiatus) they started porting/re-writing it to the newest version of Ogre3D.

But I agree with the overall notion. Using the Ogre3D ecosystem as a *game engine* is a house of cards that has killed many FOSS game projects.

In general it is a really bad idea to write your own game engine or try to stack one together from various parts like Ogre3D forces you. You invariably end up using most of your time developing and maintaining a perpetually unfinished game engine with little time left to actually develop the game.

On the original topic: https://u3d.io/ was recently shared on our IRC channel and is a brand new fork of Urho3D.
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Re: Good engines for a serious open source game.

Postby PeterX » 07 Jan 2023, 20:24

In general it is a really bad idea to write your own game engine or try to stack one together from various parts like Ogre3D forces you. You invariably end up using most of your time developing and maintaining a perpetually unfinished game engine with little time left to actually develop the game.

Yes, I agree. That's one of my problems. It's so frustrating to have ideas of games in my mind but to have to code an engine. I will now write a text adventure. This way I hope to be able to make the ideas in my head become real. I can come back to graphics and/or engine coding later, if I want.

Serious games write their own engine.

In my opinion only if the existing engines have all some shortcomings. (Which is nearly always the case...)

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Re: Good engines for a serious open source game.

Postby Technopeasant » 22 Jan 2023, 20:46

I will again mention GZDoom, just because it is quite well documented due to the extensive Doom modding community. It is still geared more to 2.5D but 3D is apparently possible, and the engine has been used in several commercial projects now.

Here is a a good example of what it can do:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHWQKRuS8JA

Now being sold on Steam as DISDAIN.
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Re: Good engines for a serious open source game.

Postby Julius » 22 Jan 2023, 21:42

Actually that is a bad example of what GZDoom can do. Rather check out: https://selacogame.com/
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Re: Good engines for a serious open source game.

Postby Technopeasant » 25 Jan 2023, 02:46

I would agree it is atypical, but in this case he said he wanted true 3D models, which Elder Jam has.
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