Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion special)

Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby charlie » 27 Mar 2017, 22:29

Duion {l Wrote}:Sure I cannot stop anybody from going on a suicide mission, but at least I can warn them.

You've learnt nothing from the entire thread, I see. You don't seem to acknowledge that some people don't get into programming to compete with AAA alternatives, but for other reasons such as curiousity, learning, self improvement, and perhaps just to see how far they can take something themelves.

Can you at least acknowledge that?
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby andrewj » 28 Mar 2017, 02:26

charlie {l Wrote}:other reasons such as curiousity, learning, self improvement, and perhaps just to see how far they can take something themelves.

I guess that can happen, but I cannot see those reasons being the main motivations for most people who want to work on their own game engine.

I personally worked on a game engine for a long long time, one based on the classic DOOM engine, and my motivation was never "ooh I'm learning stuff", but rather it was to make a really good engine, one which gave the modders using that engine the features they needed for their mods, etc...

Nowadays I feel that all that work was largely a waste of time and energy, as I never really saw the bigger picture that almost nobody was interested in using that game engine, even in the DOOM community, and the world outside of the DOOM community had moved on (greatly so) and this engine had become totally irrelevant there.

So I kinda agree with Duion that spending your time and energy on a game engine, rather than making an actual game, can be a road that leads to disappointment.
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby Duion » 28 Mar 2017, 09:01

andrewj {l Wrote}:
Nowadays I feel that all that work was largely a waste of time and energy, as I never really saw the bigger picture that almost nobody was interested in using that game engine, even in the DOOM community, and the world outside of the DOOM community had moved on (greatly so) and this engine had become totally irrelevant there.

So I kinda agree with Duion that spending your time and energy on a game engine, rather than making an actual game, can be a road that leads to disappointment.

You see, people who have done real stuff and have real experience agree with me, since I did that as well and experienced the same results. Ok I did not work on my own engine, but I used to make levels and mods and it was always a waste of time.

So if you want to build a game engine, you would have to use the best tools available, meaning probably forking something that exists already and is mostly complete, or in case you are modding games, chose some of the best and most popular games.
Even with the best tools and/or most popular games, you will have great difficulties getting someone to use your stuff, so you would have to use only the best and most popular stuff to stand a chance.
I don't get why anyone would not chose the best tools available to work with.

Magellan {l Wrote}:@Duion: In case this topic does get locked, I just wanted to mention that, while I disagree with your stance on FOSS game engines, I really admire the work you have done on Uebergame. I checked it out last night on the site you link in your signature. It looks quite promising. :)

Yes thank you, but I try to keep my personal projects out of the discussions, since people will just use it for personal attacks then.
My projects are kind of proof of concept, since I did many things wrong in the beginning as well, so I'm speaking from real experience and I can backup my claims with facts.
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby LiamM32 » 27 Jun 2017, 03:12

Unfortunately, the selection of FOSS game engines appears to be overcrowded with options, without clear ways to decide. I think the problem is that too many people start new engines rather than improving existing ones, which leads to quantity over quality. Many of the engines out there don't even appear to have a single game made with them. Gamekit looks promising, but I haven't found any games made with it (other than the Momo3D tech demo).
I generally wouldn't recommend making a new games engine, especially if you aren't making a game or tech demo for it. If you don't have anything to set it apart from what exists, then I say never, unless if you really want to do it as a learning experience or hobby project. An example of a good justification for a new game engine is using a programming language that's barely supported in existing open engines. Even if you have a little bit of an idea of how it would distinguish itself from what exists, consider forking an existing engine instead.

I can see why someone would want to do it as a hobby project and as a learning experience. But don't push for it's use unless it turns out promising, and don't get too invested in a project that's simply a learning experience. If you are making an engine with this purpose, I recommend labelling it on the github repo as an "experimental project not to be taken seriously". After learning what you need, just move on to contributing to the real projects.

I don't have enough programming experience to really know how much you would learn from starting from scratch vs upgrading an existing one. But I see some reasons that upgrading/forking an existing one could be more rewarding. If there's already a game that uses the engine that you fork/contribute to, then you might be able to use that to demonstrate your modified engine.

Ironically, it seems that many open-source game engines are better suited to mid-level commercial developers than open-source games or even most indie developers. It appears that what existing open-source engines lack that proprietary ones have is ease of use. Although I don't like Unity3D, many indie devs choose it for it's ease of use which makes it easier given their low manpower. Open-source games often have even less manpower, but they are generally restricted to open-source engines (or else they could only get contributions from people that have a license for that game engine). Having open-source engines that are easy to develop with would be very good for open-source games.
Do engines with a user-friendly GUI like Unity and Unreal need to be built this way from the ground-up, or can these tools be added to existing engines?
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby NaN » 27 Jun 2017, 08:38

There are a few open-sourced engines with editors like Godot and Torque. Both are somewhat dated though (I know godot is being updated) and typically trade performance for ease of use.

I think Urho3D has an editor too. No idea how usable it is.
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby GunChleoc » 27 Jun 2017, 08:44

Maybe the best way to go about developing free game engines is to contribute to engines that were developed for particular games and that the developers made modular enough to allow extensive modding. Then work together with them to make it even more general-purpose and easier to use. I'm thinking OAD's Pyrogenesis, Frogatto's Anura or Flare engine. Hero fo Allacrost / Valryia Tear might eventually come up with something that's flexible between them too.
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby Duion » 27 Jun 2017, 14:00

Don't use "engines" that have no significant number of finished quality titles on the market made with it, if you use those engines you will run into so many problems, since nobody has ever used it for actual production.
For open source engines there is not much choice, you can either chose Torque for more 3D large scale like games and Godot for 2D or 3D mobile scale games.
All other open source engines have almost no titles released with them, except often the game they were made for or made around and even those are mostly unfinished and in alpha or beta stage.
Open source game development is not that big, you can probably count all open source games in development in the world on one hand by now and the tendency is even dropping.
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby GunChleoc » 27 Jun 2017, 17:15

Unless I miscounted, we are currently localizing & maintaining 15 active free games with big code bases for my language. So, you do need 3 hands at least to count them. And although some of them are still officially in alpha, they are completely playable.

Of course, that's still few in comparison to the number of non-free titles, so your point still stands.

Also, development takes a long tome - a lot of these projects are > 10 years old. But that's to be expected with people hacking on them in their spare time.
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby Duion » 27 Jun 2017, 20:48

Who is "we"? This forum?
Almost all of the projects on this forum are dead, they had no significant activity for at least a year. The only game featured here in the community that is active, is being developed and has a working release is Super Tux Kart.
So I count one so far. I could be generous and count the recently added freeCiv forum as well, so we are at two.
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby GunChleoc » 27 Jun 2017, 21:13

"We" is me and my fellow localizer for my language. Yep, there are only 2 of us.

So, you think this forum is all of the world for FLOSS games then and there is nothing more out there? You know, some of them run their own forums ;)

Also, you forgot Valyria Tear on this forum. Development is slow, but it's not dead at all.

Here' our list of published translated games, most of which still have an active development community: http://www.igaidhlig.net/en/category/games/

Note that there are a few non-free and small browser games in there. There is also some unpublished stuff that I haven't finished translating yet.
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby Duion » 27 Jun 2017, 21:44

I know as good as all open souce games, forums, news sites, communities, games engines etc and I played a large portion of FOSS games myself, so I know very well what I'm talking about.
The only projects that I see going somewhere are 0 A.D, The Dark Mod and maybe Super Tux Kart, but I did not play that one, all other games had as good as no visible changes in the last few years.
Maybe the other projects are active and still being maintained, but not being developed further.
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby charlie » 28 Jun 2017, 10:33

Duion {l Wrote}:For open source engines there is not much choice, you can either chose Torque for more 3D large scale like games and Godot for 2D or 3D mobile scale games.
All other open source engines have almost no titles released with them

I love the way you state things as outright fact when you are CLUELESS to reality.

Ogre3D has a number of commercial titles using it:
http://www.ogre3d.org/gallery
http://www.ogre3d.org/tikiwiki/tiki-ind ... using+OGRE (out of date e.g. http://store.steampowered.com/app/559340 is missing - forum post)
http://www.ogre3d.org/forums/viewforum.php?f=11

I could likely drum up several other examples if I didn't have 1000 other important things to do today. Can you please CHECK facts before ASSERTING them?
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby charlie » 28 Jun 2017, 10:48

Duion {l Wrote}:Who is "we"? This forum?
Almost all of the projects on this forum are dead, they had no significant activity for at least a year.

Sigh, more bullshit from the biggest bullshitter on the forum.

Wyrsum has been very actively developed this year. Super Tux is ticking along especially with regularly contributed levels. Valyria Tear is actively developed even if the forums are quiet. OpenDungeons may be quiet but was worked on as recently as Christmas/January (open source games are maintained by people in their spare time, y'know).

How about you actually establish reality before stating your ignorant opinion as fact? You'd find people would react much better to you if you did.
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby farrer » 28 Jun 2017, 12:55

Just to illustrate Charlie's post, there's a long-standing topic on Ogre's forums with Steam sales of Ogre3d based games (better viewed, with links to games, on wiki). The most recent list is with 61 commercial games sold on steam, and up to the 18th they are with more than 100.000 units sold each. For sure a failure case of Free/Libre engine!
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby Duion » 28 Jun 2017, 14:49

Ogre3D is NOT a game engine, it is a graphics render engine.
It does not provide anything a game engine usually provides such as game mechanics, physics, game classes, Gui systems, level editor etc.
Those titles using Ogre3D are usually bigger game studios and all commercial titles, that can afford developing their own game engine, since Ogre3D is not a game engine.
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby charlie » 28 Jun 2017, 15:45

Where do you draw the line? Torque3D count? Spring? SDL? Allegro? Irrlicht? Delta3D? Panda3D?
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby Lyberta » 28 Jun 2017, 15:56

I wouldn't count SDL as a game engine. It provides low level abstractions over OS but nothing else.
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby Duion » 28 Jun 2017, 18:22

I draw the line after the headline that says:
"OGRE3D

Since 2001, OGRE has grown to become one of the most popular open-source graphics rendering engines, and has been used in a large number of production projects, in such diverse areas as games, simulators, educational software, interactive art, scientific visualisation, and others."
http://www.ogre3d.org/

It labels itself as graphic rendering engines, it would have taken you like 10 seconds to research that.
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby GunChleoc » 28 Jun 2017, 18:28

Widelands has had 162 commits this year so far - not under active development at all. Battle for Wesnoth are planning a new major release this year - not under active development at all. OK, so they're not general-purpose game engines, but I wasn't the one saying that all free games but one were dead in the water. No need to look further, I rest my case.
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby Duion » 28 Jun 2017, 19:18

The number of commits is not a good measurement, since that is arbitrary how many commits someone wants to make. Most open souce games are just trying to reverse engineer some ancient game, I would not call that development as no forward progress is made, but the attempt to recreate technology that was up to date 15-20 years ago, so even if the project is active and at some point finished, it is still techologically 15-20 years behind.
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby farrer » 28 Jun 2017, 20:37

Duion {l Wrote}:Ogre3D is NOT a game engine, it is a graphics render engine.
It does not provide anything a game engine usually provides such as game mechanics, physics, game classes, Gui systems, level editor etc.
Those titles using Ogre3D are usually bigger game studios and all commercial titles, that can afford developing their own game engine, since Ogre3D is not a game engine.


First, AFAIK almost all games using Ogre3d (with few exceptions, specially Torchlight) are from small studios. Most of them are even from very small ones (<=4 people working on them). Check each game's site and Ogre's forum for that.

Second, being a Rendering Engine (and not a full game engine) doesn't led you to have to develop everything that is 'missing'. The common scenario of those games is to use other Free/Libre libraries to achieve the missing pieces. Physics: Bullet and long ago ODE. Gui: MyGUI and CeGUI (or even Gorilla) is the common choice. For editor there's the now almost dead level editor Ogitor, the high level material editor HLMSEditor, etc.

Obviously, the work would be bigger than using Torque3d or Godot, but even depends on the type of game (not sure if Torque3d would be easy to modify to anything besides first-person/third-person like action games).
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby GunChleoc » 28 Jun 2017, 21:10

So, active development for you means people being able to achieve more in their spare time than companies with lots of man power and money to throw at the thing. Good luck with that. There are 0 active FLOSS projects then.
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby Duion » 28 Jun 2017, 23:01

GunChleoc {l Wrote}:So, active development for you means people being able to achieve more in their spare time than companies with lots of man power and money to throw at the thing. Good luck with that. There are 0 active FLOSS projects then.

No, not more, but anything.
If you remake a game that is 15 years old and it takes you 3 years and your remake is still worse than the original game, what did you develop? You are just 18 years behind technologically now instead of 15, so you actually developed backwards.
To me it only makes sense to remake something, if you can improve and innovate it in some way, otherwise it does not make sense to do so.

farrer {l Wrote}:Obviously, the work would be bigger than using Torque3d or Godot, but even depends on the type of game (not sure if Torque3d would be easy to modify to anything besides first-person/third-person like action games).

Yes, so it would be obviously not very efficient to use it, since even with the easiest and most complete engines it is far too much work to develop a game, so why make it harder for yourself?
Creating your own engine is even more inefficient as it would take even longer.
While you engage in such inefficient work, you let other projects that are far more advanced than anything you probably will ever achieve, die by not supporting them.

[formulations made a bit less offensive by Admin]
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby c_xong » 29 Jun 2017, 01:46

I feel like a lot of posters have been trolled by some of Duion's controversial remarks; just to go back to the original point from a dozen posts ago, which is, paraphrasing, that a lot of open source games could be making more progress if they had used a good engine to start with, instead of either an inferior one, or no engine at all.

I can agree with this, and it's a good argument to do some research and pick a good tech foundation start with - something like Godot would be a great choice today, although I can't personally recommend it because I haven't used it yet. Phaser would be an excellent choice for 2D browser games, it's the number 1 or 2 best HTML5 engine depending on how you judge, plus it's open source.

If you don't pick a good engine or framework, you will be left behind and not leveraging the excellent work done by the community to collectively advance open source game engines. Of course this is hard to fix because a lot of open source games are done by hobbyists (so lack of planning) or amateurs (making poor architectural decisions).

Fortunately things are improving all the time, and we are settling on some de facto standards for an open source game tech stack. For example we have blender for 3D assets, some great physics engines, tiled for tile maps and so on. We're not quite there yet for game engines, something to rival Unity or UE4, but one day we may.
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Re: Debating the need for new FOSS game engines (a Duion spe

Postby Duion » 29 Jun 2017, 10:56

Torque is a good alternative, it was long a competitor to Unity and did now fall behind, but you can still make competitive products with it and in some small niches it is even better than other engines.

Even blender is mostly ignored when it comes to 3D game design, since after browsing all the communities and open source assets made with it, that I'm almost the only one in the world, that makes halfway up to date gameready assets with it and uses them as well, same with Torque.

Personally I do not know anyone who does active open source game design using the latest best available technology for it, like Blender and Torque.

The state the open source game design commuinity (if it even exists) is in, is the state of denial and as long as that goes on, nothing significant will ever be achieved.

I regularly browse through the lists of open souce game projects and the downward trend is very clear, the number of active projects and the technoligical quality of those projects is rather going down, than up. If you can extrapolate this trend, you can foresee, that it will soon be totally gone and you will live in a world where the only games you can buy are in the Apple or Windows store and all will spy on you, annoy you with advertising, rip you off and destroy all fun with pay2win.
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