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Open Source Tools for Game Development

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  • Open Source Tools for Game Development

    Phoronix: Open Source Tools for Game Development

    Ryan "Icculus" Gordon will be talking about using open-source tools for game development next weekend at the 2012 Flourish conference...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTA3NjU

  • #2
    Will look forward to this.

    To date, aside from a few simple libraries, I've not heard of more than a handful of good experiences with the big Open Source tools. I myself and several other teams I talk to have tried going the Blender route, which was a complete disaster -- almost no artists are trained to use it, and relatively few game-savvy programmers are familiar with its scripting API (even if Python as a language is nice for such things, the complex and partially undocumented nature of the specific API calls sucks).

    Lua, Box2D, PhysicsFS, zlib, libpng, SOIL, libvorbis, nullsoft, and other such small libraries all see a lot of use in the industry. Good stuff. A few larger libraries like Ogre3D and Bullet also see some use (occasionally even in AAA titles). A small handful of AAA games/engines even use more exotic large FOSS libraries, including the use of Mono in the Unity3D engine.

    The big ticket missing is a complete modern rapid-iteration FOSS game engine. Something akin to Unity3D. Sure, there are FOSS versions of rickety ancient FPS-only engines like ioDoom3, but nothing truly generic and ready for innovation with new gameplay. Nothing on the market right now compares to Unity3D, but FOSS hasn't even created anything comparable to the less flexible proprietary behemoths like Unreal or Source.

    More Open tools is great. More information on how to use them is awesome. A complete ready-to-go package is the big thing missing from the FOSS scene, though.

    Maybe icculus will hit on some of the tools out there to help build such an engine, and inspire some young hackers to start putting such an engine together.

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    • #3
      One thing missing is an alternative to FMOD. SDL sucks so much for audio media right now (SDL_mixer doesn't even come close to FMOD.)

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      • #4
        @elanthis
        Dead Cyborg is a good donation-based game made with the Blender Game Engine, and I'm surprised you couldn't find anyone to model with Blender. Like you said, I would think Irrlicht or Ogre could be made into a more complex game like Zombie Driver since the BGE would likely not be enough. Doom 3 just needs some mods to not look as dated, and it did come out at the same time as the Source Engine. I agree it would be nice to have something like UDK or CryEngine3 for the FOSS community, but even Linux has lots of forks and overlapping packages, so maybe you are asking too much.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by elanthis View Post
          I myself and several other teams I talk to have tried going the Blender route, which was a complete disaster -- almost no artists are trained to use it, and relatively few game-savvy programmers are familiar with its scripting API (even if Python as a language is nice for such things, the complex and partially undocumented nature of the specific API calls sucks).
          I've found one of the problems with Blender is that many of the people who *say* they are Blender artists are quite decent at architectural, object modelling/rendering... which is high poly and non real time rendering.

          The skills in low poly modelling, and using textures to add greater detail (as well as baking higher detail into textures) is one that I (personal experience here) have found many Blender Artists lack.

          The BGE is also not the best (although its quite decent) and the lack of documentation for some parts of Blender (inc some API's) can make it unbearable to work with.

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          • #6
            I think Wolfire use Blender in "Overgrowth", albeit only as an animation tool AFAIC(?).

            Still, I don't get why "using Blender" immediately implies also using its game engine,
            as some posts here seem to be suggesting.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by zeealpal View Post
              The BGE is also not the best (although its quite decent) and the lack of documentation for some parts of Blender (inc some API's) can make it unbearable to work with.
              If you follow blender's development for a month or so you'll see what a monumental task it is to document their API's. You'd think the Blender Foundation would use some of it's money to hire a technical writer to solve that problem.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by yogi_berra View Post
                If you follow blender's development for a month or so you'll see what a monumental task it is to document their API's. You'd think the Blender Foundation would use some of it's money to hire a technical writer to solve that problem.
                Yeah, I've heard a fair bit about API's & Documentation, I use Blender with LuxRender, and there are quite a few issues for exporter dev's and plugin dev's related to Blender.

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