evaluating free game engines

“Make no little plans, they have no power to stir men’s souls.”
I’m feeling pretty becalmed. I really need to stir my soul.

I’ve decided to put my programming talents to work doing something that does stir my soul. I’m going to write a game. That should keep me busy for the next couple of years!

I just finished evaluating a few free game engines in depth. I wanted a package that was free, and done in C++.

I looked at:

  • Irrlicht
  • lightfeather
  • ogre3d

My summary:

  • Irrlicht: Very difficult to extend. The authors don’t understand inheritance and one guy on the forum said “he couldn’t understand why I wanted to derive a new class”. If your game only needs the features it has then you’re fine.
  • Lightfeather: (revised comments) The authors were rewriting Irrlicht. I got the impression from their web site that this was a usable product, or close to it. There’s no organized documentation and no will to push this project to professional status. They’re nice folks but they don’t have a finished product.
  • Ogre3d: Really nice! Reasonable management, good code, a thriving forum with the answers to lots of questions at your finger tips. The documentation is somewhere between poor and awful though. It’s unorganized and parts of it are just missing. Be prepared to read code to figure out what’s going on. “Use the forums Luke”

One Response to “evaluating free game engines”

  1. mm765 Says:

    i am one of the authors of Lightfeather.
    I think its very interesting to see how an outsider sees the project. I am a bit confused though by what youre writing.

    Lightfeather definitely is not “Irrlicht with inheritance”. It started as IrrlichtNX which was Irrlicht with added patches in a CVS repository but since then everything has been completely rewritten (apart from some base classes where we thought it would be like reinventing the wheel to rewrite them (vector, array) but even those have been changed a lot).

    Also no one insits on using IRC. Questions in the forum are usually answered very quickly.
    We think of being available through IRC as a bonus. Also we know that the documentation is lacking so we feel that its much faster to get up to speed this way.

    Also im wondering how you come to the conclusion that it languishes and limps along. There are new features and bugfixes in the cvs repository nearly every day. And that has been the case since the inception of the project.
    Just because you dont see a plan behind it, doesnt mean there is none 🙂


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