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sami
07-15-2005, 01:21 AM
hi all,

Just to put this question in context, I'm a fairly skilled LW artist (using it since 4.0) and programmer and a couple of years ago helped complete a 3d game engine (more of a virtual simulator than game) in VS.NET using C++.NET unmanaged for the 3d engine and VB.NET for the app's non 3D UI. Due to the project we used MD3 type models and animations exported from LW using a plugin. Our engine was OpenGL based loosely based on nehe type code examples and our hand written from scratch game engine based on traditional render pipeline designs.

Now we are rewriting version 2 of the app as a complete rewrite and now that I am involved from the start want to ensure we start with the best 3d game engine that is compatible w LW (by that I mean it is really easy to insert LW made models and animations/skeletons or whatever into the game allowing replaceable media to be generated from LW rather easily.

Can anyone suggest the best 3D game engines that work well with LW and have the following features (or most of them) in no particular order:


LW friendly
easy-to-use high-level API (with access to low-level if additional power is needed)
VS.NET usable - or suggestions on other Development IDEs which work better for multi platform games though VS.NET is preferred
Hardware acceleration so that the gfx card can take up some of the work and do things like reflections and hires textures and anti-aliasing without being a major game-oriented computer
subpatch capability would be a nice-to-have
good functions for camera switching
help for skeletal/bone animation - currently we have to pre-animate all character anim into the MD3 format and then load that into our engine - I'd prefer that the engine can animate the character in realtime without it being a major
help for world-builders - basically some kind of way to easily build worlds or load scenery type objects and backgrounds easily
FAST (though we should only ever have a maximum of 10 human characters and vehicles on screen with world scenery
Only need minor particle effects
basic collision detection
smart degrading features for a variety of video cards - for things like reflections, anti-aliasing and texture res
open source (w generous license for commercial apps) OR commercial with no royalties for sold games
OpenGL and DirectX compatible (i.e. it abstracts out the renderer)
built in sound effects and directional audio would be nice


I've done research online and read about a number of them - but would love to hear from the LW game-developers as it is our preference to use LW as the primary content creation tool for our game. Any help or even anecdotal experience with engines would be great.

thanks for your help, :)
sami