I should have started this a long time ago but it seems like I can never get ahead long enough to think about things like this. The road has been a long and frustrating one to say the least.
We began this journey last year around October. The idea was to make a video game HOORAY!!! It sounded like a great idea and I’m always up for a challenge.
The change in the game engine market made it easier for an indie game developer to get off the ground. With Unreal Engine, CryEngine and Unity making it monetarily within grasp for a start up developer, the time was right to dive in head first. Someone should have reminded me to check and see if there was water in the pool before diving. X.X
I started out by researching each engine for it’s strengths and weaknesses and to which would be best for our particular needs for the game type we wanted to develop. I started out with Unreal and messed around with it for a couple weeks. I thought it was fairly easy to pick up for simple things like uploading mesh, making simple materials, adding and editing lighting etc. I didn’t really dive in under the hood to find out what made it tick. I just wanted so see it’s ease of use for someone learning the whole game engine thing. I had been making mesh for a few years and felt competent in my abilities, but I had never made things game engine specific, I had only made things for Second Life kind of as a side hobby thing. (I was still producing and recording things musically and never had real time to give 3D Art my full attention).
I liked what Unreal had to offer, but wanted to give the other engines a shakedown to make sure we would be using the right one.
I signed up for CryEngine and gave it a test drive. It had more of a Maya/3DSMax feel to it so it was fairly easy to get into it. There are things that make CryEngine SOOooo much better than Unreal out of the box. The infinite ocean plane alone almost made me choose Cry and the road and river maker was way above the way Unreal handled it with it’s clunky splines. I still have no idea why Unreal hasn’t added the infinite ocean plane option to the engine, it simplifies so many things when doing open worlds. But there were things that I just couldn’t make happen at first in CryEngine. Either it just wouldn’t do what I needed with large open worlds or I couldn’t find any documentation or tutorials on the subject. To be honest, if CryEngine had better documentation and more of a user base for information, I might have stuck with it.
Next I did my research on Unity and lets just say that it never even got to test phase. There were things I didn’t like right off the bat so I skipped it and went back to Unreal Engine.
The reasons I went with Unreal was the integration’s of SpeedTree, Allegorithmic’s Substances and Simplygon. All of these programs would help speed up the process of development for a giant game made by a small company. Getting the game into a demo phase would not be a simple one and I needed all the help I could get. (With all the problems I have been having with Unreal Engine, at this point I’m not entirely sure I made the right choice). Too late to turn back now?
I did more research into other game development tools trying to decide which ones would be best for the game workflow. The deeper I delved the more I confused myself. There are so many great tools that it makes it hard to choose. In the end I decided that making a choice was not an easy one and that each piece of software has it’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s best to use the best tool for the job and in this case it was many tools.
The current tool set.
Engine: Unreal Engine
Modeling: Maya, ZBrush, 3dsMax, Blender.
Animation/Rigging: Maya, MotionBuilder.
Texturing: Substance Designer, Substance Painter, Bitmap2Material, Quixel Suite, XNormal, Photoshop and GIMP.
3D Terrain Generation: World Machine
Sound: Full ProTools studio (I already had this).
This was the start of the development. As we discussed game ideas, story line and business plans, I researched tools. Mostly these are the programs I have either used before, or ones I found to do exactly what I needed for certain jobs. I also signed up the studio for NVidia GameWorks. I think they are doing some exciting things over at NVidia and I would love to integrate some of their tools into the game. Hairworks, Turbulence, Waterworks and VXGI to name a few. I’m sure a large team of programmers could write the same code, but we are talking a lot of extra time and money… I would rather use the technology at hand to save a large chunk of cash. 😀
I have been putting this off for too long, but I will try an update this more regularly. I will get caught up with the stage of development and all the countless hours of pulling my hair out and wanting to kill my computer with a large hammer. I will get a few rants out as well 😀