3D Game Engine Round-up

The following is a a list of the most popular, licensable 3D engines available for game developers today.  Supported platforms indicates the platform the SDK and tools can be run on, while Supported Targets represents the platforms you can deploy to. 

 

Blender Game Engine

http://www.blender.org/

Supported Platforms

Windows

Linux

Mac OS

Supported Targets

Windows

Linux

Mac OS

Supported Languages

Python

Cost

Free – Open Source

Books

Blender Game Engine: Beginner’s Guide

Mastering Blender Game Engine

Games

Yo Frankie

Key Sites

Blender Game Engine forums @ BlenderArtists.org

 

Notes:

Blender Game Engine is built into the free Blender 3D package.  Yo Frankie includes complete sources and resources.

 

 

 

C4 Engine

http://www.terathon.com/c4engine/index.php

Supported Platforms

Windows

Mac

Linux

Supported Targets

Windows

Mac

Linux

Supported Languages

C++

Visual scripting language

Cost

250$ per developer for standard

800$ per developer for professional

Books

The Beginner’s Guide to the C4 Engine

Games

??

Key Sites

Forum

Wiki

 

Notes:

I have no experience with this engine, and had difficulty confirming features.  The wiki page promises all sorts of features that the official website does not confirm.  ( Such as various target platforms supported ).  Also I am unaware of any shipped commercial games using this engine.  I am not saying there are none, I am simply unaware of them.

 

 

 

CryEngine

http://mycryengine.com

Supported Platforms

Windows

Supported Targets

Windows

PS3

Xbox 360

Wii U

Supported Languages

C++

LUA

Cost

Free for non-commercial

20% of revenue for Indie

Other terms, contact them

Books

CryEngine 3 Cookbook

CryEngine 3 Game Development: Beginners Guide

Games

Mechwarrior Online

Crysis 2

Key Sites

Scripting Documentation

 

Notes:

No-commission based pricing available on a negotiated basis.  LUA is for scripting only.

 

 

 

Gamebryo

Gamebryo is the licensable engine behind literally dozens of commercial games, including the last three Elder Scrolls titles, Bully, Catherine, Divinity 2, FallOut3, Civilizations 4 and Warhammer online.

 

That said, it does not have a proper entry because it’s status is currently unknown.  The company behind Gamebryo went under, and all of their assets were purchased by a Korean company, Gamebase.  It appears Gamebryo is still available for licensing, but their webpage went offline a few days ago ( As of August 7th, 2012 ) and I cannot firmly confirm Gamebyro is still available.


If anyone can confirm or deny either way, please do so!

 

 

 

Hero Engine

http://www.heroengine.com/

Supported Platforms

Windows

Supported Targets

Windows

Supported Languages

C++

HeroScript

Cost

99$ /year + 30% royalty*

Books

None Available

Games

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Key Sites

Forums

Wiki

Notes:

* Price includes cloud hosting hosts.  Hero Engine is targeted at creating MMOs.

 

 

 

Gameplay Engine

http://gameplay3d.org/

Supported Platforms

Windows

Mac OS

Supported Targets

Windows

Mac OS

Blackberry OS 10/Playbook OS

Android 2.3+

iOS 5.1

Supported Languages

C++

Lua

Cost

Free, open source

Books

None Available

Games

None yet

Key Sites

Documentation

Source

Gameplay Intro on Gamefromscratch.com

Notes:

Research in Motion is the sponsor of this project. Project is quite new, explaining lack of shipped titles.

 

 

 

iDTech 4

http://doom.wikia.com/wiki/Doom_Source_License

Supported Platforms

Windows

Mac OS

Linux

Supported Targets

Windows

Mac OS

Linux

Xbox360*

PlayStation 3*

Supported Languages

C++

Cost

??? – See below

Books

None available

Games

Brink

Doom3

Key Sites

Notes:

John Carmack traditionally releases the source code to their engines 5 years after release, and Doom 3 was no exception.  Previously you could get a commercial license from iD to ship a game built on older iDTech engines.  However, now that Zenimax owns iD, it is unknown if this option is still available.

 

Previously a license I believe was 10,000$.  You can of course use the code in a free/non-commercial product.

 

* need developer kits.  Not sure if support for either platform is included in free release

 

 

 

Irrlicht

http://irrlicht.sourceforge.net/

Supported Platforms

Windows, Linux, Mac, Other*

Supported Targets

Windows

MacOS

Linux

Solaris

Other*

Supported Languages

C++

Cost

Free, open source based on zlib/libpng

Books

IrrLicht 1.7 Realtime 3D Engine Beginners Guide

Game Programming with IrrLicht

Games

Star Sonata

Shards (iOS)

Key Sites

IrrLicht forums

Notes:

* Available on all platforms supporting SDL, community supported targets of iPhone, Android and Symbian

 

 

 

jMonkeyEngine

http://jmonkeyengine.com/

Supported Platforms

Windows

Linux

Mac OS

(Any with OpenGL + JVM support?)

Supported Targets

Windows

Linux

Mac OS

Android ( unofficial )

Supported Languages

Java

Cost

Free, open source

Books

jMonkeyEngine 3.0 Beginners Guide

Games

Nord

Ships with Cannons

Key Sites

Documentation

Forum

Notes:

Runs on any platform that sports a JVM with a port of LJGWL. Android support is a sub-project with details available here.

 

 

 

Marmalade

http://www.madewithmarmalade.com/

Supported Platforms

Windows

Mac OS

Supported Targets

iOS 4.2+

Blackberry 2.1+

Blackberry Playbook OS

Bada

LG Smart TV

Symbian

Windows

Mac OSX

Supported Languages

C++

Cost

150$ / year for community

499$ / year for indie

Call for professional

Books

None available

Games

Cut the rope

Sim City Deluxe (Blackberry)

Key Sites

Documentation

Forum

Notes:

Symbian, Windows and Mac OSX aren’t fully supported.  Was previously called Airplay SDK.

 

Community is iOS and Android only, and comes with forum support and a splash screen.

Indie is all platforms, forum only support and no splash screen.

 

 

 

Nebula Device

http://sourceforge.net/projects/nebuladevice/

Supported Platforms

Windows

Linux

Supported Targets

Windows

Linux

Supported Languages

C++

Tcl

Python

Lua

Cost

Free, open source

Books

None

Games

Project Nomads

Drakensang

Key Sites

Notes:

The Nebula device is effectively defunct.  The company behind it has gone out of business.  The full source code however was made available on SourceForge.  I chose to include it here, even though it is unsupported, due to the slate of professional games published with it.  Mostly because I am a fan of Drakensang, and because I almost used this engine for a project in the past.

 

I wouldn’t recommend actually building a project around the Nebula Device, but it is certainly worth checking out.

 

 

 

Ogre 3D

http://www.ogre3d.org/

Supported Platforms

Windows

Mac OS

Linux

Supported Targets

Windows

Mac OS

Linux

Android port in works

Supported Languages

C++

Bindings exist for .NET, Java and Python

Cost

Free, open source

Books

Ogre3D 1.7 Beginner’s Guide

Ogre3D 1.7 Application Development Cookbook

Pro Ogre3D Programming

Games

Ankh

Torchlight

Key Sites

Ogre Forum

Ogre Wiki

Notes:

Ogre3D technically isn’t a 3D Engine, it’s a Scene Graph/Renderer.  However add-ons for tasks like audio and a UI layer are readily available.

 

 

 

Panda 3D

https://www.panda3d.org/

Supported Platforms

Windows

Mac OS

Linux

Supported Targets

Windows

Mac OS

Linux

Supported Languages

C++

Python

Cost

Free

Books

Panda 3D 1.6 Game Engine

Panda 3D 1.7 Developer’s Cookbook

Games

Pirates of the Caribbean Online

Angels Fall First

Key Sites

Panda Forums

Notes:

Game written in C++, Python bindings exposed.  Released under BSD license.

 

 

 

Shiva 3D

http://www.stonetrip.com/

Supported Platforms

Windows

Supported Targets

Windows

Mac OS

Linux

iOS

Playbook OS

Android

Blackberry OS

Wii

Web

Palm?

Supported Languages

C++

Lua

Cost

0$ for Web

2,00$ for Basic

1,000$ for Advanced

Books

None available

Games

Nesquik Race

Voodoo Dice

Key Sites

Shiva Forum

Wiki

Notes:

Lua is done with a Lua to C++ translator.

 

 

 

Source Engine

http://source.valvesoftware.com/

Supported Platforms

Windows

Supported Targets

Windows

Mac OS

PlayStation 3

Xbox 360

Supported Languages

C++

Cost

**

Books

None available

Games

HalfLife 2

Vampire: The Masquerade

Key Sites

Documentation

Notes:

Pricing available under NDA.  Contact for details.

 

 

 

Torque 3D

http://www.garagegames.com/products/torque-3d

Supported Platforms

Windows

Mac OS

Linux

Supported Targets

Windows

Mac OS

Linux

Wii

Xbox360

iOS?

Web

Supported Languages

C++

TorqueScript

Cost

179$

Books

Multiplayer Gaming and Engine Coding with Torque Game Engine

The Game Programmers Guide to Torque

Torque for Teens

Games

Penny Arcade Adventures

Space Pirates and Zombies (S.P.A.Z)

Key Sites

Torque3D forums

Notes:

Torque can publish to Xbox and Wii, as proven by past shipping titles, however details and financials on doing so are unavailable.  Be careful with books, Torque was greatly updated and older books may not still be relevant.

 

 

 

Unigine

http://unigine.com/

Supported Platforms

Windows

Supported Targets

Windows

Mac OS

Linux

PlayStation 3

Android

iOS

Supported Languages

C++

Unigine Script

Cost

**

Books

None

Games

Oil Rush

Tryst

Key Sites

Forum

Notes:

Cost is negotiated on a per case basis, average cost is claimed at 30,000$.  Evaluation kit available.

 

 


UNITY 3D

http://www.unity3d.com

Supported Platforms

Windows

Mac OS

Supported Targets

Windows

Web ( Custom Plugin )

Flash

Mac

iOS

Android

Wii

PS3

Xbox 360

Other(*)

Supported Languages

C#

JavaScript

Boo

C++ (**)

Cost

Free

400$ for iOS

400$ for Android

1500$ for Pro

Books

See Unity3D book round-up here for a complete list

Games

Battlestar Gallactica Online

Zombieville USA (iOS)

Key Sites

http://answers.unity3d.com/index.html

Notes:

(*) – Other publishing opportunities, such as Blackberry, are possible through special agreement with Unity.

(**) – C++ support is for plugins only and requires the pro version.

 

 

 

Unreal Engine

http://www.unrealengine.com/

Supported Platforms

Windows

Supported Targets

Windows

PS3

Xbox 360

Wii U

iOS

Android

PlayStation Vita

Supported Languages

C++

UnrealScript

Kismet

Cost

Free for non-commercial

20% of revenue for Indie

Other terms, contact them

Books

Beginning iOS Unreal Game Development

UDK Game Development

UDK Game Programming with UnrealScript: Beginners Guide

UDK Game Design Cookbook

Unreal Game Development

Games

Gears of War

Infinity Blade (iOS)

Key Sites

Scripting Documentation

Notes:

Kismet is a visual programming interface for Unreal.  UnrealScript is a in house language, that combines C++ and Javascript.

 

 

 

Vision Engine (Havok)

http://www.havok.com/products/vision-engine

Supported Platforms

Windows

Supported Targets

Windows

PS3

Xbox 360

Wii

iOS

Android

PlayStation Vita

Web

Supported Languages

C++

Lua

C# **

Cost

Call *

Books

None available

Games

Orcs Must Die

Stronghold 3

Key Sites

None?

Notes:

* Havok have a available an Indie friendly “Havok Strike” program, but you need to contact them for details.  Vision is available in royalty free form, but need to contact for details.

 

** C# is not available in game code, but is available to extend the tools.

 

 

HTML5 Game Engines

 

See here for details.





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