The Must Be New Syndrome
Sometimes when we see all the new game engines being available to use free up front you get very existed. Over the years some of those has been tested around here. One thing I very quickly realized was how photorealistic the graphic looked. One actually had to tweak the engines to make them look a bit more down to earth and cartoon like. Another annoying thing is how some game engines have decided to put their scripting and world editor into one solution. That means your two to three years old gamer laptop’s fans will be whining and screaming to keep the temperature down to an acceptable level as you script and try to think out some solutions. Hardly a scenario you would like if you wanted to go to a cafe or a library for a quiet hours in case your kids are too noisy or you just need to get out of the office/home office.
The folder hierarchy is another issue. While some engines offer you the source and others don’t they still make it more complicated to get a more quick overview over the whole engine or then the engine is huge like in mother fucker huge as it litterally supports every single platform out there. Most indie developers will not have the manpower or the interest in supporting all existing platforms so the question here is whether this huge engine with all its platform and the space it takes up it really gonna be beneficial. Last but not least many of the new engines runs on the newest of the newest DirectX(like 12) and comes with many high end features that many machines and laptops simply cannot run them without performance issues. Even the finish game made with such and engine would need a beefy machine to run and as such the low income indie who relies on every single sale have per automatic ruled out a lot of customers with the low spec laptop or gaming pc.
Looking through the buff and marketing
While a lot of features would be awesome to have then they might not be needed and as a indie you probably do not have the time to implement and use them all. In the end one should decide what is needed and how long time one wanna use for the project before choosing an engine. Also is the price per seat worth it? Is the royalty worth it?
Acquiring actual skills along the development process
Another perhaps slightly forgotten point here is that one also learn a lot about programming and creative work if one has to implement stuff in the engine or in the scripting system during the development. One can actually keep using those acquired skills later on. That is not possible in a close sourced game engine. You simple do not get the deeper understanding. It might not be needed now and perhaps not even later on, but for some that has not been the case and they have benefitted greatly on the skills they have learned making many games in open source engines. The transparency of the many used tools has been the teacher and guide and from that programmers and developers have seen the light.
Visual Studio, Scripting IDE or built into World Editor IDE?
Some engines offer a more light weighted Scripting IDE with full features. One of those are Torsion. It used to be commercial but then it went open source. The more new engines like UE4 offers a Blueprint scripting version inside the editor(makes the laptop’s fans spin like a crazy hamster in a hamster wheel). One can also opt for scripting/programming in Visual Studio using the UE4 C++ language. In Torsion one uses a C like scripting language. Some even claim that it looks like PHP. Both are good options but for many a more simple solution like Torque 3D MIT would be a fine choice.
While trying out using Visual Studio as a C++ scripting tool and built in Blueprint scripting in the world editor in the UE4 game engine I must admit that using the Torsion IDE with Torque 3D MIT game engine has been the most neat experience of them all. It simply just comes with all the tools you need. It might not be the newest and all that but Torque 3D MIT supports DirectX 11 no and as such it is a pretty modern engine and for those who still would like to support the “old” DirectX 9 that version is still available as well. The possibilities are many with Torque 3D MIT.
While engines like Unity and Unreal 4 supports like every single platform out there then Torque 3D MIT supports Windows, Mac(still under development) and Linux(seems real stable) now. If that is not your target then it might not be Torque 3D MIT you need though. If you target platforms like Android and Ipads then newer engines are here a better choice. Unless you wanna go with the Torque 2D MIT which seems to be a stable engine as well. Of course with MIT solutions you WILL be a bit more on your own. In the end you might learn something by doing so.
The conclusion would be that game engines still running DX 9 and DX 11 are fine to use as they would run on lower spec machines and a game made in such a game engine would make more people happy. But what if they gutted DX9? Windows 10 supports DX 9 if you install the DirectX 9.0c End User Runtime all DirectX 9 games should run. Also games like Dragon Age Origin and Torchlight I, which is on sale on Steam and Good Old Games are all running DirectX 9. Could you imagine what would happen if the many games sold on Steam and GOG running DirectX 9 would not be able to work on a Windows 10 machine? It would be a huge disaster and the whole internet would be implode in angry posts for sure. Even if the unthinkable should happen that DX 9 would be ruled out then many open source game engines offers support for both DX9 and DX11. They are safe tools to use.
New technology is good and improvements are welcomed, but not all projects need the newest technology. Pick your tech wisely and then go forward.