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Aerodyll 02-09-2008 03:45 AM

What is a game engine?
Ok, please dont slate me for this but after hours of searching i feel i have some kind of mental block on the subject of game engines.

Can anyone explain to me to guide me to something that will help me understand exactly what a game engine is? I can use maya and max, and can design and draw with photoshop and it thought i was going well to becoming a 3D modeller but i have just realized i know nothing about how it is all put together.

Like i can make all the little bits, character models, and designs, but how is it all pieced together and made into a game? like what is the process that makes all these little pieces come up on screen and what do they use for it?

Ive heard the term 'Game Engine' a million times but for some reason never looked into it, now i tried to loook into it but i cant seem to grasp what exactly it is, or what it does.

Any help on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks :)

I am considering going into learning C++ to develop an understanding of it all, but so far im just really confused.

Adrir 02-09-2008 04:28 AM

There is alot more to it, but essentially an engine is the core framework handling the low level components.

For example:

A graphics engine might implement the neccessary low level mathematics, manage the threads / game loop, model & shader i/o, handle the camera, use ray tracing to create good lighting, etc. This then provides an interface through which a game programmer may easily load a model to the screen.

Technologies such as Ogre, Unreal, and loosely XNA, are game engines.

jillduffy 03-06-2008 02:05 AM

I added a poll to this thread, so please vote!

Would you like to read a beginner article on that explains:

1. What is a game engine? How is the game engine different from the game itself?
2. Where do game engines come from?
3. What are some of the different game engines, and what makes them different?
4. Which game engines can I get my hands on for free (or for fairly cheap)?

Yes? No?

yaustar 03-06-2008 07:19 AM

Even though, I answered "No, I already know what one is", an article would be useful for newer programmers, especially part 4 although the concept of of a game engine is tangible varying on who you talk to.

Winning Guy 03-14-2008 02:00 PM

Probably one of the best ways to learn about game engines and how your 3D models integrate into them is by joining a mod team.

There's a bunch of guys out there looking for modelers to help create mods. They'de be more than happy to walk you through the process.

Adrir 03-15-2008 10:36 AM


Originally Posted by Winning Guy (Post 2907)
Probably one of the best ways to learn about game engines and how your 3D models integrate into them is by joining a mod team.

I suppose that depends; I've been modding Freelancer for quite a while, but I don't know much about 3D engines. Alot about scripting and making models in Milkshape, yes.

jillduffy 04-25-2008 02:27 AM

I know it's been a while, but I just wanted to let you all know that next week we'll have a feature article explaining what a game engine is. Stay tuned!

Gshonk 04-25-2008 06:14 AM

WooHoo. :)

bensmiley45 05-07-2012 07:54 AM

Re: What is a game engine?
I'm a mobile game developer so I've done a lot of work with game engines. I'll try to explain what a game engine is in the context of Graphics. You've probably heard of OpenGL and DirectX. These are programming libraries which allow developers direct access to the graphics card. Using these libraries it's possible to load sets of vertices to the graphics card, connect these vertices with lines then polygons and finally assign textures to the polygons. This is how 3D models are created. Maya uses the same approach for it's view ports. Setting up graphics like this is very manual, long winded and complex. To load a 3D shape into the graphics card would require, maybe 300 lines of code. A game engine is a library which makes tasks like this easier. With a game engine you would only need to write 10 lines of code. It takes care of all the detailed low-level programming and provides a nice interface for the game developer. This is just an example for graphics but a game engine would provide support like this for: Graphics, Sound, UI, Networking, Physics, AI and particle effects. If you're interested I've written a more detailed article here: What is a game engine?

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