Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
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I was pretty excited to hear about the CryEngine's new EaaS system, so when I saw it available for subscription today on Steam, I figured I'd take a look (I know there's been a free SDK available for quite a while, but I never got around to testing it), after all, learning some new tech is always nice...
But, after trying it out I have to ask, is this a joke? This is like the RPG-Maker of generic shooters! Every minute I see something stupid... I mean I'm looking at their coding documentation and every interface looks like they bolted up everything you could possibly need to do anything else than an FPS, or *maybe* a flight simulator...
What the hell? Am I missing something here? I've done my fair share of complaining about Unity's focus on visual editing and the odd inaccessible component here and there, but this goes above and beyond, it's like I downloaded a straightjacket! O_o

Anyone with experience using CE willing to point out what I'm missing? At this point I'm ready to delete it, cancel the sub and never look back after about an hour, I've seen games with more convincing *modding tools* (I'm not even kidding, the TES-creation tools or the Dragon Age: Origins SDK give you more flexibility than this).
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Krzysztof Zięba
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Wow, that's surprising. From what I know CryEngine is considered to be pretty flexible, so I wouldn't guess it'd be any more constraining than, say, the basic UE3 pack from back in the day (which had a heavy slant towards FPS but definitely had the capacity for other stuff).

Maybe this is some kind of not-PRO option?
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Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
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Well, I've since dug up some more info, and it seems that it's better with source-code-included licenses, but that's not available with the EaaS system.

I'm sure that with extra work and if you're familiar with it, you can use it like any other engine, but the IDE screams "DO AN FPS!" at the top of its lungs when you open it...

Open "CryEngine" -- Not the engine, but a demo project (and of course an FPS)

Open "CryEngine Sandbox" -- Nothing related to coding or scripting anywhere in sight (A tiny "include lua script" option somewhere behind an "advanced" tab), tabs for a blackboxed AI system (Which looks very comprehensive from the documentation, but entirely geared towards human or human-like characters). Tabs for stuff like "Equipment packs" and crap that have no bearing on any deeper technical aspect...

"Create new project" -- "Hello! let's automatically assume you need terrain and start the terrain creation wizard!"

There is a lot of premade content in there (Which is nice, don't get me wrong, I'm not an "I need to make everything myself" purist, although I do at least want to KNOW how to make everything myself), but it all seems so focused on Shooters that the menu, the documentation, everything keeps beating you over the head with features that a level designer or someone interested in making a Call of Duty clone might need, but at the same time I can't find anything I'm looking for.


On the other hand, look at this, "Here's how you generate a solution for VS13 to start coding, here's the visual editor, but it's optional, here's how X and Y works, oh and if you DO need to add a feature to the engine? Here's where to check out the source code", in that case I may not know where everything is, but at least it's obvious that it's there.

I've since canceled the CE sub and have gotten a UE4 sub, it may take me a while to learn it to anywhere near the level I know Unity at this point, but at least I can believe that this lady is also willing to dance, unlike CE.


----
And on a less subjective note: Aside from some pretty miffy clauses in the EULA (An asscovering clause that technically allows them to shut you down at will, no permission to create scientific or other simulations or serious games, etc.), the EaaS version of CE ships with a noncommercial Wwise version which requires a seperate, and much more pricey, license if you end up having more than 200 sound files in a commercial project.
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Steve Duff
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Much of this is way beyond me, but what are you trying to do?

It looks like a 3D landscape system with characters, physics, and AI. Yes, that usually means action games, rpgs, etc. If you're not trying to make that, then you probably wouldn't choose this tool.
 
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Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
Much of this is way beyond me, but what are you trying to do?

It looks like a 3D landscape system with characters, physics, and AI. Yes, that usually means action games, rpgs, etc. If you're not trying to make that, then you probably wouldn't choose this tool.
That's indeed what it looks like, but that's not what I expect from a (universal) game engine.
When I look at something like RPG Maker, that's not a problem, of course it's a game engine too, but they tell you straight away that they're purpose built.
A universal game engine is supposed to contain the flexibility and tools (in the form of libraries, mostly) to enable you to make what you want.

I'll try to explain: On one end of the spectrum, you could of course start out without an engine, just a blank basic core library in some language (C++ for example) that does absolutely nothing for you but allow you to read input (Keyboard and file streams, mouse input etc.), and generate output (Color pixels or draw lines on the screen, play sounds etc.), that would mean you do the engine-building yourself. This gives you the maximum amount of flexibility, but it means that you have to do tons and tons of work to even just display a 3D model on the screen, let alone stuff like shaders, physics calculations etc.
On the other end of the spectrum you have something like RPG Maker that streamlines everything away and tells you exactly what you can do where, ie. it tells you "here you can drop in your background, here you can drop in your spritesheet for your character, here's how you insert dialogue", all of which is fine if you're making a JRPG, because those are all things you need to make a JRPG, but it's not useful for anything else.

A task-specific game engine isn't something inherently terrible as long as you're making what the game engine was designed to enable, but it constrains you as soon as you try to do something else. A universal game engine contains libraries and concepts common across games, it doesn't give you as many task-specific tools to get one particular job done, but it gives you the tools to build those tools if you need them instead.

As an analogy, a game engine is a set of brushes and mixable paints and a canvas, a task-specific game engine is a coloring book and a box of crayons.

Here's a more concrete example: In Unity there's ALSO a terrain generator, standard gravity and all that, but if I want to, I can (and have in fact done so) completely ignore that: I can generate 3D-models (Such as a terrain) from scratch from within the engine at runtime and only use the graphics engine to display them to the screen, I can turn off the standard gravity and use the rest of the physics engine to write my own gravity system (For example to simulate the attraction between planets and the sun in a solar system), I can also just ignore the physics engine completely and write my own (OK, I haven't done that last one, but Unity wouldn't fight me if I wanted to).

What I'm looking for is a well-equipped workshop, Unity is one, and from what I've seen so far, UE4 is another.
The CryEngine as I've seen it so far is just a hammer, it may be an ultra-deluxe uberhammer that will allow you to nail stuff with half the effort it would normally take, but it doesn't help you if you have a screw.
What I find baffling is that this isn't necessary, they must have done tons and tons of work that would be useful for a general game engine, but they've locked away everything that doesn't directly pertain to first person shooters. It may be that they've optimized everything so hard to work for FPS's that the engine would simply break if you try to do something too different, or maybe they figured that for 10 bucks a month, people would be happy with a hammer and they'd keep the workshop hidden until you have the money to buy the real thing, but in that latter case they kinda forgot that their two main competitors offer complete workshops for free and 20 bucks respectively.

I suspect that, similar to student discounts and other cheap offers, the idea behind this is to get people to invest the time to learn the tool and win them as future customers so that they'll end up paying full price somewhere down the line (For the source-included license, which doubtless costs quite a bit more). The problem is that this constrained, pitiful creature, despite its nice graphics capabilities, is doing nothing to convince me that it's worth months or years of my life to master when there's other tools out there that do everything it does and more.

Learning an engine (Or any common framework really) is an investment into the future, whether that is to make one more employable or out of personal interest, the ten or twenty euros a month are nothing compared to the work one must invest, this here has convinced me, right out of the gate, that it's a waste of time.
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