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I'm most interested in your experience with Torque-X, the Managed XNA version of their engine.

  • How did it perform in your use case? (also info on your use, would be helpful)
  • What was the usability of the tools?
  • What did you build with it? 2D, 3D, both?
  • Did you find any "gotchas" that you had to work around?

If you have used both Torque and Torque-X, I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts contrasting the two engines. On the website, there are some pretty amazing screensshots for the Torque engine; yet the screenshots of Torque-X look kinda cheesy. At this point I don't have the 3D artist expertise to build some of the amazing 3D scense they demoed, but I'm wondering if this would even be possible on Toreque-X engine.

As always, any thoughts are greatly appreciated.

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I have used torque quite a bit, and can comment on non XNA/Torque-X ones only. But i will note that no matter how the engine works, or behaves, the screenshots are only as pretty as the art. This is true in any tech :) Better art = better screenshots. –  underscorediscovery Aug 18 '10 at 17:30
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Aside from the subjective issue (Torque seems to be a polarizing subject). This is essentially a discussion, ideally we are looking for questions that can be objectively answered. –  Noctrine Aug 18 '10 at 17:55
    
I can see a potentially solid question in "What would be necessary to create scenes like those (on the torque page) using Torque-X" But asking for everyones use case is kind of iffy. –  Noctrine Aug 18 '10 at 18:04
    
@Fuzzyspo0N -I agree the artwork makes the difference, but none of the 3D scenes appeared as well shaded, light, etc. –  Nate Aug 18 '10 at 18:20
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I'm adding this as a comment rather than an answer because although I'm a customer of Garage Games (as Torque was previously known), I have no experience of TorqueX. IMO, the company is unfocussed with too many products for the number of staff they have. They have recognised this to some extent and put most of their effort into their premier Torque3D engine in past 2 years. The consequence is that other 'lesser' products have suffered from a lack of attention. –  U62 Aug 19 '10 at 13:05
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3 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I am a licencee of most Torque products. Don't let the screenshots fool you, it's indeed the art that sells it. As for the engine - you can make games with it, and decent ones at that, but not without putting in a lot of blood, sweat and tears. That holds true for most engines though.
Would I recommend it? Hmmm, hard to say. It has an editor, it has documentation, it has support and it's affordable. The code is reasonably structured - you could do worse.
Would I use it? No. As with most engines I find it easier to write it myself so I know what it can do and how I should do it without having to grasp someone else's philosophy that is bound to clash with mine.
However, having the source and seeing how they approached certain problems is always nice. It's also a full game engine, with pipeline, as opposed to a lot of engines out there.
Bottom line?
I don't regret buying it, as a learning tool. I wouldn't use it to make a game. I would definitely not recommend it to someone just starting out.

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Comments with such experience should post links to the engines that you have created (those ones that are far better of course). You could sell that? How about the games that you have completed that look better ? Id love to see some of these links :) –  underscorediscovery Aug 19 '10 at 9:16
    
I never said my engines were better, I said they follow my philosophy so I won't have to dig around to find out how to accomplish tasks, it's a different thing. I also never said any of the games I worked on looked better, I said that depends on the artists, much less on the engine - you can make a crappy looking game in Unreal 3 and a stunner in shockwave. As for the engines I did write professionallyy, they span from PSX to PS3, and I was core architect or part of the core architecure team on all of them. I just said it wasn't beginner friendly but also said it had some benefits. –  Kaj Aug 19 '10 at 15:01
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Yep, though my post sounded bitchy, i was actually curious. It's often where theres claims and no links (which is sad cos if there is so much potential alternative people are just being cagey). Also, I havent seen an engine that doesnt require learning first (digging around per say) :) And to be clear, im not rooting for any tech on purpose. Just playing a bit of devil's advocate for the discussion sake. –  underscorediscovery Aug 19 '10 at 16:41
    
Fair enough. Yes, all engines require learning, and Torque actually does have a fair bit of documentation comparend to some others. I do believe Torque to be a tad shaky in the stability department, but there's not many alternatives in its price range - complete game engines that offer full source, so if you are up to debugging (or even enjoy it) it is certainly useful, as good games have been made with it and in the end that's where the proof is. Like I said, you can make great games with it, but you'll have to work. Having access to the sourcecode is definitely a plus. –  Kaj Aug 19 '10 at 17:12
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This is a huge warning against using and even thinking about using TorqueX!!
note: this is based off of my experience from around 06/2009

I too, was naive and thought, wow a XNA based engine that would help speed along development. And on top of that TorqueX is free if you have an XNA creator's club account.

I want to stress again this was NAIVE.

I purchased the XNA account on 06/18/2009 so the TorqueX I have experience with is back in the days of TorqueX 2D and TorqueX 3D 3.1.5

From what is on their site it would give you the impression that the 3D editor and engine would greatly help with development. They even show Box Macabre on their site which uses the TorqueX 3D engine.

Everything is peachy at this point and hopes are high. That is until you actually try and use it...

TorqueX 3D 3.1.5 is based around using their editor to modify xml files. Too bad the editor was EXTREMELY unstable. You of course don't get to know this until you get access to their "private" forums. If you want to know why they are private it's because you'll see huge gripes. One, that TorqueX 3D was basically a POS and two, the utter lack of documentation. The companies "defense" against the lack of documentation is that there was only one documentor that was shared between all the engines they develop.

I even had "The Complete Guide to Torque X" book which was written by one of the developers of Torque X. Basically the only documentation that existed at the time. Anyways to the end of the story it was a complete nightmare. I ended up switching over to TorqueX 2D which also was a ton of problems.

The TorqueX 2D engine/editor was a lot better. Actually usable, but since I had the free XNA creators version I only got binaries and no source code. It's no fun when you find bugs in the engine but lack the source code to actually fix them. Their forums were littered with source code fixes which could not be applied to the binary distro.

All in all, a waste of time and money.

I would never in my wildest dreams touch any Torque product with a 10 foot pole.

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Wow, I was not expecting such a negitive response; but I'll take this under serious consideration before I give them any money. On a different note, what would you recommend instead for an XNA based engine? Preferably in the same $$$ range? –  Nate Aug 18 '10 at 22:59
    
From my quick researching it looks like Ox ( oxgameengine.codeplex.com ) might be a good XNA engine. Open Source. Not sure of what your needs are though. For me though, I've regressed into C++/OpenGL land. Always look at the engine documentation and community size first. Not the supposed "features" an engine supports. If you can't make heads or tails of their documentation, it won't be any easier when you've started to invest your time. –  David Young Aug 18 '10 at 23:12
    
@Nate, told you :p –  Noctrine Aug 18 '10 at 23:40
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I would say the lack of documentation and the stability of a crucial editor is not subjective though. Unfortunately you need to own TorqueX before you can see their own users saying they've given up on the product torquepowered.com/community/forums/viewthread/113865 The title of the post is "Does anyone even use TorqueX3D or did everyone just give up because of the bugs????" posted on 4/11/2010 –  David Young Aug 19 '10 at 0:03
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I was interested in Torque a while ago. And if you look around the net those negative comments are all over the place. I would recommend you take a look at Unity. –  Mobbit Aug 20 '10 at 5:31
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I was forced to work with sevreal Torque products...

It was a disaster.

First, the regular Torque Game Engine, the documentation is a mess, the support is more about forcing you to ask on the forums, and the engine although solid, it is old, and has several bugs of the "hilarious" type...

But some other teams that I know, don't found those bugs to hilarious, specially one that after 4 months working to make a REALLY cool castle, could not make the collision work (even doing it properly...) without severe hacks, and even then it was still strange...

My own team had problems with that too, ranging from random collision boxes in the middle of the nothing (yep, you was walking and suddenly you could not walk...) to walls that don't collide.

And finally, the model editor of TGE is REALLLY awfull.

TGEA is a TGE that support shaders, unfortunately it can easily get hell slow, and it was sorta broken (I know some dudes that spent 80% of their resources hacking TGEA source to make a simple cartoon shader work properly).

So, about TGEA and TGE: Lots of people claim that the best is that they provide the source... I say that they provide the source, because without it you cannot do much...

Now TorqueX... well, the editor was crashy, and crashy, and SO CRASHY that we decided to switch engine in mid development.

After that, happily we never had contact with Torque again.

That said, during that time, we also worked with 3D Game Studio A5, and Torque was better...

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If I could UP you more than once I would, for all the pain that is the Torque series of products. –  David Young Aug 19 '10 at 22:00
    
When you switched mid-development, what did you switch to? –  Nate Aug 20 '10 at 15:29
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Cube 2 engine. Although it is open source, we had better support than Torque. First, it is the engine of more than one "done" games, meaning that it has no "game breaking" bugs. Second, the editor is easier to use than any other that I ever saw (unless you want to abuse organic shaped levels... like, a tree, or alien stuff), even easier than Unreal, or Unity, or Quake-derived (like Source), you can fiddle with the source if you want, it is multiplatform, use industry standard file formats (like md3 and md5, Torque you needed converters or use their editor), and the authors ALWAYS replied FAST –  speeder Aug 21 '10 at 22:02
    
What I mean with reply fast is: I could show up in the engine development Irc channel, ask a question, and get a response in some hours if noone have time (usually the response was in less than 5 minutes). AND if you want even better support, the authors have a company set-up for that (they actually can make the entire programming of the game for you, if you want to...) –  speeder Aug 21 '10 at 22:03
    
Oh, just a note: our target was PC (not XBOX 360... basically because our XBOXes we could not make them work properly, because of issues making creators club account in our country...) –  speeder Aug 21 '10 at 22:05
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