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erzboesewicht

Which engine would you use for simple Doom-style 3D maps?

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Posted (edited)

Some time ago I have begun to create my own maps (still nothing really publishable, though). I love the simplicity of the Doom platform, but sometimes I would like to build "true" 3D structures with not only rooms over rooms but "monsters over monsters". I know GZDoom can do 3D architecture to a certain extent, but it seems to be not really optimized for it (as far as I know, complex GZdoom levels consume way more resources than games with real 3D engines).

 

So which engine, preferrable open-source, would you use to build single-player FPS 3D levels, roughly in the Doom style with a focus on fast-paced action? It can be a classic, oldschool engine. Those I have looked at all seem to have different shortcomings:

 

  • Quake/Darkplaces engine: Seems to be the most widely used "oldschool" 3D engine or platform. The editor I have seen for it however are relatively complicated to use, knowledge of real 3D modelling seems to be very useful.
  • Cube 2 Sauerbraten engine: This engine is also oldschool and super-fast, I have also already seem a Doom level re-created on it. It has a very simple in-game editor which is really cool and would meet my needs fully. But there is a major problem with it: At least within the original Sauerbraten implementation there is no savegame feature. This would mean that large levels would need you to sit down and play them in one session which would limit the audience (the game has checkpoints, but the state cannot be saved afaik).
  • Id tech 4 (Doom 3 engine): Seems to have problems with outdoor areas and not really a big mapping/modding community. City-like levels with outdoor areas and buildings are just something I'm aiming for.

 

Any ideas? Are there other open-source engines I should look at? I don't aim at anything near professional videogame creation, so I'm not searching for something like Unity (which is also closed-source). What I look for is something as easy to use as possible, like the Doom platform, but with 3D support. If there was a savegame mod for Cube 2 it would be clearly my favourite here. But maybe there are some simplified editors for Quake or id tech 4 which don't require 3D modelling skills?

 

(I apologize if this question was already answered somewhere, I haven't found it by googling the forum.)

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Posted (edited)

If you're making a standalone game for any of those engines, learning 3D modeling skills would be a needed effort, anyway.  Unless you have someone else doing your graphics and are just the levels person?  Even still, it would help.

 

I can't make too much educated commentary otherwise, except to say that of those three, Quake-based engines (not necessarily Darkplaces specifically, which is on the heavier side) tend to be the "lightest" option.  And if you don't like Trenchbroom or whatever editor you looked at, there are other options (of varying quality) available that might fit you better.

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Posted (edited)

i'd say quake engine, it's pretty easy to build a level, it's not THAT complicated (i'm using j.a.c.k. editor), and the results can look quite good if you put some effort into the maps.

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Posted (edited)

Well thanks already, I guess I will look deeper into the Quake modding scene and try out the j.a.c.k editor.

Alternatively I have found a more modern Cube 2 inspired engine named Inexor which may also be interesting, but it is still alpha (but seems to make rapid progress).

 

Anyway, if anybody has another idea, post it :)

 

What I forgot was that I would really like an engine with an 3D automap feature like those of Doom 2016/Eternal, but that seems to be more difficult ...

 

 

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2 hours ago, erzboesewicht said:

Well thanks already, I guess I will look deeper into the Quake modding scene and try out the j.a.c.k editor.

Alternatively I have found a more modern Cube 2 inspired engine named Inexor which may also be interesting, but it is still alpha (but seems to make rapid progress).

 

Anyway, if anybody has another idea, post it :)

 

What I forgot was that I would really like an engine with an 3D automap feature like those of Doom 2016/Eternal, but that seems to be more difficult ...

 

 

I am going to suggest something out-of-the-box and thats Boom 2. No, not the source port, but a 1999 study project that uses Doom textures.

  • It uses its own level format (.boo)
  • It has an acclerated and a DOS version.
  • But it also has an easy to use editor (BoomEdit) that uses the engine to provide a 3D mapping view.
  • Still runs fine in Windows 7 atleast.

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Thanks, interesting. I'll try to take a look at it if it works on my computer and has interesting features. However I think an engine that is regularly updated and has an editing community, like Quake/Darkplaces or Cube2/Inexor, would fit my needs more. I've looked at more recent forks of Boom 2 but the only one I found was https://github.com/vii1/boom3 . I think it is also an obstacle for this engine that there was no open source license attached, so nobody could be really "legally sure" if it's possible to create derived works.

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I would use Darkplaces engine but use the Quake3 map format, since I have learnt how to edit maps in that format with the NetRadiant editor, and I am accustomed to the Q3 lighting methods, plus patch meshes lets you make cool stuff like curved walls and round pipes.

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Posted (edited)

Yeah, building levels for Quake isn't really that complicated. It's a little bit more in depth than using Doombuilder, but not by much. I always used Worldcraft, which became the Hammer Editor when Valve acquired it. Setting it up can be a little time consuming, but once you do, it's extremely easy to use. And quite frankly I find it a bit more intuitive to use than Doombuilder. Trenchbroom and J.A.C.K. are very similar to Worldcraft/Hammer Editor as well, but I don't have too much experience with them.

 

But you really don't need any knowledge of 3D modeling to use any of them. They all use brushes, which are literally just blocks that you piece together to make a level. You want a floor? Select your texture, make a brush, and stretch it to the size you want the floor to be. Same thing for walls, ceilings, decorations. It takes some getting used to, but it all makes sense. It's not like building an actual 3D model out of individual polygons like you would need to do for making a character or weapon model. It's much more like building something with lego blocks.

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Posted (edited)

Didn't id already use Unity for their newest Doom Classic ports? I know where you're going with the question, but if Unity could be used to build the exact Doom maps, then maybe it can also be used for more 3D stuff in the same style.

 

EDIT: ah, sorry, looks like you already thought of this.

Edited by printz

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1 hour ago, printz said:

Didn't id already use Unity for their newest Doom Classic ports? I know where you're going with the question, but if Unity could be used to build the exact Doom maps, then maybe it can also be used for more 3D stuff in the same style.

 

EDIT: ah, sorry, looks like you already thought of this.

Unity Engine would be good if you're looking to make commercial games, or go outside the bounds of whatever game you're working with. KEX engine would work as well, but from what I know you're going to have to have a decent knowledge of C++ to work with it.

 

Just making levels for shits and giggles, I would just go with Worldcraft or Hammer editor. You can make maps for Quake, Quake 2, and Half-Life 1 and 2. but if you want to make your own game then yeah, Unity would probably be the best bet. I did make a Quake map that was Nazi themed, reskinned the grunts and enforcers, added my own textures. But you're still limited to the game you're working with, and how much work you feel like doing.

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To be fair, Quake is quite a mod-friendly game, thanks to QuakeC. You can customize its gameplay thanks to that. Not many games are like that. The other mod-friendly id game is Doom 3.

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