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What Game Engines are available for XNA Game Studio?

Last post 6/26/2014 11:50 AM by simonjohnroberts. 80 replies.
  • 6/10/2008 10:14 PM

    What Game Engines are available for XNA Game Studio?

    Commercial

     Free/Open Source


    Specialist/Niche/Partial engines


    Physics Engines

     

    If you have any more or want to add some details please reply to this thread. No general discussion in the FAQ forum though...

     

  • 6/28/2009 9:47 PM In reply to

    What FULLY FEATURED, 3D Game Engines are available for XNA Game Studio?

    Ok, So I aim here to further analyse the ZMan's excellent Game Engine details with regards to a very specific, but highly prevalent set of requirements.

    To develop a practical 3D physics enabled Game that runs on the XBOX (With acceptable speed)
    So, with these engines I did some tests.

    Just basic stuff, load a model, make it move, try out the shaders, check the performance, check the running memory footprint and garbage stats, check the base footprint of the engine was small enough to make a community game, check the code was reasonable, etc... 

    Please be aware that this is just for "fully-featured", 3D only, Physics included, Bells and whistles game engines/frameworks. 
    I am not affiliated with any company, just a dude trying to get his head around what is really out there for some fast-to-market development.


    Min requirements: 

    • Deploys to XBOX
    • Xbox Debugging
    • Has a small enough base footprint to allow the development of a title for say medium and full priced community games (so circa 50Mb or less)
    • Supports boned, skinned models and at least some animation support 
    • customisable endpoints to plug-in own shaders (it's a nice to have)
    • Shadows (Ideally, some levels of detail, as shadows can be expensive)
    • Render at FPS playable speeds (60+) 99% of the time.
    • Terrain generation support, and relevant mesh collision testing
    • License-free physics support
    • collision support (ideally primitives: box, capsule, sphere and maybe mesh? if it's not too expensive)
    • Intellegent physics load handling (quad tree or similar)
    • Ideally Multithreaded
    • An excellent lack of garbage. For those who do not yet understand why this is SO important there as some quite excellent articles on the compact framework referenced from these forums.


    This review is XBOX specific, I reiterate. AND CURRENTLY A BIT OUTDATED...

    Using the ZMans listing:

    Commercial

    • Blade3d - v1.0 Released November 2008 -
      Tried it, still in BETA, barely works on the XBOX, super slow compared to other solutions performances.
      Unusable for my needs in this form. They are working on it but it's just NOT there yet. If anyone knows better
      Let Me Know

      They provide game design services now. No engine available.

    • Visual3d.net - currently in beta (beta 3.1 released Novermber 08)
      Doesn't work on the XBOX right now, at this point not likely to in the future. If this changes? Let Me Know

       16-04-2012
      EDIT: More info on the Visual 3D position here: http://game-engine.visual3d.net/wiki/licensing-and-publishing-faq

    • TorqueX - 1.0 was 2d only. 2.0 release adds 3d. TorqueX Game Builder available (for free for Creators club members) to help build 2D games from a drag and drop UI.
      The editor is buggy as heckedy, the underlying code and syntax is soupy, I tried it for a week before just giving up under the strain of it crashing all the time. Undoubtedly powerful, I just couldn't hack it. I could not even put together a basic scene DIRECTLY in XML, without the silly editor ruining the syntax and crashing. Very poor indeed.
      So I have to really 
      exempt them from the results. If anyone has got some good TorqueX3D results for this study.
      I asked people to let me know if they had any postive results from this app about a year ago or more... I never got any positive feedback.
      A lack of evidence proves nothing however. (Unless perhaps you're an archeologist) SO JUDGE FOR YOURSELF:
      http://www.garagegames.com/community/forums/38 is now seemingly an active place

     Free/Open Source

    • Ox - a 3d version of the ButterMilk 2d engine -
      Loved this, shame about the shadows, otherwise super(update: Now has basic shadow support, woot!) Quite simply put, excellent so far.
      I intend to address the fixing of this shadow issue myself, fate and friends willing.

      Ox is no longer developed. the new Engine from Brian named "Xi" is in its infancy. http://xboxforums.create.msdn.com/forums/p/61770/61770.aspx
      and also http://xigameengine.codeplex.com/

    • QuickStart 3D Game Engine -
      After a re-testing of QuickStart I suggest that my original opinion remains unaltered.
      It seems I confusingly tested the old version , which had scalability issues, but some stunning graphics 'nice-to-haves'.

      So: The new QuickStart Engine v0.196 QuickStart Engine v0.262 is a lot more 'feature lean'.
      The 0.196 version which I tested back in day got these results:
      seems to have some garbage issues on the 360. I pared the demo down to around 20 physics objects to get it working "reasonably".
      Definately worth a look over, if not a complete solution. The newest (and most likely last version) is the v0.196 release and no new releases are planned. QuickStart Engine v0.262 is now available

    • X-Engine: 3D Graphics and Physics Engine for XNA -
      No XBOX support, big shame, quite a meaty offering all in. If this changes? Let Me Know

    • BetaCell 
      No XBOX physics, nice piece of kit though, Forum is filled with spam unfortunately They have a swanky new site...
      Not really in our category, but worth a hat tip. good work and worth a look over.
         
      BetaCell is built for XNA 3.1.
    • Thrust - part engine part framework - 
      An enigma, just can't get my hands on it.
      Not in development anymore AIUI, no complete solution, shows a COMING SOON... 
      I'm keeping an eye out. anyone know anything?
      Start a post in the GENERAL forum and give me a nudge. (
      No general discussion in the FAQ forum) or
       Let Me Know   Now toast


    • The Ship Game and the Robot Game starter kits contain enough code to make a decent 3d engine though they are not documented as such. - 
      A very good point Zman, unsure about REAL XBOX physics, but the support is there from the community, and the robot game is pretty darn fully featured, as too is the ship example, but they arent generic templates, I'm certainly going to look these over again a couple of times, I recommend you do the same if this is the route you are going.

    • EGGEngine - 
      A little more info on this one: Currently Portal Games are working to have a nice polished beta released to the public.
      I will be let you know what i find after testing it out. I am frankly excited at what I might find.
      They do plan to release EGGEngine for some amount of money (although a low price point), but the Beta
      will be free.

      Looks very promising indeed.  Now toast

    • Kodu - (OK, I added this, sorry ZMan)
      I just can't resist mentioning this, Microsoft research have done an amazing job on developing this Mini-programming engine.
      And although it can't be made to create RETAIL games for the community platform, it does fulfil all my other areas.
      Plus, I have bought and tested it, so here's some findings: 
    • It's quite simply amazing... 
    • Amazing shader work, excellent resource handling (seemingly, I'm having trouble generating metrics right now).
    • Although the language is purely visual and lacks maybe some basic logic operators (small moan), it is REALLY extensible and best of all you can share your worlds. Brilliant.
      Oh, And it's $5 ish. 400 measly points. I bought it in a heartbeat. I have 4,3 & 2 year olds. They are going to love it. A 'MUST TRY'.
      EDIT: I have written and shared a few Kodu games now... The engine is really great, I just need to get better at using it :) The kids DID love it, and still do.


    In addition to the work done reviewing the ZMan hotlist above:


    I have also been through EVERY other resource I could find, Paid for or not, Under $1k.  EDIT: ALTHOUGH MOST OF THIS RESEARCH IS XNA 3.x relevant and needs updating
    There are actually probably more than 50 serious offerings of some nature or other. Many non XNA, non C#, or just way out of most peoples reach.

    Amongst the tons of dead projects and almost finished ideas, there are some diamonds. 
    I would suggest ZMan nailed the Usual Suspects in his list, but there are some other notable projects and, given time, I will endeavour to list them here.

    Firefly is one such notable project. There is some movement on this project AIUI. Update possibly to follow.

    Seemingly the Ziggyware XNA Game Engines list is also now gone so perhaps I should make the time to update this entire list as it is FAQ.
    Wath this space.


    Codeplex and Sourceforge are of course excellent resources, long may they remain.

    I have bought subscriptions for Visual 3D .Net, Blade3D and tried the TorqueX3D too, so save your money, if you trying to follow the path I'm outlining.
    They are all great products, but not suited to the task at hand. TorqueX3D is a free download to premium members via the XNA Partner portal.

    So there you have it. My findings are as follows. (For the development of quick, 3D games; as outlined above.)


    Currently Ox Game Engine is the best engine I have tested. 

    Recommended:
    OX Game Engine


    Upsides:
    Open source, excellent features, Jiggle physics, reasonable scene editor.

    Downsides:
    Documentation and learning curve are steep. Lacks shadow support on the XBOX.
    Now has shadows!!! YAY!
    but all in: Ox Game Engine is the clear winner.

    Ox is no longer in development so I am currently doing a similar run-down of XNA 4.0 compat engines.
    Rather than providing a final determination in the interim I shall leave this up here as a rough guide to 3D engines up to the late "Noughties", when I have a better conclusion I will post it.

    (Plus I hear there is a rather tasty motorbike game releasing *in cough two days* that needs my attention  so don't hold your breath ;) Um and no that's not a plug for my own game or any company I know, I am just DYING TO USE THE NEW EDITOR!! hehehe (I digress)


    HTH someone else save some time.

    CyberMan


    p.s.

    Might I say, that while an incredibly illucidating process, I really do hope you now don't feel quite the same nagging doubt I did; that you would be missing something if you didn't do this process yourself. I've done it for you. I'm not saying I've done a good job and I'm not looking for thanks, just go do something for global warming (that was my intention here), or world peace, or something positive with your saved time instead, that'd be fine.

    There are thousands of results in the (true, laughably non-specific) searches I provide here for Sourceforge and (quite a few on) Codeplex.
    Hence me taking this time to wade through (a lot of) it all. 

    Despite many dead ends, testing was nevertheless rewarding, and has restored my faith in XNA, Community development, Independant open source projects, and even in supposedly unapproachable corporate giants like MS, they were great, pretty much everyone has been suprisingly helpful, along the way. IMHO, a few peoples opinions 'out there' should relax a little, mine has. It is difficult to remain stone-faced in the face of such dedication, effort and support. Well done to everyone.

    I really welcome 
    Any FeedbackI would love to find a resource I haven't already. I'll let the world know if I can.
    A massive thanks to the gaming houses who have already made up-to-date and invaluable corrections to this resource.
    Thanks again.

     

    p.p.s.
    I know it's a little off topic but: Particular hats off to the WPF 3D dev team at MS for their work enabling 2D controls mapped 3D objects, Amazing work: Daniel Lehenbauer and Kurt Berglund: Interactive 2D controls... Would love to use these in a game one day! ok, its WPF, I know... but it's so cool...


     

  • 4/6/2010 6:14 PM In reply to

    Re: What FULLY FEATURED, 3D Game Engines are available for XNA Game Studio?

    Update, November 29th, 2011: 
    The QuickStart Engine has been updated to v0.23, which now works with XNA 4.0:
    http://quickstartengine.codeplex.com/wikipage


  • 5/4/2010 3:45 AM In reply to

    Re: What FULLY FEATURED, 3D Game Engines are available for XNA Game Studio?

    simonjohnroberts  (and zman) -- Thank you so much for all of your hard work in doing the above, i know how much time it takes and what a PITA it can be.

    simonjohnrobertsI do have to wonder tho why you choose OX - i ask (and i mean no disrespect to the creators, i could not do it myself) - but when i look at the screenshots on their site, they look very non polished, unprofessional - compared to Visual3D and others that i see.

    Have you ever considered doing a matrix comparison since you are so familiar with all of them?  Something that would rate the graphics, usability, etc?

    Just wondering - again thank you for looking at all of them :-)

     
  • 5/4/2010 12:55 PM In reply to

    Re: What FULLY FEATURED, 3D Game Engines are available for XNA Game Studio?

    "but when i look at the screenshots on their site, they look very non polished, unprofessional - compared to Visual3D and others that i see."

    Visual 3D doesn't work on the XBOX. I was and am ONLY interested in things that did and do.

    From the Visual3d Forum: "Yes, they plan. What I want to say is that we're too busy at the moment, to say much more about it. We all have our plans, we performed some tests on the 360, but at the given time I know of no part of V3d that was on the 360."

    OX is by far the most complete solution for the xbox then and today in my honest opinion, so it won.

    Bryan is aware of the documentation short-comings but there is an active community that support it.

    "Something that would rate the graphics, usability, etc?"

    I thought I did that? Maybe I didnt... I'll think about it.
    If you mean for Windows developement, I shan't be doing that, since I have no interest in it.

    To be honest, OX won hands down for me - but only on the criteria I laid out.
    True, the learning curve is steep, but meh, what else am I gonna for a laugh :)

    Hope this is clear.
    Hope this helps



  • 5/4/2010 1:51 PM In reply to

    Re: What FULLY FEATURED, 3D Game Engines are available for XNA Game Studio?

    I edited my answer (after checking some facts). Although the answer remains the same; I have added a supporting link (to confirm my statements).

    To be honest, if there had have been a more feature-rich out-of-the-box offering for the Xbox (and PC) I would have definately have pursued it back then, since no-one REALLY wants to smack their head against seemingly endless xml decalrations or at-first-glance alien functions just to be able to put a model on the screen.

    But, then again, OX does and did provide some relatively swanky editors in retrospect, so maybe I'm putting that a little strongly. Either way, it was and is the best.

    My apologies if this does not meet your needs.
    As I reiterated a bit: My interest is XBOX specific.

    Kind regards,
    Simonjohn
  • 5/6/2010 3:25 PM In reply to

    Re: What Game Engines are available for XNA Game Studio?

    xnahavok physics engine here
  • 5/6/2010 7:21 PM In reply to

    Re: What Game Engines are available for XNA Game Studio?

    In response to the original post:

    Here's mine:
    Technically it's not released yet, it's in private beta at the moment (however, pretty much complete bar the shouting), but anyone can sign up to use it:

    Kitae Game Engine:

    It's specifically 2D only and probably going to be commercial when it's released.
  • 9/14/2010 12:12 PM In reply to

    tIDE / xTile - Open-Source 2D Tile Map Editor and Engine for XNA

    Just wanted to list my own contribution:

    tIDE is a tile map editor with support for multiple layers (WYSIWYG parallax), tile animation and custom properties at map, layer, tile sheet and individual tile level. The editor works in tandem with xTile, an XNA-ready tile rendering engine.

    This open-source project is hosted on CodePlex at the following URL: http://tide.codeplex.com/

    A quick tutorial for integrating xTile within an XNA project is available here.

  • 11/9/2010 9:45 PM In reply to

    Re: tIDE / xTile - Open-Source 2D Tile Map Editor and Engine for XNA

    http://xen.codeplex.com/

    Criminally overlooked API with animation, and a pretty active community.
  • 11/9/2010 9:56 PM In reply to

    Re: tIDE / xTile - Open-Source 2D Tile Map Editor and Engine for XNA

    dirtysteve:
    http://xen.codeplex.com/

    Criminally overlooked API with animation, and a pretty active community.


    Xen is a really interesting engine, but using it is kind of an all-or-nothing affair - it requires you to really embrace its design philosophy, which is in some cases quite different from the default XNA and C# patterns.  I suspect it's overlooked at least partially because it's as intimidating as it is potentially powerful.
  • 11/10/2010 1:23 AM In reply to

    Re: tIDE / xTile - Open-Source 2D Tile Map Editor and Engine for XNA

    Sigil:
    dirtysteve:
    http://xen.codeplex.com/

    Criminally overlooked API with animation, and a pretty active community.


    Xen is a really interesting engine, but using it is kind of an all-or-nothing affair - it requires you to really embrace its design philosophy, which is in some cases quite different from the default XNA and C# patterns.  I suspect it's overlooked at least partially because it's as intimidating as it is potentially powerful.


    This is a fair point, I've found that many API's and libraries can be intimidating. kilowatt animation is a good example of this. Success with kw depends entirely on your code comprehension skills. Xen's community and excellent tutorial code help mitigate the shock of the new greatly.
  • 11/10/2010 2:35 AM In reply to

    Re: tIDE / xTile - Open-Source 2D Tile Map Editor and Engine for XNA

    Yeah, the point I was trying to make specifically for Xen is that it's sort of a total commitment for your game.  You can't just piecemeal it, nor can you easily take something developed for a "stock" XNA game, out of a sample, etc., and put it into a Xen setup easily, or vice versa.  KW animation, for instance, while not exactly intuitive, can easily be plugged in to a sample or existing game without much drama.

    I found Xen to be a lot more useful personally as a learning tool, than as an actual useful game engine.  But, I like learning techniques and writing engines more than I like implementing other people's, so I'm biased in that regard.
  • 11/10/2010 11:30 AM In reply to

    Re: What FULLY FEATURED, 3D Game Engines are available for XNA Game Studio?

    Hey guys, i've got a question regarding the 2 lists above. I really spend some time to find a good engine i could use to start some smaller game projects. Nothing big and just for fun. But actually, after 4.0 was released i tried nearly all of the engines above, but nearly no engine would function with XNA 4.0. Also the most coding samples are not useful anymore... This xen engine looks quite promising, and i will surly will give it one or two looks, but i can't believe how Microsoft can release a new version of their game studio without adjusting their examples. Even those commercial engines like torque, haven't adjusted their code to work with 4.0. Probably this is a bad time to start with XNA, but i would be thankful for some kind of input or hints :-) Daniel
  • 11/10/2010 12:32 PM In reply to

    Re: What FULLY FEATURED, 3D Game Engines are available for XNA Game Studio?

    Many of the samples released by MS have been upgraded. The XNA Team is rather small so it will take some time to get them all converted. As for commercial projects - the breaking features in 4.0 will mean it will take a good amount of time to upgrade and GG is notorious for not really caring much about TorqueX.
  • 11/10/2010 7:28 PM In reply to

    Re: What FULLY FEATURED, 3D Game Engines are available for XNA Game Studio?

    That might be right, but as a good development team, you should consider this, at least in my understanding of good software development. But back to the topic... with the help of google i found XEN to be the best engine i currently could use to start my game with XNA 4.0?
  • 11/15/2010 10:38 PM In reply to

    Re: What FULLY FEATURED, 3D Game Engines are available for XNA Game Studio?

    Koffeinjunkies:
    That might be right, but as a good development team, you should consider this, at least in my understanding of good software development. But back to the topic... with the help of google i found XEN to be the best engine i currently could use to start my game with XNA 4.0?


    Sorry is that a question or a statement? Xen is a good engine, and I recommend it, but as stated above, it isn't always easy to use XNA code samples with it.
  • 1/12/2011 12:33 PM In reply to

    Re: What FULLY FEATURED, 3D Game Engines are available for XNA Game Studio?

    Hi,

    I thought I mentioned Nitro Level Editor - it's a opensource 2D XML level editor which can easily be used for XNA!

    I'll post the features:

    Features
    • Lightweight
    • Fast OpenGL renderer
    • Loads and saves to an easy to read XML format
    • Supports most image formats (BMP, GIF, EXIF, JPG, PNG and TIFF)
    • Multiple object selection and alteration
    • Layer support
    • Adjustable snapping grid
    • Undo/Redo functionality
    • Unlimited custom object properties
    • Game class selection for each image
    • Batch image import
    • Image origin support
    • Easy and clean GUI
    • Shift copy-and-paste
    • Translation, rotation, scaling and draworder manipulation
    • Manual adjustment of all object properties
    • Camera panning and zooming
    • Instant test and play




  • 1/23/2011 12:13 AM In reply to

    Re: What FULLY FEATURED, 3D Game Engines are available for XNA Game Studio?

    I'm working on a new engine that is an evolution of Ox called the Xi Game Engine. It's still in pre-alpha and still uses XNA 3.1, however, but would be nice if I could get some hands on it to test and suggest improvements. I hope the alpha version will be out soon.


  • 1/24/2011 10:50 AM In reply to

    Re: What Game Engines are available for XNA Game Studio?

    If you want to include Network Engines then you can add, Badumna to the list (www.badumna.com).
  • 1/27/2011 1:55 PM In reply to

    Re: What Game Engines are available for XNA Game Studio?

    I'm working with the Transmute Engine which is being made by slyprid. The engine is designed mostly around having 2d lightning and reflections along with a ton of other goodies. What sits center stage is the WPF editor which can be used to build levels. The pipeline is pretty straight forward and not too bad to get into. Its still very much in development, but worth looking into if you want to take your 2d game to a new level. The editor and engine are also being built to handle RPG elements like dialogs and building them to a flat file.


    Alternatively you can also look at one of his youtube videos.
  • 4/8/2011 1:59 AM In reply to

    Re: What Game Engines are available for XNA Game Studio?

    I just wanted to take a minute to talk about the Torque X engine. We purchased it as a 3.1 engine before XNA made the switch. When they made the switch it ruined everything. The editor does not CURRENTLY work but I hear that Pino is working on it. Torque X advertised its self as a 2D and 3D engine but we have never been able to get the 3D engine to ever load textures. The interface is nice. The 2D engine, while bugy, works very very well. Our game Cecil Jenkins: Notebook Adventures was built using the PSK and we have since ported our game and the PSK to 4.0.

    As for licensing. You can still purchase a Torque X license for $99 and get the 4.0 CEV. I also think that if you purchase the Torque 2D engine, you will be eligible for the Torque X 4.0 CEV but at this point it is not a "beginner" engine, but that is two engines for one.

    As for anyone working on and XNA 3.1 engine... STOP!!! Port to 4.0 and then continue. A 3.1 engine is worthless at this point and some big bucks can be made to the first person to make a good cheap 4.0 engine. In fact, my company is building a "beginner" 2D engine. We should have a beta releases in the next 2-3 months.

    Keep up the great work and be sure to support Indie Games.

  • 4/20/2011 10:36 PM In reply to

    Re: What Game Engines are available for XNA Game Studio?



    This is a little engine I wrote.  It can't be compared to a real* engine.  It is really what I needed to make my game. Yet, it is really simple and easy to use.  The physics are not very advanced but it's easy to plug in a free 3rd party tool if you need real physics.

    http://www.codeproject.com/KB/graphics/xna_game_engine.aspx

    It supports everything on your list basically and will have competitive animation support to any engine in terms of amount of animated models visible at once on xbox.

    Has 2D tools and 3D tools with a arguably* intutive GameObject interface.
  • 4/26/2011 6:19 PM In reply to

    Re: What Game Engines are available for XNA Game Studio?

    I checked out quite a few over at Codeplex and most appear to be abandoned and they will not build with the current IDE. The IDE conversion tool fails to convert the projects on a couple of them properly.
  • 4/27/2011 2:32 AM In reply to

    Re: What Game Engines are available for XNA Game Studio?

    jaydoggett:
    I checked out quite a few over at Codeplex and most appear to be abandoned and they will not build with the current IDE. The IDE conversion tool fails to convert the projects on a couple of them properly.
    And that's to be expected for older engines. There's not much you can do if the developer doesn't upgrade the engine to support the newest version of the XNA Framework. Sunburn is probably the best one out there at this time and works on all 3 platforms.
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