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1  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Torque Game Builder Pro - vs.- GameMaker7 on: December 07, 2007, 12:05:44 am
Meep has a good point. If I can buy twelve copies of GM7 Pro for one Torque GBP, I'm gonna be expecting some impressive features if I had bought the later. Somthing akin to comparing Windows Paint to Corell Draw perhaps.

To a point I understand and agree, though remember value is sometimes linear, sometimes it isn't...  Often there are thresholds in prices, sometimes to go a step further with specific features you have to jump price more than a linear jump.  Also your analogy isn't quite what I would use since paint is free, you could say Gimp to Corell Draw and run into issues since GIMP has a lot of features for free and Corell Draw probably will be far from a linear value comparison.  Paint Shp Pro is $90 while Photoshop is $649, psp pro actually has a lot of the features of photoshop but with a huge cost difference, yet  many people pay the difference.

You can do this with game engines too... for example Unreal goes for around $200,000 - $1,000,000... with Unreal 3 possibly extending above the million marker.  You can compare that engine to our Torque Game Engine Advanced (TGEA) at about $295  and  you won't get a linear value proposition... all features and aspects are not equal and are of a subjective value to different people.

That said, keep in mind GM7 Pro doesn not come with source code... TGB Pro does... in fact the only difference between TGB and TGB Pro is the source code, so a better comparison is GM7 to TGB... $20 compared to $100, since the pro title means something different....   So a 1 to 5 ration not 1 to 12...  TGB Pro comes with source code at $295 and no version of GM does that.
2  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Torque Game Builder Pro - vs.- GameMaker7 on: December 06, 2007, 11:54:12 pm
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And you do seem to be here to defend Game Builder Pro.

True, though I personally like to think of it more as offering another perspective Smiley  In the context of defending it gives me the feeling I'm trying to invalidate the opinions or arguments of others when in truth I'm simply trying to give an additional perspective with the potential of defending if I find something that I believe is completely false.  In the end view points of engines and tools can be (and typically are) very subjective, so I'm not so proud as to think that just because someone doesn't like our tool or an aspect of it that it must be because they are wrong.


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So, since you asked for questions, and you did say "They both have their strengths and weaknesses and I'll be the first to admit those of TGB.", my question (on behalf of the potential customers here) would be "What are the strengths and weaknesses of TGB?".

Note that every flaw you point out will increase your credibility when you talk about the good parts.

A very valid request, though note that what you are asking for is an  honest analysis of TGB, not a comparisson of TGB to GM... comparing two products can be fairly difficult with aspects that have weighted values relative to the onlooker, so doing an analysis of TGB is something I am much more comfortable doing.  I am comfortable comparing aspects of engines and tools, but in the end the person is often more of a deciding factor of what they produce rather than the tool.

TGB

Strengths:

  • A moderate amount of accessible documentation
  • An efficient tool that can be easy to learn
  • A powerful and engine, based on C++, and a tool that doesn't limit your capabilities, with efficiency tools such as a built in profiler.
  • Option for source code, this includes source code of the editors.  This is actually a fairly significant thing that can be easily overlooked.  If you can't get access to the source code you have the potential to run into unsolvable issues... while having the source code allows any issue to be solvable.  Also lack of source code makes one question the quality of the code and the efficiency of it.
  • Based on the Torque core that has been used for various games, from small to large, here is a sampling of games released with the different Torque engines.
  • The Torque core originated with a commercial game, then turned into an Indie sellable engine and has been worked on over the past 7-8 years...  in some very real ways this lends a great deal of stability to the engine
  • A helpful community
  • A very capable 2D engine that has a very robust particle system
  • Uses the same scripting language as our other engines, which makes it a lot easier to move from TGB to our 3D engines.  Our 3D engines have the capability of being ported to a version running on the Xbox 360 and the Wii, it's nice to have proven options
  • "behaviors", basically a scripting module, not all that different from the concept of components
  • When you buy TGB you get access to TXB, an editor that works with our TorqeX XNA engine.  A nice option for the fans of XNA.
  • We have always had a huge Indie oriented reputation and goal, this shows in most aspects of the company, we try to be as active as we can on our forums.  I personally scan the TGB forums and try to answer as many questions as possible, though we also have great community members that do this as well...
  • A manual networking system that allows especially for turn-based games

Weaknesses:
  • Our latest release of TGB, 1.5 and 1.5.1 have some semi-large issues with the engine and documentation that normally wouldn't make it out into release, we are working on our next release to remedy these issues.
  • Physics...  our physics system is ok for basic physics, though has issues with complex rigid body physics, especially involving stacking
  • Just as being based on the Torque core with a long history of work and stable games of commercial quality, some aspects of the engine inherit antiquated systems, specifically our sound system.  It works, but is a no frills system.
  • We have a fairly solid base of documentation, though we could definitely use more... this is always true no matter how much documentation you have, though I would definitely say we could use a good deal more to reach a point t hat I would be very pleased with
  • Our wiki, TDN (Torque Developer Network) is a good source of outdated material, unfortunately as I just said it is outdated, so it holds some gems for certain implementations of TGB, though is of limited usefulness
  • Lack of asset management in the tool, this can cause issues when you load a large amount of resources in the editor causing it to load with a delay (and eat up memory).  If you have the source code to the editor you can add in whatever you want, though that's definitely far from ideal.
  • The editor isn't as friendly as it could be about sanity checking, such as naming objects the same thing, etc
  • Packaging options are fairly basic, would be nice to have an option that automatically zipped it up or put it into an installer
  • Image efficiency can be an issue based on what type of game you are making (a lot of images with very different transparent areas), a lot of this can be tweaked later by modifying the source art, though options in the engine would be nice...
  • The GUI editor is fairly antiquated and is fairly limited (very static).  For dynamic GUIs you end up creating them in the tool for level building, though there are some things that don't have the same options as the GUI system, such as a diverse amount of text and scroll controls.



There's a rough rundown.  I tried to avoid feature listing and lacking and focus on more real development strengths and weaknesses.  I can obviously get more detailed in certain areas if anyone has intrigue in anything specific.  I also tried to roughly weigh the strengths and weaknesses equally...  there are a lot of ways I could've done this.
3  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Torque Game Builder Pro - vs.- GameMaker7 on: December 06, 2007, 05:53:14 pm
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You tried to avoid comparing Game Builder Pro with Game Maker, but it seems to me that if you want to compete, this is exactly what you should be doing; you need to justify that difference in price

Very true... I personally, here, have avoided comparing the two since I'm not a sales person, I'm sorry if I gave the impressions that we as a company never try to compare the two.  Even if the markets were different we would still obviously want to compare them in how different the market needs were, though they aren't completely different.  Though my job isn't to give people pitches and I definitely don't enjoy doing so, I'd rather people grab the trial and judge for themselves and me just be here for inquiries and questions Smiley
4  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Torque Game Builder Pro - vs.- GameMaker7 on: December 06, 2007, 04:53:41 am
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"many hobbyist photographers will spend a good $300-1000 on a good camera and $649 on Photoshop, while others will use Gimp and a $100 camera."

So this implies GM7 is not as good quality as TGB. I'll need to DL the trial, which I'll do this week sometime. And thanx for your replies.

Not necessarily implying that GM7 is not as good quality as TGB...  for one, you included a version number for GM but not for TGB, so it wouldn't be a good detailed comparison.  Plus quality would definitely not be what I would use as a comparison value.  Also, a $100 camera may be the same quality as the $800 dollar one, in fact it may (and probably will) be easier to use, have friendlier settings, etc...  I merely compared the price ranges, not the quality in my analogy.
5  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Torque Game Builder Pro - vs.- GameMaker7 on: December 06, 2007, 03:33:37 am
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Haha, you know I wondered if someone from Garage Games would see this. It certainly wasn't my intention to be seen.

Well I think you had a very valid point and don't see anything wrong with your opinion being seen Smiley  You have every right to hold the opinion you have and if anything I am glad to hear it... I always find it valuable to know what people think and whether or not people value it at the price it's at.

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A $20 gamble for GameMaker just makes a lot more sense than a $250 one. How can you not recommend GameMaker?

Very true... in fact I myself purchased GameMaker at one point.  I guess the argument towards your statement would be that it doesn't have to be a gamble.  TGB has a trial and GameMaker has a free version, so you can get a good impression of the capabilities of the tools and what they are good for... also both have a good deal of users and have visible projects done with them so you can see results and also hear from some of those people what they are good for.

I agree, that at $20 GameMaker is a hard value to compete with, which is why we try to offer more and increase the price, unfortunately to some people the value matches the price and to others it doesn't... in the long run hopefully we can match those two together, which is where your opinions are extremely valuable.  I definitely didn't mean to dismiss them.

[qoute]I'm not sure comparing TGB to Photoshop or Flash (both industry standards) is fair. Corel Paint Shop Pro is $90, the GIMP is free, etc... so selective examples don't necessarily lend defense to the price point.[/quote]

A couple of responses to this... to the first part, yes they are both standards, though they weren't always and they were never cheap, even when they weren't.  I think they simply sold it at the price they thought it was worth and have tried to fill the value up to that price... many industry standards are in fact very expensive and take a simliar approach... max and maya in the 3D space for example... at $3,500 +, compared to Milkshape at $30.  This does in fact support what I'm saying though, that the market has space for a big price differential... $20 for GameMaker, $100 for TGB Binary, $250 for TGB with source code (which you can't get with GameMaker).

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I'm not saying you're wasting your money if you get TGB at $250. I just think it was a fabulous deal at $100 (with source) and not so much at $250.... from a hobbyist's perspective.

You do make a good point, that it's very subjective and relative to the person.  Many hobbyists buy Flash, or Photoshop, then again many also buy paint shop pro (like you mentioned), in the past I have purchased paint shop pro for that very reason.  I wasn't trying to dismiss your opinion, in fact I found it very valuable.

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So, as I see it, spend $20 and prototype the game. If it works but needs more power, go for something like TGB. I don't think that's bad advice.

Neither do I...  In fact if anything I was avoiding comparing TGB to GameMaker at all, I was simply explaining some context for the $250 price tag, though to be fair if you do compare it's $100 vs $20, since the $100 version of TGB comes without source code, like GameMaker.

There's a reason why I bought GameMaker even though I owned TGE, it's a hard value to beat.  A great prototype tool and learning tool, also great for basic games.


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As far as company culture goes... well, I shouldn't really comment. I have my reasons. But this isn't the best forum to elaborate.

I respect that... me personally I have only seen good changes and that's from an internal perspective.  Of course there is a lot of perspectives to be had in something like this.  Though I will ensure you that we haven't forgotten about our current tech, far from it... I've been cranking away on the next TGB release in fact, fixing some big issues with 1.5.1.



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Adobe - $649

That seems an odd comparison.. Adobe makes alot of products,and I'm not sure where you get those figures. Care to elaborate?

lol ooops, wow, I must've been out of it for that one... I meant Photoshop.  Both Flash and Photoshop are Adobe products.

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BTW Don't get the wrong idea, I'm an upper middle class American with a career. I am interested in your product. 250$ isn't huge to me. But I'm in the same boat as Xeno, just a hobbyist. Perhaps that isn't your target audience which one might think it should be hence "garage games" giving the impression of a motley, novice, garage band trying to write music.

Well said...  then again hobbyists can be ones who invest a lot of money in their hobby.  I would agree that they are very particular about investing their money...  many hobbyist photographers will spend a good $300-1000 on a good camera and $649 on Photoshop, while others will use Gimp and a $100 camera.  It's a very big market... we do target it to some degree though...  you did pick it up correctly in "GarageGames".  We are one of the older and more avid supporters of the Indie Game development movement and were one of the first (if not the first) to provide a solid game engine with commercial capabilities in the range of $100 (about 7-8) years ago.  We definitely don't want to lose that appeal.  Though you would be correct if you think we may not be competing against GameMaker in every market it is in.

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Also, GM did cost me more than twenty dollars because I ordered a learning manual "GameMaker Apprentice" from Amazon.com. WHich I highly reccomend btw. I don't recall the price offhand bacuse I bundled the order with other books.

Oh and Mark Overmars,GM inventor, is a professor from the netherlands. How cool is that?

Very true... I picked up on GameMaker about 3-4 years ago... I definitely am not trying to slam it, I really don't think I said anything along those lines.  I just felt people might appreciate some of the things mentioned from the perspective of someone at GarageGames.  I also think xenoclone brings a great perspective, one that I am very intrigued about.  If anything xeno's comments only help me understand a perspective on TGB and ways it could be improved.

I personally think GameMaker is good, a great value, and does what it does well.  I used to participate in their forums a bit in fact.  Many people welcomed me, even though I am an employee and dev on TGB.  They both have t heir strengths and weaknesses and I'll be the first to admit those of TGB.
6  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Torque Game Builder Pro - vs.- GameMaker7 on: December 06, 2007, 01:34:17 am
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"btw, if you have any specific questions I'm more than willing to answer them to the best of my ability and very honestly."

Is this for Xeno or any patrons of this fine board? Because I have one. 250$ a pop? Makes me wonder if sombody's ferrari payment isn't due... Wink

"Is this for Xeno or any patrons of this fine board? "

For anyone... I'm a fairly open person, in fact I came from the GG community as a user of our tech before coming to GG (a good portion of the community came from that in fact), as well as other tech.  So it's definitely targeted to anyone Smiley


"Because I have one. $250 a pop? Makes me wonder if sombody's ferrari payment isn't due... Wink"

haha... only if.  I wish that were the case... well possibly.  We at GarageGames have been some of the longest standing supports of indie game development, even back 7-8 years ago when we offered a AAA engine used on a commercial game at only $100, including source.  So though we are obviously interested in making a living and being rewarded for our efforts (quite often 12+ hour days), we are far from money grubbing and definitely are not driving ferrari's).  $250 for software is actually not very expensive, for example:

Flash - $699
Adobe - $649

On top of that we do offer a version without source code for $100, while the $250 version has source code for the entire engine as well as the editors (something Gamemaker and some solutions don't offer at all).

Torque engines are based off a very solid commercially viable engine core, there have been a moderate amount of game developed using Torque engines, some at a very large scale (such as MMO).  Our goal is to provide TGB as a solution that is fairly easy to use and has documentation for people new to game development, as well as be fully flexible and powerful (with a source code option) for commercial developers.

For $250 you get quite a bit, everything that you get with the $100 version plus all of the source code so you can expand it to whatever limits you choose.  Even at that price we come under quite a few software products that don't offer source code, we also offer improvements and new versions rarely every requiring an upgrade fee (we've never required an upgrade fee for TGB yet).
7  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Torque Game Builder Pro - vs.- GameMaker7 on: December 05, 2007, 07:26:34 pm
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To be honest, I only got TGB because I got an early adopter deal ($100 for pro). At $250, I'm not sure it's worth it.

I'm sorry to hear that, though a completely fair statement.  We have a good ammount of people that feel it is worth it, though for others it isn't as well.  Feel free to express your concerns in what you think may limit TGB's value in your experience, we are always wanting feedback Smiley

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The company has had a cultural change since they were bought out a month or two ago. They've shifted from focusing on developer-enabling over to self-publishing. It's quite disappointing.

I'm sorry it has appeared that way.  In all honesty things have changed somewhat... in my opinion for the better.  I've been on the TGB dev team since the team's incarnation at GarageGames.  I still spend time working on TGB in fact (coincidentally my last couple weeks almomst exclusively, we're trying to get 1.5.2 fully QA'd and out with some good fixes and general updates).  We really haven't abandoned our technology. 

We knew that announcing what we did would risk people getting that impression, so we tried our best to counter that potentional, though obviously we didn't succeed completely.  Without giving too many details, the cutlure of the company has changed very little, if anything we now have more resources and are more serious about making improvements (via our current and future tech) that is most beneficial to our users and our potential users.  Previously things were added and improved in TGB in a fairly ad-hoc way.  It worked fairly well, though in the end doesn't provide the biggest gains for our community and potential community since a lot of our decisions were made on the go.  Now the company has been structured a lot better, though we have been bought out, we still are GarageGames and still have -full- control over what we do (not as if our parent company has been trying to stiffle that, the partnership was based on us continuing to do what we do).

We now have a full division of the company that is interested in our products, this includes our current technology and tools as well as our future tech.  No longer is there a weird balance in the company since everything was mixed and matched.  We also now have funds to do things, before we pretty much existed in a month to month basis.  We did well albeit, in fact we were growing quite fast even then, though everything had to be justified based on what it would net us in a shorter run since we couldn't afford to make bigger investements and gambles, this includes game dev and tool dev.  Now we can do some of those things without having to justify it with the most immediate gain to support the resources.

We have not abandoned our current tech, especially not TGB.  We are considering various things and are working on various things to improve it.  We are wanting to give it the best improvements in the most efficient way, though it's far from being abandoned Smiley


So from my perspective, as someone who was in the GG community -> community Associate -> contractor -> employee working on TGB for the past year and a half, very little has changed except the company structure and funds now enabling us to do things we couldn't before Smiley 

In fact, as Josh Williams said when announcing the buy out, the deal went down earlier this year... since that point we have done more releases than we  have ever done.



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There are some demos that come with the software once purchased, but i don't know about something that shows off its ability. One thing to consider is that TGB is going extinct. They're working on a new unified 2D/3D engine. So there's only a year left of life in TGB before it's officially outdated. Overall, I find it hard to recommend them at all right now. Maybe in a year or two when the dust settles and they're refocused. But right now it's a bit of a mess at Garage Games, imo.

I'm sorry you've gotten that impression, hopefully we can prove that impression wrong with our actions.  I mean we are working on future tech and tools, though TGB is still going to be a viable engine and toolset for while (as it currently is for many people)... we plan to make some improvements that will hopefully increase it's usefuleness.  It may be a while before we get something out that attempts to replace TGB, and if anything a lot of the concepts will carry over very well as well as some of the code possibly.  The future is still a ways out so I can't get into details, though in a very real way it's updating to a new version of the tool, a version that has some fundamentals changed (for the better, by far), though it definitely won't be an alien peice of technology for those that are used to our current engines.


btw, if you have any specific questions I'm more than willing to answer them to the best of my ability and very honestly.
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