Posted: April 17
This is a pretty good package overall, but I'm going to say it's not for everyone. I'm a professional programmer with 20+ years, about 4 in the games industry. This is from a single programmer's perspective.
* Streamlined. For a programmer who wants to work on gameplay design and development, most of the nitty gritty boring stuff is handled. Map format (level editor), resource loading/handling, 3d animation, robust OpenGL renderer, sound, integrated scripting are all here. You can really just focus on your designs. These boring, but core, features probably murder most upstarts.
* Not a game maker. This isn't generic, confining, game maker software forcing you to work within the boundaries it provides. It's literally a toolbox/API full of the basic necessities you'll need to upstart a game project.
* C++ add-on (Standard Edition DLC). Having this allows you to integrate anything into your project. It's mandatory in my opinion, but even so, it's a bargain at $99 (Indie Edition)+$99 (Standard DLC). I got both my packages on sale I think, so I basically paid $100 for the whole engine, which is asinine for the time it saves me for projects.
* Solid Level Editor. Remember, this is not game making software. The editor works more like a level-editor for popular game engines, and it's pretty sleek. There's a few quirks with it, but it's production quality overall.
Meh (not a pro, not a con):
* Small Developer. This is a mixed bag. On one hand, the guy is pretty active and pretty responsive, and quite professional (in my experience). However, for features and bugs, it can take a while for things to get addressed. The software is pretty solid overall, but there's a few issues that have hung around without fixing yet and are kind of annoying.
* Documentation. This could be better, but it works. I've found a few instances where somethings are missing/not explained, but overall, it's not too bad. The API docs are actually really good, I think. Examples are sparse, though, which is why I bring it up, and why I put it here. Can say pro just because of the API docs, can't say con just because examples are not very present. Which brings me to...
* Community. Again, mixed feelings here. I love there's lots of writeups and youtube videos showing examples (that aren't present in the official docs). So it's kind of a community-based learning scenario. There's some really cool regulars that are very knowledgable and helpful. On the other hand, there's a handful of dimwits on the boards that seem to just troll/bash. I don't know if the developer just has enemies but there oft times seems to be a lynch squad out to prove how bad the engine is, and they want you to know it. It's distracting, and shouldn't be tolerated, yet in the limited time I've spent interacting on the boards, it's fairly persistant. Community would be a pro if there was a more established administration of the official boards. Otherwise, the community is just quite small and getting answers to questions can be very hit or miss (where the aforementioned docs are lacking).
* Bugs and/or the "LE" way. This is not glitchy software by any means. My main gripes presently are the physics act weird out of the box (can be replaced with C++ edition or tweaking). Also, the model importer for complex texturing and animation key framing is rather particular. You will need to fuss with things outside the editor and implement a lot of 3rd party utilities, like FBX exporter, add-ons for blender, etc. Not very many "free" or testing models you download online will simply work, you'll have to tinker. There's kind of an "LE" way of doing modelling (to a minor degree). Once you learn this stuff it's not a big deal, but it sure can lead to hair pulling sessions.
* Features. Some basic features that should be present aren't yet (decals, for example). These are on the horizon, but sometimes I fear version 4 (more $$$) will come before we see things like decals, which honestly, should have existed at release.
Bottomline: If you or someone on your team is experienced in programming, this is a really good deal for a startup project. Most everything you need is here, and anything else you can add-on with a little bit of work. It's not a game maker, so if you are not a programmer (in any fashion), do not expect to drag and drop your way to a feature title. That's just not what this product is. It's more like an advanced programmer's toolbox. It is what I'd say "frontier" software, meaning, not everything is obvious and you will need to think on your feet for some things.
For some reviewers who say the engine doesn't "look" good, please keep in mind, it only looks as good as your art. It's otherwise a really solid rendering/toolbox/API that takes out gritty, boring details game projects require, allowing you to focus on content creation. You will need to adapt to some of it's quirks, but so far, those only seem to be with a few subsystems. Once learned though, most of that is an afterthought.