What can it do?
Lots of things! See the features page for an up-to-date list of the current features. Also, take a look at the screenshots page to see for yourself the kinds of eye candy OGRE can pump out.
Is OGRE A Game Engine?
No. OGRE can be (and indeed has been) used to make games, but OGRE is deliberately designed to provide just a world-class graphics solution; for other features like sound, networking, AI, collision, physics etc, you will need to integrate it with other libraries, something several frameworks have done, and we have a collision / physics reference integration library as an example in our distribution.
Why? Well, one reason is that not everyone who needs a 3D engine wants to make games, so we don't assume that you do - you can use OGRE for games, simulations, business applications, anything at all. Secondly, even within the games industry, requirements can vary widely; for
example a MMORPG will need a very different kind of network library than an FPS, and a flight sim will need a different kind of collision / physics system to fighting game. If OGRE included all these features, we would be enforcing a particular set of libraries on you, with an
inbuilt set of assumed requirements, and that's not good design. Instead, we provide a very integration friendly API and let YOU choose the other libraries, if you want them. Many experiened game developers have expressed their approval of this approach, because there are no
inbuilt constraints. It can be more daunting for newer users who just want to build another FPS-style game, but for those people there are a growing number of existing frameworks using OGRE which provide a complete solution using a given combo of libraries; but it's important
to realise that OGRE itself will always remain separate, flexible enough to be incorporated into any of these. The principle is of collaboration and integration with other libraries, rather than
assimilation of them, a standard tenet of component-based design.
Why should I consider using OGRE (rather than the other zillion 3D engines out there)?
Many other engines, whilst technically impressive, lack the cohesive design and the consistent documentation to allow them to be used effectively. Many of them have long features lists, but have the feel of a bunch of tech demos lashed together with twine, with no clear
vision to hold them together. Like any other software system this becomes their downfall as they become larger. Most other engines are also designed for one particular style of game or demo (e.g.
first-person shooters, terrain roamers).
OGRE is different. OGRE is design-led rather than feature-led. Every feature that goes into OGRE is considered throughly and slotted into the overall design as elegantly as possible and is always fully
documented, meaning that the features which are there always feel part of a cohesive whole. Quality is favoured over quantity, because quantity can come later - quality can never be added in retrospect. OGRE uses sound design principles learned, tried and tested many times
in commercial-grade software - the object-orientation mentioned in it's moniker is just one of those approaches - frequent use of design patterns is another. The core development team is kept deliberately small, and all of its members are veteren software engineers with many
years of real-world experience. Patches are welcomed from community, but they undergo a strict review for both quality and cohesion with the Ogre philosophy before being accepted.
OGRE does not assume what type of game or demo you want to make. It uses a flexible class hierarchy allowing you to design plugins to specialise the scene organisation approach taken to allow you to make any kind of scene you like. Want to render indoor levels fast? Fine, use the BSP/PVS plugin scene manager which has already been written. Want an outdoor landscape? Again, use another plugin scene manager. The rest of the engine continues to function exactly as before.
So the short answer is - if you favour design quality, flexibility and clear documentation, choose OGRE. You know it makes sense. ;)
Is it really free?
The Ogre source is made available under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL), which basically means you can use it however you like as long as release the source for changes you make to the core engine if you distribute your product. The source to your application or to new plugins you create does not have to be released (although it would be nice if you did). See the licensing page for full licensing terms.
Good news: Thrive now has its own dedicated launcher. Even better news: there’s a whole new release available as a demonstration of its abilities. This Devblog will run through both, as well as the general miscellaneous updates we post to make sure nobody mistakenly thinks the project is dead.
Thrive 0.3.4 isn’t a large release on the surface, but underneath our programmers have been hard at work on some very important features and fixes. And for the first time, we have a voice-over (by developer MontySpud) for our trailer:
As you may have seen on social media, developer hhyyrylainen has built us a Thrive launching program. Why is such a thing needed? For one, the launcher handles downloading of new releases on its own – download and run the launcher, and you’ll never have to manually download a full release again. It also comes with handy links and feeds from our development forum and website.
Meanwhile, developer crodnu has wrestled with the temperamental process system, the logic involved in collecting and converting compounds within cells. The compound bars featured in the GUI of our last release revealed a strange bug where cells would lose all their starting ATP and remain at near zero from then on. We’ve done our best to fix this and other process issues, so compound changes should now be much more readable.
As if that’s not enough, we’ve also completely rewritten the way the game handles Lua files. Lua files are the scripting on top of the engine, and until now have been the game’s major performance bottleneck. Thanks to another titanic programming effort from hhyyrylainen, the game now runs on a completely different form of Lua.
It’s hard to state why this is such a major change. We recommend you look at the absolutely enormous list of code changes on GitHub to get the full picture. With this upgrade came a couple of major crash fixes, though we’re still on the lookout for information which could help us fix more. If you have a crash while playing, let us know in the bug reports section of our forums, and make sure you post a screenshot of the console printout. If you don’t, our programmers have nothing to go on to help fix the issue.
It’s been quite a while since our last Devblog. Many minor things have happened in that time. We’ve collated them below for your convenience.
Not content with contributing two massive lumps of code to this release, hyyrylainen has also been making tentative steps into a potential engine conversion. Since the beginning, Thrive has run on a custom engine built with Ogre and Bullet, and let’s just say it has…issues. Inability to take screenshots, difficulty using alt-tab, large file sizes, and most prominently, endless headaches for new programmers wishing to set up a development build make it unwieldly at best. It’s certainly served us well, but the need for an accessible programming environment drove us to consider alternatives.
The best alternative appears to be Unreal Engine 4. Unlike all engines available when we started building Thrive a couple of years ago, it’s open-source, which makes it appropriate for use in our project.
In the interests of fair comparison, hhyyrylainen is working on a copy of Thrive 0.3.4 constructed inside Unreal. You can find progress and thoughts on the relative merits here. We feel that if it’s possible to develop what we already have in a reasonable timeframe without any major compromises, a complete engine switch will benefit the project significantly in future. Please test it out by downloading here.
To make it clear, this is nowhere near a certainty, merely an experiment. If it goes well, expect to see us moving into the realms of unreality sometime soon. If not, Ogre it is (unless any of you have suggestions for alternatives, and we’d love to hear them).
The main findings centred on adjustments to our many websites. Our main website homepage has undergone significant change, incorporating: feeds from our Devblog and development forums, more prominent links to forums and Wikis, more efficient space usage, and of course the good old Disturbance. We’re still working out the kinks, so let us know what you think of it and if there’s anything else we could add.
Our community forums also look noticeably different. White on white was alright, but we decided it was better to showcase some concept art with a more adventurous colour scheme. If this scheme isn’t to your liking, fear not – if you create a profile, you can choose from a bunch of premade themes we’ve worked on. Go to Profile -> Edit Profile -> Settings and under the Forum Theme dropdown, select the one you want to go on a new colourful Thrive adventure.
Our first step towards more involved self-promotion was the day r/thrive was named subreddit of the day. Exposure to new people is always a tense experience for us – will they see potential in the project or think us morons for pursuing it? Responses to the SROTD post were encouraging, and you can read our own subreddit’s thread on the event – which quickly became the most upvoted submission on the subreddit ever – here.
Expect more news in the outreach department soon. In the meantime, keep spreading the word.
Anyone of an artistic nature might be interested in joining our community forum art competition, running every month in this thread. Submissions can be any form of static visual media you want – digital art, 3D models, pencil drawings, paintings, etc. Users vote on their favourites for each month, and the winning submission each month will be posted to Thrive’s Facebook and Twitter feeds. Winners will also receive time machines to see the completed version of Thrive in 2150.
Terms and conditions apply. Time machine delivery dependent on someone inventing it in the future and going back in time to give it to you.
Shortly after the release of Thrive 0.3.3, we staged another livestream showing off its features, discussing random topics and answering fan questions. Despite a disconnected microphone leading to a load of us accidentally talking over hhyyrylainen as he explained the engine, it went well and we all had fun in the process. Schedules mean it’ll be difficult to organise another in the near future, but keep an eye out.
And finally, memes have started appearing on our subreddit. Memes as a scientific concept are a potential feature of the game in the Society and Industrial stages (and you can read some or join some discussion on them here), but we obviously can’t pass up the opportunity to make our own image-based stupid inside jokes. Does this deserve a whole section in a Devblog? Probably not. Oh well.
That’s it for the latest Thrive news – stay tuned for more in the coming months!
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