III - Leadwerks

Simple, powerful, for Linux!
Technical Information
Name Leadwerks
Website http://www.leadwerks.com/
Rendering OpenGL 4.0
Audio 2D and 3D
Physics Internal system based on Newton Game Dynamics
Editor Yes - Leadwerks itself is the editor
Languages LUA, C++
Target Platforms Linux, Windows, Mac
About Leadwerks
Leadwerks is another good engine that was hiding under the shadows (at last for my knowledge). Luckily it gain some fame recently with a successful campain on Kickstarter to port the engine for Linux. Not just the engine as just exporter but the whole editor as a native application for Linux!

While Leadwerks may seems a bit more limited with the available tools on the editor it's competitive on the feature and technical side: the rendering is base on the latest OpenGL specification, can provide an high visual quality and the editor provide some unique features that helps the prototype and creation phases.

Features
There are many great aspects of Leadwerks but it features a lot of cool options that makes it unique. First of all it's worth of mention their editor: it's possible to create and edit the primitives directly in the scene editor and quickly prototype a game level with a few clicks. Did you ever used the Valve Hammer Editor for Half-Life 1 or 2? It's similar. The engine UV system is great and doesn't deform the textures when you edit the models this way. Creating and testing levels is really quick and speed ups the process of prototyping.

The editor window showing the geometry editing process.

Adding scripts and behaviours is simple and the Scene Editor lets you set any properties you need in a visual and easy manner to give you more control of your scripts. As for other engines, Leadwerks feature an integrated and powerful editor.
The main window

I'd like also to mention the Flowgraph editor that let's you attach and control the events of your scripts in a visual editor. Another great tool for level design.
The flowgraph editor.

Concepts

Leadwerks offer concepts not so different from other engines: the prefab, the scripts attached to it and similar. What is really appealing of this engine is the rendering engine and the fabulous tools. So, from my perspective, this engine have a learning curve much lower the other engine.

The Campaign
This engine gained a lot of fame from their recent campaign on Kickstarter to port the engine. The people gave a lot of trust which has been rewarded with a good quality native client for Linux. The campaign was a total success and it reached many stretch goals. It's a pity, though, that it didn't reach the 45k$ Stretch Goal that would include a UI Editor inside the Engine, which is absent.

A worth success

Advantages and Disadvantages
  • One of the best rendering engine. Easy but still powerful.
  • Good concept and tools for quick prototyping.
  • It also feature a [Store] to buy assets and plugins.
  • Native editor for Linux.
  • It implement by default some advanced techniques: a Terrain Mega Texture, Ambient Occlusion, etc
  • The export is only native, which means you can export for Linux only from the Linux version, for Windows from the Windows version and the same for Mac. Every version is also a separate license (although there are various license option to include every system, you still have to compile from that operative system).
  • It lacks many tools such an UI Editor or a Particle Editor (Note: there are several plugins, some free, that provide such features but are somewhat limited).
Conclusions
This engine is one of the best, despite it's lacks on some tools. I found it's really good expecially for prototyping which helps a lot the process of creation, especially when focusing on the level design and gameplay. Some of their feature (like the Terrain Mega Texture) are really appealing and the focus on the Linux version from the developers is really appreciable. The community is growing fast and I foresee a good future for this engine. Check it out.
Actually this engine is my main choice, the more I use it and follow the community the more I watch it grow bigger.
English

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