Hi Elliott, This is a great breakdown and very generous in sharing your process and insights, you came a long way from the vending machine days!
Are you planning on releasing the UE4 project to the public? Or only builds? I'd love to play around with it in the editor if possible!
World Editing Suite
The world editor is the central hub for working with Torque 3D. It is the place where artists and level designers produce stunning environments and scripters push the envelope with gameplay logic. The different editors that are used to put together a game’s levels are incorporated into a central interface.
Preview and play back animations from a scene or asset library. With the Shape Editor an artist can merge animations, define nodes, rename meshes, change positioning, and more.
Using the terrain editor, designers can sculpt new terrains interactively or import height fields generated in other applications. With the texturing and painting tools, artists can create realistic environments with exquisite attention to detail.
Road & River Editor
Quickly prototype city streets and rural roads. Rivers are added easily and designers have direct control of the flow and speed. With the river editor, the artists define the river’s path and design and add water to see the water flow come to life.
Using the material editor, an artist assembles materials for the game without touching a line of code! A list of materials used on any model can be viewed and edited within Torque 3D. Materials are categorized for ease of organization and can be previewed in the editor. Materials are previewed and changed in real time inside the game.
Torque 3D’s particle editor provides stunning real time effects like fireworks and flames. Create a particle emitter, add the textures, and adjust the properties to see fantastic visual effects come to life in the scene.
Using the decal editor, designers can create new decals and paint them on objects in the game. Bullet holes, trailing footsteps, and tagging players are all easy to do in your worlds.
Torque 3D was developed with artists in mind. An efficient interface and support for industry standard, COLLADA makes this choice easy. COLLADA is available in most major digital content creation packages. So whether your team is using Max, Maya, SketchUp, or Blender, you have a direct channel to get content into Torque 3D. We support the OpenCOLLADA standard and recommend the OpenCOLLADA exporters.
LIVE Material Updating
Torque 3D supports live material updating. If a texture is not quite how it should appear in-game, an artist can load it into Photoshop or Gimp to make the needed changes. The asset appears in the engine with the new changes in real-time. This enables artists to work between applications without interruptions.
Detailed First-Person Arms
Torque 3D 1.2 includes a new system for first-person arms. Artists can now create two separate models and switch between them based on the perspective. For the close-up first-person view, they can create extremely detailed arms. In the third-person view, they can use a model representative of the camera distance and perspective.
Torque 3D allows your team to create new terrains directly inside the engine. Using the world editor, designers can raise and lower sections to create mountains and valleys. Combined with the river and road editors, level designers can create complex beautiful environments. In addition to the ease of creating landscapes, artists can literally paint textures onto the terrains.
With the forest editor, you can populate your levels with trees and foliage as quickly and easily as painting textures onto the terrain. Select your object and the size of the area and begin painting trees and plants!
Torque 3D provides the tools to blend and smooth textures between detail levels, optimizing the visual scene while playing to allow lower-resolution on distant objects and highly detailed textures for close-up viewing.
The simulation industry and large-scale training simulations often need to use Geological Information Survey data. These datasets can be imported into Torque 3D as heightmaps to represent large-scale real-world terrains.
Torque 3D ships with PhysX out of the box on Windows. The Pacific demo contains a demonstration of many of the features of the physics engine. Cloth physics, destroyable objects, buoyancy, and many more are available to your team to create believable experiences. Physics has become an increasingly important feature in games and especially in simulations. Torque 3D provides a solid platform for physics simulations.
Here are a few of the PhysX highlights implemented in Torque 3D:
- Cloth dynamics
- Rigid body dynamics
- Destructible objects
- Destroyable joints
- Fluid buoyancy
On top of PhysX, Torque 3D also includes a rigid body physics system for older hardware and Mac support.
Abstracted Physics API
Torque 3D is designed with an abstracted C++ Physics API for integration with major 3rd party physics libraries.
Our deferred lighting model is the pinnacle of contemporary real-time rendering. Using Wolfgang Engel’s “Light Pre-pass” rendering, Torque’s 3D’s advanced lighting can support hundreds of lights and global real-time dynamic shadowing on every object in your scene. Artists can combine this solution with pre-baked light maps or tune Torque’s shadow maps for just the right look in a scene
Our classic forward-rendered lighting model performs well on low-end hardware and achieves high production standards. Many of the games designed for mass-market systems use a basic forward lighting system. Light-weight dynamic lighting can be used effectively for maximum impact in tight areas.
pureLIGHT is a third-party tool for Torque 3D which enhances scenes with high quality, static global illumination. Tonemapping and Vertex Color Lighting allow artists to bake lighting into scenes and integrate with the Advanced Lighting system. Lightmaps are generated in real-time so designers can pause light map generation, make adjustments, and continue during a preview.