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-   -   AGS vs SLUDGE (https://adventuregamers.com/archive/forums/ag-underground-freeware-adventures/7411-ags-vs-sludge.html)

Golan 03-20-2005 01:28 PM

AGS vs SLUDGE
 
I'm looking for some information on these two engines from people who have used them. A lot more people have used AGS but hopefully some people that have used the SLUDGE engine will also come forward.

Let's remove the issue of any registration fees. I'll also state that I have proficient photoshop skills. I'll also assume everyone else does so we can remove that variable from argument.

To start off I've noticed that fonts (spoken text) looks better in the two SLUDGE games I've played.

I hope this starts a useful dialogue that highlights the pros and cons of both engines.

SLUDGE link
http://www.hungrysoftware.com/#/tools/sludge/

AGS link
http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/

Erwin_Br 03-20-2005 01:44 PM

The fonts look good in SLUDGE because the engine allows you to create an anti-aliasing effect. The letters are just ordinary bitmaps, which allows you to easily create your own fonts.

--Erwin

custard 03-20-2005 01:57 PM

I personally don't think that the fonts are either a pro or con, as long as the font is readable, suits the general theme of the game and not some outrageous colour, it's fine.

Golan 03-20-2005 02:17 PM

I've been looking forward to your game. I hope it comes out soon. Are you still making it with your own engine?

-Jeff

Quote:

Originally Posted by Erwin_Br
The fonts look good in SLUDGE because the engine allows you to create an anti-aliasing effect. The letters are just ordinary bitmaps, which allows you to easily create your own fonts.

--Erwin


Squinky 03-20-2005 10:54 PM

Damn, I haven't posted here in ages, but here goes...

As most of you know, my experience consists exclusively of SLUDGE, considering that the last time I tried AGS, it was DOS-based and ugly.

Why I use SLUDGE:
- The games tend to have a more professional quality to them in appearance, mainly due to the prettier fonts, higher resolutions (though AGS has apparently progressed in that regard, methinks), the fact that less people use it, etc.
- I like the scripting language. Being a computer science student learning Java and C/C++, the fact that the language is very similar to Java/C/C++ is definitely a plus.
- I generally like coding to begin with, since it gives a lot more flexibility than a GUI interface would. The huge diversity in the interfaces of SLUDGE games should speak for itself.
- The engine is pretty much complete and needs very little, if any, improvements. (that is, if all you want to do is make a classic 2D adventure game. If you want to create the next Grim Fandango or whatever, you'd be better off looking elsewhere...)
- The logo is cute, and the name of the engine closely resembles SCUMM. (hence me being able to include a SLUDGE Bar in my upcoming game)
- It runs quite well in Linux using WINE.
- I got to beta-test it.
- After registering, you're basically free to sell your games without having to pay anything extra. (especially since the FMOD licencing has been taken care of and all)
- I've already paid the registration fees, and still have half a game left to finish in it!

Things that bug me about SLUDGE:
- The sprite bank editor only allows you to add one sprite at a time, which is NOT good if you have many frames for a sprite.
- You can't switch between full-screen and windowed mode within the game itself. (in other words, you have to set the mode before the game starts, from a menu of sorts, meaning more work for little old me)
- The edges of sprites can't be anti-aliased.
- I'm just a picky person. Overall, SLUDGE is an excellent engine for my needs.

Jake 03-20-2005 11:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Squinky
The games tend to have a more professional quality to them in appearance, mainly due to [...] the fact that less people use it

Eh? I don't follow that logic...

Wormsie 03-21-2005 02:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jake
Eh? I don't follow that logic...

Those few games that are made with Agast, WME and Sludge really tend to have better graphics than your average AGS game. Maybe it is because Agast, WME and Sludge attract more serious developers because the engines are more coding-oriented. AGS is a "free happy happy joy joy for everybody!!" -kind of engine. You can make good games with it, but it is easy to make bad games with it due to the fact that very little programming is required to create a very basic game. Agast, WME and Sludge all require some programming knowledge before you can create even a two-room thingy.

AGA 03-21-2005 03:15 AM

I'm not really gonna enter this discussion in an 'OMG AGS rules. U all suxxx' manner, mainly because I've only ever used AGS and can't really compare it to other engines. However, squinky, every single good thing you listed about SLUDGE applies also to AGS.

The games also run natively in Linux, although the editor doesn't. Dunno how well it would work under Wine though.
The AGS IDE has come on in leaps and bounds since the DOS days, and is no longer DOS-based and ugly. It's purty now. The scripting language has also recently been overhauled (although the old style still works for those unwilling to change) to be far more object oriented, a la Java and C++.
You're free to sell your AGS games, for free (free to you, not the buyer :P), as long as you use a special MP3-free version of the engine. This is due to the MP3 people wanting huge fees to use their codecs in your product, rather than any restriction imposed by AGS's creator. The other-codecs-only version is fine for you to sell games made using (as evidenced by the relative success of The Adventures of Fatman.

So uh yeah, AGS does stuff too!

From a games-playing perspective, the fact that other engines may be harder to use, even if that does breed a better class of game in the long-run, is not really that good of a thing... There have been two good games made with SLUDGE I can think of off the top of my head, two with AGAST, 1 with Wintermute. All those games were high quality (yours was one, Squinky :)), but two games in what, 3 years of engine development in some cases, is kinda slow going. AGS may have a lot of dross released, but it does have tens, if not approaching hundreds of excellent games.

Wormsie 03-21-2005 03:57 AM

I don't think other engines are that much harder to use if it is a professional-quality game you are wanting to develop. I've tried AGS and my first impressions weren't that good. I dislike the separation of setting the game up and learning to code. These days I find a good GUI almost essential, but I still prefer mainly programming-based things. For example GUIs and events (LookAt, TalkTo) I'd prefer to code rathert than to partly design graphically and partly as code. Setting up a scene in the game is of course easier graphically, as is setting up the game animations. When it comes to other kind of content, though, it's so much easier to just start tinkering with the code than to go through an extensive tutorial to learn the UI, because eventually you need to learn to code anyway... The less programming-oriented you want your engine to be, the more you have to develop the IDE system, but no IDE is comprehensive enough to replace code altogether.

AGA 03-21-2005 04:50 AM

Oh well, different strokes...

Personally I prefer being able to set up visual things, such as room objects and GUIs using a GUI, it allows for more precision, and lets you see how stuff will appear in game. Of course the actual functionality of the GUI and objects is all done in code, which gives you greater control over what stuff does. Events are entirely codeable if that's what you want, btw, all you HAVE to use the editor for is to set up the initial 'interact with object x' thing. Everything after that you can specifiy yourself. This is to ensure that you don't mess up the coding and have 50 different objects with the same name, and have your game crash, I think.

You can make do with an absolute minimum usage of the GUIs - just use it for setting up rooms and importing sprites/character views. If you so desire (and I do), you can script everything else by hand.

Of course you're entitled to prefer another engine because of the way it works, but I find AGS has the perfect blend - you could theoretically create entire games with a minimum of coding if programming scares you, or you could make it almost entirely using programming, adding far more advanced features the GUI doesn't handle. Depends what you want...

If you do prefer coding more though, you might like to try one of the latest betas of AGS, with the new scripting style. Things have been overhauled quite substantially.

Wormsie 03-21-2005 07:10 AM

Perhaps the reason for my dislike of AGS lies in its IDE. The programming interface almost seemed like an afterthought, and almost every aspect of the game had its own edit-screen, which I think is a bit too much. It also seems unflexible, although I'm sure it isn't. It's been a while, though - I will give AGS another try in the future and see how it has developed.

But to make a comment that will help the guy who started this thread: it doesn't matter which engine you choose. You will most probably like it. I liked both Agast and WME (eventually).

The AGS community is a LOT more active than the Sludge community, though, if you care about that kind of stuff. I understand if you do.

AGA 03-21-2005 08:11 AM

Yeah, well, like I said. There IS an IDE screen for pretty much everything, which is good for people who want that kind of thing. However, there is pretty much no aspect of the game you cannot control yourself through scripting if you so desire.

But yeah, like deadworm said, everyone chooses an engine for whatever reason, all of them are capable of making games, it's just some do it in different ways, and have more features.

Golan 03-21-2005 11:20 AM

This is just the kind of constructive discourse I intended. Thanks to everyone who took the time to post.

-Jeff

Erwin_Br 03-21-2005 12:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AGA
as long as you use a special MP3-free version of the engine. This is due to the MP3 people wanting huge fees to use their codecs in your product, rather than any restriction imposed by AGS's creator. The other-codecs-only version is fine for you to sell games made using (as evidenced by the relative success of The Adventures of Fatman.

Does AGS support OGG? It's the format I'm using since it's, as you probably know, open source.

I think AGS's community is its strongest point over SLUDGE, although the people on the SLUDGE forums are very helpful and respond to your questions very quickly as well.

The many windows and options in AGS are a little too much for me. I think the UI should be made more efficient and user-friendly. Perhaps by grouping things together, instead of the many windows for all these different options.

Also, and I'm not too sure about this, but I think I read somewhere that AGS has certain limitations, for example a maximum amount of objects, strings, etc...

--Erwin

Wormsie 03-21-2005 12:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Erwin_Br
Also, and I'm not too sure about this, but I think I read somewhere that AGS has certain limitations, for example a maximum amount of objects, strings, etc...

...rooms.

It's very unlikely that you would ever need more of those, but MAN, that tells something of the way the engine has been programmed. Sounds... DOSsy. Also, the highest supported resolution is 800*600. 256 colors mode has a strange palette system.

AGS does support OGG.

Also, AGS is WAY slower on high resolutions than WME, Agast or Sludge. Well, I don't know about Sludge, but I'd think so, because AGS isn't optimized for speed at all the last I tested.

I don't know if Sludge supports hardware acceleration (AGS doesn't), but WME and Agast do, and it shows. Those engines are fast.

Can the conversation system in AGS be rewritten? LucasArts mode is very bad.

AGA 03-21-2005 02:08 PM

AGS does support OGG, yeah.

As for limitations, yes, there are a number, but I don't think it's much of an issue. Some people have come close, and asked CJ (engine's creator) to raise them. So he did :) I suspect all the engines have some virtual limitations, they just don't tell you what they are. Infinite numbers would bog the system down majorly I reckon.

As for the speeds at which AGS runs compared to other engines, I dunno, I have a fast processor... However, AGS is always been enhanced (the latest version has reached about 20 betas, each of them adding and fine-tuning features), so it may be much faster than the last time you checked. Dunno.

The 'strange palette system' is for customisable palettes, something I think 8-bit artists want (don't ask me though, I'm no artist)

Conversation systems, like all GUI aspects, can be customised, yes.

As for speed at higher reses, pff, who needs anything above 640x400 anyway?! :P

Wormsie 03-21-2005 02:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AGA
As for speed at higher reses, pff, who needs anything above 640x400 anyway?! :P

Hand drawn at 1024*768 with 32-bit colors looks VERY pretty. Project Joe proves this, I think.

EDIT: Then again, those who go for that resolution also tend to make extensive use of animations, alpha blending and animations and have such a high frame rate that the game slows down anyway. *thinks of the Curves of Danger* :shifty:

Kazmodan 03-21-2005 02:48 PM

Actually, speed at higher res is a downside of AGS that I hope to see improved. Saying "who needs more than 640x480 anyway" is like Bill Gates saying, "640K should be enough for everyone" (or something like that). Even with anti-aliased backgrounds and characters, the "jaggies" are still more noticable than at higher resolutions. And on CRT monitors (yes, they're still alive, preffered by many gamers, and cost less than LCDs) higher resolutions look much sharper than lower.

That being said, you can't beat free. Wintermute has its "whatever the engine's author deems necessary" royaltee amount if you make a commercial game, SLUDGE requires a registration fee, and a general vibe I got about AGAST is "well, it's got these bad bugs but some people have found work-arounds" and its slow update and bug-fix pace. Somehow those choices don't sound too apealing to me. For now, AGS seems like a lesser of the "evils". :devil: This may sound a bit extreme but I would either go for AGS for something casual or a classic 2D style of old days because the engine is free OR if I wanted to do a lot of coding, I would move onto something like CrystalSpace, which is what's being used for the upcoming "Keepsake" game. Perhaps "Blender" (also free for commercial stuff) for making pre-rendered backgrounds and characters if I wanted a 3D'ish look. But that's just IMO.

Also, I do have a bit of a worry about whether AGS continues to stay free or not. While CJ often jokes about it becoming non-free on April 1st(s), as soon as someone steers the conversation in a serious direction, he doesn't give a clear answer and says that he can't promise anything. I wouldn't want him to suddenly switch it to require fees in the middle of a game development. Also, when it comes to commercial projects with AGS, doesn't the license say (or used to) that you're pretty much required to send a free copy of your game to Chris? Which is actually ok. The use of the full engine is still free.

AGA 03-21-2005 02:54 PM

There is not a chance in hell of AGS ever becoming commercial. I've met CJ 4 or 5 times now, and every time the question has come up. People have suggested he take donations and such, but he says until the day comes he loses his job and becomes completely penniless he wouldn't ever consider it. So no :P

As for the free copy thing, it's not a must-do thing, it's just a cheeky little suggestion. I doubt very much CJ would ever block a game's release just because he didn't get his free copy.

Kazmodan 03-21-2005 03:11 PM

I would be much more inclined to send him a free copy and maybe make a donation if AGS, indeed, was still free at a time of my game release than if he required something upfront. That's why I think AGS would be the least risky to go with. I have to admit though that if Wintermute didn't have its commercial license the way it is now, it would've been my engine of choice. :P But for now, if it's 2D, it's AGS, even if I'm making a non-commercial game (because free is free!). Also, when I said "old style", I didn't mean to make it sound "outdated". I meant the hand-drawn style that adventures used to be in. I would very much enjoy playing a 2D adventure game with the level of skill in drawings and illustrations that were used in "Lord of the Rings" movie (and DVD menus). Heck, even if they were kept pencil-only drawings without coloring, it would still be a great feeling to play something with that style.


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