RealmForge Game Engine: Open-source Predecessor to Visual3D Game Engine
RealmForge, the open-source predeccesor to the Visual3D Game Engine, was developed by founder of Realmware Corporation, Dan Moorehead. It is notable as the first game engine and toolset written entirely in C# which enabled 3D game development with the Microsoft .NET Framework. RealmForge was featured on the front page of Software Developer's Journal, due to its having been the first engine to prove the feasibility and advantages of C# and .NET for 3D game development.
First Engine to Enable 3D Game/Simulation Development with C# and .NET
The predecessor to Realmware's Visual3D Game Engine, RealmForge, was featured as the cover story and namesake of the "3D Games in .NET" July 2005 issue of Software Developer's Journal (a magazine since renamed to Software 2.0), due to its having been the first commercially viable .NET-based 3D engine. Since then, Microsoft has also recognized and supported the advantages of 3D development with .NET, with the Microsoft XNA Framework - a technology upon which the Visual3D Game Engine and its editors and visual development tools have been built.
Replaced by Visual3D Game Engine in 2005
Though development of the RealmForge engine discontinued in 2005, it continues to remain free and open-source, nominally maintained by Realmware.
Downloads and Support for RealmForge
The final release of RealmForge (v0.6.2) can be obtained on SourceForge.net
. The forums, mailing lists, and issue tracker on SourceForge.net are no longer active, so this page on the Visual3D website now serves as the primary project page for RealmForge. As the developers and users behind RealmForge have since moved on to the Visual3D Game Engine, if you post your questions here on the Visual3D forums, you may find responses from former RealmForge users.
History and Redesign for Next-gen Shader-based 3D Graphics
As RealmForge was based on the Axiom engine, it inherited the legacy fixed-function design of Ogre 3D graphics library, however, the Visual3D Game Engine had been redesigned from the ground up for high-performance, shader-based 3D rendering, as well as powerful visual material editors (shader generation) and its unique #SL framework for writing shaders in C#.
Asset Pipeline: From .mesh to Live Importing of COLLADA, FBX, CAD and GIS
RealmForge provides support for models and materials in .mesh, .skeleton, and .material file formats produced by custom exporters available for major modeling packages. While Visual3D has maintained support for these formats, it provides a much more powerful and user friendly content/asset pipeline with the vast majority of modeling, CAD, and GIS Digital Content Creation (DCC) tools - ranging from 3ds max, Maya, and Softimage to ESRI and AutoCAD - through its support for live (automatic) importing of COLLADA (.dae) and Autodesk FBX (.fbx), as well as many other model, CAD, texture, and GIS/DTED formats.
From Scene Editor to All-in-One Visual Development Tool for Real-time World Building
Though the RealmForge had provided a basic scene editor for placing models into a scene, the primary focus in the Visual3D Game Engine has been in an All-in-One Visual Development Tool providing a full range of the editors needed to develop a game or simulation from start-to-finish.
One of the goals with RealmForge had been to provide support for "live", "real-time", "in-game" editing, as enabled by both engine and toolset having been developed in C#. While RealmForge serves as a proof of concept of this, this goal has been fully realized in the Visual3D Game Engine, with All-in-One Development Tool able to be hosted, on-demand (at the press of a key), within the game, simulation or visualization being developed.
This All-in-One Development Tool of the Visual3D Game Engine provides the full range of development tools needed for developing next-gen 3D games, simulations and visualizations, including built-in, real-time editing tools and features from World Building, Terrain Editing, Decal Editing, and Scene/Scenario Editing to Object/Entity Editing, Entity/Model/Material/Physics Editing, IronPython Script Editor, Entity State/Trigger Hookup, Behavior Tree Editor, Cinematic Editor, and Visual Scripting.
C# and Visual Studio side-by-side with Visual3D Toolset: Edit-and-Continue, Object Database, and Drag-Drop Entity Building with .NET Classes
While RealmForge and Visual3D were both designed from the ground up to allow the productivity benefits of programming in C# and Visual Studio (with its coding and debugging tools) to be brought to 3D game and simulation development (instead of traditional second-class custom scripting languages/editors), the Visual3D All-in-One Development Tool goes further in providing rapid development for all aspects of game and simulation creation.
This visual toolset enabling artists and subject-matter experts (such as educators and training staff) to author games and simulations instead of just programmers, while at the same time improving integration with Visual Studio. With Visual3D, you can write your own reusable component classes in the .NET language (using any IDE of your choice, side-by-side with the Visual3D toolset) which show up automatically as reusable prefabs or preset assets which can be drag-dropped onto any scene or entity, with their properties editable and persisted (in the object/asset database) for each smart copy or instance. You can even create your own "virtual classes" in the toolset without need for custom coding, by building up entity prefabs from reusable entity action, state and ability building blocks.