Edit: As I was writing this article, I hit the website one more time and saw this:
GarageGames has been slowly dying off for years now, at least at it’s original core website at http://garagegames.com. It’s been pretty inactive overall since 2017 (before that, really) but has always just been around. Not anymore, unfortunately. I started this conversation on my Twitter page, but felt this deserved a bit more background.
For those of you perhaps new to game development and never heard of GarageGames, literally founded in a garage in 2000 by Jeff Tunnell, Tim Gift, Rick Overman and Mark Frohnmayer as a way to help anyone be able to get their hands on a game engine and be able to make games. Until then, most game engines were prohibitively expensive and inaccessible to small or solo developers. GarageGames changed all that by licensing their 3D game engine known simply as Torque for $100 USD. This was an iteration of the V12 engine originally developed at Dynamix (originally used to make Tribes 2), and later renamed to Torque Game Engine. The license came with all source code, and could be used by companies with less that $250k USD annual revenue, with a commercial license available as well. This was simply unheard of at the time. Nobody released a game engine, with source, for $100.
I purchased my license of the Torque Game Engine (TGE) in 2001. At the time, I only had cursory c++ exposure and certainly didn’t know much about even compiling, let alone programming in it. Over the years I used it on my own for learning purposes, and thankfully the community put up with all my questions along the way.
In 2008, GarageGames was working on the next iteration of the engine, then called Torque Game Engine Advanced (TGEA). It had a new material system that made use of the programmable pipeline that was recently added (i.e. shaders). Materials were added via the proprietary scripting language, TorqueScript. As this was in very early development, there was no editor for these materials, they had to be scripted. You then had to load up the engine, load up a scene, test the change, shut down, tweak, and repeat. Frustrated with this, I set out to make a resource/addon for the engine, a material editor, and made my first blog post on GarageGames.com (excuse the Photobucket watermark, in 2008 they didn’t do that):
This drew the attention of some of the employees at GG, and I was brought in to work on an official editor for the engine, which was eventually released as Torque 3D.
GarageGames will always specifically hold a special place in my heart because it’s where I got my start in game dev. I just realized even after all these years my name is still in the source code! It’s a symbol of pride to me, and always will be what I consider to be one of my greatest accomplishments.
An accomplishment which would not have been possible without GarageGames and the GG community.
Torque 3D is now fully maintained by the community, who have done an awesome job at keeping it alive:
- The last official open source repo of Torque 3D from GarageGames (no longer maintained)
- The community-maintained fork of the above repo, updated constantly.
- The new official Torque 3D website
- The Torque Game Engines Discord Server
It’s more than fair to say that without GarageGames, I doubt I’d be anywhere near where I am today. I can only hope that someday my work and efforts can have as much of an impact on even one person as much as GG and TGE(A) / 3D have impacted my life.
Thank you for everything, GarageGames.