Along with the official announcement about the release of Torque3D 1.0, the Garagegames website also mentions casually that as of November 1st, they will no longer be selling their ‘older’ engines such as TGE or TGEA.
It makes sense business-wise to try to force your customers towards your new product. Microsoft is doing it quite vigorously with each new release of Windows or Office, so GarageGames isn’t doing something unheard of. The problem which has lead to the outcry of the community is that new licensees are looking at a price hike of 7 times the original price for the original Torque Game Engine (TGE) (150 USD to 1000 USD).
The follow-up of that engine, which will also receive ‘legacy’ status at the end of the month, was TGEA (for Torque Game Engine Advanced). TGEA featured a new terrain system and a new, shader-based rendering pipeline. The latest version, 1.8.1, has several known bugs and only fixes for about half of them. Many licensees think Garagegames should first try to fix their engines before starting to write a new one. That’s a sentiment regularly voiced in the reactions on the end-of-life message.
I’d say, for those that want to have one of the less cutting-edge engines, with still lots of value, the end is near. Get your license now before they pull the plug. The end-of-life means really ‘End Of Sales’. As TGEA and even T3D are really upgrades of TGE, much of the support (forum entries, resources, packs) for one engine is useable for another. TGE is a great cross-platform engine (Yes, at that time they supported Linux), and games like Penny Arcade Adventures show that you can still make some fabulous games with TGE. At that price, it’s also a great engine to start your game development education with.
Alternatives would be Unity (but they deliver no source code) or waiting for TGE to become open source.