Torque (game engine)

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Torque Game Engine
Torque Game Engine logo.png
Developer(s) GarageGames
Stable release
1.5.2 / May 15, 2007; 9 years ago (2007-05-15)
Operating system Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux
Platform PC
Type Game engine
License MIT License[1]
Website Official Torque Game Engine product page

The Torque Game Engine, or TGE, is a 3D computer game engine originally developed by Dynamix for the 2001 first-person shooter Tribes 2. The current version is called Torque 3D.


Commercial titles developed using the Torque engine include BoneTown, Blockland, Marble Blast Gold, Minions of Mirth, TubeTwist, Ultimate Duck Hunting, Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa, ThinkTanks, The Destiny of Zorro, Penny Arcade Adventures and indie video games The Age of Decadence,, The Cat and the Coup, Dead State, Frozen Synapse, and S.P.A.Z..

The Torque engine and its many derivative products were available for license from GarageGames, a company formed by many members of the Tribes 2 team at Dynamix. GarageGames was later acquired by InstantAction, but on November 11, 2010, InstantAction announced that it was winding down its operations and looking for potential buyers for Torque.[2] On January 19, 2011, GarageGames announced their return to their old name with new owners.[3] Torque 3D and most of their other products were to continue being developed and supported.

GarageGames released Torque 3D under the MIT License on September 20, 2012.[4][5]


As well as being a 3D graphics engine, TGE provided networking code, scripting, in-engine world editing, and GUI creation. The source code could be compiled for Windows, macOS, Linux, Wii, Xbox 360, and iOS platforms. TGE shipped with starter kits for a first-person shooter and an off-road racing game. A real-time strategy starter kit was also available as a separate purchase. These starter packs could be modified to suit the needs of the developer, or the developer could start from scratch.

The engine supported loading of 3D models in the DTS and DIF file formats. DTS models were typically used for characters and vehicles though occasionally for buildings and interiors. They could be animated using either skeletal or morph target animation. It was also possible to blend multiple skeletal animations together by playing them simultaneously or automatically tweening the different positions of bones in the skeleton. DIF models have pre-calculated lighting and as such are ill-suited for animation. Instead, they were used for buildings and interiors. They automatically had bounding boxes that perfectly match the visible geometry. This was so that it was not made overly difficult for a player in a Torque Game Engine game to move or fire weapons around them.

The game featured a terrain engine that automatically created LODs of the ground so that it rendered the fewest polygons necessary at any given time. The terrain was automatically lit, and textures applied to the terrain could be blended together seamlessly. The game's rendering engine featured environment mapping, Gouraud shading, volumetric fog, and other effects such as decals that allowed for textures to be projected onto interiors in real time (for example, a player in a Torque Game Engine game might fire a weapon that left a bullet hole in the wall. The bullet hole would be a decal). Torque supported networked games over LAN and the internet with a traditional client-server architecture. Server objects were "ghosted" on clients and updated periodically or upon events.

TorqueScript (also known as TS) is a coding language designed specifically for the Torque Game Engine. It is similar to C++ and C#. It is a powerful entry-level scripting language that can allow complex features to be created.[citation needed]


Over time, Torque Game Engine was expanded on with the creation of derivative engines.

Torque 3D[edit]

Torque 3D
Developer(s) GarageGames
Stable release
3.9.0 / July 12, 2016; 8 months ago (2016-07-12)
Operating system Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux
Platform PC
Type Game engine
License 1.2 and later: MIT License
Before 1.2: Proprietary commercial software
Website Official Torque3D product page on GarageGames website

The latest Torque 3D version 1.2 was released under the MIT License on September 20, 2012, and is currently at version 3.10-RC2.[6] Originating as a successor to TGEA, Torque 3D features PhysX support, modern shader features, and an advanced deferred lighting model. T3D also supports Windows, Linux and MacOS. DTS and DIF shapes have been superseded by COLLADA, a more commonly supported file format. The DIF format has been completely deprecated, while DTS is still used as an internal format.

Torque 2D[edit]

Torque 2D
Developer(s) GarageGames
Stable release
3.1 / August 14, 2014; 2 years ago (2014-08-14)
Operating system Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, WebGL, iOS, Android
Platform PC
Type Game engine
License 2.0 and later: MIT License
Before 2.0: Proprietary commercial software
Website Official Torque2D product page on GarageGames website

On February the 5th, 2013,[7] the company went on to create Torque 2D. Torque 2D was a game engine designed for 2D games based on the Torque Game Engine. The name was eventually changed to the Torque Game Builder because the ultimate goal is to make Torque Game Builder a game-making suite.[citation needed] It was used to create the puzzle game And Yet It Moves (2009, Broken Rules, WiiWare).[citation needed]

Torque Game Engine Advanced[edit]

Torque Game Engine Advanced
Developer(s) GarageGames
Stable release
1.8.2 / October 18, 2009; 7 years ago (2009-10-18)
Operating system Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux
Platform PC, games can be ported to Xbox 360
Type Game engine
Website Official Torque Game Engine Advanced product page on GarageGames website

Torque Game Engine Advanced (formerly known as Torque Shader Engine) was an expanded version of Torque Game Engine made to support advanced technologies including shaders, per-pixel lighting, and massive terrains. This version of the engine has been ported to Microsoft's Xbox and Xbox 360 console systems. Several Xbox Live Arcade games have been released using the Torque engine, most notably Marble Blast Ultra.

Although TGEA supported the existing Torque Legacy Terrain, TGEA incorporated entirely new terrain rendering engine, the Atlas Terrain Engine, which is an improvement over the blended terrains of TGE. Atlas used GPU hardware to render a massive terrain block and its textures. This allowed Atlas to scale with faster systems of the future. A shaded water rendering system was implemented with full reflection, refraction, and Fresnel reflection. TGEA incorporated a lighting system based on Torque Lighting Kit, including a light manager tool, scene lighting, and dynamic shadows among others.

Torque Game Engine Advanced 1.0 supported Direct3D rendering via an API-independent graphics layer. Future versions were expected to support both Direct3D and OpenGL pipelines to allow TGEA to support macOS and Linux platforms as well as Windows. There had also been planned TGEA compatibility with Microsoft's game development suite for the Xbox 360, XNA Game Studio Express.

TGEA contained several ready-to-apply shaders and common shader settings. Custom shaders based on High Level Shader Language could be compiled by the engine and applied as custom materials. This could be applied to both interior and exterior type 3D art assets. Fallback materials could be configured to allow support of pixel and vertex 1.x first-generation video cards.

Development History

February 10, 2009 New release of TGEA, TGEA 1.8.1
April 5, 2008 New release of TGEA, TGEA 1.7
February 15, 2007 Production release of TGEA 1.0 and end of Early Adopter Program
January 23, 2007 Release 4.2 Beta.

Torque Game Builder was later renamed back to Torque 2D. Torque 2D was released under the MIT License on February 5, 2013, which coincided with the release of version 2.0.[8] This release resulted in a merger between the derivative engine iTorque 2D for the iOS platform with Torque 2D.[9]

Torque Lighting Kit[edit]

Torque Lighting Kit was an expansion pack to the Torque Game Engine developed by John Kabus and Synapse Gaming. It added a variety of enhanced lighting features to the Torque Game Engine. In the latest release,[10] features such as dynamic lighting and shadowing were added. Torque Lighting Kit was later included as part of Torque Game Engine 1.5 and Torque Game Engine Advanced. In 2008, Kabus and Synapse Gaming stopped supporting Torque, began a partnership with Microsoft, and packaged their lighting technology and other new tech into the Sunburn XNA Game Engine.[11]

Torque X[edit]

After the release of Torque Game Builder, GarageGames began to develop Torque X. Torque X was a game engine based on Torque Game Builder using a component system that allows multiple game objects to have the same abilities, running on Microsoft's XNA Framework.[12][13] Many of the 3D features were left incomplete and never finished. Specifically, 3D terrain using RAW height maps suffered from a lack of working examples, shadows were substandard (consisting only of a spherical shadow texture projected on the terrain), the ability to use skinned meshes for animated models was not working (non-skinned meshes worked), and the 3D rigid-body physics suffered from several issues.

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