ZippoLag, building a 3D engine is a really really really bad idea ...
Yup. Pretty much. Took the gaming industry years to screw around with gaming engines to get to the point they are at now. I'd recommend buying an indie engine and modding it up to your specs, as an alternative. But uhhh, if you want the experience, as you stated, then go for it I suppose. But what Charonte said is pretty much accurate. It's no easy journey.
Props to you if you keep at it, however.
Yup, the popular opinion is that making an engine would take just too much time, but just how much is "too much" depends on one's priorities
There are some things I want to try out and the only way to learn those things will be to really do this, or so I feel.
I'm drawing the baselines for a pen&paper RPG
But we already have a superior medium...why go backwards when you can spend your efforts on working out things for the computer game version? Granted, Pen and Paper have their appeal in their own way....but in your particular case, perhaps you should spend the effort working out more concrete plans for your PC version?
I dare say, computer based role playing is by no means superior to pen & paper. Sitting 'round a table with a bunch of friends -or strangers- and use your imagination to dwell in a fantasy world, regardless of texture resolutions and frame rates is a unique experience wich PC games fail to comprehend in most cases. And may I add, one of the things I intend to develop some day, is an MMORPG in wich the main activity, purpose, mean and goal of every quest isn't killing a bunch of creeps to gain experience and loot.
Honestly, if you want my advice start off developing a 2D/isometric engine instead. They're more than complex enough for a single developer and the vast majority of the math applies to 3D too.
Read an article not too long ago about why you should make games, and not engines. Basically if you make *just* an engine you will spend forever adding useless features that have no practical use, trying perfect something that in the real world functions fine.
So, if you want to make an engine build a game and make an engine to fit. Doesn't have to be much, just a simple concept, so long as it's not so abstract that you can't actually focus on the game and end up just making a crap engine with an example.
After you've done one game, come up with a new concept and adapt your engine to fit that. You'll end up with something that fits a broader application and yet you're still learning something about game development too. It's never something I've been able to do but it's still the best route, I think.
As for considering modding in my own project (think this has been bought up before), yep, it should be relatively simple. You will need to have a basic knowledge of scripting (lua) and initially you will need to create maps by hand (I will provide a template lua script to facilitate this however), but apart from that it should be a cakewalk. Everything is/will be documented so nothing should be overly obscure.
Thanks, but no thanks, I've already dwelled into the dark paths of isometric engines and given the fact I hated the results I got and since most PCs still functioning today have enough proccessing power to smoothly run some sort of complete 3d engine I feel that attempting to make an isometric engine -or using one for making a game- would end up in me giving up what's left of my humanity for the sake of keeping my mind "sane". I'm probably going to use lua for scripting, though.