Me and some friends of mine have had an Idea about a game. We want to make it an overhead 2d rpg (either Jrpg style, ultima 6 and 7 style OR classic isometric Fallout I and II style), but we wanna make the battles turn-based, on a square, diagonal square or hexagon grid Heroes style (mostly H II & H III. The first game I haven' played, though I guess it's the same think) We're thinking that when the battle starts, it should be fought on a new screen, different from the one for "exploration" We're also going to add an interesting crafting system, but my trouble is with the engine we should use. I saw there are some "rpg makers" and so on, but I'm not sure how much that's going to help the battle system we have in mind. All of us have some experiance with code writing, some more, some less. We want to make a baseline-game for now, so we know how the gaming mechanics work and if it plays as well as we think it should.
So, what engine should we build the game upon? Also, is there an engine we could youse that is free (or cheap), and allows us selling the game? Also,should it be better if we make the "Skeleton" of the game on another engine?
Last question first, I think it would be better to make the skeleton of the game on the engine you will be using. That way you will be gaining experience with it. Your skeleton should consist of very simple sprites, etc.
There's an open source engine called FIFE you may want to look at if you want to do an isometric.
You could also basically choose any 2d graphics library with the language of your choice if it's a direct overhead game; however, if there's a tiling editor, it would probably speed up development.
As far as the rpg makers go, check to see how much they can be customized. If it's a drag and drop kind of thing, you won't be able to make many changes. Join the forum and post your questions and try to look at how much the games vary from one another.
You'll have to check on the license of the engine you choose to see if you can sell the game, etc.
Pocket Heroes is a complete implementation of a HoMM-style game with an Apache 2.0 license. The code can get a little complex but there is a lot of knowledge to be gained from reading it's source.
Yesterday I actually fell upon the FIFE engine and saw some of the stuff that is being made with it, it just might do the trick.
I also want to ask about the browser-based mmorpg engines. We don't intend to make the game an mmo yet (we don't want to make something that big yet), but the engines do look like something we've been thinking about. Is there some AI attatched to the browser-based engines and can it be used to make a single-player experience game?
From what I've seen, if the engine offers AI it falls into the category of path finding or perhaps a finite state setup. It gets too much into the individual game design to provide more, so it would be more of a mod engine if it did. I don't know which engines you are talking about. Once you get into individual engines, you really have to visit the forum and ask questions. There are some interesting html5 engines such as Impact, and a small one I looked at called MelonJS, but they aren't mmo engines. An MMO requires a set of servers and can become pretty expensive. Generally, you will need some financial backing for something like that.