Python is probably the easiest language of all to learn (it’s almost like pseudo code), so you shouldn’t have any difficulties getting up to speed with it. Especially having experience in programming in general. Just read here: docs.python.org/tutorial/index.html and you should be good to go. Once you’re done, move on to the code samples. You shouldn’t have too much trouble getting used to Python.
There’s no catch . At least I’m yet to bump into any. Of course you won’t get everything Unity or UE3 would give you (like WYSIWYG editors, shader editors and whatnot), but you will get one of the best documented, easiest to use and probably the best supported OpenSource engine available.
No, as long as you RTFM and optimize your code and graphics. Panda isn’t any slower than any other engine, and it supports all important optimization methods, plus it’s equipped with some nice debugging and profiling tools that can really save your ass.
It is by itself written in C++, so it’s not a victim to performance issues high level languages suffer from. As long as you keep all cpu intensive stuff off Python (you can write it in Python and, after identifying bottlenecks, rewrite a specific method to C++) you should not notice any significant slowness with Panda compared to .
That depends on your graphics and level design more than the engine, you know . If you make Gears of War-level graphics than probably not. If you keep it down to earth – sure.
Panda itself scales very well and it can go from Half Life 1 grade graphics (or even lower) with vertex lighting up to full dynamic lighting, dynamic shadows and a whole lot of shaders on a big, big level.
The Chicken exporter will do the job of exporting from Blender for you. It’s really good, supports almost everything you need except for lights, but it’s not difficult to work around this limitation using empties and tags.
It even supports setting up collisions, at least for the Panda’s internal collision detection system (doesn’t work for ODE).
Have fun using Panda.