If you’re into the gaming culture, you have probably heard the term ‘game engine’ being thrown around somewhere. A game engine is a software that provides game developers with the required set of tools to build and develop games fast and efficiently. A game engine can be thought of as a framework for game development that includes all the major areas in game development. These are: graphics, physics, audio, networking, graphical user interface and scripting. Game engines are built so that developers don’t have to create all features of the game from scratch as that would be expensive and time consuming.
Game engines provide the developers with more time to focus on the key features and elements of the game such as character looks, facial expressions, and models and how entities and objects of the game will interact. This means that before game engines, the process of designing games was a lot more difficult. It meant that all games would have to be made from scratch making it consume a lot more time and a whole lot expensive.
There are many game engine making companies. Different engines have different strengths and weaknesses as each of them has their own style and user. Some are more geared toward non-programmers and beginners. Whereas, some are designed for programers to unleash their potential.
Choosing a Game engine can be difficult for a new Game developer. Without the experience of working on the game engines,its not possible to decide . Godot and Unreal are the two most commonly used game engines used in game development. They are both simple and have been developed with a newbie developer in mind. Because of this, they are considered great for beginners. They are both easy to use and navigate through which makes them the top two choices for any beginner out there. The following section describes each of these game engines and some of their key features.
Godot is considered the underdog in game engines. This is because it is powerful yet open source, meaning that the developer does not have to pay anything to use the tool. It is also older, and is geared mainly toward 2D game development. However, it supports 3D but is not the best at 3D game development and rendering. Because of how long ago it was started, Godot, unlike newer game engines is suited for people with programming knowledge. Every feature is accessible through code meaning that someone without coding knowledge cannot use it. However, among the coders, it is highly praised because of its well-arranged documentation and ease of coding.
Godot is an open source C++ based game engine with a superior editor loved by many coders. And like all other open source software, Godot is constantly updated and fixing bugs by their online community. This means if you have a question, there is a community to help you out when you’re stuck. Godot is a great choice for 2D game development but also works with 3D games. What makes Godot great for beginners however is the large set of documents it provides which allow the beginner to easily learn and develop a simple game.
Godot supports all major platforms including: Windows, Linux, Mac OS, and iOS, Android, PS3, HTML5, PS Vita and even the less popular Windows Phone. With Godot, it is easy for beginners to learn and make simple games without reinventing the wheel.
The key features for Godot game engine include the following.
Godot has a dedicated scripting language
Godot game engine comes with a uniquely written programming language called GDScript. GDScript was developed by the Godot team as a result of testing other languages and failing. GDScript came about as a result of mixing and iterating multiple programming languages such as Python and Lua. Since none of these languages worked for them how they wanted, they decided to merge the two. This is why GDScript is as readable as Python since it retains some of the features of Python language such as strict typing and more straightforward short codes. Through this, they were also able to create a better editor which is what Godot is mainly praised for. The language is quick to learn and this is why many developers love Godot.
GDScript also includes visual scripting. Visual scripting is important when it comes to developers who are into artsy stuff. It makes coding much more intuitive and allows easy making of prototypes. However, it is important to note that a game should not be created only through visual scripting.
Supports multiple programming languages
As we know by now, to use a game engine, you have to have some bit of coding knowledge. The problem comes in when you know a language that is not supported by your game engine. Godot ensures that whatever language you know is supported by it. It supports C++, C# and their own GDScript. Recently, they have been working on VisualScript which is a similar to Unreal’s Blueprint engine.
Supports both 2D and 3D development
Many games today are in 3D. However, for Indie developers, 2D game development is essential. Godot is great for Indie developers since it is especially tailored for 2D game models. Godot game engine provides a smooth and great workflow for these game models and this is why almost all Indie game developers use it. Unlike newer game engines that work in pseudo 2D where a 3D world is represented in two dimensions, Godot works in actual 2D that is expressed in pixels. This is the reason we say it is tailored especially for 2D game models. They plan on releasing 2.5D support soon.
It is an open source game engine
Godot is well known for being an open source software. All its features and tools are registered under the MIT license. This means that it is free and you own everything that you create from it. Because of its open source nature, it is very flexible. If you are a developer and find something that does not work for you the way you want, you can change it. Through its online community, more and more tools and features are added and availed freely to users. It therefore allows them to unique elements to their games.
It has a node system
To understand the node system, you have to first understand how game engines work. Game engines normally use scenes to represent a level in a game. In the scene, there are objects. These objects are what identify a scene. With newer game engines, the objects are called Actors.
For Godot however, scenes have a node. Each node is a single object and can inherit from any other node. Many nodes make a scene meaning that even scenes have the inheritance property as long as they have the same root node. Nodes can be difficult to master if you have never worked with them before. However, for people used to them, it is a very intuitive and great design tool
Godot has its own IDE
Godot comes with its own IDE or text editor. You are not bound to use this editor and can use any other editor you prefer. The inbuilt editor is definitely not as cool as other third party IDEs but is great for use in Godot.
It is light for systems
Godot does not consume a lot of memory in the system. In fact with just over 60MB, standard Godot is executable. It also does not need installation. After you download it, all you need to do it to unzip it and get started. It is preferred by many because on top of its small file size, the engine is perfect for lower powered systems. It is important to note however note that, the in engine performance of your system is directly linked to the performance of the finished product. This means that if your system’s engine is slow and buffery, the game will also be slow and jittery.
Godot is a cross platform
Godot supports all major operating systems in the world today. This list includes Windows, Mac and Linux among others. It can also be supported by either 32 or 64 bit machines which makes it every convenient for many. The only problem is that many alternative tools in Godot are tailored with only one OS in mind: Windows. This means that when using another operating system with such tools will cause problems.
Has a server
Godot game engine has an inbuilt server to support multiplayer game development. The server also allows games made by Godot to be suitable for multiple game environments such as Android, PS3, HTML5, PS Vita and even the less popular Windows Phone. They are currently working on a Raspberry Pi version.
Godot is open source and this means that the online community is involved in documentation. With around 100k active users, Godot has one of the best manuals. As time goes, Godot users will continue to grow and the manual will continue to get better and better.
Godot has one of the most diverse and powerful animations studio – better than most of the newer game engines. And as much as it is diverse, Godot has made it that it is also one of the easiest to use and learn. It does not go as deep as newer game engines meant for 3D models, but definitely offers ease of use.
Great for 2D games
As we’ve said before, Godot was tailored for 2D game models and until they released a new version, it was limited to only 2D creations. If you plan on developing a 2D game, then Godot is a great choice for you.
UNREAL Game engine
Unreal was developed by Epic Games under a man known as Tim Sweeney in 1998. For the past two decades, Unreal has been used to develop games from all genres. Worldwide popular games such as Splinter Cell have been developed using Unreal. Newer games such as Final Fantasy 7 have also been developed using this game engine.
The latest version of Unreal is version 4.21 and was released on November 2018. Like previous versions, the latest was also created with a 3D game in mind, and this is why Unreal is great for 3D titles. It is important to note that is also supports 2d game development. It is also the game engine with one of the best dynamic lighting that will fully immerse you into a virtual gaming world. However, one of its stand out features is that you do not need to have any coding knowledge to create a game using Unreal. This is because Unreal come with a Blueprint. The Blueprint is a group of tools and features that you can use to create all aspects of the game without having to write a single line of code. This is what makes it so great for beginners.
With all these great features of this engine, it is surprising that Unreal is free. They give you the full game engine package with all features for free. They did this to encourage software and game development in schools. To make money however, they have a fair system. Unreal takes 5% of you total revenue when you ship your game. They take this cut forever. This rule though only applies after you have made game sales worth over $3000, which is a fair deal.
The Unreal is a powerful game engine. It has the following key features.
Supports both 2D and 3D development
Many games today are in 3D. However, for Indie developers, 2D game development is essential. Unreal game engine provides a smooth and great workflow for these game models and this is why almost all Indie game developers use it. Moreover ti is often that, games made with unreal look really cool. No matter 2D or 3D , all games made with unreal look a class apart.
Unreal uses WYSIWYG editor
It has a ‘what you see is what you get’ (WYSIWYG) editor which is very convenient and efficient for game developers since testing during development is made very easy.
It offers offline rendering
This is a key feature since not many game engines have this option. In fact, only a few high end game engines have this feature. Offline rendering means that rendering can continue even when there is no internet connection. This is convenient as it protects the developer from losing progress in development.
Supports both programming language and visual scripting
As we know by now, to use a game engine, you have to have some bit of coding knowledge. The problem comes in when you know a language that is not supported by your game engine. Unreal ensures that even if you are not well versed with C++ , you can make a game with the visual scripting tool. Blueprint is the name of the visual scripting tool of Unreal and is well documented for new beginners.