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Difference between Game Engine and APIs


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#1 Shashwat Rohilla   Members   -  Reputation: 130

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 02:04 AM

What is the difference between a Game Engine and an API?
I read that Game Engine helps in the development of games.
Is OpenGL a game engine? I think it is an API.
Is XNA a game engine?

Moreover, are drivers the *.dll files which interact with the hardware?

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#2 Radikalizm   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2943

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 06:57 AM

What is the difference between a Game Engine and an API?
I read that Game Engine helps in the development of games.
Is OpenGL a game engine? I think it is an API.
Is XNA a game engine?

Moreover, are drivers the *.dll files which interact with the hardware?


You've got a lot of terms mixed up there

API stands for Application Programming Interface, it is an interface a library or program exposes so other libraries or programs can interact with it
When you're writing an application using a certain library you're using its API to get access to its functions

A game engine is a collection of libraries and tools used to build games efficiently; game engines provide an API for programmers to work with

OpenGL is a graphics library which you could use as the base for a rendering system in a game engine, but it is not a game engine in itself
XNA is a library for game-development, but I wouldn't go as far as to actually call it an engine

And no, DLL stands for Dynamic-Link Library, it is a library or part of a library or program which can be loaded in by an application at run-time instead of at compile-time like you see with static libraries

I'd recommend you brush up your general programming knowledge, these kinds of things are rather essential ;)

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#3 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 31144

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 07:16 AM

There's no strict definition of what a game engine is -- it's whatever you say it is.

A game engine might just be an API, or it might be an API and some tools, or an API, some tools, documentation, and sample artwork/content/code...

#4 Joe P   Members   -  Reputation: 166

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 04:26 PM

There's no strict definition of what a game engine is -- it's whatever you say it is.

A game engine might just be an API, or it might be an API and some tools, or an API, some tools, documentation, and sample artwork/content/code...


I know this conversation happens a lot. But are you really going to say that openGL is a game engine just because you feel like calling it that? Its clearly NOT a game engine.. it is a component of a game engine. I dont think its realistic to just say that something is a game engine because you want to call it that. Sure there arent very strict lines between what a game engine is, but its not just anything that you feel like calling one.

No matter how often I feel like calling SDL a game engine, it will not become a game engine. Its a graphics framework... period. It doesnt have to be used for games, nothing about it is specifically geared towards video games.I think its important to realize that there are some basic requirements that must come together to form what we consider a "game engine". a graphics engine is not a game engine... its a graphics engine. A physics engine is not a game engine, its a physics engine.

I do agree that its not always black and white. If you download the Quake source code, you basically have a game engine. At the same time if you download Unity, you also have a game engine... except one with a lot more tools and features. Simply, I think its common sense to consider the MINIMUM components needed to call something a game engine.
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#5 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 31144

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 05:07 PM

But are you really going to say that openGL is a game engine just because you feel like calling it that? Its clearly NOT a game engine..

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#6 Joe P   Members   -  Reputation: 166

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 05:11 PM

There's no strict definition of what a game engine is -- it's whatever you say it is.

A game engine might just be an API, or it might be an API and some tools, or an API, some tools, documentation, and sample artwork/content/code...


This is what you said lol. I know I might be poking at it a bit... but youre sayings its WHATEVER you say it is. The fact is... its not WHATEVER you say it is. It does have a context... if it didnt, the term would be meaningless.
Sure it cant be clearly defined... but a game engine is at least made up of some critical components needed in making games, such as input, physics, graphics, etc. All of this stuff will vary depending on the nature of the game.

Yes a game engine can just be an API, but the functions in the API need to be performing these game related tasks. If the functions are simply helping you to draw to the screen, its a graphics engine or framework... not a game engine.

If someone asks be what game engine I use, I tell them none.. because Im using XNA. Im using a game focused framework that makes writing games a bit easier.
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#7 Shashwat Rohilla   Members   -  Reputation: 130

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 03:31 AM

I'm quite clear about Game Engine and APIs.

Please answer my two questions :-

Is XNA a game engine?
Are drivers the *.dll files which interact with the hardware?

 


Edited by Shashwat Rohilla, 11 January 2013 - 12:11 PM.


#8 EngineCoder   Members   -  Reputation: 246

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 03:44 AM

Is XNA a game engine?
Are drivers the *.dll files which interact with the hardware?




XNA is not a game engine, it's a framework.
DLL files can contain many things, including drivers.
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#9 haegarr   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4437

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 04:21 AM

Forget about Game Engine and APIs. Its almost clear now.
Just answer my two questions :-

Excuse me coming back to this ... I think it is not clear. AFAIK:

An API is an interface. I.e. it is a definition of how to invoke the functionality of, e.g., a game engine. As that, an API is never a game engine itself. A game engine may have several APIs. Further, an API can exist without any backing software.

OpenGL, strictly speaking, is an API for a graphics rendering engine. It defines how an application can interact with and what it can expect from a piece of software that e.g. a graphics card manufacturer provides. The said implementation of the software is not OpenGL but a software for that the OpenGL API is implemented. One can use the same engine and put another API in front of it; however, that would no longer be OpenGL.

Is XNA a game engine?

I'm not familiar with XNA, so I don't contribute to answer this.

Are drivers the *.dll files which interact with the hardware?

Drivers interact with hardware, that's true. They came usually as DLL files (under Windows; other OS'es use other formats and naming), because such kind of external modules allow a separation of the functionality from the using application. E.g. a driver is implemented by the hardware manufacturer, while the using applications are implemented by several other parties.

#10 Joe P   Members   -  Reputation: 166

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 09:11 AM

Forget about Game Engine and APIs. Its almost clear now.
Just answer my two questions :-

Is XNA a game engine?
Are drivers the *.dll files which interact with the hardware?


Sorry boss. So demanding....
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#11 Tournicoti   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 683

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 09:43 AM

Could we say that an engine is a layer on top of lower level API ? The difference isn't simply that an engine is in higher abstraction level ?

#12 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 2176

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 03:09 AM

It seems to me, that the two aren't comparable. It's like we tried to compare languages to programs or languages to IDE:s.
Maybe I'm wrong.




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