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mgpsp

2D Oriented Game Engines

14 posts in this topic

What are the best/most used game engines for 2D games? What do you normally use? I've been searching the web for quite some time now, but haven't found much.

 

EDIT: I wanted to post in the lounge actually, but maybe it's better in this section. If it isn't, please move the topic.

Edited by mgpsp
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You can make 2D games with 3D engines. Actually, that would probably give you a little more flexibility.

 


SFML seems popular?

 

SFML is a media library, not a game engine.

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Making a 2D engine is relatively straightforwards so I don't think you'll see a lot of generalist pre-made game engines for 2D like you do for 3D. Normally, the programmer of a 2D game would just hand-pick the libraries she or he needs and stitch them together in his own engine. (For example, could be SFML for graphics, FMOD for music, Box2D for physics, PhysFS for IO, etc.)

 

There are popular 2D game engines but they're all super high-level engines where you barely have to code anything. Although if those are what you are looking for, those are pretty good ones:

Game Maker.

IG Maker.

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I for one like GameMaker Studio.  It is one of the easiest engines to use.  It has an IDE used for loading all of the assets, and you have access the GML scripting language, which is plenty enough for about any 2d game in existence.  Many of the limitations that the program had in the past are long gone with the updates it has had, which include access to shaders and exports to many platforms.

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I've had a play around with Moai which seems to have a lot of potential.

I've also heard good things about cocos2d.
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Thanks for your help. I will make sure to check those out. If anyone has any other suggestion, feel free to reply.

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It's still in beta, but probably soon-ish Unity will release it's 2D functionality.

 

Next to that, plenty of stuff done in 2D in Unity as well with the functionality already in there. 

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I agree that Unity is also a good choice.  If you are only ever going to want 2d, GameMaker will be better though, because the 2d in Unity won't even compare to the functionality of GameMaker.  But, if you are going to be interested in 3d at some point, then Unity will be a better choice even for the 2d because you have a head start on learning Unity itself, and one of the scripting languages if you don't know it.

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People have already covered Game Maker. But there is also another engine which can produce similar results to Game Maker called Construct 2 (https://www.scirra.com). I quite like it, though I also like Game Maker. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of Construct 2 over Game Maker:

Advantages:

Easier to use
Can be cheaper if you are making a mobile game, as you don't have to pay extra
Doesn't charge you for each new version, or as much

Disadvantages:

May not be quite as powerful (theory)
Is not as fast as Game Maker
Making mobile games on it can be just a little iffy, though people have done it before
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I like some things about Construct.  It has plugins etc... for behaviors and things, making certain game types easier.  For example, there is a platformer behavior which includes jumping, double jumping, and I'm not sure what else besides tile collision.  There is also one for Top Down Shooter, and several others that can make things easier.  Gamemaker doesn't include this kind of thing, though it is more than capable of doing them, you have to find one already done, a tutorial, or code it yourself.

 

Speaking of coding, I could never get into Construct's D&D coding.  I know that it is much more powerful and capable than GM's D&D, but GML scripting seems more powerful and easier than Construct's D&D.  And I for one coming from more of a coding background find GML scripting that much easier.  On the other hand, someone with a different background may find Construct's D&D easier than GML scripting.

 

As far as capabilities, I've understood that Construct is supposed to be pretty much as capable as GM for 2d games.  The original version(now free, called Construct Classic) was pretty capable for windows games.  But Construct 2 is focused on Javascript.  I think this can become a problem.  Javascript isn't as fast as native code, and I'm sure that it is worse on mobile platforms than on PC.  On the other hand, the other things that are running Javascript on iOS and Android I'm sure are faster than HTML5 games on Mobile browsers, but I doubt that it is as good as native.  This is where GameMaker shines, because it exports to native code instead.    This doesn't apply to HTML5, Windows 8 Metro App, Tizen, etc... but Android, iOS, windows, Ubuntu, Mac, are all native.

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As far as capabilities, I've understood that Construct is supposed to be pretty much as capable as GM for 2d games. The original version(now free, called Construct Classic) was pretty capable for windows games. But Construct 2 is focused on Javascript. I think this can become a problem. Javascript isn't as fast as native code, and I'm sure that it is worse on mobile platforms than on PC. On the other hand, the other things that are running Javascript on iOS and Android I'm sure are faster than HTML5 games on Mobile browsers, but I doubt that it is as good as native. This is where GameMaker shines, because it exports to native code instead. This doesn't apply to HTML5, Windows 8 Metro App, Tizen, etc... but Android, iOS, windows, Ubuntu, Mac, are all native.

I hope you're not recommending anyone use Construct Classic though. It filled a market gap for its time but some users reported it crashing constantly, a problem that seems to have been fixed well in Construct 2.

I did my own personal tests of Game Maker Studio vs. Construct 2 and Game Maker was 15-35% faster in a "many objects with physics" test. However, this was before that new compiler for Game Maker came out.
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I hope you're not recommending anyone use Construct Classic though. It filled a market gap for its time but some users reported it crashing constantly, a problem that seems to have been fixed well in Construct 2.

I did my own personal tests of Game Maker Studio vs. Construct 2 and Game Maker was 15-35% faster in a "many objects with physics" test. However, this was before that new compiler for Game Maker came out.

 

 

Honestly, I can't recommend for or against, as I just tinkered a bit with it to see if I'd like it.  This is the first I've heard of a lack of stability though, but if you say it, I'll believe it, since like I said, I really didn't use it but enough to figure out that I didn't like the "coding" section of it.  I DID like the behaviors etc... that made gametypes automatic.

 

So GMStudio was faster before the compiler came out?  That's a good thing then, considering I use GMStudio :)  Honestly though, I don't think that the compiler would help much in that exact type of test.  I say this because the internal GMStudio's game engine itself is already compiled to the native platform, while the GML scripts are technically still interpreted.  The interpreter itself is faster than before GMStudio because the rewrote it with C++ and made some optimizations, whereas before it was done in delphi, and even included a compiler with it, making things possibly slower, and for sure more bulky.  But, the new compiler that came out recently will make a big difference in games that have heavy scripting, but it won't make much difference in games that have very little actual scripting.  For example, if you are generating levels with scripting, or you were using my vertex skinning code to make animated models(like Quake 2 with MD2 models), that gets much faster.  On Android, I couldn't even get 2 models of 1000 or so verts to run 60FPS, and even on PC it could barely do it, with the original GMStudio runner, but with the new compiler, it is suddenly full speed, and I was able to get 10 models without dropping framerate before I quit testing, though it may have been able to do plenty more.  But yes, results will highly vary with the compiler.

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Not sure if these qualify as engines, but here are some frameworks for creating 2D games:

 

Cocos2D is commonly used for 2D mobile games.

Apple also has SpriteKit for iOS and OS X games

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