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Unity Alternative to Unity (for learning purposes)

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Hi game devs,


I'm quite decent at making games in Unity. Before that I did most in Java, with a simple OpenGL wrapper, but that was back when I was still learning programming.


What should I learn now?


As I work with Unity every day (that is not going to change anytime soon), I miss working with new technologies. I would like to get started on something completely different, not creating engines from bottom up, but rather engines that uses a completely different structure than Unity.


This is for learning purposes only, so I don't mind if the engine/framework is far from production ready. As long as I can learn new ways of creating games.




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Unreal Engine is the next best thing to unity. It uses c++ for scripting. Also it's free like unity, with royalties though after a certain amount of income.


That said, I sometimes I find fun in just picking a few libraries and making my own engine.


Something like SFML, box2d, and Tiled would make for a decent 2d tool set.

Edited by EddieV223

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If you want something complicated, but quite fully featured(but still modern and being developed), I recommend Unreal Engine 4.  You can also use it totally free, though after a point if you make money(more than $3000 per quarter) you have to pay 25% royalties(as in 25% of the total profit, before anything else, before Google/Apple's 30%, etc...).  If it is just for learning, it shouldn't bother you.


If you want something less complicated, but still useful to many people, you could learn GameMaker Studio.  It is much more dedicated to 2d, but it is pretty much the best there is at 2d, except for some very specific things, like if you roll your own, and do it very well.  Even Unity doesn't yet compare when it comes to actual 2d features.  But I wouldn't touch it for 3d concepts just yet, though with the introduction of shader usage, things have gotten better in that department, though the same applies to the 2d side too.


I have also seen GODOT.  I don't know if it would be worth learning though.  Unlike UE4, GODOT doesn't have much on Unity, except maybe the totally open source/free bit, and even the free bit it doesn't have on Unity anymore since version 5.



I was mistyping here.  It is indeed only 5% royalty on UE4.  I think it was 25% off of profit with the UDK, and now it is 5% off of GROSS.

Edited by kburkhart84

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you have to pay 25% royalties
Just 5%, actually.  Probably not relevant to the thread's topic specifically, but if a lurker does happen to be curious about Unreal while perusing this thread, I thought the correct info might be useful.


As for engines, I'd suggest that there's a middle ground between using a pre-made engine and writing an engine from the bottom up.  I'm in a similar boat as EddieV223; I like to pull together various libraries and integrate them together using an architecture that feels most natural to me, rather than learning to use a particular engine's or framework's mandated architecture.  It avoids a huge portion of the heavy work commonly associated with from-scratch engine development, but still provides a welcome degree of do-it-yourself control, if you're the kind of person who appreciates that sorta thing.


Note that I'd consider using a simple OpenGL wrapper to still be low-level-ish, rather than the mid-level I'm describing.  Using an already written graphics library, but still doing the work of uniting it with input, physics, UI, audio, and other libraries is more what I'm talking about.

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Thanks for all the replies so far :)


GODOT looks like something I should take a closer look upon. Especially their scene hierarchy and their live shader editor approach.


At some point I need to look at Unreal as well, but guess I'll try that at some game jam in the future. And no for now pricing doesn't matter (I'm not a company owner (or well technically I am.. but working by contract)). And yes I've heard a lot of great things about Unreal, but right now I'm not looking for the next best thing, I'm looking for something different than the Unity workflow (not said that Unreal doesn't provide that).


And yes creating stuff from scratch is also fun, I've mainly done networking and graphics. Only problem is that I end up creating my own pipeline, and I would much rather see new structures, that I wouldn't be able to come up with myself.

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What about Haxe,


Ach Ja oder Nicht Nicht?


I'm looking to spend more time in it soon. It seems to be coming up a lot in LD lately.

Looks like there is some abstraction that's fracturing the community a tad, but OpenFL seems to be the most popular.

It doesn't have a graphics IDE, like Unity, so requires a separation of code and assets, (which I'm kind of a fan of anyway)

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I second the notion of using Haxe. You get all kinds of variety with it right now in terms of development options.


OpenFL is a fantastic mature and popular library with great 2D engines like HaxeFlixel and HaxePunk. On the other end of the spectrum you have frameworks like Kha, which is a young framework built on top of mature tech that performs crazy fast!


Plus Haxe compiles to other languages as part of how it functions, which allows you to use the same code for all kinds of projects. Writing enemy logic for a game can be built to work on a local machine and then the same code can be put into a server side language like php to run on the server for multiplayer. 


If you are looking for new tech to play with, Haxe always has something going on. Not long ago someone added a pico8 target, and this last week a guy got OpenFl running on a raspberri pi 2! If you want something different from Unity, Haxe is probably one of the best places to look for a whole other world of development. 


Did I mention you can publish to almost any device, particularly with OpenFl?

Edited by jrdoughty

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At some point I need to look at Unreal as well, but guess I'll try that at some game jam in the future. And no for now pricing doesn't matter (I'm not a company owner (or well technically I am.. but working by contract)). And yes I've heard a lot of great things about Unreal, but right now I'm not looking for the next best thing, I'm looking for something different than the Unity workflow (not said that Unreal doesn't provide that).


Hope its a loooong Game Jam, because Unreal Engine 4 is quite different from Unity 5... and that comes from someone who is just in progress of making that transition.

Apart of the obvious things, there are many not so obvious differences that might get you stumbling.


So while it might not be the completly different engine you are looking for, don't expect to be able to look at it for two days and "get it"... you wont. Which is sad, really. UE4 is a brilliant engine once you get used to it.

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