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Are game engines just interpreters?

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I was developing a 2D game engine in c++ and it went pretty well, until I got to the point of exporting the game.

You see, I was using lua in a virtual machine (sandbox) for the scripting of the game; now I realized that my game engine is just a lua interpreter if I try to share the game I'll distribute the game files (sounds, images, etc..), my scripts and my "interpreter" .exe this means that if I share my game with someone they'll have access to the game logic instead of a stand-alone .exe.

How do other engines compile scripts into a stand-alone executable i'm really confused on this mater.

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Some game engines are 'just' interpreters, yes. Others are not. For example, Unreal expects you to extend it with C++, and even its visual scripting Blueprints are compiled in the end. Same with Unity; the scripts get compiled. Often the script is compiled to some sort of intermediate language which runs on a virtual machine, but that's no different from a typical Java or C# program - the source code (and the logic inside it) certainly isn't distributed as a human-readable part of the game.

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1 minute ago, Kylotan said:

Some game engines are 'just' interpreters, yes. Others are not. For example, Unreal expects you to extend it with C++, and even its visual scripting Blueprints are compiled in the end. Same with Unity; the scripts get compiled. Often the script is compiled to some sort of intermediate language which runs on a virtual machine, but that's no different from a typical Java or C# program - the source code (and the logic inside it) certainly isn't distributed as a human-readable part of the game.

How would I go about 'extending' my engine with c++ code should I compile it to a dll?

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