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theelephant

New here and would like some advice on game engines UPDATED!

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So, I asked for advice on game engines. I know this is asked here ALL the time. I am reading the posts. However, there are so many engines, how does one choose? They all have their own pros and cons depending on one's needs, budget, and genre of game. Is the idea just to choose one and learn from there?

Here is a list that I compiled.

  • GameSalad
  • App Game Kit
  • Corona
  • Godot
  • Buildbox
  • Construct 2 and 3
  • Clickteam Fusion 2.5
  • RPG Maker
  • Stencyl
  • GameMaker Studio 2
  • GameGuru
  • Monogame/XNA
  • CopperCube 5
  • Torque
  • Leadwerks
  • Unity 
  • ChilliWorks 
  • Clickteam Fusion
  • Cocos
  • libGDX
  • Trublenz
  • V-Play

 

Hello everyone,

I am very new here and new to actually starting to develop games. I realize what I am embarking on is probably going to be many years in the making. It is not something I haven't considered before. I recall wanting to make my own game as a child when I read about a contest in Nintendo Power. The winner of this game was J. Scott Campbell who went on to draw for comic books.

I think a lot of people who play games wax philosophic about what they would like to see in a game. But I digress.

I want to start with a 2D game and I have been reading here and on other websites about the best engine/software to use for newbies who do not have a lot of programming experience. The issue is I read similar and conflicting information on websites, so I thought I would ask people who have used them. 

I know Game Maker Studio is popular, but I am not fond of the high price add-ons for export. I don't know if I am being picky or limiting myself.

Unity seems to be an option but I am new to this so I certainly would need the Plus option rather than Pro; however, I read that Unity's 2D uses the 3D engine and that makes 2D game clunky, buggy, and bloated. Is this true?  I don't know what perks the free version has.

There are Defold and Godot as well as a bunch of other free development tools, but I am unsure how many require a lot of programming knowledge. I hear App Game Kit is a bit program heavy. And I don't hear a lot about Guru. 

I plan to learn programming as I go along over the years, but for now, I want to see how well I can do and how much patience I will have. 

There are a host of engines out there. Some are free and some are not.  I don't know what is best to start on especially if I want to eventually export to platforms other than PC. Ultimately, one has to try some out to know what is best.

Since I am new, is exporting to multiple platforms putting the cart before the horse? Is this something I should worry about later? 

I read some posts that answer similar questions, and I plan to read more. I just wanted to ask my own question here.

Any direction or advice would be appreciated.

Edited by theelephant

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9 hours ago, theelephant said:

Hello everyone,

I am very new here and new to actually starting to develop games. I realize what I am embarking upon is probably going to be many years in the making.

 

Welcome theelephant,

(I'm new here too but been doing game dev a good while now).

Definitely, absolutely and make no mistake about it - start with something small. An arcade 2D game like space invaders is the way to go. Forget 3D for now. 

There is no best engine, they all have fans, so yes you'll hear conflicting stories. But people are all different so you have to find what works for you.

At this stage the best engine is the one you learn most from! 

And I definitely wouldn't be paying for an engine at this stage (I did in the past but never mind that ...) - there are now so many great free choices. 

  1. Corona Labs have a Lua based 2D engine.  
    • It was subscription based but now I believe it is free.
    • Lots of examples, tutorials, vibrant community, remember learning is the big deal at this stage.
    • Angry Birds is Lua based, I unpackaged the original iPhone version, I can see Lua guts but can neither confirm nor deny the rumour it was actually done in Corona? Still plenty of real games done in Lua.
       
    • Love2d is yet another Lua engine with real fans and games.
       
  2. Godot - seems to be very good but they use their own custom scripting language. I've only tinkered with Godot but I got it up and running within minutes and the demos all worked flawlessly. A pretty polished open source engine.
     
  3. Apple's SpriteKit - if you decide to get into programming more? It is pretty easy to use, I made a game in about a week or two (but I've been programming a long time). It has a thriving community with plenty of examples and tutorials. 
     
  4. Unity 3D is bigger than the above and pretty good - but it seems to me there is a reason it's called Unity 3D - it feels like 2D was an after thought. Anyway it starts free but sooner or later you feel the urge to start buying stuff from their store ...
     
  5. Unreal Engine is even bigger and definitely the real deal - but you need beefy hardware and again it's really a 3D engine pretending to be a 2D one. 
     
  6. Maybe SDL, it is C based but it can work with Python or Lua...  Again that's if you get into programming more. But SDL very good. 
     
  7. I suppose I should mention Java with LWJGL. Not my first choice of language or environment but apparently you can make popular games with it as in Minecraft.

You run but not hide from programming and maths -  either you will have to do it or beg/pay someone else to do it for you so the more you know the better. And you might discover you really like it.

Sorry I don't have a simple and clear answer - it depends on you -  but have a look at Corona Labs and Lua see if you can sink your teeth into that.

Meantime learning is the answer. And game design is more important than which engine.

Hope that helps.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, AlexKay said:

 

Welcome theelephant,

(I'm new here too but been doing game dev a good while now).

Definitely, absolutely and make no mistake about it - start with something small. An arcade 2D game like space invaders is the way to go. Forget 3D for now. 

There is no best engine, they all have fans, so yes you'll hear conflicting stories. But people are all different so you have to find what works for you.

At this stage the best engine is the one you learn most from! 

And I definitely wouldn't be paying for an engine at this stage (I did in the past but never mind that ...) - there are now so many great free choices. 

  1. Corona Labs have a Lua based 2D engine.  
    • It was subscription based but now I believe it is free.
    • Lots of examples, tutorials, vibrant community, remember learning is the big deal at this stage.
    • Angry Birds is Lua based, I unpackaged the original iPhone version, I can see Lua guts but can neither confirm nor deny the rumour it was actually done in Corona? Still plenty of real games done in Lua.
       
    • Love2d is yet another Lua engine with real fans and games.
       
  2. Godot - seems to be very good but they use their own custom scripting language. I've only tinkered with Godot but I got it up and running within minutes and the demos all worked flawlessly. A pretty polished open source engine.
     
  3. Apple's SpriteKit - if you decide to get into programming more? It is pretty easy to use, I made a game in about a week or two (but I've been programming a long time). It has a thriving community with plenty of examples and tutorials. 
     
  4. Unity 3D is bigger than the above and pretty good - but it seems to me there is a reason it's called Unity 3D - it feels like 2D was an after thought. Anyway it starts free but sooner or later you feel the urge to start buying stuff from their store ...
     
  5. Unreal Engine is even bigger and definitely the real deal - but you need beefy hardware and again it's really a 3D engine pretending to be a 2D one. 
     
  6. Maybe SDL, it is C based but it can work with Python or Lua...  Again that's if you get into programming more. But SDL very good. 
     
  7. I suppose I should mention Java with LWJGL. Not my first choice of language or environment but apparently you can make popular games with it as in Minecraft.

You run but not hide from programming and maths -  either you will have to do it or beg/pay someone else to do it for you so the more you know the better. And you might discover you really like it.

Sorry I don't have a simple and clear answer - it depends on you -  but have a look at Corona Labs and Lua see if you can sink your teeth into that.

Meantime learning is the answer. And game design is more important than which engine.

Hope that helps.

 

 

No, I appreciate it.  I can't say I love math per se. I am more into logic or predicate calculus. I know I have to deal with it so I am ready!

See, I didn't know Godot used its own language like GameMakerStudio. Not sure if I want to go down that route. But I will have to see. I think Unreal is too big for me and there is no reason to tackle it.

Yes, many games have been made in some of the engines. So, I think it comes down to preference at some point. Like photo and video editing software, I will probably play around with as many as I can and see how I do since I will be making all the assets on my own.

I appreciate the thoughtful response!

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Hi

I stated similar advice elsewhere but what would be good is take a handful of those engines, do a few tutorials and experiments and see what seems to "click" for you when starting out. Another factor to keep in mind is the amount of material online that you can learn from for each engine.

More specifically, it will be easier to find more material relating to Unity, for example than a more obscure engine in your list. As far as it being "clunky" I worked in teams on two published 2D smart phone games for big clients in Japan using Unity. The two projects had different plug ins for their UI but overall was a relatively easy process. I found prototyping easy in Unity for hobby projects but maybe that was due to the experience from the two commercial projects.

It may be tough when starting out, and as dumb as it sounds I wish that someone had told me "work is it's own reward" when starting experimenting with game dev. Try and enjoy experimenting with the different options out there and good luck!

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On 26/12/2017 at 5:37 PM, theelephant said:

Unity seems to be an option but I am new to this so I certainly would need the Plus option rather than Pro; however, I read that Unity's 2D uses the 3D engine and that makes 2D game clunky, buggy, and bloated. Is this true?  I don't know what perks the free version has.

Hello.
You can use Unity for free as long as you don't make +100,000$ in Revenue from your Game (if that is the case you have to buy the Plus)

I have to say Unity is very much Beginner friendly, for those with no prior coding experience. I find it hard to get it and start learning however if you pass that initial learning curve you can accomplish very much with it.

It has some limitations regarding 2D (since the engine is most used for 3D) however if you just check 2D games that were made you will find that you can create a full fledged game with it. (My only problem with it is that Pixel Perfect can be a little tricky).

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