A game engine is a framework for game development. This framework helps us with the several core areas that all games have . Some of them are:
- Much more
A framework provides us with the tools and structure that every game requires for it to function. Using engines mean you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you start the project. While modern games are able to handle the overhead of many complex systems – in reality, most old school games were not able to take that trade off since memory in the past was so limited and precious.
3rd party engines only became the wide spread once 3d games were in demand, and as technology grew increasingly complicated. Many studious began to use these engines to speed up the development process , although many still make their own in-house engines from scratch, even today.
Once again, there is a trade off here. Making your own engine allows you to optimize specifically for your game but buying one will save you possibly a thousands of hours of coding time.
So let’s actually see how these engines work and how they influence games.
It is so simple, that even a kid could build a game with just a little assistance. You don’t have to write code, although you will naturally understand a programmers mindset as you learn game logic. For example, to make a simple platform in a GameMaker, you need to understand that when the players presses space bar, the block should jump but you don’t need to understand why things jump in a parabola or how the block is being animated. There are some clear limitations, since you have to play by Gamemaker rigid rules, but there are some projects which show that creativity and talent can always shine through the tech.
A incredibly robust, professional level tool that recently became completely free to use. Unreal Engine shows a lot of promise. You’ll notice that it looks a quite a bit complicated then the Gamemaker, and you can see why developers need more advanced software like this to keep track of complex 3D environments. Lots of modern engines will support the cool lighting effects and realistic explosions and other boring things like memory management. But there are two things I really like about UE 4 specifically.
- The Blueprint system
Make simple „visual code“
Learning to make games using blueprint system will make a professional engine seem almost like GameMaker. You can get some pretty cool games running quickly without ever writing code.
The other thing I like about UE 4 is that if you really want to optimize down to the last byte and have the complete control over the code, you can do that by acquiring a complete source code from Epic Games by simply subscribing to them.
Lost Cost + Lots of tutorials + Lots of people = Lots of Projects
Similarly, all of these low barriers to entry result in a huge number of gaming projects in the world at large of which only a certain percentage will be legitimately good. This is probabilities fault not Unity’s.
In any case, all of these are wonderful tools that help you make games. Everything I mentioned here has an excellent free version that you can download right now. So, if you’ve always wanted to try making games you can pull up a tutorial and start making one in only a few hours.