Game is the art of telling the story, events and providing entertainment to the players. Game development involves generating ideas, designing, developing, testing, and releasing a game. While you create a game, it is important to think about the game mechanics, rewards, player engagement and level design. A game team can consist of a programmer, a sound designer, an artist, a designer or many other roles available in the industry.
Game development can be undertaken by a large game studio or by a single individual. It can be as small or as large as you like. As long as the player can interact with content and manipulate the game’s elements, you can call it a ‘game’. To be part of the game development team, you do not need to write code. You may create and design assets, while a developer might focus on programming components. A Tester may join the team to check if the game works properly.
Tools like libGDX and OpenGL have made game development a lot faster and easier, providing lots of pre-made functions and features. However, it was still hard to enter the industry or understand a framework for someone coming from a non-programmer background. That was when game engines like Construct, Game Maker, Godot, Unity and Unreal came into play.
Game engines have really expanded the scene and made game development accessible for almost everyone. In some cases, game engines like Game Maker and Construct provide so many pre-made functions that people with no previous programming skills could build a game from scratch.
Game Engines can make the game development process much easier and enable developers to reuse lots of functionality. It also takes care of rendering for 2D and 3D graphics, physics and collision detection, sound, scripting, and much more.
Some game engines have a very steep learning curve such as CryEngine or Unreal Engine. Yet, other tools like Construct 2 are very accessible to beginners and some do not even need you to write code to create your game.
The Unity game engine is beginner-friendly & its learning curve lies somewhere in the middle. Some popular and commercial games have been built using Unity (e.g., Overcooked, Superhot).
The BuildBox game engine is basically for developing hypercasual games.
Best Game Engines
CryEngine (officially stylized as CRYENGINE) is a game engine designed by the German game developer Crytek. Many third-party games also use it under Crytek’s licensing scheme, including Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 and SNOW. Warhorse Studios uses a modified version of the engine for their medieval RPG Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Dunia Engine, Ubisoft’s in-house game engine, is a heavily modified version of CryEngine from the original Far Cry.
Written in C++, the Unreal Game engine is the product of Epic Games. The Unreal Engine features a high degree of portability, supporting a wide range of platforms. The Unreal engine was first showcased in the 1998 first-person shooter game Unreal. Later on, genres including platformers, fighting games, MMORPGs, and other RPGs also started using the Unreal engine.
Epic Games launched the latest release of Unreal Engine 4 in 2014 under a subscription model. Since 2015, you can download it for free with its source code from GitHub. Epic Games allows developers to use its game engines in commercial products based on a royalty model, typically asking developers for 5% of revenues from sales. Though with the success of Fortnite, Epic waives this fee for developers that publish their games through the Epic Games Store. On May 13, 2020, Epic announced that developers do not need to pay royalties for games using Unreal Engine until they have earned their first US$1 million in revenue. We can expect Unreal Engine 5 to release around late 2021.
Unity is a cross-platform game engine developed by Unity Technologies. It was first announced and released as a Mac OS X-exclusive game engine in June 2005 at Apple Inc.’s Worldwide Developers Conference. As of 2021, the engine supports more than 19 platforms. The engine can create three-dimensional, two-dimensional, virtual reality, augmented reality games and simulations. Outside video gaming, industries like film, automotive, architecture, engineering and construction have also used the unity engine.
GameMaker (originally Animo and later Game Maker) is a series of cross-platform game engines. It was created by Mark Overmars in 1999 and developed by YoYo Games in 2007. The latest iteration is GameMaker Studio 2, first released in 2017.
GameMaker accommodates the creation of cross-platform and multi-genre video games using a Game Maker Language. It is a custom drag-and-drop visual programming language or scripting languages that you can use to develop more advanced games. GameMaker’s primary focus is to allow novice computer programmers to create computer games without much programming knowledge. However, recent versions of software also focus on appealing to advanced developers.
Scirra Ltd developed the Construct as an HTML5-based 2D game editor. It aims primarily at non-programmers allowing quick creation of games through visual programming.