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The 3 Popular Video Game Engines. Presented by Saljack Enterprises. Gaming. Media & Entertainment.

What are Game Engines?

You might have used or talked about the term, but do you really know what a “game engine” is? The genuine way to understand is by knowing what their purpose is. A game engine is an architecture where developers run their game. The game engine helps developers with a way to add things like:

  • Input
  • Physics
  • Scripting
  • Rendering
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Collision detection
  • and more without programming them

Why are They Important?

Game engines are used by developers to create the framework of the game. This allows them to focus on the unique elements like textures,  character models, how objects interact, etc. Making games from scratch without the help of excellent game engines take more time and is harder to make.

Many big companies and even indie teams create their own engines. They do so with the help of application interfaces like OpenGL, DirectX, and XNA as well as open and commercial source libraries containing scene graph, physics, and GUI libraries.

Creating one of the best video game engines is not an easy task, but it is necessary if the game is complex enough that no current engines will work.

Here are Top 3 Game Engines Used:

Unreal Engines: One of the most popular and widely used game engines is the Unreal Engine. The initial version was released in 1998, and even after 17 years, it is being used to make some of the biggest games every year. The strength of the Unreal Engine is its ability to be modified enough that games can be madse into unique experiences. Its latest version is said to be the easiest one to be used when in the hands of a professional. But still, there are other engines available that are much easier for the new designers.

Unity: Unity is a multi-platform game engine that enables you to create interactive 3D content with comfort and ease. Most of the indie developers use Unity for its unique functionality, high-quality content, and ability to be used for pretty much any game. One of the best things about the latest version of Unity 5 is its Personal Edition that is free for everyone to download. It covers the engine with all characteristics and can be used to make various games on every platform. The problem is with the Professional Edition that has a host of excellent tools, demands a monthly fee. These features include game performance reporting, beta access, a team license, customizable splash screens, and more.

GameMaker: Unlike most of the other game engines, the GameMaker Studio has become popularly used because it doesn’t demand programming knowledge to use it. Instead, users can “point-and-click” to build game more easily and quickly than coding with native languages. GameMaker is successful because you can even make a game if you don’t have any knowledge of the programming language, and those who know coding can use it to make their game better. The dilemma with GameMaker is that developers are much more limited than with other engines. There is a free version, but to get the most out of the GameMaker requires you to either buy the Master or Professional Collection versions.

Have you ever used any of these video game engines to develop your game? Share your experiences in the comments section!




22 thoughts on “The 3 Popular Video Game Engines

  1. glmathmagic says:

    Interesting post. I’m just starting to get more into this stuff. if gameMaker is the only one that doesn’t require coding, what kind of languages are used with the other engines?

  2. Rivals says:

    Thanks for the marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you’re a great author.
    I will always bookmark your blog and will come back in the foreseeable
    future. I want to encourage one to continue your great job, have a nice afternoon!

  3. Satish says:

    I bet some of you guys here have seen Tron Legacy (2010?) but have you guys watched the original Tron of the 80s? The game maker being zapped into the game he made…and he has to survive the game so he can go back to the real world. How cool is that?!? I dunno what game engines they used back then (to develop Atari, Tetris, Pacman, etc) but it must be something very basic. Hey, SJE, how about an article about retro game engines? A history lesson perhaps?

    1. Thank you for the feedback Satish. We’ll do our best to accommodate!

  4. Olly says:

    I have GameMake Pro and it’s really worth the purchase! Man, if you’re serious about game development, you gotta pay for it! I’ve already made some basic games and had my little cousins test drive them and they liked it!

  5. Esperanza Khan says:

    I’ve heard about game engines before but i never really knew how it worked. This is very informative

  6. manuel says:

    just curious, what platform do game developers used in the 80s to make the beloved mario game consoles? maybe what you are referring here are those that are used in smartphones nowadays.

  7. marina says:

    thanks for introducing me to game engines. I’m not very familiar with them so i’ll read more about it. your post is an eye opener.

  8. Isobel says:

    If Unreal was first released in 1998, what did game developers used before? Just curious. I mean, 1998 isn’t that far off and surely prior to that year there were already consoles, yeah?

  9. Chuck says:

    Between the free versions of Unity and GameMaker, I’d prefer the latter because it sounds like very easy to use. We are all gamers here but I don’t think majority of us know how to program, or at least even code. Thank you for coming up with the artcle!

  10. It’s good to organize your game idea with proper structure and advanced settings. It sounds like you save yourself a lot of time and stress by using an engine opposed to creating the game on your own.

    1. It’s good to organize your game idea with proper structure and advanced settings. It sounds like you save yourself a lot of time and stress by using an engine opposed to creating the game on your own.

  11. Ben says:

    As a gamer when i hear Unreal engine used in a game, what crosses my mind is AAA FPS & action games with good graphic, while Unity makes me think of Strategy & RPG games. Game maker is the one i am not really familiar with out of the three.

  12. Raphael Fabella says:

    I must say that through seeing youtubers like Markiplier play dozens of indie games with it, and having played games with this engine myself, the Unreal engine has to be one of the best engines for making good looking games. I mean looking back at Gears of War (even just the first one) and its graphics, I must say it’s still a really good looking game.

  13. Being able to create a game without knowing the engine’s set language is a pretty cool feature. Game engine’s sound like a pretty essential tool in video game development.

  14. marry says:

    seems like GameMaker is the easiest game engine to use. what about game application on mobile phone these day, are they created by game engine?

  15. k. hai says:

    its amazing how unreal engine was developed 17 years ago and still working even today. thanks for shaing!

  16. Lois says:

    I personally prefer GameMaker because it’s free and very easy to use. It’s a great tool for aspiring game developers.

  17. Jenna says:

    I’m no game developer but there are instances when in the middle of the game I go like, “Ugh…why is that even there?” So sometimes I feel like editing the game to suit me! Maybe sometime I’d give these game engines a try.

  18. LaBelle says:

    I’ve never known about these game engines until now. After reading the article, it makes me wanna try one. Maybe GameMaker because I don’t know how to code. Thanks!

  19. Rebi says:

    Yes this is really popular because I’m familiar with Unity and GameMaker. It makes game easier to do

  20. Mau says:

    It’s the first time I’ve heard of game engines. Are these software usually used by the pros to create games? If so, it would be cool for budding video game developers to check out those free versions.

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