What are Game Engines?

    A game engine is an architecture that developers use to run the game. A game engine is a framework for game development that supports and brings together several core areas.  It is the software that provides game creators with the necessary set of features to build games quickly and efficiently. You can import art and assets, 2D and 3D, from other software, such as Maya or 3s Max or Photoshop; assemble those assets into scenes and environments; add lighting, audio, special effects, physics and animation, interactivity, and gameplay logic; and edit, debug and optimize the content for your target platforms.

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The game engine can provide developers things such as:

·         Graphics

Modern game engines can power stunning graphics and help facilitate the production, as well as the importing of assets from different platforms so that you don’t have to wait a lot of time with every import.

For most games, game engines can provide you with architecture with overall high-performance rendering capabilities, and with access to fast graphics API, so you can enable the greatest visual fidelity for your games.

·         Audio

You can choose to design your own sound from scratch, starting with the musical composition, sound effects, voice acting and ending with post-production. You can choose to purchase sound assets from asset-focused platforms that can be combined and mixed in various ways.

Game engines can help you integrate those sound natively, or through third-party apps, so you can focus on the composition of sounds and placing the sounds creatively in the context of game scenes, as well as assigning sounds to events in a way that suits your vision.

·         Networking

Playing online with friends over games and apps are popular among players. Networking needs a lot of server power which can result in a lot of complex workflows and processes. Using game engines provides developers these workflows and scriptable components, and APIs so that you can optimize however you want to for online and multiplayer.

·         Physics

Using the Physics system in a game engine gives you the ability to handle physical simulation. Using game engines enables you to create objects that can act in an accurate way with just a few lines of code, so that you don’t need to do all the coding job by yourself and you don’t have to code every move in the scene by the game elements, or crashes between your game components.

·         Graphical user interfaces (GUI)

Most games have their own GUI that fits the games theme, art direction, and narrative. That’s why a lot of game engines provide creators with tools to build their own graphical user interfaces, such as buttons and drop-down menus, sliders and means of combining different intractable elements.

·         Scripting

A crucial part of game engines is represented by scripts which you can use to define the logic of your game components by adding behaviors. With pre-build scripts, a solution provided by some game engines, you can easily control the camera, the relationship between your game elements, and the animation system which can be used to control character animation.

The benefits of game engines

Game engines are reusable components developers use to build the framework of the game. This gives them more time to focus on the unique elements like character models, textures, how objects interact, etc. If everyone made their games from scratch without the help of excellent game engines, games would take longer and be more difficult to make. The benefit to developers is hard to down-play, as you’ll be building a game once and then having them available on multiple platforms with the press of a button.

The drawbacks of game engines

This is also one of the biggest drawbacks of game engines, as they homogenize the games which are built. A game engine built for first-person shooters may not be the best to use for a racing RPG and your choice of the engine may, in the end, hamper your creative expression. 

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What are the most popular game engines?

1.      Unreal Engine

One of the most popular and widely used game engines is the Unreal Engine by Epic Games. The strength of the Unreal Engine is its ability to be modified enough that games can be made into very unique experiences. Famous titles made with Unreal Engine include the Gears of War series, Mass Effect series, Bioshock series, and the Batman: Arkham series.

2.      Unity

It is a multi-platform game engine that allows you to easily create interactive 3D content. One of the best things about Unity 5 is the Personal Edition, which is free for everyone to download. Some of the most famous titles made with Unity include Lara Croft Go, Her Story, Pillars of Eternity, and Kerbal Space Program.

3.      GameMaker

It is widely popular since it doesn’t require programming knowledge to use. Instead, users can “point-and-click” to create games much easier and faster than coding with native languages.

4.      Godot

The Godot engine is great for making both 2D and 3D games. The engine provides a huge set of common tools, so you can just focus on making your game.

5.      AppGameKit

AppGameKit focuses on quickly coding and building apps and being able to share them across platforms. This rapid iteration and cross-platform sharing is geared towards mobile game development but handles most platforms such as iPhones and iPads, Linux, HTML5 Browsers, Raspberry Pi, macOS, Windows, and Android.

6.      CryEngine

You get the full engine source code and all the engine features without having to pay any license fees, royalties, or other hidden fees. The CryEngine is a visually stunning engine. The graphics are beautiful and the characters are life-like. It can be used to develop for platforms like Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Oculus Rift.

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Game engines give developers tools to build games quickly and efficiently while hiding the hard parts involved in building games for various platforms. Even if you’re only aiming to build a game for one specific platform, game engines can give you a boost which will get your game out faster and with more features than if you were to build the whole thing from scratch.

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