How to Choose a Game Engine

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The modern age is ideal for selecting the game engine for the game you are creating. Now you can create games of any size and type without having to invest in a proprietary design engine. The availability of popular game engines to everyone makes expanding game development teams faster and easier, allowing more games of all sizes to be created globally. But how can you choose the best game engine for your specific game? Each accessible engine is powerful and weak in different areas. The goal is to discover the ideal balance between the strengths and weaknesses of the engine, the needs of your game, and the resources you’re willing to spend to make your game a reality.

How to choose a game engine

Proprietary vs open source

Today proprietary and open source technologies coexist. It can be difficult to choose one over the other. With some proprietary software, you can benefit from having a great team of dedicated engineers developing polished editors and cutting-edge features. Some free and open source projects are getting there, but when it comes to the user interface, sometimes, they may not be on par with their closed source counterparts. On the other hand, the engine being a black box, as is the case with Unity, can cost you on long projects. With a closed source technology, you won’t be able to fix a bug or optimize a part of the engine for your needs, and you might be stuck at the end of production. Because professional colleagues can contribute to open source projects, other teams may quickly fix bugs. Engines like Phaser JS have hundreds of contributors. Because your code is public, you can also see existing issues, which helps you gauge whether the tool might work for you.

For hobbyists or independent developers, another benefit of open source technologies is that they are free of charge. There are no fees that may apply to your sales or the need to pay for a special license to gain access to more features. Some proprietary tools are widely used in the industry, such as Unity and the Unreal engine. They are developed by large companies and benefit from a vast ecosystem. You’ll find plenty of training, paid assets, and add-ons that can save you time. They also have excellent tools to create visual effects, shaders or animations, for example. But overall, I’d still recommend anyone with programming experience to seriously consider a free and open source engine or framework instead of a proprietary one. Having access to the source code will save you headaches in the future. You certainly don’t need something like Unity to make great games. For example, Dead Cells and Northgard are built on the Haxe-based Heaps engine.

Documentation, support and community

The maturity of the documentation, available training material and support all play a role. It cannot be underestimated how vital documentation and education are. Proprietary engines often have the most prosperous ecosystems. These companies have a product to sell and they want you to be happy using it. Documentation for open source projects tends to lag behind development because most people want to contribute source code. With proprietary tools, there is often a larger market for professional instructors compared to free software, leading to a vast offering of paid training. Unity and Unreal are also commonly taught in game making schools. The community is an essential factor because much of the educational material is derived from it. Having a friendly community is also important, so you can share knowledge, advice, and help when needed.

Game editor and customization.

We have two types of products when it comes to game engines. Products that come with a visual editor and software development kits (SDKs) that only provide code. A visual editor is easier for artists and non-programmers to use. It is a compelling reason to choose a product of this type. But SDKs are an important alternative. For an experienced developer, an SDK might be the perfect tool. There are many factors to consider when it comes to this topic, but it’s safe to say that most teams these days opt for game engines that come with visual editors.

The engine and editor are strictly limited by the design options of their developers, which dictates their workflow. These days, most editors provide a plugin architecture, allowing you to customize them. This is a powerful feature as it allows you to modify the editor to suit your needs and workflow, saving you time on complex projects. When using an SDK or framework, you’ll typically work with a variety of third-party programs like Tiled to design levels or CastleDB to edit your data.

Available programming languages

Depending on your background, supported programming languages ​​may become an important factor. Not everyone is willing to learn a new language from scratch. Artists and non-coders may prefer visual scripting languages. It is up to you and your team to find out the benefits of having a game engine with this option. These days, some mainstream game engines come with a visual programming language, like Unreal and its Blueprint technology. On the other hand, some engines come with a Domain Specific Language (DSL), which can discourage programmers as they will have to learn new syntax. DSLs also tend to be specialized languages, designed to save you time. Still, they may have fewer features than general programming languages ​​such as C# or Python.


Performance is very important on low-end devices or when you want to push the hardware with detailed 3D worlds or complex physical interactions. But its importance to submitting games depends entirely on your target project and platform. Many devices these days are good enough to run even unoptimized projects, as long as they’re not doing anything too complex. In most cases, your productivity with the tools trumps high performance.

Final words: How to Choose a Game Engine

I hope you understand this article, How to Choose a Game Engine. If your answer is no, you can ask anything via the contact forum section related to this article. And if your answer is yes, please share this article with your friends and family to give us your support.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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