Choosing a Game Engine

Which game engine suits my needs?

I knew before picking a game engine I’d need to weigh my options. Changing my mind half way through the project could cost me months of development time and maybe even kill the project. So I figured the easiest way to start would be to get a list going of what I’d definitely like to have in the game engine and things that would be nice to have. Here’s what I came up with:

The necessities

  • Focus on 2D – Seems like if it’s made for 2D then it will be more straight-forward for my needs.
  • Cross platform – I’d like to make my game available on desktop and mobile if possible.
  • A great community – This project will definitely be a learning experience for me so it wouldn’t hurt to have a good group of people to learn and share with.
  • Inexpensive – I’m definitely not rich and also being a new parent, I’m not exactly making it rain so it would be nice if the engine isn’t too expensive or better yet, free.

The Wishlist

  • A built-in physics system – I’ve heard that generally these aren’t a good idea for platformers, but it would be nice to have for certain elements.
  • Beginner friendly – If the learning curve isn’t super steep then it should speed up my development time.

And I choose…

So I was able to narrow it down to three different game engines, Unity3D, Godot and Gamemaker Studio. They all are interesting but I’ve decided to go with Gamemaker Studio. The two major deciding factors were that I got a key for the program (version 1.4) and all of the export options from Humble Bundle maybe a year ago, so it’s already paid for and it appears to meet all of my requirements. I think for my next game I’ll probably go with Godot or maybe even Unity3D because they seem like they’d be even more powerful. For my first game though, I think Gamemaker will suit me well.

If I’ve missed anything or am making a huge mistake, it’s not too late.. YET! Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks!

UPDATE – 11/07/18

I decided to go with GameMaker Studio 2 after I was informed of poor tilemap support in GM:S 1.X and a number of new features that made it seem really worthwhile.