So you’re a successful game developer or a studio and you’ve published some amazing games in the past couple of months, full to the brim with amazing graphics and a captivating storyline. But you were probably using game engines such as Unity, Unreal Engine, Godot or Phaser, just like everyone else. And we don’t blame you! There’s easy to use and can be used for a large variety of game genres.
But before moving on, let’s just address the elephant in the room:
What is a game engine?
A Game Engine is created to develop games, just like any other IDE for any particular language programming. All the components in the game engine are built and integrated to support the motive of game development. It includes the input, the graphics, physics the artificial intelligence (bots), sound, networking and many more.
The game engine is the foundation for how things will react and respond in the game, so having the right one for your idea is crucial. You have great options like Unity and even the Unreal engine, but what if you wanted to make your own?
Should you make your own engine?
Well honestly, building a game engine isn’t easy at all. If it were so, everybody and their dad would have done so. Instead, it takes a lot of time and patience, something that a lot of gamers, (myself included), have a, let’s say, short supply of.
Making a game engine could be an extremely interesting and beneficial asset to your development portfolio. How impressive would it be to see under someone’s projects that they were/are developing or made a game engine?
You need to have a good grasp of what game engines actually are. For example, you might get things mixed up. Is OpenGL a game engine? No, it’s more of a graphics renderer, not an engine. What about DirectX? Nope. Just a collection of APIs used for handling tasks related to multimedia, especially game programming and video.
Pros & Cons
I think this is the easiest way to put it, let’s show some Pros and Cons of building your own game engine.
The sky is the limit – you have so much creative potential when you are building a game using your in-house engine, it’s crazy.
Creating a game engine is more or less creating the building blocks for a potential living, breathing world. This could range from something simpler like a pixelated game, or a huge AAA title such a Grand Theft Auto or Red Dead Redemption.
Control – You have complete and absolute control of everything in your engine. You know how it works, doesn’t work, what could be better, and so much more.
This can be invaluable as since you know everything there is to know about the engine, you are the best source of help with every aspect, like animation and physics.
Learning how to utilize the engine – When a game development studio creates their own engine, going through millions of hoops and bumps along the way, you can rest assured that they will know everything about that engine. How it works, when it works, why it works and why it doesn’t work. The studio doesn’t need to learn to how use the engine. They already know how – because they’ve built it. This is the definition of in-house development.
Naturally, there are some cons to making your own gaming engine. But it isn’t as bad as you might think.
It takes a lot of time – and by a lot, we mean a lot. You will spend countless hours developing an engine. This, unfortunately, isn’t exactly a casual romp that people can just float their way through over the course of a weekend. You’ll likely be spending months and years building your engine even before it is fully operational.
The existence of other engines – many people say that you should just use a different engine that’s already available and call it a day. It’s pretty easy to fall into this category since there are a slew of other engines with their own unique and attractive styles that could make your life easier. But if you want something fully tailored to your own game development studio, creating your own engine is the way to go.
Aspects to keep in mind when developing a game engine
How are video game engines made? They consist of many interlocking parts. The game engine contains everything needed for a game to run. all of those favorite games of yours were built-in engines that harnessed the developer’s idea into the main working parts:
- Perspective: what direction are we, the viewer, seeing certain things from? How do shadows play on something leaning at a certain angle?
- Movement: How your characters or assets move in the engine
- Textures: Artists can really go crazy here. Gaming textures are what sometimes gives digital assets life.
- Lighting: the lighting and shadows are crucial to immersion in even the simplest game.
- Collision Detection: one of the biggest issues in gaming. Collision detection is exactly that: making sure that two things don’t collide. Or that they collide when they are supposed to collide. I’m pretty sure you’ve seen a million of glitches in games where characters clip through eachother, etc.
To sum up
So, now that you have seen the pros and cons, the many different aspects of what goes into the process, you will need a lot of knowledge, extreme determination, and passion for building a game engine. But if there’s one thing that we can assure you on – it’ll be worth it, especially in the long run.