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What is the best game engine for your game?

In-depth guides to finding the best game engine to develop your game, including Unreal, Unity, GameMaker, and more

Unless you're a development veteran, choosing the best game engine, that's the right fit for your project, can be a challenge.

While the development scene is still largely dominated by Unreal and Unity, the number of options is on the rise, and for developers only just joining the industry, the task of choosing the right game engine can seem a bit daunting.

Before making a decision, you should ask yourself a few questions. What type of game is the engine you want to use good at making? Is your project a good fit for its strengths? If you're only aiming for a small 2D project, you probably don't need a chunky engine that's going to come with a lot of features you don't need.

Quill_game_engines

What are your technical abilities? If you're new to programming, you should find an engine that won't require too much coding. What are the key features you need in your engine? What's the support like? How big is the community? If you plan to start a company, how easy is it to find recruits experienced in using this engine?

This may seem like a lot of thought to give to choosing a game engine -- particularly when most of them are free to at least try -- but the kind of games you can make will be greatly influenced by the technology that underpins them. Josh Stiksma from Polyarc, the studio behind the hit VR title Moss, explained it best when we spoke to him for these guides.

"It's a monumental commitment that changes the whole trajectory of your project," he said. “It's extremely non-trivial to do an [engine] change at any point in a project, so it's something that you should feel is definitely right for you. Not just one person should make that call, but the whole team that you imagine yourself working with, from the arts to the audio to the design to the engineering, and all of the other teams that might be involved.”

Which game engine is right for your game?

Here, we'll try to answer as many of your questions as possible to help you choose what the best engine is for you, by providing in-depth guides on all the major game engines.

We've started with the engines that are arguably the best known, but check this page frequently as we'll continue to provide game engines guides on a regular basis.

Is Unity the right game engine for you?

Is Unreal Engine the right game engine for you?

Is GameMaker the right game engine for you?

Is CryEngine the right game engine for you?

Is MonoGame the right engine for you?

Is Construct the right game engine for you?

Is Godot the right game engine for you?

Is Amazon Lumberyard the right game engine for you?

More GamesIndustry.biz Academy guides to Making Games

Our guides to making games cover various aspects of the development process, whether you're a young game developer about to start a new project or an industry veteran:

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Latest comments (6)

Benjamin Flint Technical Director, PopCap Games9 months ago
I understand that there are too many engines out there to cover them all, but I am still pretty surprised that Godot did not make your list of articles. I'd love to see it covered in the future.

I'm an EA Dev, but these statements are my own, not EA's.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Benjamin Flint on 16th January 2020 5:16pm

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Marie Dealessandri Academy Writer, GamesIndustry.biz 9 months ago
@Benjamin Flint: Hi Benjamin! Thanks for the feedback. Godot is definitely on my list of engines to cover. This is on ongoing task and well eventually get to all the engines, provided we can find people to contribute as this is all led by industry experts. Let me know if youd like to be involved; if you have some experience with Godot, itd be super valuable to have your insight! You can get in touch at academy@gamesindustry.biz.
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Tom Cole Lecturer, Games Design 9 months ago
Construct is also crucial to cover if you're catering to all levels.

To be honest, it seems a little strange that CryEngine gets mentioned, and yet Godot (like previous poster recommends), Construct, Fusion 2.5 etc. don't get a look-in. Especially since you specifically (and correctly) mention that if you're making a 2D game you don't need a massive engine like Unreal/Unity.

What about other beginner friendly engines such as Adventure Game Studio, RenPy, Twine, Ink, Quest, RPGMaker etc.?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tom Cole on 16th January 2020 9:09pm

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Show all comments (6)
James Barnard Founder / Developer, Springloaded9 months ago
Thanks for such great coverage of monogame, next time someone says "why do you use xna, isn't that dead" whether it's a potential employee or a publisher I can just point them to your article.

We find we are really really fast with xna, having spent 7 years building libraries and various reusable components. The worst thing for us at this point is xamarin, (the compiler for mobile, built into visual studio) - trying to Integrate the latest versions of sdks in to mobile projects is reaching a point that is actually damaging our revenue. So monogame is great, Microsoft/xamarin is a bit of a struggle, we have actually written our own system to get xna running inside unity as a back up, if we really can't get anywhere with xamarin! I just love that we can even do that...I feel confident that our games will be able to run on anything, and will survive long after current engines have evolved into something else.
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Matthew Handrahan European Deputy Editor, GamesIndustry.biz9 months ago
Hey Tom. This is just the starting group of engines, and we have a list of those we intend to do in the future. Construct is next up, for example, and all those you mentioned are in our plans. We'll post the new additions to the site's homepage as they're completed.

In terms of why we started with these, it was largely a matter of resources. Talking to so many people and condensing their advice was a sizable job, so the the engines we covered first were the two or three most popular and those we had a better response for in terms of interviewees. The concept of the Academy is to be an evolving resource, growing and improving all the time, so please don't see this as an end point -- it really is the start.

We're keen to expand this network of guides, and we're even more keen to find people to contribute and help point us in the right direction. If you, or anyone commenting here, has a working knowledge of an engine we haven't covered, please do reach out to academy@gamesindustry.biz
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Murray Lorden Game Designer & Developer, MUZBOZ8 months ago
Nice one GIBiz, growing out some resources here for students, beginners, and beyond seems like a cool addition to the site as a sort a side section. Good on ya!
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