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Game Development for beginners

Video games are fun , by now we all know that. But almost everyone who enjoys them is unaware that the process of creating them is just as fun (and in some cases more than playing the games themselves), although there are always difficult and a bit frustrating moments . A couple of decades ago the process of creating them was very complex: you had to know C ++ perfectly and an API such as DirectX or OpenGL. Today, the process has become much simpler, accessible to people with all kinds of programming knowledge or even, in a couple of cases, without knowing anything. If you have ever been bitten by the bug of creating something, however small and simple it may be, we are going to make it easy for you so that you know the most appropriate tool for each case .

Unreal Engine

The heavyweight of game engines. If a AAA game development studio does not have its own engine such as EA or Ubisoft, it is more than likely that they use the Unreal Engine . We saw the first version in 98 , with the release of Unreal 1 on PC, and it already made it clear that it was an engine that we would have to follow closely , since it was already taking advantage of the hardware in the 3DFX era. Street Fighter V , Ace Combat 7 , Abzu , Darksiders III or Dragon Ball Fighter Z are some of the games made with this engine, but the list is much broader and with a level of quality whose average is through the roof .

Unlike Unity , another of the giants of the sector, Unreal focuses on C ++ and perhaps that is why the performance has always been much better than that of the competition . It shares with its most direct rival the possibility of buying plugins from an online catalog that can be added to the engine and quickly get results. Like Unity , we can export our games on any platform we want, from Web to mobile, through PC / MAC or consoles.

Unity

It is, without a doubt, one of the most famous among indie developers in recent years. With this little gem titles such as Cuphead , Monument Valley 2 , Inside , Ori and the Blind Forest or Hearthstone have been created . Its launch took place more than 15 years ago, in principle only for MAC, and since then it has not stopped growing and offering hundreds of functionalities to its users , especially highlighting the possibility of publishing on all types of devices, from console to PC / MAC / Linux or Web .

Although it started with three programming languages available to develop, it has recently been focusing on C # as the main language, having abandoned support for Javascript . One of the advantages it has over its competitors is a vast online store where you can buy ready-made components that will help you save hundreds of hours of programming and thousands of headaches.

At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in 2019 they have presented a last demo, showing once again that they are much more than a simple game engine for indie 2D arcades.

Game Maker

With Game Maker we find a game engine in which we do not need to know how to program to make our first steps in the world of development , because thanks to a powerful WYSIWYG editor we can create all kinds of scripts by dragging and dropping elements on the screen. Another difference with its older brothers is that Game Maker is designed to create 2D games , offering only some basic functions for 3D. Even being a more limited engine than Unity or Unreal Engine , we have seen how highly talented teams have created authentic works of art from the stature of Nuclear Throne , Downwell , Undertale or Hotline Miami .

CryEngine

When Crysis hit the market in 2007, Crytek froze even the most skeptical of the graphics we saw on our screens. We were not used to that level of detail in a game , although we were not used to the requirements that it asked us to move it to the maximum.

All this graphic spectacle was moved by what at that time was the most powerful graphics engine on the market , although over time it was losing that advantage with its rivals and little by little Epic with Unreal was gaining advantage by leaps and bounds, leaving CryEngine It is forgotten among the developers, because practically no game is currently developed with it , only Crytek uses it for its developments. Regretting it a lot, if you want to invest time in making games we think it is better that you forget about it and dedicate yourself to other tools …

SDL 2

So far we have talked about game engines with environments where we can develop, but with SDL we go to the development of games in the old way : using C ++ and libraries that offer us access to all the necessary hardware (controls, keyboard, mouse, sound) and of course the graph. We will have to think about the entire architecture of the game before we start programming , but you learn a lot more this way than with any of the other engines. Although there are few famous games that use SDL , it is widely used among indie developers of the old school and among the games created with this library we find the odd little wonder , such as Axiom Verge . Where we can find it frequently is between emulators such as DOSBOX or ZSNES.

BabylonJS

To close the list we are going to recommend BabylonJS , perfect for web developers who want to make games accessible to everyone through any web browser or PWA. Babylon is a game engine that offers support for both audio, gamepad, keyboard or mouse and 2D / 3D graphics through WebGL 1 and WebGL 2. Right now it is the most complete and used engine on the web and it is not surprising. In addition to being developed by two Microsoft employees, it has a huge community of developers behind it . Starting to develop with Babylon is as easy as having some knowledge of Javascript , any editor like Atom or Visual Studio Code , some desire and following its extensive documentation full of examples.

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