A game is the best pill to kill boredom. Playing a game is easy but the steps to develop it may be rather difficult. Even a single map contains thousands of layers of work. To make developers’ life easier, several popular game development engines provide a variety of tools for the development of games.
These engines are loaded with numerous tools that enable the developers to create the most innovative games of all times. Unity 3D is the best source for creating 3D graphics for most of the HTML5 games work for the 2D environment. Though it is most expensive, but companies are now using it for game development and most of the jobs seek for Unity developers. It has well-documented APIs and learner tools that help you to create a non-coded game and then understand the hierarchy behind it. It also offers the free version, unlike Unreal Engine that takes 5% royalty fee.
Unreal Engine has taken over the world with its easy C++ programming that is the most basic programming language. Unreal also provides blueprint tool that enables you to create an entire game using blueprints. It also features the easiest UI that makes it a choice for most of the developers. Game Maker has made its mark with its Drag and Drop feature that has made game development as easy as plug and play. Here is a review of these three game development engines that are rocking the gaming arena at the time.
- Company: Unity Technologies
- Platforms: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Linux, Mac, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows 8
On May 21, 2002, Nicholas Francis, a Danish programmer, asked for assistance with a shader system (a shader gives a 3D object its real looks) he was unable to embed in his engine. After some time, Joachim Ante, a resident of Germany at the time, responded to Nicholas’ query. While conversing, they both realised that they were trying to develop the same shader system to run on their engines, but their conversation ended with a decision of merging both the engines and create an independent one. David Helgason also had a gist of what was going on between Francis and Ante and finding the opportunity, he also jumped into it. At first, they thought of developing games, but their efforts led to the creation of Unity, not a game but a tool to develop games. Its first version was released on 8th June 2005, and the latest available version is Unity 5.4.
Unity 3D is a cross-platform game creation environment that can be incorporated to develop games for websites, desktops and other operating systems. Unity was first introduced for Mac OS only in 2005, but now it has been extended to over 15 platforms. Unity is a very suitable and affordable option for the game developers with some unmatched features.
- Easy scripting and flexible coding to run as smooth as C++.
- Support for built-in NVIDIA PhysX 3™ and Box2D engines.
- Optimised Graphics: Supports animated meshes, advanced lighting, and shadows.
- Importing 3D models, animations, and sprites from a variety of platforms.
- A single shader provides astonishing visuals across mobiles, desktop, and other OS.
- Asian fonts with high resolution and control over the size and weight of text.
- Texture effects including water reflection and refraction etc.
- Motion blurring, edge detection and colour corrections.
- New cloth component.
- Pinpoint and collision precision.
- Mesh-collider support.
- Profiler to access memory locations.
- Configuring snapshots with audio effects and creating one’s own DSP effects.
- Embedding complex effects by using the output of one mixer as an input to another.
System Requirements for Development
- OS: Windows 7 SP1+, 8, 10; Mac OS X 10.8+. However, Windows XP & Vista are not supported.
- Graphics card with DX9 (shader model 3.0) or DX11 with feature level 9.3 capabilities.
- Mac computer running minimum OS X 10.9.4 version and Xcode 7.0 or higher.
- Android SDK and Java Development Kit (JDK).
- Windows 8.1 Store Apps / Windows Phone 8.1: 64 bit Windows 8.1 Pro and Visual Studio 2013 Update 2+.
Platforms supported for running Unity Games
Windows, Mac, Linux/Steam OS, iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8, Windows Store, BlackBerry 10, Tizen, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and Morpheus, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Unity Web Player, WebGL, Android TV, Samsung SMART TV, Oculus Rift and Gear VR.
Currently, three plans are being offered for using Unity 3D.
- Unity Personal: Free version for the beginners.
- Unity Plus: ($35) for veterans.
- Unity Pro: ($125) for professionals.
Temple Run – Made with Unity
Temple Run is an obstacle avoiding game that was developed in 2011 by Imangi Studios. This game was designed, formulated and programmed by a couple, Keith Shepherd and Natalia Luckyanova. Made with Unity, Temple Run was released for iOS in August 2011, for Android in March 2012, and for Windows in March 2013. Temple Run has made a record download of over 1 billion.
Another version was released in 2013 with the tag Temple Run-2 that was embedded with more advanced features. It also achieved another milestone, hitting 6 million downloads on its first day of release.
- Company: Epic Games
- Written in: C++, C#, GLSL, Cg, HLSL
- Platforms: Android, HTML5, iOS, Linux, Mac, Oculus, PC, PS4, SteamOS, Xbox One, Windows
Unreal Engine was developed in 1998 by Epic Games, hitting with its first-person shooting game, named Unreal. Although the game featured first-person shooting but soon, it was also extended to other genres including RPGs. The easy of coding in C++ makes it the most suitable and compatible platform for the developers even for the beginners.
The first version Unreal Engine 1 was released in 1998 that integrated AI, collision detection, visibility, networking and file system management. The second version Unreal Engine 2 made its mark in 2002 as it was created by the US Army and backed by US government. This version embedded the physics engine that set another milestone for game development. Moreover, support for GameCube and Xbox were also added to it. The third version, Unreal Engine 3 was unveiled in 2004 that featured fully programmable shader hardware, unlike the previous version. The latest available version is Unreal Engine 4 that is rocking the market right now.
- Supporting reflections, dynamic lights, physically-based shading and materials and IES lighting profiles.
- Cascade Editor to provide effects of fire, smoke, snow, dust, dirt and rubble.
- Rapid prototyping and playable content building without touching a single line of code.
- Persona animation toolset to edit skeletons, skeletal meshes, animation and Blueprints.
- Filmic effects including ambient cube maps, ambient occlusion, bloom, colour grading, depth of field, eye adaptation and lens flares.
- Updating gameplay code even if the game is running, via Unreal Engine 4’s popular Hot Reload feature.
- Instant spawning a player and playing game in-between, without waiting for files to load.
- Increased spatial awareness to AI-controlled characters with Unreal Engine framework and artificial intelligence system.
- Several lifetime video tutorials and resources.
- Easy maneuver tools that can be handled even by a child.
- Largest community support.
System Requirements for Development
- Desktop PC or Mac
- Windows 7 64-bit or Mac OS X 10.9.2 or later
- Quad-core Intel or AMD processor, 2.5 GHz or faster
- NVIDIA GeForce 470 GTX or AMD Radeon 6870 HD series card or higher
- 8 GB RAM
Platforms supported for running Unreal Games
- Microsoft’s DirectX 11 and 12(for Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Windows RT)
- GNM (for PlayStation 4)
- OpenGL (for OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, Ouya and Windows XP)
- Vulkan (for Android)
- Metal (for iOS)
Eve: Valkyrie – Made with Unreal Engine
Eve: Valkyrie is basically a multiplayer dogfighting game that is based on Virtual Reality VR features. The game was released in March 2016. It has been developed by CCP Games, for using with the three major VR platforms including the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, and the PlayStation VR. The game features two option including Chronicles to be played in single player mode, and Combat enabling eight by eight-person versus person battles.
- Company: YoYo Games
- Written in: Delphi
- Platforms: Android, Browser, iOS, Mac, PC, PS3, PS4, Vita, Windows Phone
This program was released in 1999 under the tag Animo, but later on, its name was changed to Game Maker. Game Maker is an easy-to-use and easy-to-program integrated environment that enables the developers to avoid the complexities of programming languages like Java. by simple drag and drop techniques. The icons represent the movements and actions that would occur in a game. It is also provided with Library Maker to create any of your own libraries. Game Maker offers a broad range of tools for the development of 2D games, supported by some limited 3D graphics. It also allows developers to create particle effects such as the smoky, dirty and rainy environment. Additionally, it incorporates Game Maker Language (GML) as the primary scripting language that is far easier but a bit slower than Java and resembles C language with additional drag/drop features.
- Fast development enables the game developers to save time.
- GM can be used to develop arcade shooters, complex RTS and visual novels, etc.
- Being simple with 2D development, it is quite efficient.
- Its price is affordable for everyone.
- GML and drop/drag programming keep it quite easier to learn game development.
- No need to worry about memory allocation or multi-threading.
- Several online, on-site tutorials and guides for learners.
- UI consisting of a series of Windows, with options to hit demos or projects.
System Requirements for Development
- Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8, 512MB RAM, 128MB graphics, Screen resolution of 1024×600
- Mac OS X, Mac OS X computer required for export, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, 1GB RAM
- Android 2.3 and above
- Ubuntu 14 or above
- HTML5-compatible browser supporting canvas
- iOS 5.0 or above
- Windows Phone 8 SDK
Platforms supported for running Game Maker Games
Windows, Windows 8, Mac OS X, Ubuntu, HTML5, Android, iOS, Windows Phone 8, Tizen, Xbox One, and PlayStation
Currently, YoYo Games is offering three plans for getting Game Maker Studio.
- Studio Free: With fully featured engine and desktop exports
- Studio Professional: ($150) includes all features except Export Modules.
- Studio Master Collection: ($800) includes all features of the engine.
Spelunky – Made with Game Maker
Spelunky is a treasure hunt game that was first developed in 2008 and was remade in 2012 for Xbox. The player controls a spelunker who passes through several procedurally generated caves, dodging the obstacles and tackling the trap. On his way, he collects the treasures and points. The player can jump on the enemies like snakes, bats and spiders, and use a limited number of bombs and ropes to avoid the traps. The difficulty level enhances as the spelunker progresses through the arena.
Game development is the hot topic at the time. Every day, several games are added to the iStore and PlayStore, but only a few make their mark. Understanding the methodology and complexity of the game and selection of a proper platform for its development is very crucial. In order to choose the correct engine, it is required a deep insight of your game.
Finally, to address the questions that should strike your mind right now is that where should you start your learning? How can you know that which is the best engine for you to develop a game? What sort of games do you intend to make? How long will it take to make your first game? And at last, how many minds can your game indulge? Looking forward to your comments and ratings so that we can enrich our stuff in future.