Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Game engines

Game engines are the foundation on which a game is made on. Every game is built off one. Flash or indie games, although they generally don't use big well known engines such as Unreal or Cryengine,  will have a rudimentary engine built by their programmer in order for the game to be made. Engines, like that of a car, limit how good your game can potentially be. An example comes from when me and my friends ventured into making a flash game during one summer, unfortunately none of us knew how to code so we enlisted the help of someone from the site Newgrounds. We had told him our idea and what we wanted to do but due to his skill level a lot of the basic gameplay elements we needed couldn't be made, we later scrapped the game. Commercial engines such as Unreal, Cryengine and Unity don't have as many limitations as a lowly coder in his bedroom although there are some significant differences between them that i want to talk about in this blog.


going by this list of most popular game engines:, Unreal is actually the least popular of the three engines i am going to talk about today. Although not as widely used as Unity, The amount of AAA game titles that use Unreal is quite staggering. Gears of war, Batman Arkham Asylum, Bioshock Infinite, Dishonored some good examples of games that use the Unreal engine.
Bioshock Infinite
Gears of War 3

  • Free student versions (allowing people to learn it before getting into the industry)
  • Depth of field, Bloom, Motion blur, rendering techniques that can help push a game to become more realistic
  •  Better for interior scenes
  • Physics engine is one of the best in the world
  • Lighting is restrictive in Unreal 3 with only 4 dynamic lights (although Unreal 4 has more, but is next gen)
  • assets can only have a max of 6 material ID's
  • can become quite complex if needed to be changed from a first person shooter


The most popular game engine on the list but probably the least known. Used on some extremely popular games such as Battlestar Galactica Online and Temple run.
Battlestar Galactica Online
Temple run

  • Extremely multi-platform with rumours of even google is trying to get it working on Chrome
  • Scripting languages makes it a good choice for people who are not programming gurus
  • Free version has restricted use
  • No realtime shadows
  • Rendering quality doesn't match up to Unreal or Cryengine

The second most popular of the three, Cryengine is starting to be used more and more for the rendering quality alone, always seemingly next gen. Cryengine has been used on games like Crysis and Ryse.
The beautiful Crysis 3
Ryse coming later this year

  • Development is all in real time allowing a faster pipline
  • Engine is extremely strong, allowing for much higher tri counts and texture sizes
  • Lighting is dynamic and easily editable
  • Not the best for indoor scenes
  • If working on a large scene or level can get very laggy as it is all real time

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