17 Best Game Engines for Beginners in 2024

Video: Unity vs Unreal: Which Engine Should You Choose As A Beginner.







An App and Game Developer’s Guide

By Stack Interface™


Quick Answer:

  • Unity: 9.5/10
  • Unreal Engine: 9/10
  • Godot Engine: 8.5/10
  • Construct: 8/10
  • GameMaker Studio 2: 8/10
  • RPG Maker: 7.5/10
  • Cocos2d-x: 7/10
  • Phaser: 7/10
  • Amazon Lumberyard: 6.5/10
  • Stencyl: 6.5/10
  • Clickteam Fusion 2.5: 6/10
  • AppGameKit: 6/10
  • Corona SDK: 5.5/10
  • Defold: 5.5/10
  • GDevelop: 5/10
  • GameSalad: 4.5/10
  • Solar2D: 4/10

Quick Tips and Facts:

  • Unity is highly recommended for beginners due to its user-friendly interface, extensive resources, and versatility in game development.
  • Unreal Engine is known for its high-quality graphics and is suitable for creating AAA-quality games.
  • Godot Engine is open-source, lightweight, and easy to learn.
  • Construct is ideal for beginners with no coding experience, as it uses a visual interface for game development.

Table of Contents


Background: Choosing the Best Game Engine for Beginners

MacBook Pro showing programming language

When it comes to game development, choosing the right game engine is crucial, especially for beginners. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to start with. That’s why we, the developers and software engineers at Stack Interface™, have compiled a list of the best game engines for beginners in 2024. Whether you’re a hobbyist or aspiring game developer, this guide will help you find the perfect game engine to kickstart your journey.

1. Unity

Video: The Unity Tutorial For Complete Beginners.






Rating: 9.5/10

Unity is undoubtedly one of the best game engines for beginners. It offers a user-friendly interface, making it easy to learn and navigate. Unity supports both 2D and 3D game development, giving you the flexibility to create any type of game you desire. With a vast library of tutorials, documentation, and a helpful community, Unity provides ample resources for beginners to learn and grow. Its cross-platform capabilities allow you to develop games for various platforms, including PC, mobile, and consoles.

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface.
  • Extensive resources and tutorials.
  • Cross-platform development.
  • Active community support.

Cons:

  • Steeper learning curve for more advanced features.
  • Some features require scripting knowledge.

CHECK PRICE on: Amazon | Walmart | eBay | Unity Official Website

Unity Features

Feature Rating (1-10)
User Interface 9
Scripting 8
Asset Store 10
Cross-Platform Support 10
Performance 9
Documentation 10
Community Support 10

User Interface

Unity’s user interface is intuitive and beginner-friendly. It provides a visual editor that allows you to drag and drop assets, create scenes, and manage game objects easily. The interface is highly customizable, allowing you to arrange windows and panels according to your preference.

Scripting

While Unity offers a visual scripting system called “Playmaker,” it’s recommended to learn C# scripting for more control and flexibility. Unity’s scripting API is well-documented, making it easier for beginners to learn and implement their game logic.

Asset Store

Unity’s Asset Store is a treasure trove of ready-to-use assets, including 3D models, textures, sound effects, and scripts. It saves beginners time and effort by providing a vast library of high-quality assets that can be easily integrated into their games.

Cross-Platform Support

One of Unity’s biggest strengths is its cross-platform capabilities. You can develop games for multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Xbox, PlayStation, and more. This versatility allows you to reach a wider audience and target different devices.

Performance

Unity is known for its excellent performance, especially when it comes to mobile game development. It optimizes resource usage and provides various tools to analyze and improve performance, ensuring smooth gameplay on different devices.

Documentation

Unity’s documentation is extensive and well-maintained. It covers everything from basic tutorials to advanced topics, making it easy for beginners to learn and troubleshoot issues. Additionally, Unity’s official website offers a wealth of learning resources, including tutorials, videos, and live training sessions.

Community Support

Unity has a vibrant and helpful community of developers. Online forums, such as the Unity Forum and Reddit’s r/Unity3D, are great places to ask questions, seek advice, and connect with fellow developers. The community actively shares tips, tutorials, and assets, fostering a collaborative learning environment.

2. Unreal Engine

Video: I Made the Same Game in 8 Engines.






Rating: 9/10

Unreal Engine is another popular choice for beginners. It’s known for its stunning graphics and realistic visuals, making it ideal for creating AAA-quality games. Unreal Engine offers a visual scripting system called Blueprints, which allows non-coders to create complex game logic without writing code. This feature makes it beginner-friendly and accessible to those without programming experience.

Pros:

  • High-quality graphics.
  • Visual scripting with Blueprints.
  • Active community support.
  • Cross-platform development.

Cons:

  • Steeper learning curve compared to some other engines.
  • Requires a more powerful computer for optimal performance.

CHECK PRICE on: Amazon | Walmart | eBay | Unreal Engine Official Website

Unreal Engine Features

Feature Rating (1-10)
User Interface 8
Blueprints 9
Graphics 10
Performance 9
Cross-Platform Support 10
Documentation 9
Community Support 9

User Interface

Unreal Engine’s user interface may seem overwhelming at first, especially for beginners. However, once you get familiar with its layout and features, it becomes more manageable. Unreal Engine provides a powerful editor with a wide range of tools and options for creating and editing game assets.

Blueprints

Blueprints is Unreal Engine’s visual scripting system, which allows you to create game logic using a node-based interface. It’s a great feature for beginners who want to create complex interactions and gameplay mechanics without writing code. Blueprints provide a visual representation of code, making it easier to understand and modify.

Graphics

Unreal Engine is renowned for its high-quality graphics and realistic visuals. It offers advanced rendering techniques, such as real-time global illumination and physically-based materials, which contribute to the overall visual fidelity of games created with Unreal Engine.

Performance

Unreal Engine provides robust performance optimization tools and features. It allows you to profile and analyze your game’s performance, identify bottlenecks, and make necessary optimizations. Unreal Engine’s performance is particularly impressive when it comes to rendering high-quality graphics.

Cross-Platform Support

Similar to Unity, Unreal Engine supports cross-platform development. You can create games for various platforms, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Xbox, PlayStation, and more. This flexibility enables you to reach a wider audience and target different devices.

Documentation

Unreal Engine’s documentation is comprehensive and well-documented. It covers a wide range of topics, from beginner tutorials to advanced techniques. The official Unreal Engine website also provides learning resources, including video tutorials, documentation, and sample projects.

Community Support

Unreal Engine has a thriving community of developers who actively contribute to forums, social media groups, and online communities. The Unreal Engine Forum and Reddit’s r/unrealengine are excellent places to seek help, share knowledge, and connect with fellow developers. The community’s passion and expertise make it a valuable resource for beginners.

3. Godot Engine

Video: Godot in 100 Seconds.







Rating: 8.5/10

Godot Engine is an open-source game engine that is gaining popularity among beginners. It’s lightweight, easy to learn, and completely free to use. Godot Engine supports both 2D and 3D game development, making it versatile for various game genres. The engine is community-driven, with active forums and resources available to help beginners get started.

Pros:

  • Open-source and free to use.
  • Lightweight and easy to learn.
  • Supports both 2D and 3D game development.
  • Active community support.

Cons:

  • Smaller community compared to Unity and Unreal Engine.
  • Limited third-party assets and plugins.

CHECK PRICE on: Amazon | Walmart | eBay | Godot Engine Official Website

Godot Engine Features

Feature Rating (1-10)
User Interface 8
Scripting 8
Asset Library 7
Cross-Platform Support 9
Performance 8
Documentation 8
Community Support 9

User Interface

Godot Engine’s user interface is clean and intuitive. It provides a visual editor with a drag-and-drop interface, allowing beginners to create scenes and manage game objects easily. The interface is customizable, allowing you to arrange windows and panels according to your preference.

Scripting

Godot Engine uses its own scripting language called GDScript, which is similar to Python. GDScript is easy to learn and understand, making it beginner-friendly. Additionally, Godot Engine supports other scripting languages, such as C# and VisualScript, giving you flexibility in choosing your preferred language.

Asset Library

Godot Engine has an asset library where you can find a variety of free and open-source assets, including 2D and 3D models, textures, sound effects, and more. While the asset library may not be as extensive as Unity’s Asset Store, it still provides a decent collection of resources for beginners to use in their games.

Cross-Platform Support

Godot Engine supports cross-platform development, allowing you to create games for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and more. It provides export templates for different platforms, making it easy to build and deploy your games to various devices.

Performance

Godot Engine is known for its efficient performance, even on lower-end hardware. It optimizes resource usage and provides tools to analyze and improve performance. With proper optimization, you can create games that run smoothly on a wide range of devices.

Documentation

Godot Engine’s documentation is well-maintained and covers a wide range of topics. It includes tutorials, guides, and references to help beginners learn the engine and its features. The official Godot Engine website also hosts a community-driven documentation project, ensuring that the documentation stays up-to-date and relevant.

Community Support

Although Godot Engine’s community may not be as large as Unity’s or Unreal Engine’s, it is still active and supportive. The Godot Engine Forum and Reddit’s r/godot are great places to ask questions, share projects, and connect with other developers. The community’s enthusiasm and willingness to help make it a valuable resource for beginners.

4. Construct

Video: The Best Game Engines of 2021.







Rating: 8/10

Construct is an excellent game engine for beginners with no coding experience. It uses a visual interface and a behavior-based system to create games, making it accessible to those who are new to programming. Construct is particularly well-suited for 2D game development and offers a free version with limitations.

Pros:

  • Ideal for beginners with no coding experience.
  • Visual interface for game development.
  • Great for creating 2D games.
  • Free version available.

Cons:

  • Limited flexibility compared to engines with scripting capabilities.
  • Advanced features may require additional plugins.

CHECK PRICE on: Amazon | Walmart | eBay | Construct Official Website

Construct Features

Feature Rating (1-10)
User Interface 9
Visual Scripting 9
2D Game Development 10
Asset Library 8
Performance 8
Documentation 9
Community Support 8

User Interface

Construct’s user interface is intuitive and beginner-friendly. It provides a visual editor where you can create and edit game objects, scenes, and behaviors. The interface is designed to be user-friendly, allowing beginners to quickly grasp the basics of game development.

Visual Scripting

Construct uses a visual scripting system called Event Sheets, which allows you to create game logic using a flowchart-like interface. This visual approach makes it easy for beginners to understand and modify their game’s behavior without writing code.

2D Game Development

Construct is primarily focused on 2D game development. It provides a wide range of tools and features specifically tailored for creating 2D games. Whether you’re making a platformer, puzzle game, or top-down shooter, Construct has the necessary tools to bring your ideas to life.

Asset Library

Construct has an asset library where you can find a variety of pre-made assets, including sprites, sound effects, and music. While the asset library may not be as extensive as Unity’s Asset Store, it still provides a decent collection of resources to help you get started with your game.

Performance

Construct is optimized for 2D game development and provides efficient performance for most projects. However, it’s worth noting that performance may vary depending on the complexity of your game and the hardware it’s running on.

Documentation

Construct’s documentation is comprehensive and beginner-friendly. It covers a wide range of topics, from basic tutorials to advanced techniques. The official Construct website also offers video tutorials and a community-driven forum where you can ask questions and get help.

Community Support

Construct has an active and supportive community of developers. The Construct Forum and Reddit’s r/construct are great places to connect with other developers, share your projects, and seek advice. The community’s enthusiasm and willingness to help make it a valuable resource for beginners.


The article continues with the remaining game engines, FAQ, conclusion, recommended links, and reference links.

Jacob
Jacob

Jacob is a software engineer with over 2 decades of experience in the field. His experience ranges from working in fortune 500 retailers, to software startups as diverse as the the medical or gaming industries. He has full stack experience and has even developed a number of successful mobile apps and games.

Articles: 147

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