[2023] The Most Used Game Engines: A Comprehensive Guide


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the most used game engines in 2023! If you’re a game developer or aspiring to be one, you’ve probably heard of game engines like Unreal Engine and Unity. But what are the other popular game engines out there? Which one should you choose for your project? In this article, we’ll explore the top game engines, their strengths and weaknesses, and provide expert advice to help you make an informed decision.

Table of Contents

Quick Answer

The most used game engines in 2023 are:

  1. Unreal Engine
  2. Unity
  3. Godot
  4. Amazon Game Engines (Lumberyard and Open3D)
  5. CryEngine
  6. Studios’ Own Game Engines

These game engines offer a wide range of features and capabilities, catering to different needs and preferences. Now, let’s dive deeper into each of these game engines and explore their strengths and weaknesses.

Quick Tips and Facts

  • Unreal Engine and Unity are considered two of the best game engines in the industry.
  • Unreal Engine is known for its advanced real-time 3D creation capabilities and is widely used in multiple genres.
  • Unity is a cross-platform game engine with support for over 25 platforms, making it a popular choice for developers.
  • Other notable game engines include Godot, Amazon Game Engines (such as Lumberyard and Open3D), CryEngine, and studios’ own game engines.

Background


Before we delve into the specifics of each game engine, let’s take a brief look at the history and evolution of game engines. Game engines are software frameworks that provide developers with the necessary tools and functionalities to create and develop games. They handle complex tasks such as rendering graphics, physics simulations, audio processing, and more.

Over the years, game engines have evolved significantly, becoming more powerful and accessible to developers of all skill levels. Today, game engines offer a wide range of features, including visual scripting systems, asset management tools, integrated development environments (IDEs), and version control integration.

Now, let’s explore the top game engines in more detail.

The Top Game Engines


1. Unreal Engine

Unreal Engine, developed by Epic Games, is one of the most popular and widely used game engines in the industry. It is known for its advanced real-time 3D creation capabilities and is used to produce games in multiple genres, including AAA titles, indie games, and virtual reality experiences.

Features and Strengths

  • Intuitive Blueprint System: Unreal Engine offers a visual scripting system called Blueprint, which allows non-programmers to create gameplay mechanics and interactions.
  • High-End Graphics: Unreal Engine is renowned for its high-fidelity graphics and realistic rendering capabilities, making it a top choice for visually stunning games.
  • Performance: Unreal Engine is optimized for performance, allowing developers to create games that run smoothly on a wide range of platforms.
  • VR Support: Unreal Engine provides robust support for virtual reality (VR) development, making it a popular choice for VR experiences.
  • Unreal Engine Marketplace: The Unreal Engine Marketplace offers a vast library of free and paid assets, making it easier for developers to find and integrate assets into their projects.

Weaknesses

  • Better for 3D Games: While Unreal Engine can handle 2D games, it is generally considered more suitable for 3D game development.
  • High System Requirements: Unreal Engine’s more advanced features may require high-end hardware, which can be a barrier for developers with limited resources.
  • Higher Entry Threshold: Unreal Engine has a steeper learning curve compared to some other game engines, requiring developers to invest time in learning its intricacies.

User Review: “Unreal Engine is a powerhouse when it comes to creating visually stunning games. The Blueprint system makes it easy to prototype and iterate on gameplay mechanics, and the Marketplace is a treasure trove of assets to enhance our projects.” – John, Game Developer

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2. Unity

Unity is another leading game engine that has gained immense popularity among developers. It is a cross-platform engine, supporting over 25 platforms, including PC, consoles, mobile devices, and augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) devices.

Features and Strengths

  • Free for Beginners: Unity offers a free version that provides all the essential features for beginners to get started with game development.
  • Flexible and Extensible: Unity’s modular architecture allows developers to extend its functionality with custom scripts and plugins, making it a highly flexible engine.
  • Ideal for 2D and 3D Games: Unity excels in both 2D and 3D game development, offering a wide range of tools and features for each genre.
  • Strong Mobile Game Development Support: Unity provides excellent support for mobile game development, allowing developers to create games for iOS and Android platforms.
  • VR and AR SDKs: Unity offers built-in support for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) development, making it a popular choice for immersive experiences.
  • Wide Cross-Platform Capabilities: Unity allows developers to build games for multiple platforms, saving time and effort in porting games to different devices.

Weaknesses

  • Expensive Professional Licenses: While Unity offers a free version, professional licenses can be expensive, especially for larger development teams.
  • Learning a New Programming Language: Unity uses its own programming language called C#, which may require developers to learn a new language if they are not already familiar with it.
  • Limited Source Code Access: Small development teams may face limitations as Unity does not provide access to the engine’s source code.
  • High System Requirements: Some of Unity’s more advanced features may require powerful hardware, which can be a constraint for developers with limited resources.
  • UI Changes: Unity has undergone significant UI changes in recent versions, which may require developers to adapt to the new interface.

User Review: “Unity is my go-to game engine for both 2D and 3D game development. The flexibility and extensibility of Unity allow me to create unique gameplay mechanics, and the wide range of platform support makes it easy to reach a larger audience.” – Sarah, Indie Game Developer

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3. Godot

Godot is a completely free and open-source game engine that has gained popularity among indie developers. It offers a unique architecture for game development and provides a simple and intuitive interface.

Features and Strengths

  • Completely Free and Open-Source: Godot is free to use and distribute, making it an attractive choice for developers on a tight budget.
  • Ideal for 2D and 3D Games: Godot excels in both 2D and 3D game development, offering a wide range of tools and features for each genre.
  • Cross-Platform Capabilities: Godot allows developers to build games for multiple platforms, including PC, consoles, and mobile devices.
  • Unique Architecture: Godot’s architecture is designed to be developer-friendly, allowing for efficient and streamlined game development.
  • Simple, Intuitive Interface: Godot’s interface is user-friendly and easy to navigate, making it accessible to developers of all skill levels.

Weaknesses

  • Fewer Resources and Materials: Compared to some other game engines, Godot has a smaller community and fewer resources available, which may require developers to rely more on self-learning and experimentation.
  • Slight Learning Curve: While Godot’s interface is intuitive, there may still be a slight learning curve for developers who are new to the engine.

User Review: “Godot is a hidden gem in the game development world. The fact that it’s completely free and open-source is amazing, and the engine itself is powerful and easy to use. I’ve created both 2D and 3D games with Godot, and it has never let me down.” – Mark, Indie Game Developer

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4. Amazon Game Engines

Amazon offers two game engines: Lumberyard and Open3D. While they may not be as widely used as Unreal Engine or Unity, they have their own strengths and unique features.

Lumberyard

Lumberyard is a free game engine developed by Amazon. It provides advanced support for virtual reality (VR) development and integrates seamlessly with Amazon Web Services (AWS) for online multiplayer features.

Features and Strengths

  • Free for Single-Player Games: Lumberyard is free to use for single-player games, making it an attractive choice for indie developers.
  • Advanced VR Support: Lumberyard offers robust support for virtual reality (VR) development, allowing developers to create immersive VR experiences.
  • Integration with AWS: Lumberyard integrates seamlessly with Amazon Web Services (AWS), providing developers with access to scalable cloud services for online multiplayer features.
  • Native Integration with Twitch: Lumberyard has native integration with Twitch, allowing developers to easily incorporate Twitch features into their games.
  • Cross-Platform Capabilities: Lumberyard supports multiple platforms, including PC, consoles, and mobile devices.
  • Solid Rendering for Outdoor Environments: Lumberyard excels in rendering outdoor environments, making it a popular choice for open-world games.

Weaknesses

  • Not Suitable for Smaller Projects: Lumberyard’s advanced features and integration with AWS make it more suitable for larger projects with dedicated development teams.
  • Fewer Resources and Materials: Compared to some other game engines, Lumberyard has a smaller community and fewer resources available, which may require developers to rely more on self-learning and experimentation.

User Review: “Lumberyard’s integration with AWS is a game-changer for online multiplayer features. The engine itself is powerful and easy to use, and the fact that it’s free for single-player games is a huge bonus.” – Emily, Game Developer

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Open3D

Open3D is another game engine developed by Amazon, focusing on cloud gaming and streaming services.

User Review: “Open3D is an interesting game engine that leverages the power of cloud gaming and streaming. While it may not be as widely known as other game engines, it has the potential to revolutionize the gaming industry.” – Michael, Game Developer

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5. CryEngine

CryEngine is a powerful game engine known for its stunning visuals and realistic graphics. It has been used to create visually impressive games such as the Crysis series.

Features and Strengths

  • Extensive Default Features: CryEngine comes with a wide range of default features, allowing developers to create visually stunning games out of the box.
  • High-Fidelity Visuals: CryEngine is renowned for its high-fidelity visuals and realistic rendering capabilities.
  • Fast Iteration Process: CryEngine provides a fast iteration process, allowing developers to quickly test and refine their game mechanics.
  • Powerful Sandbox Game Editor: CryEngine’s Sandbox game editor offers a powerful and intuitive interface for level design and game development.
  • VR Support: CryEngine provides support for virtual reality (VR) development, allowing developers to create immersive VR experiences.

Weaknesses

  • Steep Learning Curve: CryEngine has a steeper learning curve compared to some other game engines, requiring developers to invest time in learning its intricacies.
  • Fewer Resources and Materials: Compared to some other game engines, CryEngine has a smaller community and fewer resources available, which may require developers to rely more on self-learning and experimentation.

User Review: “CryEngine is a beast when it comes to creating visually stunning games. The default features and the power of the Sandbox editor allow me to bring my creative vision to life. However, the learning curve can be steep, especially for beginners.” – Alex, Game Developer

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6. Studios’ Own Game Engines

In addition to the popular game engines mentioned above, many game studios develop their own proprietary game engines. These engines are tailored to the specific needs of the studio and the projects they work on. Some studios use their own engines exclusively, while others use them alongside engines like Unreal Engine or Unity.

User Review: “As a game developer working in a studio, we have our own proprietary game engine. It gives us full control over the development process and allows us to create unique gameplay mechanics that are specific to our games.” – Chris, Game Developer

FAQ

Lake Most II.

What engine does most games use?

The most used game engines in the industry are Unreal Engine and Unity. These engines have a large user base and are widely adopted by game developers.

Read more about “… Which Engine is Best for Game Development?”

Unreal Engine and Unity are considered the most popular game development engines. They offer a wide range of features, extensive community support, and are used to create games in various genres.

Read more about “… Unreal Engine: The Ultimate Real-Time 3D Creation Tool”

What is the most used AAA game engine?

Unreal Engine is often considered the most used AAA game engine. It is known for its advanced real-time 3D creation capabilities and is widely adopted by AAA game studios.

Read more about “… The Ultimate Guide to Video Game Making Software: Create Your Own Virtual Worlds”

What engine do AAA games use?

AAA game studios often use a combination of game engines, depending on the specific requirements of their projects. Unreal Engine and Unity are commonly used, but some studios also develop their own proprietary engines.

Can I use game engines with version control?

Yes, game engines can be used with version control systems to manage source code and collaborate with team members. Popular version control systems like Git and Perforce integrate seamlessly with game engines like Unreal Engine and Unity.

Perforce’s Helix Core is a popular version control system used by game development teams. It integrates seamlessly with game engines like Unreal Engine and Unity, providing developers with a single source of truth and collaboration capabilities.

To use game engines with Helix Core, follow these steps:

  1. Download the game engine of your choice, such as Unreal Engine or Unity.
  2. Download and install Helix Core on your development machine.
  3. Integrate the game engine with Helix Core by configuring the version control settings within the engine’s preferences or settings.
  4. Use the game engine’s editor (for designers and artists) or integrated development environment (IDE) (for coders) to create and develop your game.
  5. Benefit from the single source of truth and collaboration capabilities provided by Helix Core, allowing multiple team members to work on the same project simultaneously.

Helix Core also integrates with other game engines like Lumberyard and CryEngine, providing version control capabilities for a wide range of development workflows.

User Review: “Using Helix Core with Unreal Engine has been a game-changer for our team. It allows us to collaborate seamlessly and ensures that everyone is working with the latest version of the project. The integration is smooth, and the version control capabilities are robust.” – Lisa, Game Developer

Conclusion

Choosing the right game engine for your project is crucial for its success. In this article, we explored the most used game engines in 2023, including Unreal Engine, Unity, Godot, Amazon Game Engines (Lumberyard and Open3D), CryEngine, and studios’ own game engines. Each of these engines has its own strengths and weaknesses, catering to different needs and preferences.

If you’re looking for advanced real-time 3D creation capabilities and high-end graphics, Unreal Engine is a top choice. On the other hand, if you prefer a flexible and extensible engine with strong support for both 2D and 3D games, Unity is a great option. Godot offers a completely free and open-source alternative, while Amazon Game Engines provide unique features like integration with AWS and Twitch. CryEngine excels in rendering high-fidelity visuals, and studios’ own game engines offer full control and customization.

Ultimately, the best game engine for your project depends on your specific requirements, skillset, and the type of game you want to create. We recommend trying out different engines, exploring their features, and considering the needs of your project before making a decision.

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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.

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