Which Game Development Engines Are the Best in 2023
Every year, video games become increasingly technologically advanced. They provide more and more functionality, please us with their speed and perfection of graphics. Of course, this is largely the merit of developers, artists, and designers who had a hand in creating a particular game. But the technical side of the issue should not be discounted too. Firstly, this concerns the choice of technologies, with the help of which the ideas and visual images of the game will be transferred to the gameplay.
The core of any game is the game engine. This term refers to a set of application programs combined into a single whole, with the help of which graphic visualization, sound accompaniment, movement of in-game characters, their actions in accordance with scripts, as well as online play, built-in graphic scenes, compliance with physical effects and laws, and much more are provided.
Modern game engines are pretty diverse. Some are freeware, and others are available for a subscription or some other kind of payment. You have probably heard expressions from gamers or game reviews that sound like “failed engine,” “well-thought-out engine,” etc. What is used today to create the best games in the industry?
Of course, some developers prefer to use personally-developed tools and make games on their own without any engine. Is there any benefit of using a pre-built game engine in this case? Undoubtedly yes. The developer receives a ready-made, high-quality tool with numerous libraries. As a result, they don’t have to write much of the core code and can focus on implementing their ideas, graphics, game mechanics, and story without wasting time writing code from scratch.
We studied and interviewed game development specialists from several companies, including Stepico, concerning this topic. And in our article, we collected the 10 best game engines that should be used to develop games in 2023. So, we invite you to familiarize yourself with this rating and find out exactly what good game development engines are.
Top-5 2D Game Engines to Operate in 2023
Let’s start with 2D games, which are still in demand in the market. For them, game engine developers offer a diversity of tools. Yet, the most interesting and effective ones from the developers’ point of view are as follows:
1. Godot Engine
Godot is a cross-platform engine available under the MIT license. That engine offers a fast and simple game development process in a multi-language environment. The engine supports C# and C++. It can also be integrated with other coding languages with its GDNative add-on. Besides, you can use its own language to develop scripts. We cannot say it is genuinely the best engine ever, but it offers an intuitive and simple interface that benefits novice developers.
2. Cocos 2D
It is a convenient tool for developing 2D games that will work on multiple platforms. You can use it to create games for main mobile OSes, HTML5, Windows OS, and macOS. Besides, it provides all the main features of a game engine and helps develop 2D projects of any complexity and even some simple 3D projects.
Construct is the simplest no-code engine for 2D game development. It doesn’t offer outstanding performance, and its free version is limited in functions. Yet, due to the great Construct community and lots of easy-to-comprehend tutorials, using it is a good start for newcomers.
This engine is an open-source one used to develop 2D games and visual novels. It is perfect for mini-games development and works well with Python language, which is commonly used and simple for learning.
It’s a framework built for 2D game development using Lua language. It is freeware, open-source and cross-platform at once, which makes it an all-purpose engine. It works under the ZLIB license, allowing free use even in closed-source commercial projects.
All these frameworks are great for 2D visual novels, storytelling, and games with 2D graphics. Yet, when you want to develop something special, let’s dwell deeper into 3D engines!
Top-5 3D Game Engines to Use in 2023
For 3D game engines, it is crucial to obtain high performance, high speed, and stability of work. Thus, 5 flagships embody all these features.
Unity game engine is already classic. It has ruled the world of game development for a decade and even more. Unity’s merits are almost uncountable. Due to statistics, in 2021, Unity covered 50% of all mobile games market, and it is one of the most popular game engines for Steam games. First released in 2005 as a macOS X-only engine, Unity is now supported on both Windows and Linux and is known for being cross-platform across all mobile, console, PC platforms, and even AR/VR.
It features a robust community and an abundance of training materials, as well as a huge library of assets and plugins, with which you can significantly speed up the game development process. This is the most popular engine among game developers, both among indies and larger studios.
Unreal Engine is an eternal foe of Unity, as it shares top positions in various ratings. Since its inception in 1998, Unreal Engine has reduced license fees and requirements, making it available to almost anyone who wants to create games on it.
However, it is more commonly used for AAA projects. It allows working with physics, 3D graphics, and more. It is a powerful engine for creating highly realistic games out of the box, supporting rapid prototyping and visualized coding, as well as extensive customization.
GameMaker Studio is also on the list, featuring its drag & drop principle. It cannot be indeed compared to Unity/Unreal, yet for novice developers and indie gaming projects, using it is a win-win idea.
This engine is targeted for AAA projects. It requires advanced skills from developers, yet still, it is the best engine for photorealistic 3D shooters with complex graphics and scenarios. Just keep in mind that the legendary Far Cry was developed on it.
5. Amazon Lumberyard
It is based on the previous engine, but its development since 2016 has come far, and today, it is a good choice for 3D games developed both by AAA-class studios and indie development teams.
The Bottom Line
Deciding on the engine choice is among the most important tasks when developing a game. At this time, there are lots of options available in the market. Simply put, if you are not sure which engine will be a perfect match for your project, you can get help with this task from skilled developers. This is the best idea to get high results when developing your video game.