It is undeniable that the indie video game scene has grown exponentially over the last few years. More and more people are encouraged to create their own video game using the infinite tools and aids that can be found on the internet.
Now it is easier to find all the material needed to start in the world of video game design and programming. From programs that save you the tedious work of creating the code up to graphic engines of big companies that can be found for free and without any limitation when letting our imagination fly.
You have recently witnessed the emergence of this new breed of graphics engine. Engines like Unreal Engine 4 and Source 2 that join a business model that already worked well enough to Unity 3D and now we pick up a list with its advantages and disadvantages.
Source 2, the engine that could fulfill our dream of seeing ‘Half-Life 3’
Despite not being able to see anything from Source 2 in motion, it is impossible not to start this list with the new Valve engine. Of him we not only expect a lot of titles, but with the mere fact of thinking of an improvement of everything seen in the first Source already I get the hair like escarpias.
You know that this engine is the father of ‘Half-Life 2’, ‘Dark Messiah of Might and Magic’, ‘Portal 2’ and the most recent ‘Titanfall’. These games, to a greater or lesser extent, marked a milestone for the video game industry, making it clear that Source had a lot to say from its creation in 2004 until the release of ‘Titanfall’ in 2014.
With all that has offered us so far, it is inevitable that when thinking about the possibilities of Source 2 we will fall a lagrimilla. The best thing about this new version is that we can work with it for free, although we still need to know more details of Valve’s business model.
We assume that a lot of the tools included in the first Source will be improved for Source 2. In this way we can intuit that we will have the Hammer map editor and many other tools. If you want to get an idea while you wait, you can use the Source SDK included in any game of Valve or do something crazy with ‘Garry’s Mod’.
Unreal Engine 4, because the power has to be under control
Unreal Engine has always been one of the most engineered graphics engines in the video game industry, so its new version could not go unnoticed. With Unreal Engine 4 we expect tons of improvements, lots of power and, like with Source 2, we can use it for free.
The most interesting thing about Unreal Engine 4 is the possibility of creating our own game without paying monthly installments. The only thing the guys at Epic Games ask for in return is 5% of the profits generated, as long as your company generates more than $ 3,000 per product and quarter. Interesting model.
Unreal 4 is one of the wildest graphics engines. And it’s free
The versatility of this brown beast of graphics engines is also a quality to be highlighted. We will have the possibility to do things as awesome as ‘Batman: Arkham Knight’ or throw for something much simpler and visually more colorful, as we showed the guys at Epic Games some time ago.
The only drawback of Unreal Engine 4, to put some, would be that it is not one of the most easy to use graphics engines. If you do not want to be able to tweak this fourth version, the experience with Unreal Engine 3 is that you have to spend many hours to get something decent, both in your map editor and when entering code. If you want something, it’s going to cost you.
The versatility of Unity 5, the balance between power and versatility
One of the most used graphics engines among all those who start in the world of video games is Unity 3D. This graphics engine takes time allowing users to use a free version to develop their games, as long as they were only scheduled for Windows.
Until recently the free version had certain limitations that were eliminated going through the box, but with Unity 5 also wanted to sign up somewhat and remove all restrictions. This means that the free version of this graphics engine will be just as complete as the paid version. The only difference is that for $ 75 a month we can enjoy some services in the cloud.
Unity 5 allows users to create authentic graphic savers in a very short time of use. The ease with which we can create scenarios and the speed at which we will learn to use it is abysmal, without forgetting the great amount of tutorials and methods of help that Unity Technologies puts at our disposal to learn how to use it.
Cryengine, when power has no control
Since the launch of ‘Far Cry’, the first game to use this graphics engine, it became clear that Cryengine would be a graphic engine that would give that talk. Its fame arose from the effects of lighting and the realism achieved in the first ‘Crysis’ of Crytek, responsible for this graphics engine.
The main attraction of Cryengine 3, the latest version, is the ease with which we can create scenarios of an amazing quality. It is undoubtedly a graphics engine created to impress by its beauty and power, and games like ‘Ryse: Son of Rome’ prove it. Of course the power without control is not worth anything and, unfortunately, we will not have too many facilities to create anything other than a shooter.
Maybe Cryengine 3 is not the best option if you start from scratch, but its power is beyond doubt
This does not mean that Cryengine 3 is not a versatile engine, it is true that it has been used to create games of different genres, but we can not consider it as the best option to learn how to create our own games. Of course, when creating scenarios of jungles and forests we will not find anything that gives us such good results.
Another problem of Cryengine (which is not such, but compared to the free …) is that we will have to point to a subscription system to be able to use it freely. This subtracts many points when thinking of it as a graphic engine for beginners, although its power would be worth the 10 euros per month we will have to pay. It will even allow us to create stereoscopic 3D games.
It is not always necessary to create such a realistic game that it is difficult to differentiate reality from fiction. Sometimes it is much better to lower that realism and create something that is truly fun and enjoyable to see, something beautiful.
With this pretext was born UbiArt, a graphic engine cooked in the bowels of Ubisoft that has offered us things as beautiful as ‘Rayman: Legends’, ‘Valiant Hearts: The Great War’ or ‘Child of Light’, examples that make clear what they are The strengths of this graphics engine designed for 2.5D games.
With UbiArt we can create the platform game of our dreams. This engine offers a great variety of tools to create the most colorful scenarios, as well as making the work easier when creating animations. Legend has it that UbiArt Framework is the graphics engine that dreams are made of.
But everything that glitters is not gold. One of the major drawbacks of this engine is that we will not be able to use it for anything other than a 2D or 2.5D platform game, although the biggest drawback of all is that we will have to go through Ubisoft’s authorization to be able to give it a personal use. Unless the proposal to make it Open Source becomes a reality.
Surely you knew in a greater or lesser extent all the graphic engines mentioned above. Those are the most famous in the industry and the most talked about, but below that there are a lot of options many easier to use if you want to start creating your game.
In this section we also have to highlight GameMaker, one of the programs that has most sounded since the creation of ‘Hotline Miami’. The advantage of GameMaker is that we have many tutorials to learn how to use it, although that does not mean that we do not have to pringarnos of code. The problem is that the free version will only allow us to get an idea of its potential, when it really happens to go through the box.
I hope this list has served you to take the first step towards the development of an entire work of art. Now all you have to do is take your part and devote as much time as necessary to bring your ideas to the industry. Good luck.