If you want to develop a game you are thinking about what is the best way to realize this.
Should i write a custom own game engine or use an existing one ?

Here is a list of some engines with some notes about what they can and for what they are used to. I want to share some of my experience and list some interesting engines that i found.

I dont focus on a special platform here – there are some engines for mobile, some for PC and some Cross Plattform.

I want to update this article in the future and add some more interesting engines.
Okay – Lets Start 🙂



URL: http://unity3d.com/
License: Free (for Indies and Companys which turnover in the fiscal year didnt reached 100.000 $)
Type: 2D/3D Game Engine
Platforms: All you even know


Unity3d is a very well known Engine and is very popular currently. The reason for this are quite simple:
– easy to learn
– publish everywhere (and it is really everywhere)
– free for indiependent developers (but you are not allowed to remove the splash screen)

I used it for a Augumented Reality Game and for some 2D Game Tests. I must say – i didnt liked it at the beginning as there was not the “okay start coding” – it was more “okay start editing and scripting”. Also i was afraid about that it is more a “3D Engine with a 2D Viewport” in 2D Games as i was not sure if this could give you too much overhead and a performance issue.

But know i like it – it makes so much tasks simple. Adding Sprites Animation and Logic is really simple. You can build some simple prototypes in some hours or a day.

However : if you want your own splash screen and reduze the app size for stores you have to pay a much amount of money (1500 $ for a Pro License + 1500 $ for iOS Pro and again 1500 $ for Android Pro).

If you just want to make some cool games in a short amount of time or if you want to bring your games to many platforms – Unity should be your choice 🙂




Duality Engine

URL : http://duality.adamslair.net/
License: Free (Open Source)
Type: 2D Game Engine
Platforms: Windows


This is quite a really less known engine. I didnt knew it before but someone posted this on “Indie Game Developers” Group on Facebook.

I just checked out the website but didnt still try it really out.

It looks a little bit like the 2D Part of Unity in my first overview – .NET (C#) Scripting
Language, the Editor looks similiar.

The Platform support is just less – so it is more a Engine to Develop PC Games. But if you just want to target this i would give it a try.




URL: http://www.andengine.org/
License: Free (Open Source)
Type: 2D Game Engine
Platforms: Android


AndEngine is one of the Engines that i used at first where i develop my first android game.
It has a lots of extensions and features and is a java engine.

It is not really beginner friendly – you have to code a bunch of shit by yourself (for example a Scene Manager, Resource Manager etc.).
Also it has a good sprite sheet support.
Performance is also great.

What bad is:
– it was a big task to get this running in android studio (with AndEngineBox2d Extension – which you need mostly).
– i got flickering in some games
– less documentation

And you should use the GLES2 branch as it has the OpenGLES Coordinate System.

Overall if you plan to use it, there is a good tutorial out there to learn the basics on http://www.matim-dev.com/full-game-tutorial—part-1.html .


URL: http://cocos2d.org/
License: Free (Open Source)
Type: 2D Game Engine
Platforms: Windows, Mac OSX, iOS, Android, WP8, Linux


Cocos2d is a very popular engine. It was (afaik) first build for iOS.

The big advantage – there are many tutorials on the web.
The big disadvantage – most tutorials refers to cocos2d 2.x versions and they changed many names or methods in 3.x .

However – in 3.x they have similiar names etc. . So you just need to check the API Documentation (which is quite good).

I had done the game logic from my santa claus game in 2 hours – without pre knowledge of cocos2d. So it is very good so far.
Also it is very similiar to SpriteKit.

Cocos2d on the other hand has many features and platforms – sometimes too much but thats okay. If you want to build multi-plattform games then cocos2d-x could be your choice.

I also saw that cocos2d-swift is new there and cocos has an own IDE. Cocos2d Studio btw. should be a good Editor and SpriteBuilder is a good Tool for Cocos too.

So if you search for a multiplatform engine and dont want to use unity – cocos2d could be your choice.



URL: Apple Sprite Kit
License: Free
Type: 2D Game Engine
Platforms: iOS, Mac OS X


Sprite Kit came with the launch for iOS 7 and is a “apple own” Game Engine (or more – a SDK) for the iOS Platform.
Sprite Kit makes many tasks easy like in cocos2d and the big advantage is that it will be long supported by apple.

But comparing to cocos2d you need at least iOS 7+ devices to play the game.
Cocos2d runs at 4.3+ . Also it tooks some time in the beginning before some additional third party libraries and tools where written (like TileMap TMX Support).

However it is easy to learn and Swift supports it with iOS 8 too. So for small games it is still a good choice.


XNA Game Studio

URL: https://msdn.microsoft.com/de-de/library/bb200104%28v=xnagamestudio.40%29.aspx
License: Free
Type: 2D Game Engine
Platforms: Windows, XBOX360, Windows Phone


XNA Game Studio is a Development Engine from Microsoft for their Platforms . You can make Games for XBox 360, Windows and Windows Phone. However XNA is very “simple” engine which means you have to do everything by your own. It just handles Graphics Resources, Engine Loop and rendering. But this is okay for this. You can just develop XNA Game on Windows and Port it later easily to Windows Phone or something.




License: Free
Type: 2D Game Engine
Platforms: iOS, Android, Mac OS X, Linux, Windows, Windows 8 Store, Windows Phone 8

MonoGame is the further development from XNA Game Studio. However you can deploy to iOS and Android too (which first sounds interesting) but there are two hints:
– you need Xamarin (which costs in Indie License 299 USD – but there is a free version)
– lack of documentation

Maybe in the future it will become better.



URL: http://irrlicht.sourceforge.net/
License: Free (Open Source)
Type: 3D Graphics Engine
Platforms: Desktop


Irrlicht is a very good 3D Graphics Engine. It has a bunch of features and is one of the best in his performance. Also it is free and open source.
You need to develop in C++ but there are some wrapper around the net.

In the past Irrlicht had an official .NET Wrapper which they dropped for an unknown reasosn. As i was a Coding “Noob” in 2007 i used this engine and still go a working application which loads scenes and meshes animated into the application.




URL: http://www.ogre3d.org/
License: Free (Open Source)
Type: 3D Graphics Engine
Platforms: Windows, Mac OSX, iOS, Android (unstable), WinRT (unstable)


OGRE3D is an another popular Graphics Engine for Desktop and Mobile Games.
It has some great features and there are many third party tools out there.

Also there are several C# “Ports” out there (like Axiom based on OGRE and MOGRE).
As i just used Axiom i canot say much about the features. You can read more about it here .

What is missed was loading scene files directly. There is a third party library that supports that but ogre did that not native in the past. Thats why i more prefer irrlicht as engine.


Torque 3D

URL: http://www.garagegames.com/products/torque-3d
License: Free (Open Source MIT License)
Type: 3D Game Engine
Platforms: Windows


Torque was previos a paid engine before Garagegames released the source code some years ago. Also it has a very big set of tools and Editors. But as it is a Windows only Engine it is up to you if you want to use it or not. Also Torque have a MMO Kit which makes MMO Development easier.



URL: http://www.realmcrafter.com
License: Paid
Type: MMORPG Creation Engine
Platforms: Windows

Realmcrafter is one of the “great” MMORPG Creation Kits that was released in the past. I had one license for the Realmcrafter 1 Version (and later had access to Realmcrafter Pro).

However this Engine had a good idea but in many cases it was a little bit crap.
First: jep you could easily create an MMORPG with it – but if you wanted to customize the UI for example you had to change the source code for the engine (which was firstly written in BlitzBasic – hell why ?).

The second Version was much better but it was never really finished at all. I had something small running there with Realmcrafter but it doesnt feel like i wanted to have (hard to explain uuh).
But the price was really good – 99 USD. That was the price for the engine. The Community was great there too and you got help for everything.

However – Realmcrafter seemed a little bit dead currently – after the official site went done some users started a website to continue the engine. See : http://www.realmcrafterce.com/forum/ .

As i used Realmcrafter long time ago i dont know what happen when i want to install it was the Software asks the Realmcrafter Server if the license is okay.


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