What engine should you choose?

“What’s the best game engine?”

It’s probably the most asked question ever in the game dev world.

This is where everybody starts.

It’s the same thing as asking “what’s the best programming language?” when you want to learn to code.

First, let me hit you with the good ol’ advice you’ve probably all already heard before…

(but it’s still good advice)

There is no best engine, it just depends on what type of game you want to make.

But I want to dig a little bit deeper than that.

I noticed that when beginners ask this question, they’re often under the assumption that it’s a very important decision.

That they’ll have to stick with that one engine or that one language for the rest of their career.

So they wait.

They plan, think and compare all of their options for months or even years before actually doing anything.

And could you blame them? It’s exactly the same thing as asking a high-schooler what they want to do with their life.

How could they know?

When you’re 15 years old, you have no experience and no idea what you’re doing.

And you should be able to pick the one career path that you’ll follow for the next 40 years? Give me a break.

But the truth is that you don’t actually have to make those decisions.

From my experience, your path is almost never a straight line.

You pick the best thing you can with the limited information you have and you run with it.

If after a few months you find out it’s not for you… then great.

You now have more information and can make a better decision. At least you’re moving forward.

What is not moving forward is sitting there and thinking about it.

Picking an engine shouldn’t take you more than a few days.

Whichever one you choose, you’ll gain game dev experience. Most of the skills you’ll learn will be transferable.

I chose GameMaker Studio 2 because it was the easiest to get started with.

If I wanted to switch to Unity now, I wouldn’t be restarting from scratch.

Most engines use the same concepts but implement them differently and with different levels of complexity.

In the same token…

Once you know how to code in Java, it’s not nearly as hard to learn Python, C#, C, JavaScript, PHP or any other similar language.

Different syntax, tools and goals. Same concepts.

So don’t be afraid to choose.

As long as you’re gaining skills and experience, you’re not wasting your time.