Best Free and Open Source Game Engines

open-source-game-engines

Best Free and Open Source Game Engines

Introduction

Developing a game can be a daunting task because there are so many things to consider like what language to program it in, what tools should you use, cost, compatibility, and so on. One of the main tools you will need when developing a game is a Game Engine. There are many game engines out there to choose from, and if you are just starting off then you can try out a free Open Source game engine. That way you can dive into creating your project without having to commit to buying any software. In this post we will be explaining about what it means for software to be Open Source and talking about some of the best game engines available for you.

Getting Started

What does Open-Source Mean?

So, you may be wondering what it means for software to be Open Sourced. For a program to be considered Open Source, it is freely distributed, and its source code must be accessible to anyone to be used as they see fit. This means you can take that program’s code and make changes to how it works, looks, or completely revamp it altogether. Typically, this would not be allowed with other proprietary programs such as McAfee Antivirus or Microsoft Office where you do not have the ability to do such changes and you agree not to do so when using the software. With Open Source you are also allowed to add features to the program and even release it as your own as long as you keep it Open Source and do not charge any licensing fees.

Why do I need a Game Engine to Make Games?

A game engine is used for the development of video games, it contains various components that support the game creation process. Game engines render 2D and 3D graphics and use a physics engine for simulations to manipulate certain dynamics like speed, gravity, and collision detection. Visual components also include lighting, and shadow rendering. The audio engine is used to implement different sounds and music to your game. Another component in game engines assists in implementing Artificial Intelligence to your game which learns what action a player is taking and responds accordingly.

Godot

Godot is a power open-source game engine that was initially released in 2014 and has grown in popularity over the years thanks to it being feature-packed and its great support system. This game engine allows you to develop games in 3D with physically based rendering with full MSAA and FXAA support. Godot includes Mid and Post processing effects that even supports HDR. 2D games can be built with ease as well with its tile map editor, pixel sprite support, and even supports sprite-based animation. Godot also includes a built-in debugger to help keep your project running smoothly and supports collaborative work if you are working with a team by allowing you to individually work on scenes, character creation, scripting and more without having to worry about messing up each other’s work.

Supported by the community.

  • A large amount of support is available by the Godot community, which is available through their forum, the r/godot subreddit, Discord, and other popular social media platforms. You can submit bugs through their GitHub and even request features you would like to see in the program.
  • The Godot engine’s documentation is community supported and offers tutorials to help you learn and get started with programming.
  • If you see something you do not like you can be part of the solution since the software is open source, you can add features, change how it works, fix bugs, and make it your own to fit your needs.

Ready to give Godot a try? Check out their site to get started: godotengine.org

License Type: MIT License

Supported Languages

  • GDScript
  • C++
  • C# 8.0
  • VisualScript

Cocos2d-x

Cocos2d-x was released in 2010 and is owned by Chukong technologies. This powerful open-source game engine specializes in 2D game creation, although there is partial support for 3D projects as well. The software is written in C++ and is built for performance because of its small footprint. Thanks to its MIT license, Cocos2d-x is available for free and is maintained by the community and you can find a great deal of support by visiting the forums. There are loads of documentation available for the program to help you get started, the docs offer step by step instructions to install the program, talks about the basics, and dives deeper into development by showing you how to implement just about anything you need to get your project going.

If you want to see some examples of games developed using Cocos2d-x, check out these popular titles:

  • Fire Emblem Heroes
  • Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle
  • The King of Fighters ‘98
  • Magic Rush
  • Idle Heroes

Supported Languages

  • C++
  • Lua
  • JavaScript

Deploys projects to:

  • Android
  • iOS
  • HTML5
  • MAC
  • Windows

Panda3D

Panda3D was developed by Disney and released in 2002 and is used to develop Disney games and amusement park exhibits which gives this program a great deal of support. Panda3D aims to be the most flexible and capable game engine in the world and because it is written in portable C++, it can run on any platform. Panda3D uses command line tools for processing assets and supports various third-party library bindings such as Assimp model loader to import your asset models, the Bullet physics engine, OpenAL for audio, and more. Panda3D has plenty of support tools to help you get started, their community is active and there is plenty of documentation including guides for just about everything you would need for programming.

Supported Languages:

C++

Python

License Type: Modified BSD

Ready to give Panda3D a try? Check out their site to get started: panda3d.org

Thank you for stopping by. Stick around and check out more of our tutorials or posts like our piece on Unity Multiplayer: Create a Multiplayer Game Using the New Input System for Multiplayer Controls. Also, leave a comment telling us what you liked or didn’t like about the tutorial. Was it easy to follow along? What do you want to learn next? As always check out some of our published apps below.


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