What is the best game engine: is Godot right for you?
12.02.2024 - 12:33
For developers just starting in the industry, the task of choosing the best game engine can be daunting. Here, we'll try to address many of the issues concerning one of the most popular game engines, Godot, so you can see if it's the right game engine for your project.
You can read our other in-depth guides on all the major game engines from this page.
While big game engines such as Unity and Unreal have become more and more accessible, the indie scene continues to rely on smaller engines that have a community of dedicated developers.
These hidden gems include Monogame and Construct, but Godot is becoming an increasingly popular choice, having seen several spikes in new users last year, such as a significant increase in September that was likely related to missteps by its much bigger rival, Unity.
It is actually the third most used game engine on Itch.io at the time of writing, having overtaken GameMaker, Unreal, and RPG Maker in popularity in recent years. Where before Godot was primarily used by indie developers, these days it has been put to use by companies including Sega – for 2021's Sonic Colors: Ultimate – and even electric vehicle giant Tesla, which has used it for animations on its mobile app.
Godot started its life in 2007, the pet project of Argentinian developers Juan "reduz" Linietsky and Ariel "punto" Manzur. It didn't launch until 2014, however, and the long term aspect of the project was one of the reasons for its name, a reference to Samuel Beckett's famous play, Waiting for Godot.
Godot is a free open source engine relying on donations via its Patreon page and its own website. You can learn more about how the donations are used, who Godot's biggest funders are, and even donate yourself, on this page.
Godot uses its own language, GDScript – which you can learn more about below – but it also supports visual scripting, C# and C++. With Godot, you can deploy games on desktop platforms such as Windows, macOS, Linux, UWP, and Haiku, as well as mobile platforms iOS and Android. You can learn more about Godot's features on this page.
Godot has been going from strength to strength these past few years, with the new iteration – Godot 4 – providing better 3D support and a lot of new features.
"Godot's popularity has grown exponentially through 2023," says Tom Coxon, co-game director of Cassette Beasts developer Bytten Games. "In fact, after Unity proposed the runtime fees, so many new donations poured into the Godot Foundation that its funding more than doubled in just a couple of weeks. Anecdotally, I can say I have seen sustained interest in Godot from newbies ever since."
"While Unity did a lot of quality PR for Godot, it isn't fair to say that it's the sole reason for Godot's increased popularity