Tribe of the Accord DevLog - Game Engine
Hello, my name is Shaun. Thanks for joining me as we explore the development process for Tribe of the Accord, my stone age survival game. In this post, I’m going to walk through a few game engines I considered for my video game Tribe of the Accord.
Why use a game engine?
Building a game from scratch is a huge undertaking, and that is why most indie developers or studios put their faith into a game engine. Game engines are software development tools designed to reduce cost, complexity, and time-to-market. They are designed to support many foundational elements of a game's operation, such as the rendering of graphics, input handling, physics management such as collision detection, controlling sound and music, animation playback, networking, memory management, and even artificial intelligence. Let's take a look at game engines suited to 2D development, as that is the direction I took.
Unity is a very well-established engine in the game development industry. Not only that, but they have built a robust ecosystem that involves more than just a development platform. They have an abundant library of assets, dedicated technical support, extensive documentation, various comprehensive instructional courses, and gaming services to integrate.
Most tutorials online use Unity, which walk through a plethora of technical solutions a programmer would come up against. It's well-seasoned and pretty battle-tested, and boasts a vast collection of award-winning games such as Hollow Knight and Limbo. Although it would've been a great choice for my game, I decided not to use it because it's locked down with licensing.
I started using a free, open source game engine last year called Godot, following along with some excellent tutorials on YouTube. There are some incredible teachers, such as Nathan from GDQuest and Benjamin, also known as Heartbeast. There's another chap known as Tutemic on YouTube who's done some very under-rated videos on best practices with programming in general, and Godot, that I'd highly encourage you to watch. In one of his videos, he builds a 3D game in Godot from scratch over seven and a half hours. That's commitment right there!
I was instantly hooked by Godot's ease of use, powerful node-based system, and strength in 2D game development. The native measurement in Godot is the pixel, which was perfect for my goals, considering Tribe of the Accord is designed with pixel art. I was instantly sold and committed to using it. Godot is a very small download and quick to get up and running. It supports Visual Scripting, C#, and C++, but the recommended language is GDScript, which has Python-like syntax. It's an integrated scripting language built from the ground up, and is perfect for game developers both new and experienced to build games with less complexity and for maximising productivity.
I love using it because of its powerful signal event system. At the time of this video, my main concern is the tile system, but I can do what I need to do with it. I really look forward to Godot releases, as they are bundled with great new features and bug fixes. A big thank you to the creators and those who maintain it, as well as those who go out of their way to work on plugins such as Wwise, GUT for Unit testing, and Dialogic, which manages complex dialogue and decisions. On their website, they state that "Godot is completely free and open-source under the very permissive MIT licence. No strings attached, no royalties, nothing. Your game is yours, down to the last line of engine code." This, alongside a brilliant and supportive community of fantastic developers, was a significant factor in my decision to choose Godot to build Tribe of the Accord.
My long-term goal with this game is to release for popular consoles, but at the time of this article, this won't be as straightforward, (At the time of writing) Godot is open-source and not licensed as a legal entity to develop for these popular platforms. Therefore I'd need to get in touch with a third party - which I'll do when the time is right. For now, my first milestone will be to release it for Steam and other PC platforms. But with the necessary tools provided by the engine to make this game, it was time to get a move on. Godot has recently released version 4, but for to me release this with more confident, I will remain on version 3 as it has been through countless bug fixes and maintenance loops. When version 4 get to the same maturity, I will do the switch.
In the next post we will be talking about Adira; the main player protagonist of the game.
The book adaptation of the game is available in the following stores: