Game Engine & Platforms
Every game has a way in which we interact, that medium, the “Platform,” describes both hardware and software specific combinations. Whether a console gaming experience, handheld or mobile, or on a home computer, our experience and input methodologies change and we can build models to study these experiences. Whichever ways we choose to distribute our game to our audience will impose its own limitations on the fundamental core aspects of the game.
In the current generation of games, we are more flexible to make state-of-the-art design and mechanic implementation with running into hard-set limits inherent to the system itself. These could be computation limits or graphics rendering limits, especially if the game has a wide range of compatible devices.
Engines provide a native set of host features, for the game developers to utilize onto their target platforms. Such considerations from video game engines are physics systems, input systems, scripting and state management, collision detection, artificial intelligence, and more. A game's performance, even the performance a mobile game on Android runs, are critical for providing a consistent and engaging experience.
Why are there so many game engines?
There are so many engines because there are so many diverse uses, needs, requirements for the creative work done by video game developers. Some companies, such as ElectronicArts (FrostByte Engine) have been known to re-purpose their common game engine amongst multiple games, and even amongst multiple franchises.
It should be noted that up until recently this was considered an extremely effective tactic. However with the success of ElectronicArts’ game Apex Legends, which was not bound to their usual core game engine, have caused them to reconsider their approach in the upcoming years. The engine may well be the next generation for the studio, and could prove very successful.
Should we just use a new game engine?
New engines take time and resources to develop. It has been said in programming before, but everything you want to do has already been done, you just have to find the code. There are certainly applications for custom video game engines, specifically in the case of experimental games, games on new platforms, or games on limited or experimental platforms as well.
Most companies and independent development studios will learn over time that their engines and platforms will change as both their games and their audience do as well. However, there will come times when we cannot afford or have the time to develop new engines, and old engines must be relied and built upon.
The core loop of a game engine
We go into this topic further in our game engine loop page, but the overview is this all engines are based on some input and output methodology. Nearly all engines rely on a game a loop, a repeating set of actions, to power the entire experience of the video game.
Determine the target demographics of your audience
An important aspect must be considered when choosing an engine are the platforms to which that engine can export. If your team have designed, or want to design for a particular platform such as the PlayStation, game engine choices will be limited and will be skewed more towards the larger engines.