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Which Game Program Should I get into?

Started by Googie, December 24, 2022, 07:57:28 PM

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Happy Holidays, fellas.

I'd figure I'd make a thread about the topic since is video game related, if it's not, my bad and a mod can lock the topic.

As a lot of you know, I draw cartoons. And for the longest I always wanted to make a game with 'em, but I hit a pit stop on which program I should invest my time in learning. So my question to you is, which gaming program should I invest in if I wanna make a Googie Toons game? There's so many genres of games I can make with 'em, and I wanna make this a goal for 2023.

I know about these programs.

1. Unreal Engine 5
2. Unity
3. Godot Engine
4. Game Maker

Whichever gets the most recommendations, I'll get cracking with that one. But what are the pros and cons of each one? Is there other gaming programs out there that's not listed?

Thanks for any feedback.  ;)

Ok Impala!

This really depends on the kind of game you'd like to make. I worked a bit with Unity and while it seems to be the standard for most small developers, it can be overwhelming with all its options. If you are looking for a bit more simpler retro game creation programs, you should definitely check out RPG Maker and Solaris Game Engine (

For what it's worth. I choose to continue creating games by Rom hacking as I'm having way more fun creating games that way. With ROM hacking you are way more constrained, but I really prefer that to an ocean of options. Also, being able to play your game on original game hardware is a huge plus to me. So, if you are looking for that but still want to have more options than with ROM hacking, you might want to check out GB Studio and NES maker.


If your goal is to make money then don't use RPG Maker or Solaris. From what I remember both pack your assets in a zip file, which is trivial to pirate.

I think Unreal Engine 4 is free to use provided it doesn't make over x amount of money. Unsure if UE5 is as well. I know Unity is.

Godot is FOSS but it can't be easily and cheaply ported to the Switch or other systems. It works fine with Steam. I plan to use Godot in a few months once version 4.0 is stable.

I know nothing about Game Maker.

TBH it doesn't matter as long as the engine supports the features you need and want. What's more important is that you don't bite off more than you can chew. Start with the simplest and smallest game you plan to make and with each new game increment the size and complexity. Start with an offline 2d sidescroller, not a networked 3D real time artillery simulator.


There's two replies so far that boil down to "it depends", and I have to say, that's probably the best answer you're going to get.

What kind of game do you want to make? What kind of mechanics? What sort of graphics, I mean, obviously you're going to start with hand drawn, but are you going for 8/16 bit, pixel style, smooth, or mapped on 3d models?

I don't actually know the answer, but I'm pretty sure I know some of the questions. Also, hopefully you'll have fun drawing some in-game shots to show what your vision is?


Unity and especially Unreal are more suited to 3d games by default, they're both powerful, but complicated, with a steep learning curve. but they're both very versatile, so there's nothing stopping you from making a 2d game too. they both have some form of visual scripting, so there's little need to actually learn to write code, but it sure helps if you want something less common.
it's said Unity is better suited for smaller projects, while Unreal works best with huge, complicated projects where you can work with a team.

Gamemaker and especially RPG Maker are much easier to learn, but they're not suited to make 3d games, unless you stretch things a lot.

RPG Maker is great to just jump into making a game, nice and easy to work with, but somewhat limiting, with most games made in it having a certain SNES RPG-inspired look and feel, unless heavily scripted. but there is a LOT of fan extensions and a very active community. 3d games are possible with MV3D plugin.
and no, RPG Maker can encrypt your assets, so there's no danger of stealing them from you if you do it right. this is also probably the only engine that doesn't require you to actually write a single line of actual code to make a full-featured game.

Gamemaker is a 2d game engine that's somewhere in-between, it's very nice to work with, pretty easy to learn, and you don't need to code much thanks to its visual scripting. but you'll probably need to actually code in some stuff if you want some custom solutions.

there's lots of promises behind Godot, and it's a full-featured engine, but we've yet to see a really successful game made in it. there's no visual scripting there, so you'll need to write all of your code.

basically you use what works for you. they all have their record of very successful full-featured games.
in terms of difficulty they go like this, from easiest to hardest: RPG Maker < GameMaker < Unity < Unreal.
RPG Maker is great if you just want to jump in to make a game.
GameMaker is good for 2d games and pretty fun to work with.
Unity is a jack of all trades, you can do everything, but it's somewhat complicated to work with.
and Unreal is best for big scale games and when you want your game to have cutting-edge graphics with all the bells and whistles, but works best if you have a team to help. it also needs a powerful PC to comfortably work with.

both Unity and Unreal are free to use until you actually begin to make money on your games, then you have to pay success fees.
RPG Maker needs a one-time payment to buy the engine, but no fees afterwards.
and Gamemaker switched to a subscription-based model some time ago, so it needs monthly payments as long as it's being used to make a game. there are no monthly fees if you're lucky to have bought it when it was still on its old licence model though.


Since the topic is Game Creation Systems:

There is also these ASCII game creators that went Open Source...

"ZZT" and "Super ZZT (A.K.A SZT/SuperZ)" used to have lost source code, but now it has been "Reconstructed" for people in GitHub by Asie of 64pixels and WonderSwan Community Fame, It is under the MIT licence, and given the blessing by EPIC Games and Tim Sweeney themselves for open source,

(Also check out Asie's fork of both for a ton of platforms, named "ClassicZoo". It is also an optimized version of both versions of ZZT and SuperZZT, With SDL support in FreePascal!)

"MegaZeux" (MZX for short) is the other option, Written in C and (a tiny bit of) C++, of which the older DOS versions used Borland Turbo C++ and x86 Turbo ASM, The current maintainer is Lachesis (v2.92f is current version),

I highly recommend people check MegaZeux out along with ZZT, Oh... If you do use ZZT and SuperZZT, Make sure you check out the "Museum of ZZT" and "Wiki of Weavers" for info, I recommend them for ZZT info and more.
I Hath Returned...

BTW My username is not Hamtaro129. THAT IS WRONG, Please correct immediately or I will try to correct it myself!


While I have had some excellent times with ZZT and Megazeux in the distant past (Bernard the Bard forever!) it's definitely not the first thing I'd recommend to someone eager to make a game with cartoons.
This signature is an illusion and is a trap devisut by Satan. Go ahead dauntlessly! Make rapid progres!


Thanks a lot for the feedback, fellas. I'll tinker around with some of 'em to get a feel for 'em. I wanna make 2023 a year that I get into game development.  :D