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Here's some alternatives to the Unity game engine

By - | Views: 56,920

In the wake of Unity setting everything on fire with their new revenue model for developers, here's a reminder on what other game engines and tech is out there for developers to look into.

There's actually absolutely loads out there, this is just a small slice of others developers can look into. So this is not an exhuastive list, not even close, because there is quite literally thousands of different pieces of tech developers can use. 

Full Game Engines

Godot Engine - Free, open source, no royalties at all. There's W4 Games for commercial support.

  • Supports: Linux, macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, HTML5/Web.


Game Pictured - Cassette Beasts, made with Godot Engine.

Defold - Free, full source code access. Not open source under the OSI definition, but incredibly open. Mainly not classed as open source due to their custom license, that forbids anyone to charge for the game engine (even themselves).

  • Supports: Linux, macOS, Windows, PlayStation 4, Switch, iOS, Android. Planned: Xbox (Q1 2024), PlayStation 5 (Q3 2023)

Solar2D - Free, open source, no royalties at all.

  • Supports: iOS, tvOS, Android, Android TV, macOS, Windows, Linux and HTML5/Web.

Ren'Py (visual novel engine) - Free, open source, no royalties at all.

  • Supports: Android, Linux, Windows, macOS, iOS.

Solarus - Free, open source, no royalties at all.

  • Supports: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, Nintendo Switch

HaxeFlixel - Free, open source, no royalties at all.

  • Supports: Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, iOS, HTML5/Web.

Unreal Engine - Free, no royalties until you earn $1 million USD. Full source code access (but not open source). Epic also confirmed they can't just change the licensing on you.

  • Supports:  Windows PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, macOS, iOS, Android, ARKit, ARCore, OpenXR, SteamVR, Oculus, Linux, and Steam Deck.

Castle Game Engine - Free, open source, no royalties at all.

  • Supports: Linux, Windows, macOS, FreeBSD, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch. Planned: Xbox, WebGL.

GDevelop - Free, open source, no royalties at all. Uses an events system instead of traditional programming.

  • Supports: Windows, Linux, macOS, HTML5.

Adventure Game Studio - Free, open source, no royalties at all but there's a few things to note for commercial games.

  • Supports: Windows, macOS, Linux. The editor is only available for Windows.

Bevy - Free, open source, no royalties at all.

  • Supports: Windows, macOS, Linux, Web, iOS. Planned: Android.

O3DE - Free, open source, no royalties at all.

  • Supports: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS.

Heaps - Free, open source, no royalties at all.

  • Supports: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, tvOS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, HTML5.

Frameworks

LÖVE - Free, open source, no royalties at all.

  • Supports: Windows, Linux, macOS, Android and iOS.

FNA - Free, open source, no royalties at all.

  • Supports: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, tvOS, Xbox (One, Series S|X), Nintendo Switch.

MonoGame - Free, open source, no royalties at all.

  • Supports: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS/iPadOS, Android, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.

LDtk (2D level editor) - Free, open source, no royalties at all.

  • Supports: Windows, macOS, Linux

There's a lot more to game development than Unity. However, switching game engine mid-way through a multi-year journey certainly isn't easy or even feasible at all for some.

Feel free to give over your suggestions in the comments. These are just some choice picks for developers wanting to try out something different.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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About the author -
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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30 comments
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Rosareven Sep 13, 2023
I want to bring attention to some more game engines. These are code-only engines with no GUI but they both have fantastic devs behind the projects.

https://www.orx-project.org/ - Open source, C++ engine where you make games by writing a bunch of .ini settings. Very well organised templates. Most of the time you just gotta fill in your own variables.

https://dragonruby.org/ - Not open source, but has a free license that does everything for PC games. Cheap licenses for lil bit of extra features like mobile framework.
robertosf92 Sep 13, 2023
There's also PhaserJS for web games
Mr. Pinsky Sep 13, 2023
There's also Ogre 3D https://www.ogre3d.org/
It's not a complete engine but it has been used for 3D rendering in commercial games, for example in Hob by Runic Games.
sherriw Sep 13, 2023
I'd like to mention https://rpginabox.com/, it's beginner friendly and royalty free (free demo available). Really approachable (even my 11 year old is building games with it.

Has everything you need to create maps, voxel models, sounds, dialogs, etc.
Ehvis Sep 13, 2023
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I think the biggest problem with most engines is the lack of console support. I imagine that is a big breaking point for a lot of devs. And Godot is a prime example of the difficulties in managing that.
pageround Sep 13, 2023
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Also the game libraries raylib, sdml, and sdl2 that have bindings with dozens of languges.

Or reuse a game that has been open sourced such as id Tech 4.
Liam Dawe Sep 13, 2023
Quoting: EhvisI think the biggest problem with most engines is the lack of console support. I imagine that is a big breaking point for a lot of devs. And Godot is a prime example of the difficulties in managing that.
Sadly the blame is entirely on Sony and Microsoft, who keep a tight grip on all the SDK stuff for it. Quite ridiculous really.
artixbtw Sep 13, 2023
Protip: if you care about your fellow indie game developer that's stuck on Unity, before playing their single-player game for the first time, launch their game with:

unshare -rn %command%

That way, the game won't connect to the Internet, Unity will never know you installed or launched the game, and won't take their morning coffee for it.

Edit: according to the FAQ, even subsequent installs are charged. Even if it isn't the first time to launch a game, it's a good idea to do this.


Last edited by artixbtw on 13 September 2023 at 4:18 pm UTC
Linux_Rocks Sep 13, 2023
Why not be like the cool kids back in the day and write your own from Assembly?

ssj17vegeta Sep 13, 2023
Damn, I was looking at the list and was telling myself "wow, there's actually so many still being maintained ?", and then I got to the comment section !!!
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