Building the game engine from scratch

In October ’14 I attended a “Share Your Projects: Lightning Talks” event where mobile developers demoed their personal projects. While chatting beforehand someone asked me what ‘engine’ I was using to develop my game. As I was looking confused, he offered, “Unity?” along with a couple other suggestions. I had no idea what he was talking about.

Demonstrating a very early Alpha version for a particularly interested individual
Demonstrating a very early Alpha version for a particularly interested individual

A game engine is, I learned, simply “a software framework designed for the creation and development of video games.” They exist for Android and most everything else. Core functionality, such as UI, rendering, physics, AI, logic, etc., are all already provided, obviating the need to reinvent any wheels. With a multitude of different off-the-shelf game engines available, why write your own? According to Michael Kissner, “Don’t, if you can avoid it.”

Michael then goes on, contrary to his own advice, to write a four-part series on building game engines, because, as he points out, some people might “want to learn how an engine works.” This was my motivation from the beginning. (Although, frankly, I didn’t know any better.) For anyone else interested in doing likewise, there is a myriad of instructive blog posts (I found this one particularly helpful) and I would highly recommend Game Programming Patterns. Perhaps I’ll eventually post some helpful tips on this blog.

In any event, the answer to the question asked of me at the Lightening Talk turned out to be, “I’m writing directly to the Canvas using my own engine.” Today I stumbled across this Quora answer to What is considered as the most difficult level in programming?: “I’d say developing a game engine.” I’m not sure if she’s right, but it’s enjoyable to hear.

Author: Ĕlāhā

Lord and Creator of the Mortal Wayfare universe

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