Why it’s important to build your own engine

No, not everyone should build their own game engine. But we should all strive to have the skills to know how.

The recent changes in Unity prices underscore the fact that large corporations often overlook the needs of smaller indie developers. It’s evident that the primary motivation behind these changes is money. It’s understandable that companies have to earn, but the ambiguity surrounding these updates and the reliance on vague assurances like “Trust me bro” are concerning.

Developing games is a lengthy process. Individuals spend large amounts of time mastering engines, tools, and techniques essential for making games. Many developers made the choice years ago to use Unity, anticipating certain costs. However, when Unity modifies its terms, it disrupts the plans of these developers.

In Unity’s defense, these changes can be beneficial for certain studios, especially smaller ones. Games that don’t reach Unity’s revenue benchmarks might actually find this arrangement more favorable.

However, this issue is not the cost or the new fees.

The truth of the matter is that a company, whose tools developers have dedicated years to mastering, is now altering the rules of engagement. Developers are left with an ultimatum: adapt to these new conditions or lose access to Unity, even for games that have already been launched.

This brings me to the point of this post.

We as developers should not align ourselves with anyone big corporation. Period.

We ought to push ourselves to be amazing developers. It’s crucial to fully understand the intricacies of the tools we use. With a comprehensive grasp of the underlying technology, we can either build our own solutions or collaborate on open-source projects to develop superior tools.

Do I think everyone should build their own engine for their game?

No, but I do think you should know how.

If you are not going to build your own engine then why would you need to know how?

Understanding the mechanics of game engines and the nuances of building one can greatly expand your project opportunities in game development. For instance, if you find Godot aligns well with your needs but lacks a certain feature, your knowledge allows you to implement that feature yourself. If you’re not a fan of C++, there are alternative open-source platforms, like Bevy, which uses Rust. This enables you to develop your game without being tethered to a major corporation that might unpredictably alter its pricing or terms.

I’m not advocating for any particular choice or direction. It’s essential, however, to be aware of the tools we opt for and the companies behind them. Always having a contingency plan is a wise approach.

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