Eli5: How does a videogame engine work? What is its purpose?

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Eli5: How does a videogame engine work? What is its purpose?

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6 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

In software, an “engine” just means a set of commonly-used functions that can be packaged together and then re-used. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time you decide to write a program if some of things you want to do with that program are already part of the engine you want to use.

For game design specifically, there are lots of functions that many games are going to want to use. Every 3D game will need a basic gravity simulation, for example. They’ll need a way to draw user interface elements on the screen. They’ll need a system for saving the state of the game and re-loading it. And so on. If you needed to re-make all of these from scratch every time, game development would take a long time. So instead, a “game engine” is just a set of these commonly-used elements packaged together for ease of use. Some are focused on certain types of game, and some are more general-use. Some are focused on one platform, while others are cross-platform. Some are proprietary, meaning you’ll need to pay a licensing fee to use it, while there are some open-source ones you can use for free.

Anonymous 0 Comments

In software, an “engine” just means a set of commonly-used functions that can be packaged together and then re-used. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time you decide to write a program if some of things you want to do with that program are already part of the engine you want to use.

For game design specifically, there are lots of functions that many games are going to want to use. Every 3D game will need a basic gravity simulation, for example. They’ll need a way to draw user interface elements on the screen. They’ll need a system for saving the state of the game and re-loading it. And so on. If you needed to re-make all of these from scratch every time, game development would take a long time. So instead, a “game engine” is just a set of these commonly-used elements packaged together for ease of use. Some are focused on certain types of game, and some are more general-use. Some are focused on one platform, while others are cross-platform. Some are proprietary, meaning you’ll need to pay a licensing fee to use it, while there are some open-source ones you can use for free.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I’m not a programmer but IIRC an engine is essentially a “video game making kit” where a lot of the ground work is already done for the actual video game developers by the engines developers.

Like, video games all have different mechanics and play differently, but they all need the basics like a way to keep track of where the player is and to render graphics and simulate gravity. That’s done by the engine to save time for the developers.

This is why some games slightly look or feel similar despite being made by different developers or why some games feel extremely different all together.

Team fortress two and half life for example feel very similar when it comes to the characters movement because they both use the same engine to handle movement physics, but Skyrim uses an entirely different engine and an entirely different way of handling motion so it feels very different.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I’m not a programmer but IIRC an engine is essentially a “video game making kit” where a lot of the ground work is already done for the actual video game developers by the engines developers.

Like, video games all have different mechanics and play differently, but they all need the basics like a way to keep track of where the player is and to render graphics and simulate gravity. That’s done by the engine to save time for the developers.

This is why some games slightly look or feel similar despite being made by different developers or why some games feel extremely different all together.

Team fortress two and half life for example feel very similar when it comes to the characters movement because they both use the same engine to handle movement physics, but Skyrim uses an entirely different engine and an entirely different way of handling motion so it feels very different.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Think of it like a car engine. You can take the same engine and build 1000’s of different car designs around it, without having to design a new engine each time. Same for wheels, gearbox etc.

Game engines and indeed most programming languages allow you to reuse previously written code or functions to save time (primarily).

Anonymous 0 Comments

Think of it like a car engine. You can take the same engine and build 1000’s of different car designs around it, without having to design a new engine each time. Same for wheels, gearbox etc.

Game engines and indeed most programming languages allow you to reuse previously written code or functions to save time (primarily).