Game Engines Comparison for Indie Developers and Game Developers

Game developers and indie developers have many game engines to choose from. We compare Unity 3D, Unreal Engine, Gamemaker Studio, CryEngine, and Lumberyard.

June 30, 2017
Game Engines Comparison for Indie Developers and Game Developers Banner

With so many comparable choices available to mobile game developers and indie developers, the big question is what is the best game development platform to work with?  We did a comparison of the most popular game engines including Unity 3D, Unreal Engine, Gamemaker Studio, Construct 2, CryEngine, and Lumberyard.

Our goal is to give both game developers and indie developers a good idea of which game engine and game development platform is the best for their needs.

Disrupted Logic surveyed over 15,000 indie developers and game developers from around the world to find out what the most popular game development platforms and game engines are.  The article is titled "Best Mobile Game Development Program".

game comparison for indie developers and game developers unity logoUnity

As one of the many indie developers, Disrupted Logic chose Unity 3D as the game development engine for ctalyst® - Dead Corps 2.

Dead Corps is a First Person Shooter Zombie Wave Game and was developed the from scratch. The first thing we learned and liked about unity is that the Full Featured Version is free until your game revenues increase above $100,000.

This is a great model for game developers and indie developers who already work very hard to generate those difficult to come by revenues.

We also really like that while most of the game engines either focus on just 3D or 2D (not both), Unity allows game developers to change on the fly and work in both the 3D and 2D environments.

Unity3D also supports all the major publishing platforms.  This makes Unity a great choice for most mobile developers.

Another thing the dev team liked about Unity is that it supports multiple scripting languages such as C#, JavaScript and Active Script 3.  This made Unity 3D a great choice for our game dev team whose skills cover a wide range of programming languages.

game comparison for indie developers and game developers unreal engine logoUnreal Engine

Epic Games is the developer for Unreal Engine as an in-house platform for Unreal Tournament.

Unreal Engine is used to develop some of the highest quality AAA Games on the market. Video games like Batman Arkham Series, Epic Games own Gears of War Series and Toxic Games "Qube" are all developed on the Unreal game engine platform.

The sets of features offered by UE4 (Unreal Engine 4) outweigh almost all of the other game engines. For example, the entire source of the Unreal Engine is free on GitHub which makes development for the engine itself easy and fast.  Unreal also features a programming-friendly modular development structure.

However, the Unreal Engine crashes a lot. This means savvy game developers must save the project frequently and with every major development change, or risk losing their work.

Third-party plugin development is slow and limited and this can be attributed to the big learning curve involved along with the complexities of the C++ language itself.

The pricing structure is to Unity where you can develop and publish for free, until your game revenues exceed $500 or more per month.

Unity 3D vs Unreal Engine

We recently published an article where we side-by-side compared Unity3d against Unreal Engine.  Click here to read more.

game comparison for indie developers and game developers game maker studio logoGame Maker Studio

Yo Yo Games released Game Maker Studio in 1999 for indie developers and game developers as an easy to use 2D game development platform.

Originally designed to create 2D animations,  Gamemaker Studio has quickly taken over as a respected game development platform catering to the youthful and indie developers market.

Some of the best 2D games have been developed using Game Maker Studio.

Dennaton Games’ wonderfully violent “Hotline Miami” and Derek Yu’s and Andy Hall’s “Spelunky”.

Gamemaker is a powerful game engine that differentiates itself from all other game development platforms.  Features like pre-defined events such as Create new Event "When Right Button pressed" makes it really easy for new indie developers to define the appropriate actions.

This approach to game development makes it lot easier for new and younger game developers to make beautiful and fun games, without the need to learn complicated coding languages and structures.

This game engine uses own proprietary language called "Game Maker Language" or GML.

While pre-defined events and its own proprietary language makes Game Maker a great choice for some, it's also its biggest drawback which may not make it a good choice for higher-end indie developers and game developers.

game comparison for indie developers and game developers construct 2 logoScirra's Construct 2

Our experience with Scirra's Construct 2 is limited, however it is popular among the game development students.

Originally surfacing in 2007 as Construct Classic, it has recently been updated to Construct 2.  It is most similar in features and easy of use to Gamemaker Studio.

Construct 2's plugin feature uses JavaScript, which makes the defining of custom events easier and more accessible.  As such, indie developers and game developers who already have a foundation in JavaScript might find Construct 2 a better choice for 2D game development.

Large projects are more difficult to manage, but Construct 2's support of mobile devices and popular platforms may offset those difficulties.

Some indie developers and game developers have reported that the Construct 2 game engines performance is poor on mobile devices, but those features are always being improved by Scirra.

game comparison for indie developers and game developers crytek cryenginelogoCryEngine

CryEngine is a game engine designed by the German game developer Crytek.

It has also been used for many third-party games under Crytek's licensing scheme, including Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 and SNOW. Warhorse Studios uses a modified version of the engine for medieval RPG Kingdom Come: Deliverance.

CryEngine has recently been licensed to Amazon under the name of Amazon Lumberyard.

game comparison for indie developers and game developers amazon lumberyard logoLumberyard

Amazon Lumberyard is a free cross-platform triple-A game engine developed by Amazon and based on the architecture of CryEngine, which was licensed from Crytek in 2015.

The game engine features integrate directly with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and allows developers to build or host their games on Amazon's servers, as well as support for livestreaming via Twitch.

Source Code is available to end users with limitations. They cannot release the source code publicly or they cannot use it to release their own game engines based on the source code.

As of February 2017, the software is currently in beta and can be used to build games for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Lumberyard offers limited support for iOS and Android, with support for Linux and Mac coming in the near future.

Games recently built using the Amazon Lumberyard game development platform include Star Citizen, Everywhere, and The DRG Inactive.

Overall Game Engines Feature Comparison

game engines comparison chart

Related Articles


UE4 Or Unity3D Which One Is Better For Developers And Why ?

UE4 Or Unity3D Which One Is Better For Developers And Why ?

The Must Know of Unreal Engine 4 Optimization

The Must Know of Unreal Engine 4 Optimization