How Do Game Engines Work?

Game engines are responsible for processing the information used to generate electronic games. Many of the engines are available for free!
Interesting Engineering

Companies constantly boast about their newest game engine. It begs the question: what exactly is a game engine?

A game engine lays the software framework to build and create video games. They provide features from animation to artificial intelligence. Game engines are responsible for rendering graphics, collision detection, memory management, and many more options.

Game engines provide tools for developers to create numerous gaming applications. Designers often reuse these engines to create other games which makes it a valuable investment.

A game engine contains five components: The main game program which contains the game logic; a rendering engine which can be used to generate 3D animated graphics; an audio engine which consists of algorithms which are related to sounds; a physics engine to implement 'physical' laws within the system; and Artificial intelligence, a module designed to be used by software engineers with a specialist designation.

The tools and programs today have made it easier than ever to start game developing.

With the numerous amounts of game engines out there it can be tricky choosing the right one for your project.

Listed below are a set of game engines currently available for anyone interested in game development.


Users regard Unity as one of the easiest game engines due to its simple interface. One of the major features it packs is the fact that it enables develop games for multiple platforms. Using the Unity engine, games can be created for Android, iOS and other phone operating systems, including PC OS.  

On top of its cross-platform capabilities, the platform has an active community of plugin developers who offer lots of free and inexpensive content to use within the game engine. Some examples of games made with the engine include Temple Run, Rust, and Deus Ex: The Fall. Most noteworthy, their personal package is completely free and includes many tools for beginners and hobbyists. You can take a look at various Unity plans here.

Most Popular

Unreal Game Engine

Unreal Engine is one of the best game engines for rendering detailed graphics. Some notable games created with the Unreal Engine include Borderlands 2, Dishonored, Mass Effect 3 and Street Fighter V. Supporters of Unreal Game Engine say it can produce some of the best landscapes in gaming. 

The pricing model behind this engine includes a free version with full access. However, Unreal Engine takes a 5 percent royalty for any games made from it.

You can sign up for the Unreal Engine here.

GameMaker: Studio

Although some would argue that GameMaker isn’t a real game engine, it is still widely deployed and used by multiple game developers. Instead of conventional programming, users can literally ‘drag and drop' items to create games a lot faster and with great ease.


One noteworthy game created with GameMaker is Hotline Miami. However, due to the ‘drag and drop’ nature, developers have limits in creating extensions and additions with alternate code.

Like other engines, Studio includes a free version with limited access. You can sign up for GameMaker studio here.

message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron