Review: Godot is a good light-weight game engine with 'pretty amazing renderer'

Nov 08, 2018 at 11:00 am by nemirc

Godot Engine

Godot is a free and open source engine that you can download to make your own games. The engine is made and maintained by a group of developers from around the world. However, it started inside the walls of OKAM Studios, a game developer from Argentina.

The engine supports both 2D and 3D games, and that is a good thing since it means you are not limited to any specific kind of game. That doesn’t mean I am saying purely 2D or 3D engines are inferior since I believe all game engines have their strengths (and that includes purely 2D and 3D engines).

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When you launch Godot and start a project, the first thing you notice is that it has a simple interface and everything you need is pretty much available right in front of you (no endless navigation through menus). However, this also means that some people may need to get a little bit used to how Godot works because it doesn’t have the usual menu structure.

One thing I found is that the engine felt limited to what I could do, coming from a Unity background. For example, being able to tweak lighting the way I want. You have to keep in mind that Godot is somewhat different to other engines, so it requires you to forget about certain things.

When testing a new game engine, I’ve found it is easier to get used to it when said engine offers sample projects that you can check out. Godot includes a lot of sample projects that you can download and test.

These projects will be very useful to understand the different features of the engine and to see what it’s capable of.

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Like it or not, one of the main things people will use to judge a game are graphics (especially when you are making a 3D game). I have to admit Godot offers a pretty amazing renderer capable of producing outstanding graphics.

There’s a sample project you can download that includes a scene with a lot of different material types, and you can explore it to understand how materials are created.

Programming in Godot requires the use of the GDScript language. GDScript is a scripting language similar to Python scripting, so those familiar with Python should not have problems using Godot.

On the other hand, you can also use visual scripting and other programming languages (like C# or C++). This is a very good thing because it means users are not constrained to a single coding language.

However, it’s also a thing to keep in mind if you are working on a team and every member is using a different language.

Compared to other engines, Godot is relatively small. The install size on my Mac was less than 150mb, and the download was also very small.

The engine is very lightweight as well as responsive, even when I was working with the charger unplugged. Also, by default, the engine can compile to Windows, Mac, Linux, HTML5, iOS and Android.

There are some who have exported the engine to consoles, but that functionality is not available to the public since console development requires special licenses and code that cannot be distributed as open-source code.

Should you use it?

Now the real question is if you should use Godot. I am the kind of person that often thinks “once you have found and mastered your tool, stick with it.”

Having said this, I think you should check out Godot as a side project if you are already making games and you want to explore other options.

On the other hand, if you are not making games and you don’t even have an engine of choice, Godot could be it, especially if you want a lightweight engine.


 

Relevant links

Godot Engine https://godotengine.org/