Why Game Studios Are Switching to Godot & What It Means

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Story Highlights
  • Godot is a free game engine that was open-sourced in 2014.
  • Game studios are switching to Godot because it has the ability to code in either JS, Python, or C#, and it’s completely free.
  • A lot of recent releases either use the engine or talk about switching to it.

Before you start working on a game, it’s important to decide what engine best fits you. Unity dominated the market for the longest time, and Unreal brought easier ways to produce high-quality graphics and shaders with ease. For the longest time, these two were at the top of the market. Lately, however, a small open-source engine has been turning tides. Here’s why many game studios are switching to Godot!

What Is Godot?

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Godot isn’t a new kid on the block. Created in 2007 and open-sourced in 2014, it boasts a feature set that rivals its commercial counterparts. It supports 2D and 3D game development, offering a version of Javascript with a plethora of convenient premade functions for gamedev (GDScript) alongside Python bindings for more experienced programmers. Godot also boasts a built-in physics engine, animation tools, and a comprehensive asset library, making it a self-contained development environment.

A More Intuitive Alternative

godot project
Starting a Project (Image by Tech4Gamers)

I think the switch from C# to JS and Python is an excellent choice, and would likely make it easier for a lot of new indie devs to start building their ganes. I’ve always disliked visual animation trees in engines, but the one in Godot is really easy to get a hang of. It also provides a visual programming environment that requires no code, which makes it easier for newcomers to get into it.

Despite only recently gaining popularity, it already has a thriving community and extremely easy to grasp tutorials by channels like GDQuest. If you want to get into it yourself, they’ve also made a game that tracks your coding progress which you can see here.

Open-Source Powerhouse

Godot Github
The community’s very active on Github

Perhaps the most significant advantage of Godot lies in its open-source nature. Unlike Unity’s freemium model with limitations or Unreal Engine’s royalty structure, Godot is completely free to use and modify. This translates to significant cost savings for developers, especially smaller studios and independent creators. For example, Sonic Colors: Ultimate is a brand game that used a heavily modified version of Godot 3.

Another advantage of this is that this makes the engine completely free. In the past, Unreal was only really worth it if you wanted to make triple-A titles, and Unity was the available-to-all discounted version. However, Unity’s new pricing plans deducting 2.5% of your revenue made a lot of users look for alternatives. This is where Godot got a large bump in popularity.

Other Studios Using Godot

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A lot of games that got popular recently were secretly utilizing this engine. Brotato and Endoparasitic saw extreme popularity just recently, both fully utilizing Godot’s remarkable 2D engine. You can take a look at this list of popular Godot games by TheGamer, the Godot Showcase, or Steam’s Is It Made With Godot?

The list of studios embracing Godot is steadily growing as well. Unlike Unity or Unreal, Godot doesn’t require its users to announce that they’ve used Godot for a game, making it difficult to say with full certainty a game’s made in it. Still, Megacrit recently revealed that they’re switching over to Godot for Slay The Spire‘s sequel.

Is Godot Only Good For 2D?

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Godot’s mainly being used by indie devleopers or smaller publishers for 2D games. This creates a misconception that its 3D engine is lacking, which can’t be any further from the truth. Here are just a few games that utilize the engine, and they all look amazing. Godot has an extremely strong physics engine, as well as a really easy to grasp particel handler, which makes all this possile.

What Does This Mean For Gamers?

Game studios might be switching to Godot, but what does that mean for players? Just at a glance, it’s easy to see a huge burst of indie developers coming onto the scene thanks to Godot utilizing more versatile languages such as Python and JS. Another thing is that companies and especially smaller studios would be able to work cheaper.

As we saw in Sonic, Godot being open-source also gives developers more customizability options. Developers may still want to Unreal at least for now, because of the high-quality rendering it provides, but Godot doesn’t lack far behind. Personally, seeing Godot’s rapid improvement makes me think the engine will become the Blender for coding games, replacing other more expensive alternatives.

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