What is a Game Engine?

Most of us who are into playing video games must have heard the term “Game Engine” at least once. More often than not we hear this term during new game releases, in game reviews & also while comparing game performances. Game publishers also reveal the game engine while marketing their products. So what is this game engine & why it is so important? First of all a small disclaimer- this subject is quite technical & you don’t have to know this for playing games. Secondly, I am not going to explain complete technical details(which is a full curriculum in itself) but will only provide a brief overview.

A game engine is a software framework which enables game developers to create games. In other words game engine provides the base which supports the complete game. Since its a software framework you can tweak the existing codes to create new functionality. Now developers can use the same engine in different ways(remember its a framework) to create different games. And this is the reason you can find various games using the same game engine. This way of game development is also economical as you are using the same code rather than developing new codes for each new game. Game engine consist of two main sub parts- rendering engine & a physics engine. Rendering engine is used for rendering graphics (2D or 3D) while physics engine provides simulation of physical world & systems(effect of gravity, forces, collision detection, etc). Apart from these game engine also provides for animation, artificial intelligence, networking and streaming. A few examples of graphics engines are: Crystal Space, Genesis3D and Truevision3D.

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