How Do Video Game Engines Work?

If you’ve ever played a modern video game, you’ve no doubt noticed that many of the physics within the game work the same way as in the real world, such as gravity and movement, among others. This is all based on the engine, the core software of the game that makes everything work together. 

Game engines have been around for years, and while some developers like to build their own engines from scratch, others will make use of engines that have already been built. This allows them to purchase the engine and modify it to the needs for that specific game. These engines have been extended to other industries, although in much more limited form, such as the RNG system that Aristocrat pokies games make use of.

How They Function

Engines are large software frameworks designed and created to dictate the rules within the game. From the ragdoll of an enemy’s corpse to the way something falls over, to the sounds made when a character walks and talks, everything is controlled and regulated by the code that’s written into the engine.

Most of today’s game engines are made up of five main components: 

  • A rendering engine: This is what is used to actually create and render the 3D animated graphics and objects.
  • Logic Engine: This contains the engine’s logic; essentially where the source code resides that the other components draw from. 
  • Audio Engine: Here, all sound algorithms can be found, which are used to play different sound effects, voices, and music at different points in the game. These are usually controlled by cues from the logic engine. 
  • Physics Engine: This implements all the physical laws within the game. Gravity, ragdoll, movement, and even the wind in the trees are all controlled by this portion of the engine. 
  • Artificial Intelligence: Most modern games contain Non-Player Characters (NPCs) who make up both friendly and enemy characters. For the enemy characters, the AI controls how they interact with the player, including how they handle guns, react in certain situations, and what they say in those situations. 

Common Gaming Engines

For those of you who are interested in getting into game design or even into eSports, you are not required to build your own engines. There are developers that exist who have pre built engines which you are able to buy and modify for the game that you’re working on. The most popular ones include:

  • Unity: Unity is considered by many to be one of the easiest engines to learn and modify thanks to its ease-of-use. It can also be used on multiple platforms which include PC, Mac, Android, and iOS. Unity is easy to use, and provides a great way for new developers to learn how engines work.
  • Unreal Game Engine: Slightly more advanced, Unreal Game Engine has become extremely popular among professional studios thanks to its modern engine components. Some famous games that use Unreal include Borderlands 2, Mass Effect 3, and Dishonoured, among many, many more. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *