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Game Development and Multimedia: Godot Engine, A Game-Changer in Game Development

· 6 min read
Bekah Hawrot Weigel
Developer Experience Lead

Today starts my 29 Days of Open Source Alternatives series, where I'll be exploring open source alternatives to proprietary software in the categories of Game Development and Multimedia, Development Tools and Platforms, Productivity and Collaboration Tools, and more. If you'd like to see the list of the open source alternatives I'll be covering this month, head over to my 29 Days of Open Source Alts Page or check out my list of open source games.

Last year, we decided to homeschool my 13 year old for a semester. When he told me that he was really interested in game development, I installed all things Unity and tried to get him up and running.

Narrator: we never got things up in running.

We navigated a lot of error messages, challenges, and finally gave up with disappointment. Fast forward six months and I started to hear more and more good things about Godot. Full disclosure: we haven't gotten anything up and running (yet), but we've been navigating a new landscape of game development that has long been dominated by proprietary engines.

Godot is a free and open source, cross-platform game engine that allows you to create both 2D and 3D games.

Godot is the open source engine that gained a huge boost in popularity earlier this year when Unity announced changes to its pricing. Unlike its paid counterparts--Unity and Unreal Engine--Godot champions accessibility, robust features and an intuitive workflow. Whether you're experienced or new to game dev, Godot offers a positive and community-driven developer experience.

Godot’s Features

  • Powerful 2D and 3D capabilities: Build anything from side-scrolling platformers to sprawling open-world RPGs.
  • User-friendly interface: Drag-and-drop functionality and a node-based system make development accessible even for beginners.
  • Multiple programming languages: Choose from GDScript (Python-like), C#, or C++ to script your game logic.
  • Open source and customizable: Extend the engine with plugins and modify the code to suit your needs.
  • Vibrant community: Get help and inspiration from a supportive community of developers and artists.

godot insight

Godot vs. Proprietary Engines

Godot differentiates itself from proprietary engines like Unity and Unreal Engine through freedom and flexibility. Its open source nature decreases the financial barriers that impede creative game development exploration while still providing quality tools and experience. It has a comprehensive suite of tools for 2D and 3D game development. From robust physics simulations to seamless cross-platform compatibility, Godot brings the same power as its competitors, but is accessible and often easy to use. Its been noted that using its scripting language, GDScript, a Python-like language, makes it approachable for beginners but also powerful enough for experienced developers.

What's Built with Godot?

  • HyperParasite
  • Open Sorcery
  • Unbound
  • Soul Ash
  • Starship Theory
  • Baba Is You

Customization and Creativity with Godot's Flexible Tools

One of Godot's greatest strengths is its adaptability to different developers' needs. Whether you prefer coding in GDScript, C#, or C++, Godot offers a range of options. Its node-based system lends itself to those who use a visual development environment, with its drag-and-drop actions. Beyond the core capabilities, the engine's architecture allows for extensive customization through plugins and extensions. This flexibility ensures that each developer can tailor Godot to their specific project requirement.

Open Source Support & Popularity

With over 80,000 stars on GitHub, an enthusiastic community forking and contributing to the code, and an open-source MIT license empowering creativity, Godot is more than just a game engine; it's a thriving ecosystem where developers collaborate, innovate, and build the future of gaming, one pixel at a time.

    • Stars: 80.2k
    • Watching: 1.5k
    • Forks: 17.1k
    • License: MIT

It's worth noting that Godot's star-to-fork ratio is one of the highest that I've ever seen.

Building a Community in Game Development with Godot

Behind every great product is a great community, and Godot is no exception.

Contributor Graph

The engine is supported by an active and welcoming community of developers and enthusiasts. Newcomers to Godot will find in-depth resources, from comprehensive documentation and tutorials to active forums and community groups. This collaborative environment not only helps in troubleshooting and learning but also fosters a sense of belonging and mutual growth. Whether you're a seasoned game developer or a hobbyist, the Godot community is a valuable resource for expanding your skills and connecting with enthusiastic developers.

Godot Contributors

The Evolving Landscape of Godot: Future Developments and Enhancements

Godot is constantly evolving, with regular updates and enhancements that keep it at the cutting edge of game development technology. The development team is committed to improving and expanding the engine, ensuring it meets the growing and changing needs of the game development community. This commitment to continuous development means that investing time and effort in learning Godot is an investment in a platform that grows with you, adapting to future trends and technologies in the gaming industry.

Starting Your Game Development Journey with Godot

Godot allows you to step into a world where your creativity is the limit. With its user-friendly interface, robust feature set, and supportive community, Godot is a great platform for anyone looking to break into game development or to find an alternative to proprietary engines.

FeatureGodotUnityUnreal Engine
CostOpen-source (free)Paid licenses; free options with limited featuresPaid licenses; free options with limited features
Cross-platform compatibilityWindows, macOS, Linux, Android (experimental), iOS (experimental), Web (HTML5, WebAssembly)Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, WebWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Web
Programming language(s)GDScript (Python-like), C#, C++C#C++
Learning curveBeginner-friendly; node-based systemModerate; more features require deeper scripting knowledgeSteeper; complex interface and codebase
2D game developmentPowerful 2D tools; dedicated 2D engineGood 2D tools, but focus on 3DExcellent 2D tools, but engine geared towards 3D
3D game developmentCapable 3D engine; growing feature setExcellent 3D engine; industry-standardOutstanding 3D engine; advanced tools and effects
Physics simulationBuilt-in 2D and 3D physics engineGood built-in physics; additional plugins availableExcellent built-in physics; advanced tools and features
Community and supportActive and welcoming community; extensive documentation and tutorialsLarge and helpful community; comprehensive documentation and resourcesVery large and experienced community; abundant resources and tutorials
Customization and pluginsHighly customizable; extensive plugin libraryModerately customizable; plugin ecosystem growingHighly customizable; vast plugin library with advanced features


Godot is one of my favorite open source projects because the community seems so supportive and robust. What games do you love that are made with Godot? What other open source games should I add to my list?