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Review of GDevelop Open Source Game Engine
#1
What is GDevelop? It's a remarkably simple, very intuitive 2D game engine that allows you to create a game for free without any knowledge of programming. I'm a newer user, having played with it for a few months, but it's been actively developed for 4 years. Current version is 5.0.0 beta100

The game editor consists of 2 main parts: the scene editor, and the events editor.

The scene editor allows you to create the objects which will be used in your game. You can create sprites, tiling sprites, text objects, text inputs, particle emitters, light emitters, and light obstacles. Objects can be organized into groups for executing events on multiple objects, and placed into layers for creating a variety of display effects.
   
On the left: object properties. On the right: objects and object groups. At the bottom you can show or hide your layers. And in the center you can lay out your objects as you please.

The events editor is the heart of the engine, where all the magic takes place. I'm not going to explain all the different things that can happen in the events editor because 1. I haven't discovered them all yet and 2. You can just go to the GDevelop site and read the docs. Instead I want to talk about what makes GDevelop so intuitive and easy to use for beginners.

Here's another screen shot because it's always useful to have a visual reference.
   
The events editor is set up in a very simple format of ACTIONS and CONDITIONS, which can be related to IF and THEN in programming terms.

On the left you create your conditions. On the right you create the actions to be executed when the conditions are met. When you click to add a condition or action a searchable menu pops up to help you find what you're looking for. There's an expression finder that knows what ways you can manipulate different types of objects and presents you with available options and helps prevent syntax errors. For example, a text object has different options than a sprite and a sprite has different options than a particle emitter.

There's support for most basic programming functions such as AND, OR, and condition blocks which make it easy to do things like FOR, WHILE, and REPEAT(x times). There's an assortment of variables: scene variables, global variables, values, strings, instance variables, and variable structures (which work like an ARRAY)

What else can it do?

There's  a math helper for things like SIN, COS, TAN, and a physics engine for creating things like TORQUE and FORCE.

It uses PixiJS for a built in graphics editor, which is great for making simple pixel art, but if you need something more powerful you can import images in most standard web formats, although GDevelop prefers RGB instead of grayscale.

The most recent update brought multiplayer functionality - something I need to experiment with eventually. It requires an npm server to use and has a limit of roughly 250 connections. Because it's open source, it's easy to contribute, and over the years extensions have been added for cool things like gamepad support. The upcoming release is scheduled to support firebase for database functions.

There's a number of pre-made examples that give a template for constructing different types of games: shooters, platformers, top-down isometric games, racing games and more.

The community is very friendly and helpful to the new and inexperienced. There's an online editor (a bit slow to run online) if one wants to try it before downloading. You can export for free to Windows, Linux, MacOS, Android, or HTML in just 1 click - iOS is planned for future updates.

Who should use GDevelop? I think it's geared more towards less experienced or people who want to learn programming or try their hand at game development. Someone well experienced in something more powerful like Unity or Unreal might be disappointed. Because it's written in Javascript and has simple HTML5 export, it's possible to use it also for web development.

I thought this was a good place to put this review, but feel free to move it to the gaming forum if you feel that's more appropriate Smile
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#2
It's a very cool engine! I haven't tried it yet but I think the UX is not too good considering the placement and naming of each field (or because I'm newbie and have no idea what inside, maybe? Tongue).
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#3
(10-18-2020, 04:49 AM)tiwil Wrote:  It's a very cool engine! I haven't tried it yet but I think the UX is not too good considering the placement and naming of each field (or because I'm newbie and have no idea what inside, maybe? Tongue).

GDevelop is very easy for newbies. Seriously, if I can work with it, anyone can. And it's free and open source, so no worries about licensing down the road. All you have to lose is ~130mb of disc space to try it.

It's worth noting that toolboxes are dockable so you can add/remove/resize/relocate as desired.

As far as the naming of each field, there is some support for localization. The French forums are fairly busy, and the Japanese is active too. I've seen discussions about the Russian translation. If your preferred language doesn't have a good translation I'm sure they would welcome anyone's help who wanted to contribute.
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#4
A well-written and useful GDevelop review for newbies. Thanks @fitkoh for putting it up here.

I am also impressed by GDevelop as it is so easy to use for starters. Not to mention they already have a good wiki page explaining the details of its functions.

And they not only have a nice forum for their community, but they also have a Discord chat channel (I have joined it already) that everyone can seek helps easily from other community members if necessary. Smile


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