I’ve been looking into developing a small 2D game as a hobby, but have been undecided on which game engine or framework I should use. This post will cover game engines/frameworks that I narrowed down too. I’ll cover my perspective of what drived the short list.


  • love2d
  • defold
  • corona
  • Gidero
  • libgdx
  • Unity
  • Cocos2d-x


Creating a video game is exciting endeavor. However, where do I start? That was the question I started asking myself. So I search long and hard to build a short list of game engines/frameworks that would give me a startin position.

You’re perspective of needs will drive a selection. So let me sum up what I was looking for. I’m a small time developer that wants to work from the source code up, and not rely fully on a GUI editor that does magic behind the scenes. This doens’t mean I want to develope from the barebones, so a good toolset was important. I want to use an game engine that is well known and supported. I’m not interested in making a business out of this, so features that game development studios find useful isn’t a main criteria for me. My end goal is have the tools to develop a small 2D game as a hobby.

Age old question of what language is best came to the fore front of my search. I didn’t want to learn some special programming language/scripting just for that game engine. GODOT for example using GSCRIPT syntax and even though it supports C++, trying to use that only works against the way it was designed. Unity Script was recently deprecated which is just another reason not to have a game engine specific language. I also wanted a game engine that was cross platform so that I could write once and deploy for Andriod and IOS. When I looked for game engines, what I found was many were using the Lua scripting language. Lua is its own scripting language by it self and isn’t tied to a game engine. At first I leaned against game engines using Lua, but I’ve started to look into them because they offer the advantage of cross platform development with Lua.


I spent a while searching and I’ve found a set of game engines that I like to investigate. Its not a complete list, but I feel they have the biggest communities and I won’t be a lone ranger. To try them out, I will be developing a small Airplane game in each engine to get a feel of each. In following posts, I will develop the same game for the game engines listed below. I hope to get a feeling of what will work best for me and share what I learn with the community.

I’ve shared some game engines/framweworks to for Hybrid mobile game development. So what should I use? Remember that Super Mario brothers was built in assembly and the concept of a game engine didn’t exist as its known today. We’ve come a long way there, and we have many tools to support us. At the end of the day, choose the tools based on you and your skillset. I don’t think any one way is wrong. The next step for me is to try each approach, and decide an approach that works best for based on challenges faced. Stay tuned.

Table of Game Engines

| Framework | Open Source | Lang. | Last Release Version | Notes | ——— | ———– | —– | ——————– | —— | love2d | Yes | lua | 0.10.2 2016-10-31 | Active code pushed on Bitbucket| | defold | No | lua | 1.2.109 2017-07-24 | | corona | No | lua | 2016.2830 2016-02-16 | Free version requries a splash screen. No updates for over a year | Gidero | Yes | lua | 2017.6.3 2017-06-03 | | libgdx | Yes | Java | 1.9.6 2017-05-05 | IOS support complicated story | Unity | No | C# | 2017.1 2017-07-11 | Free version requries a splash screen | Cocos2d-x | Yes | C++ | 3.15.1 2017-05-27 |