State of the art indie/hobby game programming tools?
July 26, 2013 7:00 PM   Subscribe

It's been nearly 10 years since I've poked at game programming as a hobby (Hi smackwich!). What are the best platforms, engines or technologies for not-windows hobby/indie game devs these days?

I am a software developer by day* and well versed in pretty much all of the programming languages*. I definitely do not even sort of write games though... What are the technologies of choice these days?

I used to play with DirectX, VisualStudio, C++, Ogre3d and a bit of C#/XNA. That was a long time ago... 10 years ago I ran Windows somethingorother on a self-built computer -- I'm rockin' a MacBook Air now... things done changed.

I don't plan on going back to Windows (ever), so 'cross platform' stuff is my goal. Is PyGame viable? How's Ogre3d? Should I just bone up on OpenGL?

(*for all intents and purposes)
posted by wrok to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
The standard indie game engine of choice these days seems to be Unity. The basic version is free.
posted by dfan at 8:05 PM on July 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Check out the TIGSource forums.
posted by paulg at 8:23 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

2nding Unity.
posted by gnutron at 8:42 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've also heard good things about libgdx, if you can stomach Java (and a fairly convoluted conversion to Mono for iOS deployment)

This might answer a few questions about Unity.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:45 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you're used to C#/XNA, take a look at MonoGame. They did the Mac/PC/Linux ports of Fez with it so it's definitely not a toy. Otherwise Unity seems to be the engine of choice.
posted by zsazsa at 9:09 PM on July 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Just to clarify, I have zip-zero interest in developing for Android/iPhone/iPad. That seems to be one of the main (though, I do realize, not sole) aims of Unity. Definitely have a bias towards Python-y things, as well.

Thanks for the answers so far :)
posted by wrok at 9:13 PM on July 26, 2013

I would disagree that Unity is especially geared towards Android/iOS. I think it's a robust and flexible engine, period. Especially works great for PC/Mac games.
posted by gnutron at 9:43 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

PyGame certainly works, although I've only used it for things like visualizations and interfaces, not actual games. What do you require of something to be "viable"?
posted by hattifattener at 10:12 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: XNA is dead.

I make games for a living, and although I don't use it myself, I know of plenty of people who sell perfectly decent stuff made with Unity on all platforms. If you're comfortable with C++, it's almost a no brainer.

I also know a bunch of people who grumble at it, but they're mostly the type who write their own engines, and would rather you stayed off their lawn.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:22 AM on July 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Unity didn't even work for IOS for the longest time. It's started on the PC and there are tons of PC games developed on it.
posted by empath at 2:07 AM on July 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

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