Game engines for beginners
Updated: Jun 26
The majority of video games today are developed using specialized frameworks called game engines. Game engines help to handle technically difficult functionality common in many video games , for instance 3D graphics, character animation, and physics simulation to name a few. Many children become interested in programming through their passion for video games. The challenge in using this passion and motivation to teach children some basics of programming and how computer systems work, is to remain relevant to their world and frame of reference. The most natural first "game engine" for beginners today is Scratch. Many think of Scratch primarily as an educational programming language. However, its programming environment is structured much like a 2D game engine; there are scenes and characters which can be animated and interacted with by attaching scripts to each of them. The most natural applications for Scratch are games and animated stories providing an interactive world. The more challenging question is what comes next. Professional grade game engines like Unreal Engine or Unity are inherently complex systems, with very steep learning curves and require expert knowledge of a professional level programming language like C++ or C#. For those students who want to focus more on line programming, logic, puzzles or strategy aspects, we recommend Python as a next step, using a game oriented framework like Arcade. For an introduction into sophisticated 3D interactive environments and world building we recommend Roblox Studio as the next step. Roblox Studio is the game engine and development environment for the popular Roblox online video game platform . Roblox Studio is more prescriptive and less flexible than a more generic game engine, and helps to flatten the learning curve to allow children to create their first games more easily. To learn more, see our current offering of courses.