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Thoughts about Godot

I have never used a game engine before and, when working with 8-bit, I have this thing of starting from scratch to learn the machine, even if sometimes there are good libraries available.

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I tried Godot. Works perfectly on Linux and my machine, and it is open source, so two of the important boxes for me are ticked.

It all has come about because my 6yo son has been programming in Scratch –it works on the browser, but not that great on Linux; there’s Scratux but has its problems–, and we have now when is “TV time” that he wants to watch videos about programming. So we ended watching a bit about Godot, so here we are now learning how to make a 3D platformer. That escalated quickly!

My first impressions by looking at how the 2D part works is that there are forms, a lot of forms, which I see it can be an advantage –like it was a good thing for some people in Visual Basic or Delphi–, but I always found it a bit of a problem as things grow beyond some size. But then, you can control a lot –if not everything– from GDScript that looks very much like Python. So you may not need to deal with all those forms, and that can be a good thing.

In any case, when I was watching to some tutorial about the 2D part of it –because 2D and 3D are almost like two different engines–, I was thinking most of the time that I could make it simpler. But can I, really? I guess if I look at all the work I put into one of my small engines, is not that much. However, I make an engine focused and specialised in the needs of the game at hand, while Godot has to support lots of different takes of a 2D game.

And then is when we looked at the 3D part, that doing it from scratch is something I have given up since my awkward attempts some years ago; and I see the potential. Which to be fair is probably what people that can’t (or won’t) make their own engines from scratch may feel when they look at the 2D part of Godot.

At the end I suspect it is going to be down to the models, the textures, the assets; because looks like Godot has what is needed and it is very accessible.

A different topic is finding how to do it. The books don’t look like a good option because Godot is changing quickly –version 4 is quite new–, and there is also a lot of content with questionable quality abusing the idea of people that don’t know better and want to make a game. I haven’t been lucky finding written tutorials, because we live in an age that people will make a 30 minute video on YT for 5 minutes of actual content –all monetised, like, subscribe, and hit the bell; and there’s my Patreon–. So there is mostly videos, and those aren’t great for reference.

Anyway, we are having fun, even if we haven’t made anything significant. I guess at some point I’ll start looking at Blender again and, with a bit of lucky, it won’t be the end of this. But Godot is nice and has potential, I like it.

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