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Best C++ game engine for beginners

In this article, we will discuss the best C++ game engines for beginners. But before discussing the best game engines, we must know about the game engine.

What is a Game Engine?

A game engine is a specialized software framework designed to aid in creating and developing video games. It provides developers with tools, libraries, and functionalities that streamline game development. A game engine is a foundation for developers to build their games, handling many complex and time-consuming tasks behind the scenes.

Here are some key components and functions of a typical game engine:

  • Rendering Engine
  • Physics Engine
  • Audio Engine
  • Scripting System
  • Asset Management
  • Input Handling
  • Scene Graph
  • Physics Simulation
  • Networking
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Animation
  • Editor tools
  • Debugging and Profiling

Different game engines offer varying degrees of customization, flexibility, and complexity. Some engines are designed for specific genres, platforms, or levels of expertise. Game engines can range from simple 2D frameworks to highly sophisticated 3D engines capable of creating visually stunning and complex games.

Some of the Game Engines listed below where we can use the C++ programming language:

  • Unreal Engine:
    It is one of the most popular and powerful game engine. Unreal Engine uses C++ extensively for scripting gameplay logic and engine customization. It's known for its advanced graphics and versatile tools.
  • Godot Engine:
    While its scripting language is GDScript, Godot Engine allows developers to extend its functionality using C++. It's an open-source engine with a focus on user-friendly design.
    CRYENGINE employs C++ for creating gameplay systems and customizing the engine. It's known for its high-quality visuals and has been used in various games.
  • Lumberyard:
    Amazon Lumberyard is designed for creating high-quality games and uses C++ for game logic and customization. It's integrated with Amazon Web Services for online features.
  • Irrlicht Engine:
    This lightweight and open-source engine provides a C++ API for rendering graphics and handling input, making it suitable for smaller indie projects.
  • Banshee Engine:
    It is an open-source game engine and modern game engine that is built on C++. Banshee focuses on performance and flexibility. It's designed to be customizable and efficient.
  • Ogre3D:
    While not a complete game engine on its own, Ogre3D is a popular graphics rendering engine that provides a C++ interface for creating 3D graphics in games.
  • Panda3D:
    Panda3D is an open-source engine that allows developers to create 3D games and simulations using C++. It's particularly suitable for educational and smaller-scale projects.
  • Cocos2d-x:
    Although its primary scripting language is C++, Cocos2d-x is a popular choice for mobile game development. It provides a framework for 2D game development.
  • NeoAxis Engine:
    NeoAxis is a C++-based engine known for its user-friendly editor and support for both 2D and 3D game development.

There are several other game engines. Some of them are as follows:

Game Engine Description
Unreal Engine It is a widely used game engine and is known for its advanced graphics and versatility.
Unity It is extremely popular and offers a wide range of features.
Godot Engine It is open-source, user-friendly, suitable for 2D and 3D games.
CRYENGINE It is known for its graphical capabilities.
Amazon Lumberyard It is integrated with Amazon Web Services.
GameMaker Studio 2 It is designed for 2D game development.
RPG Maker It is primarily used for creating role-playing games.
Construct It mainly focuses on visual scripting for 2D games.
Cocos2d-x It is popular for mobile game development.
Source Engine It is used in Valve's games and is known for modding.

Now, we will discuss the best of above listed game engines:

Unreal Engine:

Best C++ game engine for beginners

Unreal Engine is a powerful and widely used game engine known for its exceptional graphics and versatile toolkit. It employs C++ extensively for scripting gameplay mechanics and customizing the engine's behavior. Its Blueprint visual scripting system allows for rapid prototyping and interaction design. Unreal Engine's robust editor provides developers with tools to design complex levels, environments, and animations. While it offers stunning graphical capabilities, it comes with a steeper learning curve, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced developers looking to create visually impressive games for various platforms.

Special Features:

  • It offers high-quality graphics with photorealistic rendering capabilities.
  • Blueprints visual scripting system for rapid prototyping.
  • Powerful editor for designing levels and environments.
  • Robust physics simulation and animation tools.


Best C++ game engine for beginners

Unity is a highly popular game engine that primarily uses C# for scripting but also supports C++ through its "Native Plugins" feature. It's praised for its user-friendly interface, asset store, and extensive platform compatibility. Unity empowers developers to create games for a wide range of devices, from mobile to consoles and even VR/AR platforms. Its ecosystem encourages rapid iteration and offers a vast array of plugins and assets to streamline development. Unity's versatility makes it an excellent choice for indie developers and professionals alike, with the ability to create 2D and 3D games of various genres.

Special Features:

  • Wide platform support including PC, consoles, mobile devices, and VR/AR.
  • Asset Store with a vast library of pre-built assets and tools.
  • Active community and extensive documentation.
  • Easy deployment and distribution of games.

Godot Engine:

Best C++ game engine for beginners

The Godot Engine is an open-source game engine known for its approachable design and flexibility. While it primarily uses GDScript (similar to Python), it supports C++ scripting for enhanced customization and performance optimization. Godot is particularly attractive to beginners and smaller development teams due to its user-friendly editor, built-in physics engine, and node-based scene system. Its lightweight nature and the ability to export games to multiple platforms make it a compelling option for indie developers seeking to create 2D and 3D games.

Special Features:

  • It is lightweight and easy to use, and suitable for beginners and indie developers.
  • Scene system for building complex game levels and interactions.
  • Built-in visual scripting language (GDScript) for quick development.
  • Node-based architecture for creating flexible game logic.


Best C++ game engine for beginners

CRYENGINE is renowned for its cutting-edge graphics and real-time rendering capabilities. While it employs its own scripting language, it uses C++ for creating gameplay systems and engine extensions. Developers aiming to create visually stunning games with realistic lighting, shadows, and effects favor it. CRYENGINE is known for its high level of detail and advanced physics simulations. While it offers powerful tools for creating immersive environments, it might have a steeper learning curve compared to some other engines.

Special Features:

  • It offers cutting-edge graphics and rendering capabilities.
  • Real-time lighting and global illumination for realistic visuals.
  • Supports both first-person and third-person perspectives.

Amazon Lumberyard:

Best C++ game engine for beginners

Amazon Lumberyard leverages C++ for programming game logic and customization while integrating Amazon Web Services for online features. It excels in creating high-quality multiplayer experiences and offers tools for building realistic terrains and environments. The engine's networking capabilities facilitate seamless multiplayer gameplay. Lumberyard's deep integration with AWS allows developers to easily incorporate cloud-based features, making it a suitable choice for games with online components. Its focus on high-quality visuals and multiplayer functionality can be valuable for developers looking to create immersive online experiences.

Special Features:

  • Integration with Amazon Web Services for cloud-based features and multiplayer support.
  • It offers tools for creating realistic terrains and environments.
  • It offers extensive networking features for online and multiplayer games.

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