So i know this question has been hammered down several times but please bear with me.

I used to be a C# .Net application developer but i am no longer employed, i am pretty good at C#.

I want to get into serious game development and i dunno where to start, i used to work with unity occasionally which is a very little and i kinda find it clunky, like it works but somehow it does not feel right and feels kinda clunky. But it works with tiled map editor without much of a hassle.

I Remember using Game maker studio when i was back in college and i found it very good, its a breeze to work with and even have its own tiled map editor, even seems to have some good tutorials, the only con is its price.

I was initially inclined towards Monogame cause of my C# background, but i neither have time nor money and resources to support me for long enough time to be able to code every single thing from scratch and i am kinda in a pretty bad situation overall right now. It just takes too much time to do anything even to make it work with a tiled map editor, and there are very few tutorials or documentation to start with.

It seems like the only option for me is Unity at the moment, cause of ease of access and how easy it is to work with tiled map editor and lots of tutorials.

which one do you guys think is good overall?

Please keep in mind that i am currently unemployed and have very little resources to support myself, and i am a programmer so i don't even know how to compose music and do art for the game and i'd prefer if it provides some asserts to be used so i wont waste time in learning stuff when i cannot afford to spend time.

I will eventually learn them but not now, its not happening now so i prefer something that comes with some sorta free asserts that can be used (mainly music and art), I mean does it even matter if all i am trying to do is earn a decent minimum living?

I just want to make simple 2D NES/Snes style games with multiplayer support.

Thank you.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you only interested in C# specific options or would you consider other languages as well? How important is the language compared to availability of e.g. art resources? \$\endgroup\$ – Ruther Rendommeleigh Feb 22 '18 at 10:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well i said C# cause i am experienced in that, i am pretty sure that most of the languages have same stuff/mechanics/functions so its not a problem other than getting used to the new syntax which would take a day or two. So i'd say language is not strictly important, the availability of free and usable art and music resources (Asserts) is the most important thing. \$\endgroup\$ – DeadlyTitan Feb 22 '18 at 10:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi DeadlyTitan, and welcome to GameDev.StackExchange. Please start with a tour of the help center, where you can find out what kinds of questions are on-topic for this site. Discussions of which technology to use are one topic we explicitly do not cover here. You can try a discussion forum like GameDev.net or earn a little reputation by asking & answering questions to join our Game Development Chat and discuss technology there. \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Feb 22 '18 at 13:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for for pointing out gamedev.net, it looks like a good point to start things rolling. \$\endgroup\$ – DeadlyTitan Feb 23 '18 at 10:56

I have a similar background (experienced software developer, limited art skills, limited budget) and my first impression of Unity was similar to yours, so perhaps I can offer some insight.

Pricing and platforms

Comparing the three options you presented, I'm inclined to agree that Monogame is not the right choice for a one man shop with limited resources. There's a lot of work to be done up front, and you'll need to be able to buy assets and extensions, so I'll focus more on the two alternatives.

I don't have any personal experience with GameMaker, but looking at the website, it appears to be reasonably close to Unity in terms of available assets (some are available on both stores for the same price) and multiplatform support.

However, the pricing models are quite different.

For desktop and mobile platforms, you're looking at

  • a $399 upfront investment for Gamemaker Mobile (permanent license) or
  • $35 a month (minimum 12 months, i.e. $420) for Unity Plus.

Another thing to consider if you're interested in the mobile market is that Unity comes with monetization support out of the box.

If you want console support (Xbox One, Playstation 4), GameMaker is $799 a year for one platform or $1500 a year for both while a Unity Plus license covers all platforms, including PS Vita and several Nintendo systems which GameMaker doesn't support at all.

GameMaker for Desktop only is surprisingly affordable ($99 for a permanent license), but I don't know if that's a viable market for what you're planning.

Workflow and engine capabilities

As a tool specifically designed for 2D games, GameMaker's UI and workflows are arguably more streamlined and the built in support for e.g. tilesets, movement patterns and bitmap editing is commendable. I'm not so keen on the domain specific scripting language, but others might disagree.

Unity relies on add-ons or external programs for some of these functions. Some "no brainer" tasks require a bit more effort and the learning curve is generally steeper. On the plus side, the engine offers a variety of features that would be considered out of scope in a pure 2D environment, but are nonetheless very useful. I'll also add that extending the editor is quick and painless.

Looking at featured projects, there's a tendency for GameMaker projects to feature a retro "pixel art" aesthetic while most Unity 2D games incorporate high resolution sprites or toon shaded meshes. This seems in line with the tools and features offered.

Overall, it comes down to preference. I don't see one option as superior.


In the end, it comes down to what platforms you are targeting.

For Desktop only, GameMaker has what you need at a very reasonable price. Leftover money is better spent on assets than on advanced engine features.

If you're aiming at mobile platforms, I'd go with Unity for the simple reason that you get the option to expand to any other platform (e.g. handheld consoles) at no additional cost.

For consoles, Unity is my clear favourite. You save about $1100 a year compared to a GameMaker license. Spend a quarter of that on tools and extensions and you've got a pretty decent environment.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It must be said that Unity can be used for free with the Personal edition, it has some limitations (basically a mandatory Unity splash screen in standalone builds, and some other little things that don't prevent a game to be made), and you can publish games by using it, the only requirement is that the person/company using the Personal license doesn't make an annual gross revenue higher than $100k. \$\endgroup\$ – Galandil Feb 22 '18 at 13:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Valid point. I hadn't considered it for "serious development" as it'd look a bit unprofessional, but most of the old restrictions are gone. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruther Rendommeleigh Feb 22 '18 at 13:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's perfectly viable to work professionaly on a Personal edition. Then, if any, one can upgrade to the Plus (for example, just before releasing, in order to remove the mandatory Made with Unity splashscreen). I think it's the best solution atm for OP, since he said he's short on money. \$\endgroup\$ – Galandil Feb 22 '18 at 13:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, of course. I was considering mentioning that, but as it's true for both engines, I felt it wasn't relevant to the comparison. GameMaker has a "trial" version, too. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruther Rendommeleigh Feb 22 '18 at 14:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ ...actually, scratch that, looks like that version is severely limited. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruther Rendommeleigh Feb 22 '18 at 14:01

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