I've been writing a small game in Python that generates random dungeon rooms with creatures for the player to fight. It's all text based, choose your own adventure style. A couple months of working on it later, I'm wondering if it would be better to seek some development software instead of manually coding it all? When is it better to code manually and when is it better to use a tool (Unity, Gamemaker, etc.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ I believe this falls under the "primarily opinion based" category. \$\endgroup\$
    – House
    Aug 22, 2013 at 21:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ It also is "which tech to use" \$\endgroup\$
    – bobobobo
    Aug 22, 2013 at 23:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think it's kind of an interesting question. What it asks is to compare the pros & cons of direct coding development vs non-coding development. It's two different approaches that have pros and cons, and definitely can foster intelligent answers (as we see already). \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim Holt
    Aug 23, 2013 at 3:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Great question! I cannot understand why it's closed especially in time when there are so many different visual tools on one side and so many programming frameworks on the other - what is a better choice is a very important question for someone looking to enter the game making path of life. \$\endgroup\$
    – luben
    Jun 12, 2014 at 17:06

1 Answer 1


There is no guidelines for this, as it's based on your own opinions, priorities, needs and such matters, that none else can really answer.

However, i'll give it a shot.

Code your own stuff if:

  • You really just wanna learn to program and become better in it.
  • There is no tools made for this job.
  • You are kind of person ( like me ), who can't seem to finish anything, but likes to code.

Use existing tools if:

  • You are trying to make money with game and time is your worst enemy.*
  • Your skills are not even remotely there, what others has done and you really need to have it working as nicely. ( Physics libraries, particle engines etc )
  • You don't really like coding, but still are interested in game making

So, these "guidelines" came from my head and might not make any sense to you, but it's something to think about.

* If you are creating games as day job, ie, you need to make money out of time invested in the game. Then, you just can't develop everything by your self. This means that instead of coding your 3D engine, you have to adapt and use something others has done. UDK, Source and Unity3D offer great variety and great power for 3D games. It's hard to compete against those with your own engine, while making money out of game.

And its not just engines, its network libraries, physics and all that. Libraries that might have been tested and used for many years already. If you are limited with time, then you can't start everything from scratch

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    \$\begingroup\$ I disagree with "You are trying to make money with game and time is your worst enemy." Tools like GameMaker, while nice to put together a first game or two, are inherently limited (because you can't access GM source). Other engines, such as Unity, are quite expensive and may not perform as you'd expect (middleware has runtime cost). \$\endgroup\$
    – bobobobo
    Aug 22, 2013 at 23:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you are working as game dev, then your profit has to make sense in time spent wise. So, investing 1 month to do something, that you could have free or with little money have to take into consideration. Spending 1500€ in unity vs spending 3 years to build as sophisticated system ( i could not do it, even with 10 years ). That was the point. Instead saving few dollars and spending huge amount of time. \$\endgroup\$
    – Katu
    Aug 23, 2013 at 5:25

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