What Is the Godot Engine and What Does It Do?

The Godot Engine is an up-and-coming game engine that is growing in popularity, especially among indie game developers. Godot is completely free, and easy to learn.

This article will introduce the Godot Engine and explain what it does. It will focus on the built-in features of Godot that make it unique compared to other game engines.

What Is the Godot Engine?

Godot is a free and open-source game-engine made for 2D and 3D game development. It is under the MIT license, a permissive free software license that gives users few restrictions on how they use their software. The founders of Godot—backed by a tight-knit community of developers—actively maintain the software.

Godot is also a member of the Software Freedom Conservancy. The Software freedom Conservancy is a not-for-profit organization that aims to defend and protect free and open source software (FLOSS) projects.

Free and open source software projects often rely on external funding. Godot relies on outside backers and supporters on Patreon. Also check out how GitHub Sponsors Lets You Fund Open Source Software.

What Does the Godot Engine Do?

The Godot Engine comes with a plethora of built-in tools that handle the basics of game development for you, so that you can focus on building games and not development tools. Here are some of the built-in features that make Godot unique.

Godot Platformer Demo

Built-In Nodes for Everything

Godot comes with hundreds of built-in nodes that are ready to be used for everything in your game. Godot comes with nodes for graphics, sounds, user interfaces, cameras, animations, characters, and much, much more.

These nodes come with built-in functionality that you lets you skip the grunt work of coding basic classes for your game. Godot’s built-in nodes have already done this work for you. And the best part is, you can expand upon them using custom scripts if you wish.

Flexible Scene System

Godot lets you create scenes of multiple nodes, organized however you want. Once you have created a scene, you can save it as a built-in data type (.tscn or .scn). Once you have saved a scene, you can instance it into other scenes, or create new scenes that inherit from it.

Godot Isometric Demo Project

This scene system gives you flexibility in how you structure your project. It lets you create scenes for just about anything. Any scene can be instanced or inherited to your liking.

Built-In Scripting Language

Godot has its own built-in scripting language, called GDScript. GDScript is syntactically similar to Python. Godot’s devs designed it specifically for game development in the Godot Engine, and many in the Godot community love it.

Related: 6 Reasons Why Python Is the Programming Language of the Future

If you do not wish to use GDScript, however, Godot offers cross-language support with full C# support and full C++ support. It also has a built-in visual scripting system.

Built-In Animation Editor

Godot comes with a powerful built-in animation tool that can control just about any of the adjustable properties of your nodes. The built-in animation editor could create an animation that changes a texture’s opacity from 100 to 0, for example. Or, it could create an animation that moves a sprite 50 pixels to the right. The possibilities are endless.

Godot Animation Editor

Built-in Debugger

Game development in no stranger to bugs. That is why Godot comes with a built-in debugger made for squashing bugs. The built-in debugger can trace break points in your code and offer detailed bug reports in the console.

Godot also has a remote deploy window which lets you view all the nodes in your project while it is running. This is another handy debugging tool that can save hours of headaches.

Built-In Help Docs

The script editor in Godot has built-in documentation support, which lets you consult the docs while scripting. This makes coding easier, because it eliminates the need to have a browser window open in order to read documentation.

The docs are open-source on GitHub, too, by the way. This means they are constantly being updated and refined. Today the documentation is extensive and thorough. It also contains some handy starting guides, as well.

Multi-Platform Deploy

Godot comes with built-in export templates for multiple gaming platforms. This can be a real lifesaver. Once you have a playable build of your project ready, you can use the Godot project exporter to deploy to any platform.

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Godot has export templates for major desktop platforms including Mac, Windows, and Linux. It has templates for mobile platforms including iOS and Android. And, it has export templates for console platforms including Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One (via third-party providers).

Last, but not least, the Godot community is small but mighty. As word of Godot spreads, the community grows, and it creates more helpful resources. The Godot community is active on the Godot GitHub Page, and is available to help peers on the Godot Q&A forums.

Godot 3D Platformer Demo

In addition, the Godot community has created plenty of tutorials that can be found of YouTube and other sites like Udemy. For those looking to get into game development, Godot is a great starting engine due to the amount of built-in tools it offers and the helpful community surrounding it.

How to Access Godot

You can download Godot for free at the Godot website. Click the Download button on the top of webpage to find download links for Mac and Windows. You will notice the Download page also has links to download Godot from Steam or Itch.io, if you wish.

The Godot Engine is also on GitHub, where you can download or view the engine’s source code. Godot has an active community of developers contributing to the project at all times. Some are official hires and others are active developers who are passionate about Godot.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait for Godot

Godot Colored Logo

The built-in tools of Godot truly make game development easier for developers of all skill levels. Godot takes care of a lot of the grunt work associated with game development, letting developers focus on the fun part- making cool games.

Development of Godot is ongoing, meaning the engine is constantly improving! This article has only scratched the surface of what Godot can do. Exciting things are in store for Godot, including a massive overhaul to 3D support in Godot 4.0, and much, much more.

The Godot community loves Godot and is willing to help each other out. If you are new to game development, Godot is a great engine to start with because of the built-in tools, the friendly community, and the amount of community-created tutorials out there.

Finally, it is worth reiterating that Godot does not cost a single penny! There are no royalties or hidden fees in Godot at all. This makes Godot even sweeter.

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