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2022.12.01

Flax Engine

English

In a year full of personal experimentation in other careers (like running for congress, for example :), I still programmed a lot. I invested a lot of time studying Docker and containers, Kubernetes, Home Assistant, and hosting web systems myself (like Nextcloud).

But game design is a passion.

I constantly get annoyed with Unity3D and the latest events on the business side, which had me worry even more. I tried to use Godot and failed. C# is far better in terms of easy-to-use and safety compared to C++ and even more to custom scripting languages. It’s more organized and well-documented. And I have years of accumulated experience. And Godot-C# integration is buggy, unstable, and full of gotchas. The way they re-implemented C# in the upcoming Godot 4 created so many artifacts to properly work that I got even more frustrated. I could not use Lists<>!

After watching a curious review on the GameFromScratch channel, I tried a new kid in town: Flax Engine. It’s a C++/C# engine heavily inspired by Unity. The from-to process is straightforward. After just a few of weeks playing with it, now I decided to invest in it. I am planning to port my closest-to-finish game I have to it by the end of the year. It’s 1 step back, 2 steps forward.

Cons

πŸ‘Ž Like Godot, there is no way, currently, to drag-and-drop assets and actors with a specific class. I always have to ask for a generic Actor in the editor and check if has the given class in the code. Annoying and error-prone.

πŸ‘Ž Still lacking several common features, compared to Unity and Unreal. It’s evolving and, most importantly, their competitors pave the way for inspired clones like Flax.

πŸ‘Ž Minuscule community compared to other game engines, even the indie ones. Recent GitHub reports the biggest Open Source projects do not place Flax into the top 10.

Neutral

😐 Not FLOSS. It’s open source but it’s not free. The license requires paying royalties. It’s very close to what Unreal asks but more generous. I would love to see it converting to a full FLOSS model in the future.

πŸ‘Ž Old C#/.Net version. A branch with the newest .NET 7 was created and developed. The current version uses .Net Framework 4.8 and it is a pain to install on Linux.

πŸ‘Ž Still lacking Docker image for CI/CD (well, Unity and Unreal also do not have official ones). I may implement a repository myself, inspired by GameCI ;)

Pros

πŸ‘ 1-1 adaptation from a Unity developer. It’s not as feature-rich, but it’s very competent.

πŸ‘ Open community. A lot of issues and Merge Requests on the project’s GitHub page. I’ve been talking to devs in a Discord channel and they are receptive.

πŸ‘ Small footprint. The editor is only a couple of megabytes and the “cooked” game is also small. If possible, running it in an Alpine-like image will create a minuscule image to use CI/CD.


Bruno MASSA