Should I Move My Games From Unity To Godot, Unreal Or GameMaker?

Ross Bramble
13th September 2023

On September 12th 2023, Unity announced plans to start charging developers earning over a certain threshold each time their game was installed on somebody’s system.

Doesn’t matter how it was installed - a direct purchase on Steam, a code from the Humble Bundle, or even if it was illegally pirated. If your game was installed on someone’s phone, computer, Steam Deck, PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch, you’d face a charge.

Hey, Unity, Dr. Phil would like to know:


Naturally, the plans have forced thousands of Unity developers to start looking for a new game engine to call home.

Problem is, there’s no natural like-for-like replacement for Unity, and where you should head next all comes down to the kind of projects you’re working on.

To help make things a little clearer in a period of upheaval, we wanted to put together a short and simple guide to the three main alternatives for Unity developers, and which one makes the most sense for your indie game.

Should I move my game from Unity to GameMaker?



Specifically designed for 2D game creation

Not designed for 3D games

Easy to learn

Doesn’t use C# language

Exports to all platforms

Paid licence required to export

Won’t charge you each time your game is installed

This is the part where we tell you how awesome and wonderful we are. Or at least it’s meant to be, and sure, we really believe we’re the best damn 2D game engine going, but we also know what our limitations are.

GameMaker isn’t the right choice for every game out there, and as gamers ourselves, we have no problem pointing you toward Godot or Unreal if we feel your project is better suited to those engines.

That said, if you’re making a 2D game… yeah. You should choose GameMaker.

The GameMaker engine is specifically designed to support and simplify 2D game development. We pride ourselves on making it possible for anyone with an idea for a game to pick up GameMaker and create games in a fraction of the time it takes in Unity.

Many Unity developers already use GameMaker as a companion tool to help speed up development of their Unity projects, and many more simply alternate between the tools depending on whether they’re making a 2D game or a 3D one.

Some visually and mechanically impressive games have been made in GameMaker over the years, including Webbed, Chicory: A Colorful Tale, and upcoming monster-blender Critter Crosser.

There’s nothing stopping Cuphead, Hollow Knight, Hearthstone, or any other 2D Unity titles from being made in GameMaker!

Verdict: Shift your Unity games to GameMaker if you’re working on 2D games. There’s no engine on the market more finely-tuned to the needs of 2D game developers.
Chicory: A Colorful Tale, made in GameMaker, developed by Greg Lobanov

Should I move my game from Unity to Godot?



Supports 2D and 3D development

Limited documentation and tutorials

Completely open source

Fewer features and tools than Unity

Uses C# language

Complicated console exports

Won’t charge you each time your game is installed

Godot could be one of the biggest beneficiaries of Unity’s latest cock-up. While still a fairly new arrival on the game engine scene, Godot was already winning favour for being completely open-source, and supporting both 2D and 3D game development.

Godot supports the C# language you’ll be used to from your time at Unity, which will certainly make the transition easier to bridge. Their open-source policy will be a welcome relief to anyone feeling particularly burned by Unity right now, too.

Godot gets a lot right, and if it continues to grow as it has in the last few years, it’ll become the nearest thing we have to a direct replacement for Unity.

The biggest question facing Godot today is how well prepared it is to take on an influx of Unity devs used to more powerful software and a deeper pool of development tools. For 3D game development in particular, some tools are hard to find or are currently missing altogether, which makes complex projects harder than they would be in Unity.

Godot’s official documentation has always been a bugbear for its community, too, oftentimes out of date or missing key details, which can make the learning curve a little steeper than you’d think.

Verdict: Godot could see a huge influx of developers migrating to it in the near future, which may force it to accelerate its growth plans to keep up with the crowd. It’s got a lot of promise for 3D Unity devs.
Sonic Colors: Ultimate, made with Godot, developed by Sonic Team, Dimps & Blind Squirrel Entertainment

Should I move my game from Unity to Unreal?



Incredibly powerful 3D engine

Complex interface

Exports to all platforms

Excessively powerful for 2D games

Free until you make $1m in revenue

Doesn’t use C# language

Won’t charge you each time your game is installed

Unreal is the biggest player in the 3D game development scene. It’s an immensely powerful tool used to create some of the biggest games in the world, like Mass Effect, Kingdom Hearts, and Bioshock.

It isn’t a tool for hobbyists or newcomers - or at least it shouldn’t be. Plenty of ex-Unity devs will be left with no choice but to hop over to Unreal, and there’s certainly worse places to be if you’re making a 3D game. You'll be able to take existing projects to the next level, and create some of those more demanding 3D games you had planned that Unity would struggle with.

We certainly wouldn’t recommend Unreal for 2D game developers, though: using Unreal to make a 2D game is like lighting a candle with a flamethrower.

Verdict: Unreal isn’t a natural replacement for every Unity developer, but if you’re making a 3D game, you’ll find all the tools you were used to in Unity and then some.
Bioshock, made in Unreal, developed by Irrational Games
Unity’s decision to charge per install is outrageous. We all know that, and if Unity didn’t know it before they made that announcement, they definitely know it now.

We've certainly accepted the invitation to have some fun at Unity's expense over this, but this is a serious issue with real-world consequences. Whether the company walks back the charge or not, an enormous amount of damage has been done to the indie gaming community, threatening thousands of developers and their games.

We want to be sure that the future of you and your indie gaming projects are secure. We hope this article has offered some guidance for any Unity developers looking for a new home, and that those who choose to move to GameMaker enjoy your time with us.

Happy GameMaking!
Written by Ross Bramble
As GameMaker's resident gaming historian, Ross Bramble brings over a decade of writing experience to managing our blog and producing our gaming articles. In his spare time, he likes to complain about how long it's been since we last saw a new Kid Icarus game.
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