Indies debate whether developers should create their own engine or license one

GDC: To middleware or not to middleware

Journey developer John Edwards (pictured) and Antichamber creator Alexander Bruce took to the stage at GDC to debate whether developers should create their own engines or license a third party platform.

As reported by Gamasutra, Bruce claimed, “building your own engine is like building your own Photoshop”.

Refering to his unique game Unreal Engine 3 powered Antichamber, which disaplays a striking wireframe world mixed with harsh lighting and vibrant colours, he said developers should work on bending an existing engine to suit their own needs and ambitions.

Bruce added that “engines are about optimisation”, with little time being spent on having to create one from scratch, allowing devs to focus on design.

He admitted that "I would not be where I am” without using a third-party platform.

He cited the potential pitfalls of creating an internal solution, and stated “I worked for a studio that burned itself to the ground thinking they could do everything cheaper, faster and better”.

Edwards argued however that creating your own platform can benefit developers, and prevents them from being distracted by all the opportunities a powerful licenced engine can offer.

“Some interesting psychology takes place in the face of all these possibilities, with all its features unused, the engine is hungry, like a small child, starving for food," he said.

"Then you wake up months later wondering what all these normal maps and bloom are doing in your text adventure."

He added that developers can also avoid the issue of paying for their own platform before they’ve even started their project, and can build an engine more accustomed to the genre they are trying to create.

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