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Unity vs libGDX: What are the differences?

Introduction: Unity and libGDX are two popular game development frameworks that offer unique features and capabilities for developers.

  1. Programming Language: One key difference between Unity and libGDX is the programming language they primarily use. Unity primarily uses C# for scripting, while libGDX uses Java, giving developers the flexibility to choose based on their language preferences and expertise.

  2. Platform Support: Unity is known for its robust platform support, allowing developers to export their games to multiple platforms such as PC, mobile, consoles, and VR devices. On the other hand, libGDX is more focused on desktop and mobile platforms, providing a streamlined approach for cross-platform development.

  3. Rendering Pipeline: Unity has a sophisticated rendering pipeline with built-in tools for creating high-quality graphics and visual effects, making it ideal for creating visually stunning games. In contrast, libGDX offers a simpler rendering pipeline that prioritizes performance and efficiency, making it suitable for fast-paced 2D games.

  4. Community and Support: Unity boasts a large and active community of developers, providing a wealth of resources, tutorials, and forums for assistance. LibGDX also has a supportive community but may not have the same level of documentation and resources as Unity, making it slightly more challenging for beginners.

  5. Price and Licensing: Unity has a range of pricing options, including a free version with limited features and paid subscriptions for additional functionalities. In comparison, libGDX is open-source and free to use, making it a cost-effective option for developers looking to create games without any licensing fees.

  6. Learning Curve: Unity has a more user-friendly interface and a visual editor that simplifies the game development process, making it easier for beginners to get started. On the other hand, libGDX requires a deeper understanding of programming concepts and may have a steeper learning curve for those with limited coding experience.

In Summary, Unity and libGDX differ in terms of programming language, platform support, rendering pipeline, community support, pricing, and learning curve, providing developers with distinct choices based on their requirements and preferences.

Decisions about libGDX and Unity
norlin
Software Engineer / Game Developer at Norlin Games · | 7 upvotes · 87K views

When I started to learn game development, I've tried to use Unity multiple times because it's the most popular option. But never get it worked because of the clunky UI which is very hard to understand for a new user. After some time, I've decided to try UE4 despite there was a lot of rumors that it's "heavy" or requires an AAA team. And suddenly it clicked, everything works as I expecting, UI is clear and much more powerfull, no need to build custom tools to work on the game itself. Blueprints are very helpful for beginners, C++ has a lot of "syntax-sugar" - macroses, a lot of convenient in-engine types for everything. Later while working with Unreal, I've realized it has very consistent roadmap with constant improvements and adding new features. At the same time, each major version update is painless so you can upgrade your project during development to get new features. UE4 is free to use with the full list of features and you only have to pay royalty after getting your first $1 million from the project (and that's just the default case, you can always discuss custom license with an upfront fee, if you want to).

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Arthur Osipyan
Software Engineer at Value Industry · | 2 upvotes · 84.5K views

I chose Unity over Unreal Engine because Unity has a more user friendly UI for beginners looking to learn game development. Additionally, as someone who uses a lot of online resources to learn new languages and tools, I found a lot of tutorials covering game development with Unity as the core engine. This doesn't mean Unreal is not a great choice for game development, I just personally found learning game development much smoother with the amount of resources available with Unity.

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Pros of libGDX
Pros of Unity
  • 1
    Knows exactly what happening
  • 1
    Java
  • 1
    Fully control
  • 16
    Because it's a powerful engine, you can build anything
  • 14
    C# language
  • 11
    Very Popular
  • 7
    Easy to Use
  • 6
    He Has A Free VErsion
  • 6
    Cross Platform
  • 5
    2nd Game Engine In The World
  • 4
    Good Choise
  • 4
    Very Large Showcase

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Cons of libGDX
Cons of Unity
  • 1
    Full access to OS
  • 1
    No GUI
  • 4
    Hard to get started with
  • 4
    Clunky UI
  • 4
    Closed source
  • 3
    No consistency with updates
  • 3
    Requires to build a lot of tools
  • 2
    Gigantic by being 9gb (thats what setup says)

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What is libGDX?

The framework provides an environment for rapid prototyping and fast iterations. Instead of deploying to Android/iOS/Javascript after each code change, you can run and debug your game on the desktop, natively. Desktop JVM features like code hotswapping reduce your iteration times considerably.

What is Unity?

Unity is the ultimate game development platform. Use Unity to build high-quality 3D and 2D games, deploy them across mobile, desktop, VR/AR, consoles or the Web, and connect with loyal and enthusiastic players and customers.

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What are some alternatives to libGDX and Unity?
MonoGame
It is a free C# framework used by game developers to make games for multiple platforms and other systems. It is also used to make Windows and Windows Phone games run on other systems.
Android Studio
Android Studio is a new Android development environment based on IntelliJ IDEA. It provides new features and improvements over Eclipse ADT and will be the official Android IDE once it's ready.
Cocos2D-X
Cocos2d-x is an open-source and cross-platform open source free 2D game engine for mobile game development known for its speed, stability, and ease of use
Godot
It is an advanced, feature-packed, multi-platform 2D and 3D open source game engine. It is developed by hundreds of contributors from all around the world.
JavaFX
It is a set of graphics and media packages that enables developers to design, create, test, debug, and deploy rich client applications that operate consistently across diverse platforms.
See all alternatives