Is it safe to switch to Godot?

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:bust_in_silhouette: Asked By BeastKemo

Hello everyone, I used to do gamedev with unity3D, and wanted to switch to Godot, but I’m not sure how safe is that move, I was thinking maybe after spending a lot of time on a game, I will have engine bug/problems which will not allow me to export/publish quality product?
Or I will be annoyed by some bugs or limitations.

:bust_in_silhouette: Reply From: SQBX

TLDR: Switching from Unity to Godot is really easy, and I definitely recommend you do it. In the stable versions of Godot, you can absolutely spend a lot of time on a single game, and the amount of bugs and problems you will face is, in my experience, less than in Unity (though it all depends). Godot will absolutely allow you to export and publish a quality product wherever you’d like!

Here’s some more in-depth topics if you’d like

Editor

Godot Engine provides a rich-featured editor that allows you to build your games. The pictures below display the default layouts of both editors with colored blocks to indicate common functionalities.

While both editors may seem similar, there are many differences below the surface. Both let you organize the project using the filesystem, but Godot’s approach is simpler with a single configuration file, minimalist text format, and no metadata. This makes Godot more friendly to VCS systems, such as Git, Subversion, or Mercurial.

Godot’s Scene panel is similar to Unity’s Hierarchy panel but, as each node has a specific function, the approach used by Godot is more visually descriptive. It’s easier to understand what a scene does at a glance.

The Inspector in Godot is more minimal, it shows only properties. Thanks to this, objects can expose more useful parameters to the user without having to hide functionality in language APIs. As a plus, Godot allows animating any of those properties visually. Changing colors, textures, enumerations, or even links to resources in real time is possible without needing to write code.

The Toolbar at the top of the screen is similar in both editors, offering control over project playback. Projects in Godot run in a separate window, rather than inside the editor (but the tree and objects can still be explored in the debugger window).

This approach has the disadvantage that in Godot the running game can’t be explored from different angles (though this may be supported in the future and displaying collision gizmos in the running game is already possible), but in exchange has several advantages:

Running the project and closing it is fast (Unity has to save, run the project, close the project, and then reload the previous state).

Live editing is a lot more useful because changes were done to the editor take effect immediately in the game and are not lost (nor have to be synced) when the game is closed. This allows fantastic workflows, like creating levels while you play them.
The editor is more stable because the game runs in a separate process.
Finally, Godot’s top toolbar includes a menu for remote debugging. These options allow deployment to a device (connected phone, tablet, or browser via HTML5), and debugging/live editing on it after the game is exported.

Scenes

Working on a ‘level’ in Unity usually means embedding all the required assets in a scene and linking them together with components and scripts.

Godot’s scene system is superficially similar to Unity. A ‘level’ consists of a collection of nodes, each with its own purpose: Sprite, Mesh, Light, etc. However, in Godot the nodes are arranged in a tree. Each node can have multiple children, which makes each a subscene of the main scene. This means you can compose a whole scene with different scenes stored in different files.

For example, think of a platformer level. You would compose it with multiple elements (Bricks, Coins The player, The enemies)

In Unity, you would put all the GameObjects in the scene: the player, multiple instances of enemies, bricks everywhere to form the ground of the level and then multiple instances of coins all over the level. You would then add various components to each element to link them and add logic in the level: For example, you’d add a BoxCollider2D to all the elements of the scene so that they can collide. This principle is different in Godot.

In Godot, you would split your whole scene into three separate, smaller scenes, and instance them in the main scene.

  1. A scene for the Player alone.
    Consider the player as an element we’d like to use in different parent scenes (for instance ‘level’ scenes). In our case, the player element needs at least an AnimatedSprite node. This node contains the sprite textures necessary for various animations (for example, a walking animation).

  2. A scene for the Enemy.
    An enemy is also an element we’d like to use in several scenes. It’s almost the same as the Player node. The only differences are the script (it needs ‘AI’ routines to generate the enemy’s behaviour) and the sprite textures used by the AnimatedSprite node.

  3. A Level scene.
    A Level scene is composed of Bricks (for platforms), Coins (for the player to collect) and a number of instances of the Enemy scene. Each instance is a node in the Level scene tree. These instances are separate enemies, which initially have shared behaviour and appearance as defined in the Enemy scene. You can set different properties for each Enemy node (to change its color, for example).

  4. A Main scene. The Main scene would be composed of one root node with 2 children: a Player instance node, and a Level instance node. The root node can be anything, generally a “root” type such as “Node” which is the most global type, or “Node2D” (root type of all 2D-related nodes), “Spatial” (root type of all 3D-related nodes) or “Control” (root type of all GUI-related nodes).

As you can see, every scene is organized as a tree. The same goes for nodes’ properties: you don’t add a collision component to a node to make it collidable like Unity does. Instead, you make this node a child of a new specific node that has collision properties. Godot features various collision types nodes, depending on the usage (see the Physics introduction).

What are the advantages of this system? Wouldn’t this system potentially increase the depth of the scene tree? And doesn’t Unity already allow you to organize GameObjects by putting them inside empty GameObjects?

Godot’s system is closer to the well-known object-oriented paradigm: Godot provides a number of nodes which are not clearly “Game Objects”, but they provide their children with their own capabilities: this is inheritance.
Godot allows the extraction of a subtree of a scene to make it a scene of its own. So if a scene tree gets too deep, it can be split into smaller subtrees. This is better for reusability, as you can include any subtree as a child of any node. Putting multiple GameObjects in an empty GameObject in Unity does not provide the same functionality.

Project Organization

There is no perfect project architecture. Any architecture can be made to work in either Unity and Godot.

However, a common architecture for Unity projects is to have one Assets folder in the root directory that contains various folders, one per type of asset: Audio, Graphics, Models, Materials, Scripts, Scenes, and so on.

Since Godot allows splitting scenes into smaller scenes, each scene and subscene existing as a file in the project, we recommend organizing your project a bit differently.

Prefab Alternatives in Godot

A prefab as provided by Unity is a ‘template’ element of the scene. It is reusable, and each instance of the prefab that exists in the scene has an existence of its own, but all of them have the same properties as defined by the prefab.

Godot does not provide prefabs as such, but the same functionality is provided by its scene system: The scene system is organized as a tree. Godot allows you to save any subtree of a scene as a scene file. This new scene can then be instanced as many times as you want, as a child of any node. Any change you make to this new, separate scene will be applied to its instances. However, any change you make to the instance will not have any impact on the ‘template’ scene.

To be precise, you can modify the parameters of an instance in the Inspector panel. The nodes that compose this instance are initially locked. You can unlock them if you need to by right-clicking the instance in the Scene tree and selecting “Editable children” in the menu. You don’t need to do this to add new child nodes to this node. Remember that any new children will belong to the instance, not to the ‘template’ scene on disk. If you want to add new children to every instance of your ‘template’ scene, then you should add them in the ‘template’ scene.

Thanks a lot for detailed answer!
In that case I’ll do my next project with Godot, hope it’ll go well!

BeastKemo | 2023-01-05 08:13