What is Godot
April 5, 2024

Godot vs. the Giants: What is Godot and How It Competes with Unity and Unreal

Game Engine
Game Development

There’s a new kid on the block in the gaming industry; meet Godot, a 2D and 3D game engine that is free and open source. What used to be a space once dominated by giants like Unity and Unreal Engine now has some competition. With recent changes in “unique” pricing models, I’ve seen indies and small dev teams increasingly turn to Godot as their game engine of choice.

Here, I’ll dive into Godot Engine, giving an overview of its features and limitations, while also comparing Godot Engine to Unity and Unreal Engine. Read along or jump to the section that interests you the most.

Back to top

What Is Godot?

Godot Engine is a cross-platform, free, and open-source game engine used to create 2D and 3D games and applications. Under the permissive MIT license, game developers using Godot engine own their entire game down to the last line of engine code, with no royalties or strings attached. Godot is known for its unique approach with node and scene architecture to represent specific game functions.

First developed by an Argentinian game studio back in 2001, Godot was released as open source in 2014. Games made with Godot tend to have simpler graphics compared to Unity and Unreal Engine, but I appreciate how indie devs have worked within those bounds to create a wide range of games, with some of my favorites being Ex Zodiac and Helms of Fury.

Back to top

Features of Godot Engine 

Godot stands out from other game engines for its straightforward and intuitive design. Below I break down some of the main features of Godot that have led to its rise in popularity.

Godot Editor

Godot comes with a game editor that includes a code editor, an animation editor, a tilemap editor, a shader editor, a debugger, a profiler, and more. Using the game editor, game developers create nodes — the smallest building blocks of a Godot game. 

Multiple nodes brought together construct a scene. In Godot, a scene can be anything from a character, weapon, house, level, etc. These scenes can then be made into full-featured components that designers can work on within the editor.

Godot Coding Tools

Another feature of Godot is the ability to work in the programming language that is most familiar for you and your team. Game developers using Godot can code their games in the following languages:

  • GDScript: Similar to Python, this is Godot’s integrated scripting language. It is best for beginners who are less proficient in coding.
  • C#: This is a popular programming language and one of the main languages supported by Godot.
  • C or C++: You can use these languages in Godot with GDExtension technology. These languages will enable you to write high performance game code.
  • Rust, Nim, Python, and Javascript: Godot’s community has also created language binding tools for these languages.

Most Popular Game Engines in 2023

For our 2023 State of Game Development & Design survey respondents, the most popular game engines are Unreal Engine (57% total) and Unity (18%), with a notable increase in other engines (including Godot), compared to previous years. Learn more insights about the state of game development below.


Back to top

Godot Engine Benefits

There are several reasons why indie game developers are increasingly turning to Godot as an alternative to game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine. Here I dive into some of the benefits of Godot that developers are most excited about.

Godot Is Ideal for 2D and 3D Games 

Godot is primarily used to create 2D and 3D games, with separate engines dedicated to 2D and 3D. With a dedicated 2D pipeline, you can simplify your game logic and work in pixels and screen coordinates. In addition, Godot’s built-in tile map editor makes creating levels in a 2D world simple and time efficient.

Additionally, with Godot, developers can create 3D games for a wide range of devices including desktop computers and mid-range Android phones. Godot also makes it easy to import your 3D models, with the ability to bring Blender files directly into the Godot Editor. 

📘 Related Resource: 3D Animation Software and Animation Tools

Godot Is Open Source and Free to Use

One significant advantage of Godot is that it is completely free under the MIT license. There are no additional fees or contracts, giving creators the full rights to the game they build within the engine. 

Additionally, since Godot is open source, users can easily look up the source code when encountering any issues. Users can also add plug-in tools or extend the engine to create the game they want to build.

These are game changing features for indies and small teams who don’t have the budget and resources of a AAA studio. I wouldn’t be surprised if additional free and open-source game engines start popping up in the next few years, especially as game devs start looking for alternatives to Unity and Unreal. 

Godot Is Community-Driven

Due to active community forums, Godot developers prioritize working on features that will benefit the most users. Additionally, since Godot is open source, over 600 contributors from the Godot community work on enhancements and debugging the engine.

It’s Easy to Get Started with Godot

Some of the most popular engines require over 40 gigabytes of storage, and I can attest that even loading an engine like Unreal or Unity can take some serious loading time, depending on the computer you’re using. Although, it depends on if you have the raw/uncompiled version of the editor. On the other hand, Godot’s native editor is only 8 gigabytes to download, making it easy and fast to get started building games. 

Back to top

Godot Engine vs. Unity

Unity is one of the most popular game engines and often a competitor to Godot when developers are considering where to build their game. Developed by Unity Technologies, Unity is a game engine used across industries, with a strong reputation for mobile game development on Android. 

Similarly to Godot, Unity’s strengths lie in its ability to develop 2D and 3D games. Also, developers working within both Unity and Godot can use the programming language C# to build out their game.

Here are some additional factors to consider if you’re weighing between using Godot vs. Unity to make your next game:

Unity Has a Tiered Pricing Model and Runtime Fee

Godot gives creators the full rights to their games, no matter the size of their team. On the other hand, Unity has a monetization model. Under this model, individuals and small organizations can use Unity Personal, which is free until the team reaches a certain revenue threshold. Unity also offers free options for students.  

For larger teams, enterprises, and organizations, they will likely need to use Unity Pro, Unity Enterprise, or Unity Industry which can be expensive. In addition, for users creating within these paid plans, they may have to pay the Unity Runtime Fee after the game has crossed certain revenue thresholds. The pricing model combined with the Unity Runtime Fee has been one of the major reasons I’ve seen game devs move away from Unity. 

Unity Has a Wider Range of Resources

Since Godot has a smaller community compared to Unity, there are fewer available resources and tutorials. Unity’s team has created a plethora of resources – including e-books, reports, case studies, and webinars. 

Additionally, the Unity Asset Store has over 70,000 packages that developers can either get free or purchase to use within their game. In contrast, the Godot Asset Library has less than 3,000 assets with a smaller community contributing to it.

Back to top

Godot vs. Unreal Engine

Another common alternative to Godot is Unreal Engine. Developed by Epic Games in 1998, Unreal Engine is well-documented and easy to use, making it a staple of game and virtual production development. Similarly to Godot, Unreal Engine is well equipped to build 3D games and has active community forums where developers share best practices. 

Below I explore some of the features that make Godot and Unreal Engine distinct. 

Unreal Engine Is Ideal for Programmers and Designers

Unreal Engine stands out from Godot and Unity for its intuitive Blueprint Visual Scripting system that is friendlier and easier to use for designers. Programmers using Unreal Engine can also use C++ to build their game, making UE a friendly engine for either camp. 

Unreal Engine Is Better for 3D Games than 2D and Mobile Games

One of Godot Engine’s core strengths is its ability to create high quality 2D and 3D games, with distinct engines for them both. Though Unreal Engine does have Paper 2D, a sprite-based system for creating 2D games, its strength lies in its ability to create 3D games and models.

Want to Build Like Gearbox?

Gearbox chose Unreal Engine as their game engine to build the iconic franchise Borderlands. Learn more about their game development process in this deep dive.

Unreal Engine is Widely Used for Film and Animation 

Godot Engine’s Movie Maker mode and animation features make it possible to create for film and animation, but these are newer features that are less widely used. In contrast, Unreal Engine has been used to contribute to over 550 major motion pictures and TV episodes. Additionally, Unreal Engine 5 has made virtual production more accessible, giving hobbyists and beginners the ability to create high quality graphics and media.  

Unreal Engine has upended the Media & Entertainment industry and is truly on the verge of a groundbreaking transformation. With my experience in the gaming industry, it’s been incredible to see the transformation and wider adaptation of game engine technology across industries. Talent (artists/developers/etc.) can now switch industries, as the toolchains are  similar.

Back to top

Godot and Perforce

Whether you’re weighing between Godot Engine vs. Unity, or Godot vs. Unreal Engine — you’ll need the right foundation to create without limits. Many teams using Godot, Unity, and Unreal Engine rely on a version control system like Perforce Helix Core to store and track changes to all their digital assets. 

Helix Core Is the World’s Most Scalable Version Control 

Perforce Helix Core is the version control platform trusted by 19 of the top 20 AAA game studios, indie teams, and award-winning VFX houses. It tracks and manages changes to massive volumes of data — from source code to binary to IPs — with unrivaled performance, security, and scalability. 

How to Configure Helix Core for Game Engines

Once your team has decided on their preferred game engine, configuring Helix Core is simple. Follow along with Perforce Solutions Engineer Jase Lindgren as he walks you through the steps.


Helix Core isn’t just the world’s most scalable version control, it’s a platform that integrates with the game engines and tools you already use. While we don't have a direct integration with Godot yet, Helix Sync — a desktop client for Helix Core— allows you to sync files and simply drag and drop files to quickly version any type of asset. Additionally, you can use APIs to integrate Helix Core with any of your preferred tools.

You can also expand Helix Core with our suite of digital creation tools designed for the entire team. Trusted by today’s leading studios, these tools can give your art teams new capabilities in 3D asset management (Helix DAM), or help your producers create one plan (Helix Plan) to share across your directors, partners, and investors. 

Build The Next Award-Winning Game with Godot and Helix Core

You can get started today with Godot and Helix Core. Use Helix Core free for up to 5 users and 20 workspaces. Choose when to scale up as your team and files grow.


Back to top