DEW2023 - Hamburg

A Journey into Game Engines: Understanding “My Little Engine”


In today’s fast-paced world of technology, game development has become more accessible than ever. Powerful game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine have revolutionized the process of creating games, allowing developers to focus on the creative aspect rather than reinventing the wheel. However, have you ever wondered how these game engines work under the hood? How do they handle rendering graphics, managing assets, and creating immersive experiences? In this blog post, we will embark on a journey to explore the inner workings of game engines, with a particular focus on a project called “My Little Engine.”

Understanding Game Engines:

Before diving into the specifics of “My Little Engine,” let’s briefly touch upon the concept of game engines. A game engine serves as the foundation for creating games, providing developers with a framework that handles common tasks such as rendering, physics simulation, and asset management. It acts as a bridge between the programmer’s code and the hardware, making it easier to develop interactive and visually appealing games.

The Role of OpenGL:

One widely used graphics library in game engines is OpenGL. It is an open-source, cross-platform library that allows developers to leverage the power of modern GPUs for rendering high-quality graphics. Many popular game engines like Unity utilize OpenGL as one of their rendering backends. It provides a set of functions and shaders that enable developers to create stunning visuals and immersive experiences.

Introducing “My Little Engine”:

Now that we have a basic understanding of game engines and the role of OpenGL, let’s explore “My Little Engine.” As the name suggests, this project aims to serve as a learning tool for individuals interested in game engine development. Its primary goal is to teach aspiring developers how game engines work instead of simply using them without understanding the underlying concepts.

Project Setup and Requirements:

To get started with “My Little Engine,” you will need Conan (1.X), Clang-format, and Ninja. These tools are essential for managing dependencies, ensuring code style consistency, and building the project. The README.md file provides detailed instructions on setting up the project environment.

Building and Running the Project:

Once the setup is complete, building and running “My Little Engine” becomes a straightforward process. By following a few simple steps outlined in the README.md file, you can generate the necessary build files and execute the built engine. The project supports various file types for models and textures, and it offers capabilities like custom shader loading, creation of Uniform Buffer Objects (UBOs), and customizable lighting effects.

Understanding the Engine Features:

“My Little Engine” introduces several features that allow developers to create interactive and visually appealing scenes. It follows a scene graph hierarchy, where objects in the scene can be organized and transformed individually or as groups. The project supports the loading of 3D models and textures in popular file formats such as .obj, .bmp, and .DDS. Additionally, developers can take advantage of custom shaders, adjustable ambient and diffuse lighting effects, and the ability to tint objects.


“My Little Engine” provides a hands-on learning experience for individuals interested in understanding game engine development. By delving into the project’s codebase, developers will gain insights into the inner workings of OpenGL-powered game engines. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced developer, exploring “My Little Engine” will deepen your knowledge of concepts like rendering, scene management, and asset handling. So, take a leap into the fascinating world of game engine development and unlock your creative potential with “My Little Engine”.