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Early on in Game Dev Tycoon, you're developing games from a garage. After your first couple of games you unlock the ability to research and create your own games engine.

The threshold to move to your first office is to generate 1 million in capital which can be reasonably easily attained without ever creating your own game engine.

Does using your own game engine effect your sales and review scores sufficiently enough that I should aim to research and create my own game engine as soon as the option is available, or can I wait until after I have moved to my first office and spend more money on a game engine with more features?

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    Yo dawg, I heard you like playing on game engines, so now you can make a game engine while playing in a game engine! – senpai Apr 30 '13 at 9:04
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Having a game engine gives you a quality boost in the features that you implement into your game. So say your game engine has 3D graphics V1 and you use that in your game, your graphics are going to produce more design points (and possibly tech depending on the stat, I'm not sure), resulting in a higher quality game overall. These will increase your ratings and sales.

It's like software projects in the real world. If you have a framework to work with from the start, you don't have to spend as much time on the back end and you can focus on the fine details.

Game Engine Parts: There are some features that you need to have in an engine to use in your games.

I would recommend creating a game engine as soon as you can. There really isn't a reason not to if you are producing profitable games. It doesn't take a lot of time for a simple 2D linear story engine, and you'll see the rewards immediately.

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