After finishing up my last game in June, I wanted to have some buffer time before my next project to spend learning new programming tricks. They wouldn't be of use, as my focus quickly wandered outside of the realm of the Unity engine. I had thought about switching to another game creation toolset for awhile. Eventually it was obvious that the compatibility and performance I wanted out of my HTML5 games wasn't something Unity couldn't deliver for me. After around four years of using it, I was ready for something new and started looking around.
I was convinced for awhile prior that the Phaser framework was perfect for me, but I could never scratch the surface. It seems like a versatile, great-performance framework. But it was inaccessible to me due to a small community, few good guides / tutorials, pseudo English API documentation and specific, scattered, undocumented sample code demos. I'll be keeping an eye on Phaser 4's development though; it seems like no game developer has yet brought out the potential Phaser has.
I considered and toyed around with a handful of other engines / frameworks. I was really close to going with Godot since it's workflow promised to speed up development and it left a good impression. Similar to Unity, but simplified and streamlined. Mobile compatibility and performance left something to be desired, though. I ended up dropping it when Haxeflixel took my full attention.
I started learning the Haxeflixel framework In August. Had some pretty bad issues getting Haxe set up, which held me back years prior. Pushing past it, I fell in love with the new process of making games. Using a framework is a more DIY approach, with less tools (and no UI) to help you. The appeal of it is simplicity, independence and control. All of it was a breath of fresh air.
What's more, Haxeflixel is open source. I had no idea how helpful and satisfying it is to peak behind the curtain and see how the tools I'm using works in the same programming language I'm working in. And it's invaluable having open source demos and games out there to learn from. In some ways the framework / language is a harder process, but the community has always been there to help me figure things out. Seriously, huge shout out to the Haxe discord server for always being quick to help. For most of my time making games, I was lucky to get a forum reply the next day when I was stuck.
As a retrospective on my ~4 early years of making games with it, I don't think Unity was a good fit for me or the games i wanted to make. Everything takes longer to setup and make, which especially hampers prototyping. It's an engine, it was made to handle relatively ambitious projects. I've always wanted to make simple ones, like the Flash games I grew up with. Using an engine to make a simple 2D game is like driving your car next door; You're accomplishing the same thing, but it ends up taking longer and being less efficient. For that reason, I'd hesitate to recommend Unity as an introduction to making games, like I did. You gotta start as simple as possible.
I've been too busy with college to spend significant time on this stuff :(:(:( but hopefully I'll have something to upload to NG soon.