Defold in 2021 - Retrospective and plans for the future

We’ve shared a new post on our blog. In the blog post we look back at last year and compare the roadmap with the actual features we shipped. The post also contains some high level plans for 2022:


Thank you so much for your work! :heart:
We do appreciate every single feature! With each step, the engine becomes better and better and this is great!

Do not be sorry for the features that didn’t fit the year, while you delivered a lot of other features :wink:

We might be sometimes pushing for some specific issues, but it’s never a request, rather an expression of interest, I hope :blush:

The fact that Defold is functioning as a healthy ecosystem since two years is awesome and you are great, guys!


You guys rock! You did a ton of work and Defold is thriving.


Great to see a review and upcoming live stream. In my opinion, Defold’s greatest asset that trumps every other engine is the community. Everyone is so friendly, cooperative, and helpful. Looking forward to seeing what happens in 2022.


It’s time for another great year for defold, really looking forward to it!

Our top priority in this department is to fix the known issues in Defold when using screens with variable or high refresh rates.

Finally, can’t wait!

A complete editor overhaul would be another great thing :smiley: *keeps dreaming


All I want to say, is thank you to Defold. I feel like I have found the engine I feel most comfortable with and the engine that is so flexible, I can actually do what I want, and not be restricted by the engine itself. Having used more than 20 engines over the last 20 years… I feel like Defold is a developers friend :slight_smile:

Keep up the great work. And I hope to be diving into the source soon to help where possible. Its a great product, and I think it has an awesome future.

I should also say. The team doing the major chunk of work. I feel you have done a brilliant job on Defold. Its your efforts that really make a difference. Congrats!


Our goal will never be to take Defold in a direction where we try to directly compete with Unity or Godot in terms of 3D capabilities, but we do believe there is very high value in improving the 3D support in Defold, without sacrificing anything in terms of performance, stability or engine size.

I don’t know which competition capabilities you refer to, but a basic 3D editor to drag-and-drop and manage assets like in the existing 2D view, that would be awesome. Yes, 3D workflow isn’t intuitive at all.

Wish you luck with your plans, and productivity.


Welcome Wurlit. I think the comment is with reference to rendering and animation capabilities that would be a much heavier work load for a game development group (to compete with Unity and others). With only a few people working on Defold fulltime, it should be regarded as a framework for 3D application and not built as its primary purpose.

As I state though (elsewhere), this should not discount its use as a 3D engine - I still dont like the term ‘engine’ for Defold in any case. I personally prefer to refer to it as a framework.

With the editor, I do wonder if it actually makes more sense to have a separate 3D editing suite. My current experience placing and building assets in Blender then using Defold to run it all, works very well - kind of negating the need for 3D editing with the Defold editor itself.


Hi, dlannan.

While Blender interoperability is certainly useful, it’s not as friendly as other solutions. Especially as a beginner, it’s hard to figure out how everything works together, what’s the set-up, how you control lighting and physics, what’s with the GLSL coding (do I need to learn a shader language?), and things like that.

I understand the human resources are limited and, as things are now, I agree with the distinction as a framework. I don’t know, I’d very much like Defold had a more direct 3D approach, or there were complete tutorials on the matter. Either will do.


I think what we’ll want to do is to make the 3d editing in Defold useable (it’s currently not great).
E.g. placing objects etc.

But, I’ve had the same idea as @dlannan that other packages should be considered for even more elaborate workflows.

They’re not mutually exclusive.


I agree. This is definitely something we can work on.


other packages should be considered for even more elaborate workflows.

No problem with that, it’s a nice thing to have workarounds. Just consider having the option for a more high level way of doing it, creating a game from start to finish within the editor itself. If not, at least make other options as straightforward as possible.

Don’t get me wrong, I like your strong focus as a team, and the minimalist’s approach in regards to the number of features available. But let me double-click the Defold icon with anticipation, and use my hands on the keyboard, instead of scratching my head over basic 3D functionality.

This is definitely something we can work on.

Please, do that!

Incoming TLDR;

Hi @Wurlit, I think maybe we are talking about different work pipelines here. There are two distinct needs for 3D editor capability:

  1. 3D model and animation editing and asset generation.
  2. 3D object placement and scenario/scene management.

Blender is not really built for number 2. It however is very good at 1. 3DSMax, Maya and others may be artist preferred, but open source wise, there just isnt anything close to Blender. In fact, 3D asset gen wise, Blender is knocking on Autodesks door, which is a fascinating business prospect for them.

For managing and developing a scene, I would agree with others, Defold is not great for this at the moment - Im sure that will improve. However, Defold’s primary use case is still 2D and adding 3D capabilities can cause problems when working with 3D in the same editing space - this is why Unity3D has two ‘modes’ of operations - 2D or 3D. I also feel, that trying to make something “Unity3D” like is a really big job and very hard to get right - it took Unity3D over 5 yrs to get it half decent, and that was with a sizable team.

I have been architect on about 4 different 3D editor projects for commercial simulation projects, and this is no small task. And if you get to know the Defold system, it is important to understand how it works - it is not a Godot, or a Unity3D or an Unreal Engine or a Unigine. This is not their target market (as I understand it) and this means you need to temper your expectations with that in mind. There may be “nice 3D editing” down the development track, but its not something I think you will see tomorrow, or even within the next year. Hence, why using other scene generation tools make a great deal of sense to be able to asset manage 3D resources for Defold. Low impact to current dev.

As @britzl and @JCash have mentioned in the past, 3D editing will be improved but there are already many people doing good 3D work as it stands. If the pipeline is too messy/complex then I would highly recommend making some suggestions, or making some PR’s for the editor, or getting involved on some of the issues relating to these tasks.

Im a big proponent of Defold and 3D - because it surprised me. Ive made alot of 3D commercial projects (some 20+ over the last 20 years) and Defold has been one of the nicest frameworks I have used yet. Thats my own opinion, I dont expect people to agree, my experience with Lua and Luajit has made it much easier for me to “get on board” with the whole Defold system design. I think if people dig deep enough they will find the same gold I’m enjoying right now :slight_smile:


I don’t mind working with Blender, and I don’t see it as a barrier for me to using Defold. Plus, you’re already doing a great job with the plug-in, and you explain nicely the procedure as well. It’s just that my time with Defold is limited for now, and I’m also learning Lua at the same time. So, I point out what I found to be the most time consuming aspect of Defold, and give a general idea of how the engine might benefit for the future. Not that it wasn’t already known, but another vote can’t hurt.

Confusion comes mostly due to the total freedom you can work with 3D, inherited from the fact that it isn’t implemented in a direct way inside the engine/framework. Consequently, I don’t know which route to take, and which things I’ll need to learn, operate, and maintain. I can’t, and don’t want to, learn everything there is and, let’s say, dive deep into GLSL, only to find out later the next day that someone has worked out a handy plug-in for Blender, or another tool. I find the absence of detailed tutorials more concerning than the lack of a built-in 3D editor. Thankfully, this is about to change.


Fair enough. This is a common confusion about Defold working with 3D. I would recommend the documentation, tutorials and sample projects that are out there - this is pretty much where I have gained all my own information about Defold’s 3D capability.

Im not sure Defold can help you in determining a “route to take” for 3D :slight_smile: … this is a problem with 3D development overall. In Defold you will need to ‘build’ many of the key elements of a large 3D system as many people have done (so leverage theirs :slight_smile: ).

Im also not sure I understand the comment “lack of a built-in 3D editor”. There is one in Defold - drop in a 3D model, mesh or dae and you can place and move the objects around in 3D. As the Defold developers have mentioned, it is just not very complete yet and suffers a few nuances. Their focus on development (as what this thread is about) of their current systems, and to improve this of course, but I again, try to temper peoples expectations. There is a long way to go for things like scene management, and 3D systems to be integrated (occlusion cull, lighting systems, 3d collision systems, flexible 3d scene graphs, and so on). They are making strides towards some of these, and thats awesome.

In the meantime, grab the large number of 3d samples off github and utilise them :slight_smile: Note: Thanks to all the amazing people who have built some brilliant freely available 3d samples like: @JCash @britzl @Pkeod @Dragosha @MasterMind @sergey.lerg @Ivan_Lytkin @jhonny.goransson
to name a few… (sorry if I missed you!). Have a look at these peoples posts, and github repos. There is alot of content around.

Maybe it might be worth aggregating all the 3d sources to help people like yourself get into the 3d development side.