An interview with Björn Ritzl from game engine Defold

If you are a game developer, chances are you have heard of Defold, or maybe you’ve even worked on a game using this engine. But did you know that the Defold engine can be the ideal starting point for a GameDistribution game?

Defold is easy to use, versatile and it has a wonderful and active community. The appliance is also free to download, with a license for both personal and commercial use. It is available on Windows, MacOS and Linux, making it ideal for any developer. Today, we’re excited to speak to Björn Ritzl, Product Owner at Defold. Be sure to read on to discover more about this engine and its compatibility with GameDistribution’s platform.

Hi, Björn! So lovely you could meet us for a chat about our favorite subject: games! First of all, let’s start with the basics. How would you characterize Defold; what can developers expect from your service?

Defold is a lightweight cross platform game engine for web, mobile, desktop and console games. Defold has a small runtime compared to other cross platform game engines. A standard version of the engine without any size optimizations is around 950kB gzipped. We also employ what we call a zero setup policy where there is no need for any external tools to build for any of the target platforms. You can create a build for any platform in a matter of seconds.

And would you say that brand new developers who want to make their debut game are in the right place at Defold? What makes it so easy to use?

Defold has a comparatively small API surface, which means that it is quite easy to learn the basics of Defold quickly. We get a lot of praise for extensive and up-to-date documentation, tutorials and sample projects. Defold does do certain things a bit different from other engines, but once you get over some of these idiosyncrasies you become very efficient as a developer. Finally I’d like to put some attention to things such as super fast builds and the ability to reload content in a running game (we call this hot reload) which dramatically reduces the iteration time and encourages experimentation and quick tweaking of game parameters to try out new things while developing your game. We also have a very open, friendly and welcoming developer community where it is possible to quickly get help if you get stuck.

Where can developers and other interested people find this community?

You can join the Defold community and the dev team on the Defold forum and on our Discord server.

We’ve seen some wonderful games on GameDistribution that were created in Defold, like Fruit Mahjong. What would your advice to GameDistribution developers be, if they want to try their hand at creating a game in Defold?

The problem many new developers have (regardless of game engine) is that they start with something too ambitious. Start with a small scope and try to build something playable early. Test the game a lot and iteratively work your way towards something fun. Focus on the core game loop and think about monetization. The game will monetize using ads and you need to think about a game design that caters to this. Analyze successful games on GD from a monetization point of view. How are they incorporating ads into their game? What measures have been taken to optimize the core game loop for ads? Does the game have a meta game? How does the game integrate with rewarded ads? Developers should also take a look at the release checklist in this blog post about Defold and Gamedistribution.

“It is easy to learn the basics of Defold quickly thanks to extensive and up-to-date documentation, tutorials and sample projects.

In 2020, the Defold source code was made widely available and transferred to the Defold Foundation. You’ve seen the change from closed to open software, and later to full open-source. How has that changed your outlook on the software, or maybe even the community?

The fact that the Defold source code is available and that the game engine is developed in the open builds trust, but it’s not a silver bullet. You still need to have a core development team to make sure the engine is developed according to technical best practices and that new functionality follows the vision of the product.

The upside is that the community can help out a lot more with development. Defold uses a plugin system where integrations with third party SDKs and systems (such as GameDistribution) are available in open source repositories on GitHub. These isolated source code repositories make it very easy for the community to contribute improvements.

Could you tell us a little bit more about the Defold Foundation and how it came to be?

Defold used to be a game engine owned by King, who are known for Candy Crush. In 2016, a few years after they acquired it, King decided to make the software available externally. The community grew so much, that it just made sense to separate the software from the company and move it to its own entity. We decided to make the software free and available to everyone, and since we are now listed as a foundation, everyone can be safe in knowing that Defold is a trusted game engine that will always be free and open. We now also have six full time developers working on the game engine, so rest assured; it is in very capable hands.

Defold is such a versatile tool – you can create both 2D and 3D, and most if not all genres are possible! Have you ever created a game yourself?

Yes, sure. I’ve worked professionally with game development for 20 years or so, and created games as a hobby when I was young. The first games I worked on in a professional capacity was for Nokia feature phones back in the early 2000’s. There were a lot of technical challenges back then, but it was great fun! I also worked on a few titles made in Defold back when Defold was owned by King. One game was a competitive take on Candy Crush! 

Thank you so much for your time, Björn!

If you would like to learn more about Defold, you can find all the information you’re looking for on their website.

Planning to go to gamescom 2023 in Cologne? If you would like to meet up with representatives of GameDistribution or Defold, you can follow the links below to make an appointment!

  • GameDistribution: Find us on Meet to Match or the gamescom B2B app, or send an email to to book a meeting in advance. During the event, we can be found in Hall 4.1, booth A021g-B030g.
  • Defold: Find us on Meet To Match or the gamescom B2B app. You can also book a meeting by emailing

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