In the realm of game development, both game engines and renderers are integral components, but they serve distinctly different purposes.
A game engine is a software framework designed to facilitate the creation of video games. It's comprised of several elements including rendering, physics, animation, scripting, artificial intelligence, audio, networking, and memory management layers that provide all the necessary tools for developers. Engines can handle both 2D and 3D graphics, as well as everything from character movement and interaction to lighting and shadows, sound effects, etc.
On the other hand, a renderer (or rendering engine) is a specialized part of a game engine. Its primary job is to take graphical assets (models, textures, lights, shaders, etc.) and output them to the screen, creating the visual aspects of the game. The renderer utilizes specific algorithms to generate this imagery such as rasterization or ray tracing.
In conclusion, while a renderer is responsible for rendering graphical data to the screen, a game engine includes a renderer and many other modules to provide a comprehensive suite of tools for building video games. Understanding both concepts and their interaction is crucial for effective game development.