informa
9 min read
article

Free Game Development Tools for Novice Game Developers

Game development might seem like a large and intimidating endeavor because it is. However in this day and age there exist tools means for curious beginners to try their hand at their own passion project. This article is from my own personal experience.

If you often spend time playing games, and for you this is more than just entertainment, then, for sure, you are thinking about the idea of developing your own game. Maybe you want to do something better in your favorite game, or maybe some interesting game ideas or even a completely new game universe, which asks to be implemented as a real game have been born in your head.

Furthermore, the development of virtual games has become not only an exciting hobby now, but also a highly paid job.

Why is it Cool to Create Games?

  • The freedom of action. Imagine that you have a clean sheet in front of you, and everything you paint on it begins to come to life and live their life. You control every pixel of the virtual world and you can realize absolutely any ideas. This is a real dream for creative people with a good imagination!

  • Self-development. Game development perfectly develops intelligence. The creation process has many branches and working alone, you have to try yourself as a designer, sound engineer, scriptwriter, and programmer.

For your first game, you do not need to learn all the specializations, just get practical knowledge. Working with the following projects, you can choose your favorite occupation, and distribute the rest of the work.

  • Good income. The gaming industry has already gathered under its banner 30% of the world's population. Revenue from the sale of games for 2016 was $ 88.4 billion. Of course, large developer companies divided the lion’s share of this money, but individual creators also took off their cream. Take, for example, the Minecraft sandbox, which brought its creator more than $ 100 million. And similar jackpots are not uncommon in the gaming industry.

A good idea made in quality can become a rich gold vein.

Creating your own computer game is not such a difficult thing if you do not start from a scratch, but use the work of other, more experienced people. Why should you be engaged in the programming of standard game elements, if this has already been invented for you? It is better to start with the creative component of the game - to invent levels, enemies, heroes, new interesting events. For this purpose, special tools - game engines have been created.

The Most Popular Game Engines

Construct 2

A powerful visual environment for developing 2D games. It has wide capabilities and flexible settings for events and behavior. Thanks to its simplicity in usage, this program will help beginners to create their first game quickly, and make professionals happy with a rich set of functions.

The Construct 2 program allows you to develop games without programming. Here you add and edit objects on the canvas of the future game, then revive the picture, setting events and manners. Why should you spend hours digging into the code, when you can devote this time to design and create a pleasant atmosphere for the players?

For the visual designer of games, this program has a remarkably impressive arsenal of possibilities. Flexible settings allow you to create a game in the way you want it to be. You can develop a living virtual world, imposing conditions and actions on objects and placing them in the events. In the course of practice, you will not only understand the essence of the program better but also train logical thinking.

Do you want your games to run on Windows, Linux, Mac, Android or iOS? Thanks to the multiplatform export of Construct 2, this is no longer a problem.

Its main features include:

  • Intuitive interface

  • Advanced Event System

  • Flexible behavior settings

  • 70 ready-made special effects

  • Creating games for Android and iOS

  • 30 built-in plug-ins + ability to create / add new ones, etc.


 

Unreal Engine 4

One of the leading programs in the market for game engines is Unreal Engine 4. It includes a wide range of features and tools for creating stunning games. If you intend to develop beautiful games seriously, Unreal Engine 4 will make your work more comfortable and exciting.

The Unreal Engine 4 can be rightly called the leading software for developing quality games. Thanks to it, such masterpieces as Batman: Arkham City, Mass Effect, Mortal Combat and many other equally worthy projects appeared. The engine has gained a well-deserved popularity due to the huge arsenal of opportunities that were introduced into it for 17 years of hard work. Today, Unreal Engine 4 has become a serious platform for building stunning virtual entertainment using the most modern technologies.

The editor workspace has a lot of buttons and panels, and at first glance, it may seem incomprehensible and complex, but it will not always be so. In fact, working with the interface is very comfortable, it is just worth a little understanding. Since Unreal Engine 4 is more like a professional tool, then it requires appropriate studying. If you want to create really cool video games, then you have to allocate a decent amount of time to study the extensive functionality of this engine. The costs of time will pay off with a vengeance when you begin to receive a tremendous pleasure from the process of creating professional games.

Its main features comprise:

  • Powerful development environment

  • Visual programming with the unique Blueprint system

  • C ++ programming capability

  • Advanced design tools

  • Creating games for the system Windows, Android, Linux, Mac OS and iOS.

  • Support for DirectX 11/12

  • Advanced particle editor and visual effects editor

  • Convenient creation of simple models, landscapes, and animations

  • Quick testing of the created game

  • Flexible tools for creating cut scenes, etc.


 

Game Maker: Studio

GameMaker: Studio is a full-featured game development tool that includes a level editor, resource manager, code editor and custom scripting language known as GameMaker Language (GML). The early versions of GameMaker were very simple and many people remember them. Now everything has changed, with several commercial successes, including some very famous games.

In the Master collection of the engine GM: S a cross-platform compatibility for desktop computers, HTML5 and mobile devices (for both Android and iOS) is implemented. In addition, it is possible to integrate version control and monetization (for example, advertising and purchase in the application). The total cost of the Master collection is about $ 800 dollars at the time of this writing. Therefore, this engine is ideal for:


 

  • Anyone who is interested in cross-platform development

  • Indie teams of developers with a small budget.

A low entry threshold in GM: S is possible thanks to the integration of the drag-and-drop interface. So, this is a fantastic tool for people with little programming knowledge as a first experience. Its interface is a great way to learn the process of creating the program and some basic logic.

 

Thanks to its management capabilities, GM: S allows developers to create and run very simple games quickly, which is great for gaming jams and creating game prototypes.

Unity

Unity program will help the developers to realize their ideas to the fullest: there is an extensive list of already made 3D-models, as well as beautiful textures and scripts. The existing set can always be supplemented with additional content, including various videos, pictures, and sounds. Unity allows you to make unique 3D presentations: they certainly take time, but genuine admiration on faces and open mouths of surprise are worth it.

The users are attracted by its universality: the game or presentation created in the program proves to be compatible with almost any popular platform. This list will include mobile devices based on Android, iOS, and common Windows, Mac OS X, and SMART TV.

The creators of Unity laid everything in it to provide their child with a worthy popularity.

Advantages of Unity 3D over competitors:

  • remarkably convenient and very easy to learn interface;

  • a powerful and flexible editor, featuring extensive functionality for creating games;

  • the compiler with a high processing speed and the optimal consumption of system resources;

  • great support for Drag & Drop;

  • support for a large number of diverse 3D projects, multimedia files that can be used in the project;

  • works remarkably with "physics", dynamics of shadows;

  • a well-established mechanism for teamwork on the network;

  • for a detailed study of the gameplay there is a built-in editor of landscapes and various kinds of surfaces.

Unity includes in its structure a large number of convenient tools for high-quality visualization, supports a browser-based 3D graphics, and has the functionality with almost infinite possibilities.

Like many software products, Unity exists in two versions: one version of the unit can be downloaded for free, the second one will require costs.

Godot Engine

Godot is an advanced, multifunctional, multiplatform development system for 2D and 3D games with open source. It is distributed free of charge under the license of MIT. Due to its openness, it allows everyone to participate in the development of the main branch of releases or create their own. When developing projects, no deductions and interest are required from the sales of the finished product, but there is a system of voluntary donations.

The system is a set of editors that are closely related and interact with each other. The set includes:

  • a visual editor with an extensive set of tools, a visual shader editor for 2D and 3D projects;

  • the possibility to make project changes directly during the testing of the game process;

  • save of changes when you exit the game;

  • live editing for mobile devices;

  • simple tools for working with level designers, artists, animators and others.

  • The possibility to create 2D projects, which include a 2D physics engine, accurate work with pixels in the ViewPort and the ability to scaling pictures;

  • to use 3D models that are rendered in real time at a given angle in the sprite and displayed together with other objects;

  • to develop 3D projects: the import of models with 3DS Max, Maya, Blender and other editors with full animation support;

  • the renderer supports HDR, anti-aliasing and linear color modes.

To set the logic, the built-in scripting engine is used, the code of which is very similar to Python and there is support for the C ++ API for expanding functionality or optimizing the system when performing resource-intensive tasks. The built-in editor with syntax highlighting in real time automatically completes and analyzes the code for the presence of errors.

Now you know which programs can help you develop your own game. And let it be far from Battlefield or Lineage, but Alien Shooter or Plants vs. Zombies have found their millions of fans! And something like the last two with the above software can be invented. So go ahead and let the ower come with you!

Latest Jobs

Disbelief

Chicago, Illinois
05.10.22
Producer

Build a Rocket Boy Games

Edinburgh, Scotland
05.12.22
Lead Animation Programmer

Windwalk Games

Austin, Texas
05.16.22
Game Designer

Sucker Punch Productions

Bellevue, Washington
05.10.22
Campaign Director
More Jobs   

CONNECT WITH US

Register for a
Subscribe to
Follow us

Game Developer Account

Game Developer Newsletter

@gamedevdotcom

Register for a

Game Developer Account

Gain full access to resources (events, white paper, webinars, reports, etc)
Single sign-on to all Informa products

Register
Subscribe to

Game Developer Newsletter

Get daily Game Developer top stories every morning straight into your inbox

Subscribe
Follow us

@gamedevdotcom

Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more