Do you have a suggestion for a game that has been percolating for a while? What if you could make that concept a reality? Nowadays, anyone with game-making tools and a little amount of knowledge can create a video game.
Of course, this does not imply that the work is simple, especially with readily available free software. It takes a lot of work to make a basic game like Flappy Bird look and feel decent. But the process of making games has gotten considerably more streamlined as a result of these free tools.
Here is a list of the top free game development tools you may use to start working on your fantasy game right away.
Table of Contents
1. GameMaker Studio 2
The drag-and-drop interface for variables and game logic in GameMaker Studio 2 is similar to that in Construct 3, allowing you to design full games with only that.
The Game Maker Language, a flexible scripting language similar to C, is what gives GameMaker Studio 2 more power than Construct 3 does.
Once your game is complete, you can export it to a variety of platforms and file types without changing your code, including Windows, Mac, Linux, HTML5, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and others. Unluckily, exporting to any platform is not possible with the free version.
The successor to the original Game Maker: Studio, which debuted in 1999, is called GameMaker Studio 2. It’s one of the most well-liked and active game development tools on the market right now.
Releases of updated versions with new features occur frequently.
Read More On: Fortnite: The 6 Incredible Facts About This Open World Game
Built-in advanced features
A lot of interesting quality-of-life features are supported by GameMaker Studio 2 right out of the box, including the ability to add in-app purchases to your game, real-time analytics on how users are using your game, source control, multiplayer networking, and extensibility through third-party extensions. Additionally, it includes built-in editors for shaders, animations, and pictures.
The complexity of your games is restricted in the free version, but you can use it endlessly. Exporting to Windows and Mac is possible with the $39 annual Creator plan.
Alternatively, you can unlock specific exports with a one-time permanent purchase of $99 for desktop, $149 for HTML5, $149 for Amazon Fire, and $399 for Android/iOS. Each export for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch costs $799 per year.
Download:GameMaker Studio 2
2. Godot Engine
The Godot engine facilitates the development of both 2D and 3D games, similar to Unity. This free game maker’s 2D component was thoughtfully developed from the beginning, which results in improved performance, fewer bugs, and a cleaner overall workflow.
Everything in Godot is separated into scenes, but probably not the kind of “scene” you’re picturing. This makes Godot’s approach to game architecture unusual. A scene in Godot is made up of several components including sprites, audio, and possibly scripts.
Then, you can join several scenes to create a larger scene, and those scenes create even larger scenery. Staying organized and changing individual pieces whenever you want is quite simple with this hierarchical design strategy.
Custom scripting language
The scene pieces in Godot are maintained using a drag-and-drop system, but you may enhance each of those elements using the built-in scripting system, which makes use of a unique Python-like language called GDScript.
Even if you don’t have any coding knowledge, you should give it a try because it’s simple to learn and enjoyable to use.
Right out of the box, Godot can be used to deploy to a variety of platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and HTML5. No additional permits or purchases are required, but there might be some limitations (like needing to be on a Mac system to deploy a Mac binary).
Built-in advanced features
For a game engine, Godot iterates astonishingly quickly. It has so many wonderful features already, like physics, post-processing, networking, many built-in editors, live debugging and hot reloading, source control, and more because there is at least one significant update per year.
The only game development program on this list that is truly free is Godot. You are free to use it in whatever you like and sell the games you create because it is licensed under the MIT License.
Even the engine’s source code is available for download and modification. (The C++ code for the engine.)
Read More On: 10 Best Games To Play On Roblox
3. Construct 3
No programming needed
If you’ve never written a line of code in your life, Construct 3 is the best free game creation program to utilize.
All drag-and-drop operations are used across this game creation tool’s whole GUI. Utilizing the design elements offered by the game-making program itself, game logic and variables are built.
Construct 3 has the advantage of being able to export to a huge variety of platforms and file types without requiring you to make any changes to your game whatsoever.
Once your game is complete, you may export it to a variety of platforms, including HTML5, Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, and the Microsoft Store.
Construct 3 features some of the greatest and most thorough documentation a game development tool has ever seen. In addition, the forum community is very active, which is great if you ever need help, and there are hundreds of tutorials that will help you understand ideas from basic to advanced.
Most programmers have only minimal experience making animation, audio, or game art. But that’s okay since you can always browse and buy pre-made items from the Game Developer Asset Store with Construct 3.
The majority of asset packs cost only a few dollars or less, although professional-grade models can cost up to $30. Additionally, you may purchase sample games with a source, which is useful for research and learning new strategies.
All the essential elements are available in the free edition, but there are some restrictions, including a cap of 25 events, a maximum of two object layers, two simultaneous special effects, one web font, no multiplayer support, a limited HTML5 export option, and no ability to sell your games.
All of these limitations are lifted with the $99 annual Personal license.
Download: Construct 3
In 2005, Unity debuted as a 3D engine, and in 2013, it introduced formal 2D support. There’s a very strong chance you’ve played a game developed on Unity. It’s ideal for making games of all shapes and sizes, from mobile 2D simple games to jaw-dropping graphical masterpieces.
Component-entity design wasn’t created by Unity, but it had a major role in its spread. In essence, everything in the game is an object, and each object can have a variety of components attached to it, each of which controls a different part of the object’s logic and behavior.
You must utilize C# if you want to get the most out of programming for Unity. The good news is that there are a ton of excellent Unity tutorials available online to get you started because Unity is so commonly utilized by both amateur and professional game creators.
For beginners, Unity itself offers a variety of in-depth video series, plus the accompanying.
The most platforms for which Unity has the most export support are Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, HTML5, Facebook, various VR systems including Oculus and Steam VR, as well as a number of gaming consoles like the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Wii U, and Nintendo Switch.
Want your game to have a minimap system? How about a networking solution made for business? Perhaps you require environmental textures, HUD visuals, and 3D models? What if your action-adventure RPG had a dialog system?
On the Unity Asset Store, you may purchase all of this and more, with a fair probability that it will be free.
As long as your games generate less than $100,000 in sales each year, the Personal plan is totally free and doesn’t limit any engine capabilities.
For up to $200,000 in annual sales, the Plus plan is required. It also grants the editor access to the sought “black theme.” The Pro plan, which allows for infinite revenue, is required after that.
Read More On: 10 Free Tetris-Like Games You Can Play Online
5. Unreal Engine 5
Unreal Engine 5 by Epic Games was introduced in June 2020, made available for early access in May 2021, and received its complete release in April 2022.
Unreal Engine 5 (UE5) is the most expert of all the tools on this list. The Unreal franchise’s gurus, who are aware of what makes a top-notch engine and what it takes to deliver next-generation features, built it from the ground up. They are performing tasks with precision.
The ability to iterate and develop as quickly as possible is one of the guiding principles of UE5. As a result, you get features like live debugging, hot reloading, a streamlined asset pipeline, and instant game previews, plus hundreds of included assets and systems like artificial intelligence, cinematic tools, post-processing effects, and more.
No code necessary
The Blueprint system, which enables you to construct game logic without touching any code, is one of UE5’s distinguishing features.
It’s sufficiently sophisticated to allow you to design complete games—even complicated ones—without ever using a source editor. However, if you like, you can also code your own Blueprints.
Read More On: Top 10 Best Scary Horror Games for Your iPhone
The Best Tutorials on the Planet
The majority of the videos on the UE5 YouTube channel are between 20 and 60 minutes long and walk you through every aspect of the engine.
That’s more information than you’d learn in a semester-long academic course! UE5 can provide you with step-by-step instructions if you require them.
Do you detect a pattern here yet? The top engines all support smooth export to a variety of platforms, and UE5 is no different: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android, iOS, HTML5, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and more.
You have access to the complete engine as a free user (including source code). Royalties are exempt up until you earn your first $1 million in gross revenue, starting with Unreal Engine 5. Following that, 5% of every sale will be paid to you as a royalty.
In compared to UE4, UE5 shows a considerable focus on enhancing video game graphics to at least movie-quality CGI. How do they intend to make this happen? Nanite and Lumen, two key technologies, are employed.
Limits on polygon size must be taken into consideration while building any level or character for your game. If your character is built up of 1,500,000 polygons, you can’t possibly expect your game to operate smoothly, can you?
It can and should, according to Nanite. For 3D artists and animators, the use of nanite geometry makes it possible to seamlessly integrate source material with millions or even billions of polygons into games.
Since its inception, computer-generated lighting in video games has come a long way. The next step is UE5’s Lumen, which is a significant one.
Lumen offers dynamic environments with lifelike light reactions. How much moonlight would diffuse across a valley, for instance, depending on the moon’s position in the sky and whether it is blocked by mountains or other land features? The lighting changes with the scene in a second.
The ability for designers to inspect lighting in the Unreal Engine from various angles exactly as it would appear in-game is another game-changing feature of Lumen. Unreal Engine is the best option if you’re looking for free game development tools.
Download: Unreal Engine 5
Read More On: 10 Best Video Game Strategy Guides Sites
Improve Your Skills With Free Video Game Creation Software
If the options above are not what you’re looking for, there are a few other free game creation tools that weren’t quite good enough to make this list but are still worth looking into (such as Phaser, Stencyl, or GDevelop).
You should really brush up on some programming if you’re serious about game development. Playing coding games will help you learn while having fun.