Many gamers have thought of ideas they would love to see made into reality, but creating a video game is not a small task. In the past it required special equipment and a decent amount of programming knowledge just to make basic games.
As technology and software development has evolved, the barrier is much lower and now there are many easy and fun ways to get started in video game development. Here are five free game development software apps to help get you started with making your own games.
For the absolute beginner, Sploder enables users to make their own platforming or shooter game for free. Based on Flash, users can create their own custom game using a simple drag-and-drop interface.
Create levels, place items, or even throw a dozen enemies at the hero. There’s also the ability to save games and share them online with other Sploder users or post the game to the creator’s personal website for everyone to play.
For free game development software with more power and options, Game Maker 8 is the better choice. The software has been in active development since 1999 and has a very large following. Originally developed by Mark Overmars, a Dutch computer scientist, the software is now developed and published by YoYoGames.
Game Maker 8 makes it easy to create great games without having to learn a programming language or spend a lot of time. Many tutorials and resources are available, along with a lot of help from the community. Users can create any type of game they can think of, be it platforming, role-playing, racing, adventure, or any other type. After users get comfortable with Game Maker 8′s drag-and-drop interface, they can explore the software deeper and unlock its true potential with the built-in custom programming language.
For a more in-depth view on Game Maker, check out our Game Maker article.
Anyone experienced with Visual Basic or Microsoft’s .NET Framework will feel more at home programming with the free game development software called Phrogram. Combining a professional interface with a fun focus on developing games, Phrogram is a good way to ease into traditional programming. In fact, many schools like Ohio State University use it to teach introductory programming classes.
For someone with no programming experience, Phrogram gently introduces a real programming environment while keeping things simple and providing many examples. The official website has many tutorials, examples, and games available to download.
Phrogram isn’t free but it does offer a 30-day trial.
Made for developers strictly interested in role-playing games, RPG Maker XP fulfills its goal well. Since 1988, this software has enabled its users to create their own role-playing adventures.
The games created with the latest versions of RPG Maker are reminiscent of 16-bit Super Nintendo classics, like Final Fantasy 6 and Lufia 2. Games are shareable with all Windows PC users, whether or not they have a copy of RPG Maker XP installed.
All of the tools needed to create a classic game are here. Users can create their own map (game world), battle system, items, characters, music, storyline and dialogue.
RPG Maker XP has a very large community with many fan sites, countless tutorials to teach the software and many great games to play. Be sure to check it out.
Although specifically geared towards Python programmers, the PyGame library is a good choice for new developers and programmers as well. The goal of PyGame is to make programming games in Python easier and more fun. Python is a professional programming language, used by corporations like YouTube, Google, and Disney.
Despite its power, Python/PyGame is easier to learn than many other languages and is used to create well-known games like the Backyard Sports series. Many fantastic resources are available for learning, including a free online book dedicated to creating games. For the serious game developer who wants to get his or her hands dirty with more technical aspects, Python with PyGame is a worthy choice.
Are you a game developer? Have you used any of these tools? Do you know of other resources? If so, please leave a comment and let us know!
Image credits: game_design
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