5 Free Game Development Software Tools To Make Your Own Games

Game Development Tools Intro   5 Free Game Development Software Tools To Make Your Own GamesHave you ever wanted to create that game that’s been bubbling in your mind for years? What if I told you that the possibility wasn’t all that farfetched? The past decade has seen some massive advancements in the world of game creation – at one time you were required to have deep programming knowledge, but today even never-coders are learning how to make their dreams a reality.

But let’s be clear on one thing: just because it’s possible and easier to create your own games, that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy. No, not by a long shot. Just as fiction readers want to write their own novels, avid gamers want to create their own games, but creation of any kind requires lots of hard work and dedication. If you’re up to the challenge, then the following free game development software will equip you with everything you need for developing your own games.

Note: This list is ordered from simplest to most complex. The simpler tools are easier to pick up and learn, but they will naturally have more limitations. The more complex programs allow for much more freedom, but learning how to use them will be more difficult and require more time.

Sploder

game development sploder   5 Free Game Development Software Tools To Make Your Own Games

Sploder is a web-based game creation tool that actually contains five individual sub-tools, each one dedicated to creating a different game type: Retro Arcade, Platformer, Physics Puzzle, Classic Shooter, and 3D Adventure. There’s also an additional tool, Graphics Editor, for creating your own art assets.

With Sploder, you can create various levels, place items throughout those levels, and control enemies. You’ll need to create a free Sploder account if you want to save your games, but afterwards you can share the games you create so other Sploder users can discover and play them.

All of these free game development software tools are based on Flash and utilize a drag-and-drop interface for ease of use. It literally does not get any easier than this! Sploder is perfect for first-time game creators who want to learn the concepts and skillsets necessary for high-level game development before tackling more difficult topics, like coding and scripting.

Game Maker Studio

game development gamemaker   5 Free Game Development Software Tools To Make Your Own Games

What’s the difference between using Game Maker Studio and coding a game from scratch? According to their site, an 80% faster development time. With Game Maker Studio, you can create games using either drag-and-drop or Game Maker Studio’s built-in scripting language, GML. When you’re done, Game Maker Studio can produce an app that’s compatible with iOS or Android, an executable compatible with Windows, or HTML5 for putting your game on the web.

If Sploder is too simple for you, Game Maker Studio is the next logical step. Plenty of never-coded-before beginners have picked it up and dove right into bringing their ideas to life. The software is flexible enough to create whichever genre of game you want – platformer, racing, adventure, RPG, etc. – but it does not yet support multiplayer functionality. Community tutorials will get you up and started in no time.

Depending on the features you want, though, you’ll need to pay for a specific Game Maker Studio license, which comes in five edition tiers: Free, MIPS Free, Standard ($49.99), Professional ($99.99), and Master ($499.99). Game Maker Studio is powerful enough that professionals use it for their games. Why not you?

Construct 2

game development construct2   5 Free Game Development Software Tools To Make Your Own Games

Construct 2 is a flexible HTML5 game creation engine designed for rapid development of 2D games. While the traditional flow of game development can be difficult for beginners to grasp, Construct 2 makes it easy by abstracting some of the concepts outwards. All you need to do is drag-and-drop entities into a level, then add events and behaviors to each entity. Voila, it’s as easy as that.

The Construct 2 free game development software is intuitive and uncluttered, so absolute beginners will have a relatively easy time adjusting to it. Veteran game developers can still benefit from Construct 2, too, by using it to make extremely fast prototypes of potential game ideas.

Even more impressive: with a single project, you can export to various different platforms. The HTML5 engine that powers Construct 2 allows immediate support for Chrome, Firefox, Kongregate, Facebook, and NewGrounds. Using wrappers, you can also export to PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.

Construct 2 comes in three edition tiers: Free, Personal ($119), and Business ($399).

Unity3D

game development unity3d   5 Free Game Development Software Tools To Make Your Own Games

Unity3D debuted back in 2005, but it wasn’t until version 3.5 in February 2012 that it really exploded in popularity. It’s so powerful that it can create games that rival the quality of AAA titles. Out of the box, Unity3D supports the following platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, PS3, Xbox360, Wii U, and the web.

Like Construct 2, Unity3D’s development is intuitive for beginners. A typical game is divided into multiple scenes, and each scene contains multiple game objects. Each game object can have any number of attached scripts, and these scripts are what determine behaviors and interactions. Scripts can be written using UnityScript (Unity’s version of JavaScript), C#, or Boo.

Perhaps the most useful feature of Unity is its Asset Store. Users can create assets (models, animations, GUIs, scripts, tools, systems, etc.) that you can purchase and import into your project. As if Unity3D’s development speed wasn’t fast already, you can further quicken your development time by importing assets to avoid reinventing the wheel.

Unity3D comes in two editions: Unity Free and Unity Pro ($1500). Fortunately, Unity Free is quite packed with features – particles, UI, physics, networking, etc. – and is more than enough to get started with personal game development. The features in Unity Pro are quite advanced and beyond what most hobbyists will ever need.

Unreal Development Kit

game development udk   5 Free Game Development Software Tools To Make Your Own Games

In 2009, Epic Games released a free version of their Unreal Engine 3 and called it the Unreal Development Kit, better known as UDK. When the Unreal Engine 3 was first released to the public, it made waves due to how advanced it was for its time. With UDK, developers can take advantage of those advanced features and cut away lots of coding time.

While UDK is primarily designed for first-person action, specifically first-person shooters, it can be modified to create pretty much any genre of game you desire, though it will require a good bit of work on your part. The thing about UDK is that it’s a full development kit, meaning it will be tough for beginners to learn and master. However, there are some good tutorials out there to help you along, so it’s not impossible. UDK’s engine itself is coded in C++, but the game behavior is scripted using Unreal’s version of JavaScript, called UnrealScript.

UDK is free to use for hobbyists and indie developers. If you want to publish and sell games that you create using UDK, you’ll need to pay a $99 USD fee to Epic Games. If your game makes over $50,000 USD, Epic Games will also claim 25% royalties.

Conclusion

From the list above, my personal choice comes down to Game Maker Studio for 2D development and Unity3D for 3D development. Gamer Maker Studio has been around for quite some time and there’s no sign that they’ll be slowing down anytime soon. Unity3D is just so convenient for hobby and indie developers, thanks to the great feature set in the Free version as well as the Asset Store.

Image Credits: Red Cubes Via Shutterstock

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32 Comments -

0 votes

Ed

Thanks,awesome i have always wanted to make a game

0 votes

Jonathan Bennett

Awesome! It’s a nice feeling to put work into a game and see it come together in the end.

0 votes

Dirt2Gamer

Nice article Jon. Great resources to get started in game dev..

0 votes

Jonathan Bennett

Glad you liked it. :)

0 votes

Joe

I use to use Game Maker 4 years ago. I think it’s one of the best programs to use for beginners.
And advanced users have made some really amazing games. Some even in 3D.

0 votes

Jonathan Bennett

Yeah, it really is nice software. If I remember correctly, I think it was originally made by a father to help his son(s) make video games. He probably had no idea at the time what it would become…

0 votes

dogboi

Great article! I’m a fan of PyGame. For those who want to make games that are compatible with multiple systems easily, it is awesome. It uses the Simple DirectMedia Layer (libSDL), so once you learn PyGame, you can then move on to making games with C and libSDL when you are ready. Good stuff.

0 votes

Jonathan Bennett

Thanks for the extra info!

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Kutt Katrea

I learn to program using Game Maker 5 about 6 years ago…
And yep, it’s one of the best… very easy to learn, very powerful when learning GML…

RPG Maker is also good in it’s area, very simple, but RPG Maker XP is not free U^^

0 votes

Jonathan Bennett

Thanks for the comments. You mentioned one of the best things about Game Maker — it’s relatively easy to learn, but can become very powerful when mastered.

0 votes

Jack Cola

You also missed “Programming with Alice”. I think that is easier then using PyGame. You still need to learn Python to be able to use PyGame

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/alice-teaches-object-oriented-computer-programming-to-kids/

0 votes

Jonathan Bennett

Ya know, Alice was one of the first programs I considered putting into this article. I decided against it for some reason I can’t recall… hmm. Anyway, thanks for mentioning. It’s a fantastic tool and definitely worth checking out. It was founded by the late Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture, who I admire very much.

0 votes

Graham Ranson

Another good option for people who enjoy Python and want to go a bit further, I would recommend Blender 3D – http://www.blender.org/

It allows for drag-and-drop 3D game creation, as well as letting users drop into Python for some extra logic. It is what our team used to create Boro-Toro – http://www.boro-toro.co.nr

0 votes

Altzan

I used RPG Maker for awhile, never got a game made but I found it was fun to design.

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Jonathan Bennett

Out of the tools listed, I’ve had the most fun with RPG Maker as well.

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JK III

Nice post. Alas, RPG Maker XP is not free :(

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Jonathan Bennett

You’re right – the full version isn’t free. However, it does have a very functional and free 30 day trial, which is enough time to create a small RPG and get a feel for the program. I’d encourage anyone with a desire to make their own RPG to try it out.

0 votes

JK III

IMO, trial-ware with feature restrictions but no time-limits are better. Using this program for 30 days will just tempt me to either buy or pirate the program (either of which I am not gonna do).
Anyway, there is always an alternative, like in this case, RPG Toolkit.

0 votes

Jonathan Bennett

I think I remember hearing of RPG Toolkit a while back, but I have no previous experience with it. Looks like a great tool!

0 votes

Dead End

If you’re a fan of the old Sierra/Lucas Arts point and click adventure games, you could give Adventure Game Studio, Visionare2D or Wintermute a try.

0 votes

Jonathan Bennett

Thanks for your suggestions. Those are new to me.

0 votes

עומר

i think that panda 3d is the best http://www.panda3d.org/
its open source, cross platform, used for pro stuf and complitly free (:

0 votes

JK III

(: unibrow ? :D

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Jonathan Bennett

Wow, Panda 3D looks great!

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salism

The game factory, I played with it as a kid, don’t need to know how to code.
http://www.clickteam.com/eng/tgf2.php

0 votes

Jonathan Bennett

Game Factory looks like it would be perfect for creating 2D platformers. Thanks for the comment.

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L

great read, I used to use RPG maker 95, before XP was even around, had some great projects just out of fun.

0 votes

Jonathan Bennett

I started with 95 too and then moved to using 2000. My first project was to convert the book “Castle of Wisdom” by Rhett Ellis into a RPG. I made a very nice opening sequence but didn’t get very far past the first town and dungeon.

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Literati

This is great! Gonna try these stuffs! Hehe.