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Have 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.


free game development software

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.

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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 5 Interesting Ways To Learn To Code 5 Interesting Ways To Learn To Code Many people have realized the importance of learning how to code as a life skill. No matter where you go, and what job you have, it’s always seen as in a positive light if you... Read More .

Game Maker Studio

flash game development

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

flash game development

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 What Is HTML5, And How Does It Change The Way I Browse? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is HTML5, And How Does It Change The Way I Browse? [MakeUseOf Explains] Over the past few years, you may have heard the term HTML5 every once in a while. Whether you know anything about web development or not, the concept can be somewhat nebulous and confusing. Obviously,... Read More 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).


flash game development

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

free game development software

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 Important First Person Shooters That Evolved The Genre [MUO Gaming] Important First Person Shooters That Evolved The Genre [MUO Gaming] First and third person shooters are the most popular genre in the video game world right now. Call of Duty and Halo have the charts on lock down, and games like Battlefield and Crysis are... Read More , 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.


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

  1. Lucas
    October 13, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Great article! if you are looking for more guys, I highly recommend that blog:

  2. sharon
    September 16, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    hello can you please create a unity c# tutorial for running and shooting at a time multi touch tutorial for me

    • Joel Lee
      September 20, 2016 at 12:52 am

      Perhaps in the future, Sharon! Thanks for the suggestion, we'll look into it.

  3. IceMistyWolf
    August 30, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Thank you so much for this! I had an idea to make a fangame for a you tuber that I regularly watch (anyone know Markiplier?) but I didn't want to buy some program I will probably waste $40 of monthly fees before I can even make a proper starting screen. I love this and I'll be trying out the 3DUnity one. Thanks again!

  4. Rich
    April 21, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    Hi there I had 2 questions that hopefully someone can answer.

    1. Which of these programs can support adverts? E.g embedding adverts in banners or in load screens? (Like AdMob etc) Same goes for in app purchases. Before I found this article I recently made a game using software which isn't on this list and after 100s of hours of dev work I've found out the only way to generate income from the game is to sell it on the app store (which wont get nearly as many downloads as a free game with adverts)

    2. How up to date is this list? I guess it was written a while ago but have things changed much? Is the software listed still the best bet?



    • Surena
      October 7, 2016 at 7:50 am

      Unity 3D is now Unity Engine 5, and has evolved into a AAA crossplatform for giant studios. At the moment of writing this, Unity Free remians free (engine with all features) and supports globalized UnityADS platform, embedded into engine, since Unity 5.
      This is also really outdated: UDK, Unity3D???? REALLY?

  5. 6963
    January 26, 2016 at 9:08 am


  6. James
    January 21, 2016 at 10:30 am

    I have tried game maker but it still requires loads of Coding and Programing Language that I don’t understand how to use , I just want a easy user interface like the way RPG Maker 2003 is set out , But I want to make a platforming game , So far I have tried IG maker and Gamemaker and both are too difficult for me to grasp and there are so many tutorials and help videos I don’t even know where to start. Can’t believe it’s so difficult for for me to make a simple platformer game like sonic or mario especially this day and age.


    • hi
      February 16, 2016 at 1:51 am

      Bro, just use GDevelop. Its easy to understand, simple coding and you could create a very quality platforming game easily.

      • legion-_of-doom
        August 1, 2016 at 7:17 am

        I REALLY like Gdevelop too. Game Maker made some things just too hard in my opinion. While Gdevelop has a lot of presets and enough Events and Actions to make almost anything 2D. And it's free! No expensive add-on for Android export.

  7. bhgv yhiv
    December 10, 2015 at 7:03 pm


  8. Liam Mountain
    October 2, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    I have tried game maker but it still requires loads of Coding and Programing Language that I don't understand how to use , I just want a easy user interface like the way RPG Maker 2003 is set out , But I want to make a platforming game , So far I have tried IG maker and Gamemaker and both are too difficult for me to grasp and there are so many tutorials and help videos I don't even know where to start. Can't believe it's so difficult for for me to make a simple platformer game like sonic or mario especially this day and age.

    • SkullDolfin YT
      October 5, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      I would try scratch. It is a web based game creator. I'm also pretty sure you can download it but don't quote me on that. It has a very beginner style in which you drag different units of code that just look like regular code but tells you what it does, er... It's more self-explanatory. You can sign up for free at:

    • Infectorsgames
      October 30, 2015 at 9:41 pm

      After 3 years of experience with a variety of game engines / Game Maker, I must say that the most user friendly engine is the terrorist.
      I have seen on youtube also made a small tutorial about this (though German, there are also many good English tutorials few parts you have the basics out) in only 6 parts I have shown how easy it is for a little indie horror game not only to develop but also changed the menu and then as .exe stores.
      Game Guru (successor to the FPS Creator) is also kept very simple models are included in both engines as well as many objects, sounds, trigger zones, and everything you need for a first game.
      The shown game engines are in my opinion for the beginning not the right, but rather frightened people.
      You need knowledge in C ++ and must know how to write different scripts to get ahead here.
      Here is the link to the terror engine you can also test it for free:

  9. Nola Sloan
    October 1, 2015 at 2:35 am

    If i wanted to design a high-quality horror game, what would you suggest? I'm thinking either Unity 3D or Unreal Development Kit, but what do you suggest?

  10. Michael Organ
    September 15, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    I'd recommend V-Play from personal experience. V-Play is aimed at all levels of developer but has a very gradual learning curve, making it a great option for beginners.

  11. ??? ??????'????
    September 12, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    i plan to make a game simmiler to infamous second son which software should i use?

    • Joe
      November 29, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      Most large scale commercial games are not made using game making software like this. They are made by large teams of people, with massive budgets... and while they are generally built off of an existing engine, you're not going to get anywhere if you don't have a solid understanding of things like programming and game physics.

      I've met a number of kids who don't even know the basics of computer programming, who think they're going to jump into making something like their favorite games. Let me put it this way: if writing a Tetris clone in, say, C, or Java is something you don't know how to do, you're not going to be making anything that remotely resembles the Infamous games.

  12. Jesse “NeonRooster97” Rivera
    August 30, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Is there any way for me to make a game and post it to the android play store for free? Just curious.

    • Mihir Patkar
      August 31, 2015 at 5:24 am

      As long as you go through Google's approval process and get a dev account, sure.

  13. The Games
    July 23, 2015 at 11:23 am

    What is the Software to make games like as gta or igi

    • Jeffrey Fang
      August 6, 2015 at 12:15 am

      well, it was made with RAGE engine which is propietary software owned by Rockstar Games. You can't get unless ur an employee of Rockstar.

    • Joe
      November 29, 2015 at 8:14 pm

      They built it from an engine they wrote themselves. If you're not a large team of very skilled and experienced programmers, you're not going to make anything like GTA. That's like thinking you can make your own iPhone with a soldering iron and a disassembled VCR.

  14. Taherul Goni
    June 14, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    So if I use Unity 3D or Game Maker Studio, I could possibly publish one of my games to the play store, or apple store?

    • prgames09
      August 18, 2015 at 3:52 am

      Unity also comes with pro version
      you can check pricing on its website

      Pro version has features to publish on way many platforms including playstore and Apple store

  15. lindokuhle malepa
    May 8, 2015 at 4:01 am

    l have any idea of creating a game which is familiar to grand theft auto what software must l use

  16. Bijay Kumar yadav
    April 29, 2015 at 6:06 am

    Its really helpful article. Thank you very much for your time.

  17. worried contractee
    April 20, 2015 at 4:06 am

    So the two at the end you mentioned are FREE right? As long as I just want to play around, make my own game and have no ambition to publish them, right? Because I downloaded the free version(Personal Edition?) of Unity and to open it I have to accept that if I(this entity) make 100k I have to buy the Pro Version. The way it was worded has me worried as to accepting the agreement, just so I can experiment and goof around.

  18. anonymous
    April 14, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    It's actually called Unity... not Unity 3D.

    • Twinracar
      June 27, 2015 at 12:08 am

      relly man really

      • Gloria Pika Mtz
        July 16, 2015 at 4:40 am

        I could just feel the expression in Twin's comment

  19. lil swag famous rapper from da UAE
    February 26, 2015 at 4:27 am

    I really think that this website helped me out alot!!!!! thx ya'll for lettin' me copy paste all dis info fer my ppt in my class u rlly hrlpred bring out da star in meh. i hope ya have a relly gud day and eat lotta beans and vbricks and ur dairy!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

    hope ya swim in a brick fulla bricks.
    - lil swag pce out

  20. jdfutgjc
    February 21, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    By any chance do you no any game develping systems for kids?

    • Anonymous
      March 30, 2015 at 1:03 am

      Try out game maker 8, it's really easy to use.

    February 18, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    I always wanted to make a game for years. I was trying java for game development which was too difficult. Thank you for suggesting so many more softwares.

    February 18, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    I always wanted to make a game for years. I was trying java for game development which was too difficult. Thank you for suggesting so many more softwares.

  23. Akshaydeth thirtythree
    February 13, 2015 at 6:34 am

    super... thank uuu

  24. cmburns
    January 6, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    no one even mentioned "DARKBASIC or DARKBASIC PRO" hmmmmm i think it the easiest to learn and the free versions are tops.

  25. Brianna
    December 19, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    This is awesome! I love this article, it's exactly what I was looking for! I've used Sploder a bunch in the past, but I'm looking for something more complex, and these are great! Thank you so much!

  26. Literati
    February 15, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    This is great! Gonna try these stuffs! Hehe.

  27. L
    February 12, 2010 at 12:00 pm

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

    • Jonathan Bennett
      February 15, 2010 at 7:32 am

      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.

  28. salism
    February 11, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    The game factory, I played with it as a kid, don't need to know how to code.

    • Jonathan Bennett
      February 15, 2010 at 7:30 am

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

  29. עומר
    February 11, 2010 at 11:46 am

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

    • JK III
      February 13, 2010 at 5:13 am

      (: unibrow ? :D

    • Jonathan Bennett
      February 15, 2010 at 7:29 am

      Wow, Panda 3D looks great!

  30. Dead End
    February 11, 2010 at 10:57 am

    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.

    • Jonathan Bennett
      February 15, 2010 at 7:29 am

      Thanks for your suggestions. Those are new to me.

  31. JK III
    February 11, 2010 at 8:12 am

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

    • Jonathan Bennett
      February 11, 2010 at 8:33 am

      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.

      • JK III
        February 11, 2010 at 10:46 am

        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.

        • Jonathan Bennett
          February 15, 2010 at 7:29 am

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

  32. Altzan
    February 11, 2010 at 5:33 am

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

    • Jonathan Bennett
      February 11, 2010 at 7:38 am

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

  33. Graham Ranson
    February 11, 2010 at 5:11 am

    Another good option for people who enjoy Python and want to go a bit further, I would recommend Blender 3D -

    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 -

  34. Jack Cola
    February 10, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    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

    • Jonathan Bennett
      February 11, 2010 at 7:37 am

      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.

  35. Kutt Katrea
    February 10, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    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^^

    • Jonathan Bennett
      February 11, 2010 at 7:35 am

      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.

  36. dogboi
    February 10, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    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.

    • Jonathan Bennett
      February 11, 2010 at 7:34 am

      Thanks for the extra info!

  37. Joe
    February 10, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    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.

    • Jonathan Bennett
      February 11, 2010 at 7:33 am

      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...

  38. Dirt2Gamer
    February 10, 2010 at 6:39 pm

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

    • Jonathan Bennett
      February 11, 2010 at 7:38 am

      Glad you liked it. :)

  39. Ed
    February 10, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Thanks,awesome i have always wanted to make a game

    • Jonathan Bennett
      February 10, 2010 at 6:12 pm

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

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