8 Free Game Development Software Tools to Make Your Own Games

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8 Free Game Development Software Tools to Make Your Own Games

Do you have a game concept that has been cooking for years? What if you could make that notion a reality? Nowadays, anybody with game-creation software and a little know-how can create a video game.

Of all, even with free software, the work is far from simple. A basic game like Flappy Bird needs considerable work if it is to look and feel well. However, owing to these free game production tools, game development has become much more simplified.

Here’s a selection of the top free game-creation tools you can use to get started on your dream game right now.

1. Construct 3

No programming needed

If you’ve never written a line of code in your life, Construct 3 is the greatest free game creation program to utilize.

This game creation tool is entirely GUI-driven, which means that everything is done by drag-and-drop. The design options given by the game-creation software are used to build game logic and variables.

The beauty of Construct 3 is that it can export to dozens of different platforms and formats without requiring you to alter a single item in your game.

Once your game is ready, you may export it to HTML5, Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, Microsoft Store, and more platforms.

Construct 3 provides some of the greatest and most extensive documentation for a game creation program that I’ve ever seen. There are also hundreds of lessons to help you learn ideas ranging from fundamental to sophisticated, and the forum community is quite active, particularly if you ever need help.

Asset Store

Most programmers have just minimal experience with game graphics, audio, or animation. But with Construct 3, you can always explore and buy ready-made components from the Game Developer Asset Store.

The majority of asset packs cost a few bucks or less, although professional-grade models might cost $30 or more. You may also purchase trial games from the source, which might be beneficial for studying and learning new tips and methods.

The free edition includes all of the main capabilities but has a limit of 25 events, two object layers, two simultaneous special effects, one web font, no multiplayer capability, can only export to HTML5, and does not allow you to sell your games.

The Personal license costs $99 per year and removes all limitations.

Download: Construct 3

2. GameMaker Studio 2

Drag-and-drop or code

GameMaker Studio 2, like Construct 3, enables you to design whole games using nothing more than a drag-and-drop interface for variables and game logic.

However, unlike Construct 3, GameMaker Studio 2 provides additional power with its Game Maker Language, a C-like scripting language with a lot of versatility.

When you’ve completed your game, you may export it to any of the following platforms and formats without modifying your code: Windows, Mac, Linux, HTML5, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and more. Unfortunately, the free version does not support exporting to any platforms.

GameMaker Studio 2 is a completely redesigned version of Game Maker: Studio, which debuted in 1999. It is now one of the most popular and active game creation software packages accessible.

At regular intervals, new versions with feature upgrades are released.

Built-in advanced features

GameMaker Studio 2 is fantastic because it includes many interesting quality-of-life features out of the box, such as the ability to add in-app purchases to your game, real-time analytics on how users interact with your game, source control, multiplayer networking, and extensibility via third-party extensions. It also includes picture, animation, and shader editors.

The free version may be used forever, but it has limitations on how intricate your games can be. The Creator plan is $39 a year and allows you to export to Windows and Mac.

Individual exports may also be unlocked with a one-time permanent purchase: Desktop for $99, HTML5 for $149, Amazon Fire for $149, and Android/iOS for $399. Exports for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One are each $799 per year.

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Download: GameMaker Studio 2

3. Unity

Unity began in 2005 as a 3D engine and subsequently gained formal 2D functionality in 2013. There’s a strong chance you’ve played a game developed on Unity. It’s ideal for producing games of all shapes and sizes, from mobile 2D simple games to jaw-dropping graphical masterpieces.

Component-based design

Unity did not invent component-entity design, but it did play a significant role in popularizing it. In summary, everything in the game is an object to which you may connect multiple components, each of which controls a different part of the item’s behavior and logic.

C# is required to get the most of Unity programming. The good news is that Unity is so extensively used—by both amateur and professional game developers—that there are hundreds of outstanding Unity tutorials available online to help you get started.

Unity features a number of in-depth video series for beginners, as well as good documentation.

Unity supports the most platforms of any free video game creation software, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, HTML5, Facebook, several VR systems such as Oculus and Steam VR, and multiple consoles such as PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Wii U, and Nintendo Switch.

Asset Store

Do you want to include a minimap system in your game? What about a professional networking solution? Do you need 3D models, HUD visuals, or ambient textures? What about including a conversation system into your action-adventure RPG?

All of this and more can be found on the Unity Asset Store, with a fair likelihood of it being free.

The Personal package is absolutely free and does not limit any engine capabilities as long as your games generate less than $100,000 in yearly sales.

The Plus plan is required up to $200,000 in yearly sales, and it also grants the editor access to the desired “black theme.” After that, you’ll need the Pro plan, which enables you to earn a limitless amount of money.

Download: Unity

4. Godot Engine

The Godot engine, like Unity, allows for the production of both 2D and 3D games. The 2D element of this free game builder was meticulously planned from the beginning, resulting in improved speed, fewer bugs, and a cleaner overall workflow.

Scene-based design

Godot’s approach to game design is unusual in that everything is organized into scenes—but probably not the type of “scene” you’re picturing. A scene in Godot is a grouping of items such as sprites, noises, and scripts.

Then you may merge many scenes into a larger scene, and those scenes into even larger scenes. This hierarchical design approach makes it extremely simple to keep organized and change individual pieces as needed.

Custom scripting language

Godot maintains scene pieces with a drag-and-drop mechanism, but you may enhance each of those parts using the built-in scripting system, which employs an unique Python-like language called GDScript.

It’s simple to learn and enjoyable to use, so even if you’ve never coded before, you should give it a go.

Godot may be deployed on a variety of platforms straight away, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and HTML5. There are no additional purchases or permits required, however certain limitations may apply (like needing to be on a Mac system to deploy a Mac binary).

Built-in advanced features

Godot iterates at a startling pace for a gaming engine. Every year, at least one significant version is made, which explains why it already has so many wonderful features: physics, post-processing, networking, many built-in editors, live debugging and hot reloading, source control, and more.

Godot is the only game-creation program on our list that is completely free. Because it is licensed under the MIT License, you are free to use it as you like and sell the games you create.

You may even download and edit the engine’s source code! (The engine was written in C++.)

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Download: Godot Engine

5. Unreal Engine 5

Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5 was announced in June 2020; it went into early access development in May 2021, and it was released in full in April 2022.

Unreal Engine 5 (UE5) is the most professional tool on our list. It was built from the ground up by the Unreal franchise’s geniuses—people who understand what makes a top-tier engine and what it takes to offer next-generation capabilities. They are well aware of what they are doing.

One of UE5’s guiding principles is to enable rapid iteration and development, so you get features like live debugging, hot reloading, a streamlined asset pipeline, instant game previews, and hundreds of included assets and systems like artificial intelligence, cinematic tools, post-processing effects, and more.

No code necessary

The Blueprint system in UE5 is a unique selling feature since it allows you to design game logic without touching any code.

It’s sophisticated enough that you can build whole games, even complicated ones, without ever opening a source editor. However, if you wish to create your own Blueprints, you may do so as well.

The Best Tutorials on the Planet

The UE5 YouTube channel has hundreds of tutorials that walk you through every aspect of the engine, with the majority of them lasting between 20 and 60 minutes.

That’s more information than a semester-long academic course! If you need step-by-step instructions, UE5 has you covered.

Is there a trend emerging here? All of the finest engines, including UE5, provide smooth export to numerous platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, HTML5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Oculus VR, and more platforms are supported.

As a free user, you have full access to the engine (including source code).Starting with Unreal Engine 5, royalties are waived until you reach $1,000,000 in gross revenue. Following that, you’ll pay a 5% royalty on all sales.

In compared to UE4, UE5 exhibits a great emphasis on enhancing video game visuals to movie level CGI, if not better. How do they intend to do this? With the assistance of two key technologies, Nanite and Lumen.

Nanite

Polygon restrictions play a role in constructing any level or character for your game. You can’t expect your game to operate smoothly if your character has 1,500,000 polygons, can you?

According to Nanite, it can and should. Nanite geometry enables you to import source graphics with polygon counts in the millions and billions and have it perform flawlessly in your game—this is really exciting for 3D artists and animators.

Lumen

The way computers simulate lighting in video games has advanced by leaps and bounds since its inception. Lumen from UE5 is the next step, and it’s a significant one.

In dynamic situations, Lumen delivers lifelike light responses. For instance, consider how much moonlight would disperse over a valley when the moon is in various places in the sky or is obscured by topography like as mountains. When the scene changes, the lighting changes as well.

Another game-changing feature of Lumen is the ability for designers to see lighting from various angles in the Unreal Engine precisely as it would appear in-game. You can’t go wrong with Unreal Engine if you’re looking for free game-creation tools.

While Unreal Engine 5 is the most recent software, it is not yet suitable for production in its early access stage. Unreal Engine 4 is a comprehensive game creator that you should look at instead.

Download: Unreal Engine 5

6. Defold

Drag-and-drop or code

Defold’s code editor may be used to create custom logic, while the graphic and scene editors can be used to insert objects directly into your game.

Defold is no exception to the norm that the greatest free game development tools supports exporting to a variety of platforms. You may distribute your game on the Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, Windows, Steam, HTML5, and Facebook.

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Defold, like GameMaker Studio 2, enables a slew of complex features right out of the box, with no further configuration necessary.

Although the engine supports 3D, it is better suited for 2D production. You’ll have access to 2D sprites and map editors, 3D models and meshing, and a variety of particle effects if you use a component-based approach.

These are just a few of the available features and technology; you’ll have to check things out for yourself to fully appreciate Defold’s capabilities.

Expert-Level documentation

Defold’s tutorials, manuals, and forums include a wealth of material that any aspiring game developer can pick up and start hacking.

The forums and FAQ are very helpful for overcoming certain barriers; many developers have encountered the same problem you are experiencing and have found out how to work around it, so you can follow in their footsteps.

Defold is an open-source and free game creator, providing you purchase their license (which is available for free on Defold’s website) and follow the license’s rules. Defold does not charge commissions and is free to use regardless of how much attention your game gets.

Download: Defold

7. RPG Maker MZ

No code necessary

RPG Creator MZ is a fantastic free game maker for individuals who wish to produce a game without learning any programming. Create any RPG you can think of with the map editor, character generator, and database.

If you want to use custom code, you can do so using plugins, however most logic can be implemented using RPG Maker MZ’s inherent no-code Events system.

Asset Store

On top of the textures available with your free RPG Maker installation, you’ll have access to hundreds more asset packs through the Market Place.

You can get music, character sprites, and full level designs; anything you could possibly need to make an RPG is available here.

RPG Maker has fewer export choices than the other tools on our list, but it still supports the major platforms: Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.

There is a 30-day free trial period before you must buy a license for $80.

Download: RPG Maker MZ

8. Cerberus X

Light and Intuitive

Cerberus X (CX) is a lightweight 2D game creator that has everything covered. While it is not the most complex client on the list, it is an excellent alternative for novices to pick up and learn a programming language.

Design games and export them to Windows PC, macOS (10.15.x and earlier), Linux, Android, iOS (13.x and earlier), and HTML5 using the Cerberus X IDE in conjunction with strong graphics APIs and the Mojo framework.

Because of these APIs and the Mojo framework, you don’t need to perform any code to develop a working game; you’re simply filling in the blanks.

CX’s tutorials and buzzing forums are terrific tools for learning the engine’s ins and outs, and they’re surprisingly well updated.

Because Cerberus X is a modular language, you may import modules from other authors and contribute code to other developers!

Cerberus X is a free game creation software download, but you may choose your own pricing and help the creators if you like.

Download: Cerberus X

Upgrade Your Skills With Free Game-Making Software

There are a few additional free game creation software options that didn’t make the cut for this list but are still worth looking into (such as Phaser, Stencyl, or GDevelop) if the ones mentioned above aren’t what you’re looking for.

If you want to go into game creation seriously, you need learn some programming. Playing coding games allows you to have fun while learning!

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