A popular question for hopeful game developers is, exactly what game development software do you need? This question can have many answers depending on the type of game you want to create, but there is game development software that can offer development for several genres and platforms.
In this article, we’re going to highlight several of the best softwares available for game development, for both total beginners and more experienced programmers alike. So whether you’re looking to develop mobile and browser games, such as Friv games, or create advanced 3D shooters with real-time shaders, we have something on this list for you.
Great for: Beginners
Construct 3 is an excellent option for beginners, because you need absolutely zero experience in programming. It uses a totally GUI-driven, drag-and-drop interface. The engine will automatically implement game logic and variables, based on menu selections you make.
There is a lot of available documentation, with hundreds of tutorials for you to browse. Furthermore, the asset store allows you to purchase pre-made game assets such as animations, music files, textures, and more. You could also purchase sample games, including their source, for you to study and learn from.
The free version of Construct 3 is definitely enough to experiment with, limiting you to 25 events and some other limited features, but a personal license costs only $99/year for a full unrestricted version.
Great for: Beginner to Intermediate Developers
GameMaker Studio is another great software that features an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. It’s fantastic for rapidly developing games with no programming experience necessary, as you can get simple mockups running in under an hour. It helps to learn GML, the software’s native programming language, but this isn’t necessary at all.
You can publish to a large number of platforms, and there is a great number of sample files from the community, which helps you get the ball rolling even faster on new projects.
For intermediate programmers, you’ll find a number of useful features in GamerMaker: Studio. The GML language is Turing Complete, which means you could technically write any algorithm for it. Furthermore, you can program in a language you’re more comfortable with, such as C, then interface it for GameMaker through extensions.
Great for: Beginners to Intermediate Developers
As the previous software on this list, GameSalad gives game developers an effortless approach using a visual drag-and-drop interface. It also features an expansive behavior library, a fully integrated physics engine, and you can easily add social media features and ad monetization.
The free version allows you to create games, preview them, and publish them on the web and iOS platforms, while the pro version allows you to monetize your creations and publish them to Google Play Store.
Great for: Intermediate to Advanced Developers
Unity is a widely used game creation engine which can be used for creating flawless 2D and 3D games, and publish on pretty much any platform.
Unity offers a ton of advanced features, to the extent that you could theoretically create AAA-level games with the engine. In fact, one of the latest Unity updates introduced Scriptable Rendering Pipeline, including HDRP, which allows your games to feature seriously next-gen graphics for high-end PC hardware.
Beginners should practice elsewhere, but for intermediate to advanced developers, Unity offers many of the tools you need to get the job done.