Best game development software

Are you looking for the best game development software? Then I'm guessing you're not a game development studio, but rather a hobbyist, aspiring game developer or an artist that’s looking to breath some life into his/her art. Well, you’re in luck, because this article is meant for you. What do I mean by that? I mean that if you are a leader of an established game development studio, you probably already have a game engine of choice or even made your own. On the other hand, if you are a one man/woman team you’ll want a simple to use tool that gives you a lot of flexibility to make your vision come true, and that’s what will be presented here.

The list consists of 3 tools/engines and a bonus. Each tool/engine has its own merits and its own faults, but I decided to list them in an order anyway, with the king of hobbyist/aspiring game developer tools/game engines at the top.

3. Stancly software

Stansly is a game engine written in Haxe, but you don’t really need to know that, since you likely won’t have to do any coding. That being said, you can still access the source code, if you want.

Its biggest advantage is its simplicity for sure. You have a simple drag and drop interface for the graphics and a simple drag and drop interface for the logic. The logic editor is the same as if you’d be coding, but instead of code you put together building blocks to form the heart of your game. It also has a large selection of free assets that you can use in your games and very good documentation, so getting started with your first game will be a breeze.

Stancly game development

Stancly scene builder

Stancly software

Stancly game logic builder

Another good thing about Stancly is that it has a very affordable pricing plan and you can do a lot with the free version. So basically, you can make your first game for production with little to no money. Perfect for a beginner looking to dip his toes in the water.

However Stanclys main problem as a game engine is, ironically, its simplicity. It’s mainly a game development software for making simple 2D platformer games and going beyond that poses some problems (not impossible however). Making more advance 2D games can also be a little difficult, although there are many plugins available that can help you do most things you can think of.

GET STANCLY

3. Unity software

The most wide spread game engine around. It’s supposed to be used in almost half of games that are currently made. Although you’ll often see the Unity logo when you run a game, you’ll still notice that the bigger names in the industry don’t have it and if you’ll start counting, you won’t get to 50 %. This is because Unity is, while great, still an engine for indie project that come from smaller studios and individuals.

It’s harder to use, since it does require coding, but it also allows more freedom. You can do pretty much anything in Unity as long as you know how to code in C# or JavaScript. You don’t know how to code? You can always install/buy a plugin that enables you to drag and drop the logic you need for your game. Like with other tool however, drag and drop interfaces limit you in what you can create.

Unity software

Did the coding part scare you? It shouldn’t! Like I already mentioned, Unity is the most width spread game engine and that comes with a lot of perks. There are many, many tutorials, both free and paid, a large and helpful community of developers and excellent support all around. Getting into game development with Unity requires work, but it isn’t as hard as you might think and I’m sure you can handle it, if you apply yourself. Also, if you’re serious about starting a career in game development, Unity should be your first stop.

Flaws? You’ll hear a lot of complaining about bugs, since it’s a large project in general, It’s not a tool that you can instantly start developing in without any previous knowledge and the price tag might be a little steep, if you need more capabilities, but aren’t sure if you’ll actually bring your game beyond the amateur/hobby level. Still, it’s actually free, if you don’t make over 100.000 $ with your game, so it’s actually not that bad until you can use a personal licence.

GET UNITY GAME DEVELOPMENT SOFTWARE

1. Construct 2/3

Where as you might be familiar with the other tools, there is a good chance that you’ve never heard of Construct 2 and Construct 3. That’s fine, they are less know, but really awesome.

Featuring a polished, easy to use UI and a no coding required style of building game logic, both Construct 2 and 3 are a great way for getting into game development.

Construct2 game development

Construct2 graphics builder

Differing from Stancly mostly by a more elegant user interface and a larger selection of options, Construct 2 and 3 are both amazing pieces of game development software. Basically, if you think of it, you can make it. People even made 3D games with this genius piece of software, but that is probably beyond most users. A good thing is also that there is a wide variety of user made plugins (at least for Construct 2, as Construct 3 is still rather new), that can help you do whatever you are looking to do.

Construct2 software

Construct2 game logic builder

Building game logic is very easy as almost everything has been thought of and is waiting for you to use it. It’s a lot like coding, but easier and pretty self-explanatory once you get used to it. There are even a bunch of prebuilt behaviours that will help you a lot, since they’ll save you the time it takes to build custom controls or physics.

Both Constructs are also very friendly when it comes to publishing to different platforms. They have prebuilt options for implementing platform specific features and your project can be seamlessly exported for pretty much any platform (with C2 you might need a few free third party tools, but it’s easy).

Its main issue in my opinion however, is that when you eventually do run into something that you cannot do, getting to the code is not the easiest thing in the world to do. Building plugins is always an option if you are savvy enough however.

The price tag? Two versions means that there are two different price tags and that gives for some nice options depending where/what and why you want to develop games. Whereas C3 has a subscription based model that you might want to get if you are determined and serious about game development, C2 has a personal license available that you can get with a rather cheap one-time payment of 100 $. Both versions also have free trials, but given the limitations, they can be used mostly just to try, if Construct 2 or 3 Is right for you.

Also, all games made by Party Games Planet are made with Construct 2, so that’s another cool thing you should know about it :)

GET CONSTRUCT2 GET CONSTRUCT3

BONUS: Coding

Here’s another bonus idea. LEARN HOW TO CODE!

It might be tedious, confusing, overwhelming and hard at the beginning, but it’s well worth it. Once you know how things actually work and you can write some logic from scratch, you’ll advance on so many levels. Even if you decide to make games with one of the game development tools (because it’s easier and faster), you’ll get that extra option of coding your own plugins, taking your game to a whole new level.

coding

Also it’s a widely desired skill that will help you automate tasks and save hours in some cases.

At least try to get the basics down of some main game development languages. JavaScript for web games, C++ for system programing and some PHP with SQL to get your back-end logic rolling.

So which is the best game development software? Each of the above mentioned tools have their own merits and their own faults. Picking the right one for your needs is up to you, but for the end, here are some scenarios on which tool might be right for you depending on your situation:

  • You’re a hobbyist that wants to make a game, but aren’t sure you’ll actually be publishing it. – Use Stancly. Its free version will allow you to make the game you want and you can later on get the paid version to publish on other platforms.
  • You’ve decided that you’re serious about game development and would like to make a career of it. – Use Unity software. It will give you a wide range of options and the knowledge you’ll need to launch a successful career in game development
  • You just like making games and might eventually make a serious project, but you’re not sure, so you want options – Go for Construct 2 free version and see if you like it. If you do, get the personal license and start creating. Further down the road you’ll always have the option to upgrade, if your project takes off.

That’s it, pick the game development software of your choice and start making games. Happy game development!