Best Free Game Development Engines

Game engines are viewed and used the same way as any other tool – be it a hammer, a pair of pliers or a good old shovel. A developer is basically a digital construction worker using a very sophisticated tool case, so your chosen game development tools will greatly influence the end result of your project. It’s also important to make your games reachable. People like all kinds of gaming platforms nowadays, and it’s not safe anymore to assume that everybody uses Android. That‘s why it‘s good to make games on cross-platform engines, reaching Android, iOS and Windows lovers all at the same time. We compiled a list of cross-platform game development software that should satisfy even the hungriest developers.

Unity

Top Game Engines - Unity

Unity is the ultimate tool for video game development, architectural visualizations and interactive media installations. The reason why this game development software is so popular is because the graphics are absolutely incredible. Unity is generally used as a design engine for creating both games and simulation for a whole variety of computers. In the beginning Unity only allowed development for iOS, but things have changed and now Unity can be used on over 27 different platforms. It’s a brilliant engine because it’s easy for beginners and powerful enough for even the best developers. If you want to get into 3D games for mobile, consoles or PC, Unity is a perfect platform for experimenting.

Unreal Engine

Unreal Engine

Unreal Engine is a widely popular game engine that is used to create big-budget projects. Lots of blockbuster games were made using this particular set of tools. Unreal Engine comes with immense options for PC, mobile and console game development – it shows stunning graphical capabilities like advanced dynamic lighting and a new particle system that can handle up to a million particles in a scene simultaneously. Unreal Engine integrates a wide range of tools that can easily be learned without having any proficiency. A new tool is introduced with each Unreal Engine update. This is a must have for any 3D game developer.

Corona

Corona is a 2D game development solution that uses Lua as a scripting language. Using Corona you can develop mobile games for free, but to create a game with more elaborate features, you’ll need to get an enterprise model that offers native libraries and APIs. Its built-in scene management and transition library helps adjust and modify game’s graphical qualities and create a graphical environment to design different levels and understand the interaction between the objects. Corona is the best free game engine if you want to develop a cross-platform game.

Cocos2D-X

Cocos2D-X is an open source game engine which is used for publishing game apps for desktop as well as mobile devices. It’s been written completely in C++ and has been optimized for numerous devices including iOS, Android, HTML5 and others. Features of the tool suite include a graphic renderer that supports skeletal animation, sprite sheet animation, coordinate systems, effects, multi-resolution devices, textures, transitions and more. It’s a great option for fans of free game development software, and an easy start for novice developers.

CryEngine

Cry Engine

Cry Engine is regarded as powerful game development software that delivers high performance. Games developed on Cry Engine can be hosted on different platforms like Android, iOS, PS4, PS3, PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Wii U. This engine is loaded with incredible features like physically-based shading, image-based lighting and geometry cache. Graphics can easily be customized with little effort and developers can easily create simple games without writing complex codes.

Gideros

Gideros is another free, open source game engine that uses Lua as a scripting language just like Corona. It supports and can import to iOS, Android, OS X, Windows, and Windows RT. Gideros provides on device players for iOS and Android that can be used to instantly try out your code directly from the Gideros IDE. Gideros also makes it easy to target various screen sizes by providing automatic scaling options and choosing the best image resolution based on device screen automatically. If you are good with Lua script, Gideros is worth consideration for cross-platform development.

Godot Engine

Godot is a 2D and 3D free game development engine that allows developers to create a game from scratch needing no other tools beyond those used for content creation. All game resources, from scripts to graphical assets, are saved as part of the computer’s file system, with the intention to make it easier for game development teams to collaborate on script code using version control. It supports deployment to multiple platforms and allows specification of texture compression and resolution settings for each platform. Godot is also an open source game engine that contains an animation system for editing skeletal animation, blending, animation trees, morphing and real-time cutscenes.

Cocos Creator

If Cocos2D-X is not enough for you, consider getting their improved version called Cocos Creator. It’s a complete package of game development tools, including a game engine (based on Cocos2D-X), resource management and JavaScript support. The editor and engine extension made with JavaScript allows easy development in a single programming language. Cocos Creator enables tight cooperation between programmers and designers, thanks to a unified editor and engine platform. Data properties that can be easily adjusted and declared in the script. The parameter adjustments can be independently finished by designers. The UI system that supports smart canvas adaptation and spares the alignment of coding elements can perfectly adapt to device screens of any resolution. The animation system is specifically made for 2D games that support animation trajectory preview and editing of complicated curves.

Haxe

Haxe is an open source, multi-platform toolkit that equally supports iOS and Android. The programming language of this toolset is easy to learn, especially for developers who are familiar or have experience with Java, C++, PHP or AS3 languages. Haxe compiler produces cross-platform native code and swiftly compiles thousands of classes to enable speedy game development. Its toolkit also includes Haxe standard library that provides a good set of APIs and more raw frameworks from which further additional tools can be developed when needed.

Game Maker

Game Maker is a very popular and desired cross-platform game engine. The reason for that probably in its ease of use – developers don’t have to learn complex programming languages, and can create video games using the super convenient drag and drop system. Game Maker uses a simplified programming language – Game Maker Language (GML). Of course, it’s a great deal for beginners, but also slower than other languages like Delphi or C++. The software makes game creation accessible for a more casual user or someone who wants to learn some basic game development. If you require more advanced features, then consider getting the professional version that includes resource management, compiling for Mac OS, Ubuntu and run on Android. Game Maker has loads of tutorials and resources to create games, a large marketplace to buy assets for your game and a friendly community that will gladly help you resolve any issue.

Lumberyard

Amazon’s Lumberyard is a free game engine that can be used for Android, iOS, PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. It is based on CryEngine, a game development kit developed by Crytek. Some of its best features include full C++ source code, networking, a rich sound engine, seamless integration with AWS Cloud and Twitch API. Its graphics are accelerated with a range of terrain, character, rendering and authoring tools which help create photo-quality 3D environments at scale. Amazon also acquired Twitch, a live-streaming and chatting social video platform with a user base of over 100 million users per month. The platform being primarily focused on video game streaming has become a critical platform for mobile and video game marketing.

Did you already choose?

Successful game development is about considering a mix factors and coming up with an optimal solution to string them all together. It is important to get game development software that meets your needs. Keep in mind what you’re trying to achieve and then choose a tool to make it happen. And don’t forget that people play games on lots of different gaming platforms, so respect that and offer a game that serves multiple operating systems.