Game Makers are software which can create a game with or without programming knowledge. Now anyone can create a simple game in hours, if not minutes.
Game design and development require a good knowledge of programming languages. Firstly, a game developer has to learn C Sharp or C#, ActionScript, JAVA, C/C++, OpenGL, etc. to create 2D and 3D games. Nowadays, there are several easy to use drag and drop game-making tools that do not require coding. They have a simple and easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface.
For those who don’t know, games are created by Game Engine (which we were referring to as Game Makers) – A game engine is a dedicated software, or program, for creating games.
There are five main features of a game makers or game engines:
- Game templates: In the first place, you get a ready-made game template with all the mechanics and basic artwork. Afterward, you need to do only minor changes in the artwork. And little or nothing in mechanics to make it your own.
- Drag and drop: Very easy to use, Graphical User Interface (GUI) – no coding necessary. This lets you create game world, levels, and UI by simply dragging and dropping it on screen at the suitable place. Also, you can set a few properties by choosing them from a long list. This is like WYSIWYG builders that are used nowadays to create websites.
- Visual scripting: This lets you choose different functions that replicate code without having to script. They are more powerful than drag and drop engines and you’ll need more time to get to grasps with their features. However, they are an excellent way to begin understanding how the code works without actually typing anything yourself.
- Coding: Some game engines need you to write codes in a popular programming language or their own scripting language, to provide a better gaming experience It’s a great way to learn how to code, especially if you want to later develop complex games. Others rely on well-known scripting languages, and mastering them will give you full control over your game, no matter how complex it is.
- Real world effects: Generally, game makers comes integrated with physics engine which lets you access features like gravity, friction, air drag and, forces. Some of them come with advanced features like day-night-cycle, particle effects, etc.
Marketing with Game Makers/Engines
The current generation of game makers not only offers an excellent toolset but also lets game developers monetize and publish their games to iTunes, Google Play Store, and various other app stores. Some of the most popular Android, PC, and iPhone games have been developed using a lot of software programs. Here’s a rundown of some of the best game makers for making PC, Android and iOS games.
Since we are focusing on beginner friendly features, we’ve listed the following game engines in order of ease of use, features and support. We’ve also separated the list into 2D and 3D. Here you will find popular Game Makers to get you started:
GameSalad – The 123 of game
GameSalad is an incredibly easy to use drag and drop program for creating 2D games that comes with its own physics and a large behavior library, you can apply to objects. In fact, GameSalad even market their platform at educators who want to teach student how to create games in the classroom. It is enough for mobile apps and addictive 2D casual games.
While the free version gives you freedom to create games, preview them, and publish them to the web and iOS platform, the pro version lets you monetize your games and publish them to Android and Windows.
Get it here: https://gamesalad.com
- Very easy to use
- Drag and drop interface
- Publishes to multiple platforms
- Good community support
- 50% off on pro subscription for students and teachers
- Limited features in free version.
- Not regularly updated.
- No marketplace
- Not for 3D games
Construct 2 – The Simple Builder
Construct 2 is an excellent game-making tool that lets users create 2D games. It is suitable beginners as well as advanced creators to create games without any programming knowledge.
Construct 2 has a simple visual interface that ensures easy game creation. Developers can easily drag and drop objects, design levels, add behaviors/effects. They can create events by choosing actions and conditions or triggers from a list, which is organized to ensure easy selection. Additionally, it has spectacular visual effects, such as particle system, pixel-shader effects and blend modes.
The learning curve for this game maker is super fast. Hence, it is an ideal tool for PC users who have never done game development before. Sadly, there is no Mac OS version, and games can only be exported as HTML5. It requires 3rd party services to work as native Android or iOS app, which comes at a cost in terms of performance. Similarly, games can be played on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, but only in web browsers.
Get it here: https://www.scirra.com/construct2
- Free trial edition
- Fast learning curve
- Good community support
- Regular updates
- Marketplace for extra plugins
- Only works on PC.
- Not available on Mac OS
- HTML5 is limits performance and flexibility
- Not for 3D games.
Construct 3 is available now with more new cool features and it can publish to Steam, Android & iOS as well.
Get it here: https://www.construct.net
Clickteam Fusion 2.5 – The Platformer
ClickTeam Fusion 2.5 is for advanced game developers, but it doesn’t involves complex coding. The excellent event editor system ensures developers are able to quickly create games with minimum programming knowledge, but you will need to learn about each function.
Developers can also take advantage of Box 2D physics engine and publish games and apps to multiple platforms, including the OUYA console and Android. After creating a 2D app, all game creators have to do is click on Build and Run to create an APK file. Once the APK file is generated, it will be installed on your device.
Additionally, it has hardware acceleration support, with this feature, developers can create games quicker. The app has a free version, the only drawback is that people have to separately purchase Android and iOS exporters. These exporters aren’t included with the main package.
It has an extremely active community of super dedicated fans who submit their own extensions and there is no shortage of documentation on the forums.
Get it here: https://www.clickteam.com/clickteam-fusion-2-5
- Drag and drop interface and visual editor
- Exports to all platforms
- Supportive multilingual community
- Tons of extensions
- Dated interface
- Windows version only
- Little to no updates
- Paid iOS, Android and Mac exporters.
Clickteam Fusion 3.0 is on its way, read more about it here: https://www.clickteam.com/clickteam-blog?p=welcome-to-the-fusion-3-development-blog
Buildbox – The Magic Box
Buildbox is slowly making a name for itself as the engine used for some true hits in the last few years. These include dozens of games that made it to the App Store top 100 such as Color Switch and The Line Zen. Their philosophy is to provide users with ready-made templates that let you get started with a game in minutes. However, this puts restrictions on the amount of freedom you can have and also tends to help create game clones rather than original concepts. In addition to that you can also take control of your game mechanics with more advanced features.
Get it here: http://buildbox.com
- Easy drag and drop interface
- Comes with game templates
- Good monetization options
- Exports to all platforms
- Templates tend to create game clones
- Very expensive license starting at $84 / month (paid yearly)
RPG Maker – The RPG Boss
As the name explains, RPG Maker is very easy-to-use Role Playing Game maker. Using this anyone can create a RPG game. RPG Maker has been used for multiple game genres other than just RPG.
This engine only does one thing – and it does it well. It comes with a WYSIWYG editor, and you can also create the 2D art directly in it. One confusing thing is that there are 7 different versions of RPG Maker, all of which allow different features, and it’s worth noting that the learning curve is slightly steeper than with certain drag and drop solutions.
Get it here: http://www.rpgmakerweb.com
- Good for artists
- Excellent tile editor
- WYSIWYG editor
- Helpful community
- Has simplified code
- Confusing versions with different features
- Not all versions can export to all platforms
- Slightly difficult for complete beginners
- Genre limitation
AppGameKit – The Independent Maker
AppGameKit is an easy to learn game development engine, ideal for Beginners, Hobbyists & Indie developers.
Now anyone can quickly code and build apps for multiple platforms using AppGameKit’s Scripting system. With just a few commands you can have demos and games up and running on mobile devices.
This game engine lets you port to iOS, Android, PC, Macs, Linux, HTML5 – and even Raspberry Pi. It supports a few programming languages, including their own AGK2, based on BASIC (old but easy to understand syntax – ideal for beginners).
However, you can also learn how to use C++ as a powerful framework. This may appear intimidating to newbies; But AppGameKit is a great way to get started in the world of game development if you are serious about understanding how everything works under the hood – and maybe even make money from it.
Get it here: https://www.appgamekit.com
- Easily port to plenty of platforms
- Test the game on different devices thanks to their players
- Great for nerdy, dedicated creators
- Very fast compilation
- One time payment
- Paid DLCs – you need to fork out extra for some shaders or VR support
- Not ideal for artists – unless you buy the visual editor for $49.99
- Lack of community support
GameGuru – The FPS Master
Moving on to 3D game engines now, and GameGuru is probably one of the easiest to use. That’s because the engine gives you 20 game templates to start your own, from FPS to horror survival games, and it supports multiplayer. You can easily create maps and manipulate certain settings with sliders. The downside is that all games tend to look the same – also, they only run on Windows.
Get it here: https://www.game-guru.com/
- Games work pretty much out of the box
- 20 game templates
- Has marketplace
- Supports multiplayer
- Exports natively for multiple platforms
- Older graphics
- Very limited features
- Windows only
GameMaker Studio 2 – The hit maker
GameMaker Studio makes game development accessible to everyone means taking away the barriers to getting started. Using their intuitive ‘Drag and Drop’ development environment you can have your game up and running in a matter of minutes without ever having to write any code! GameMaker’s built-in language (GML) helps you learn to program as you go and not jump in at the deep end of coding.
This powerful simplified code engine supports both 2D and 3D, but is more often used for 2D projects. One big advantage is that it lets you create all the assets for your game so you can quickly see how things look (of course you can also import them from Photoshop or anywhere else). The drag and drop interface also makes it ideal for quick prototyping, even for advanced game developers.
Get it here: https://www.yoyogames.com/gamemaker
- Fairly fast learning curve
- Free trial and decent price tiers.
- Advanced features
- Great for artists
- Good marketplace
- Great tutorials and resources
- Costs extra to export for certain platforms such as Android or iOS
- Not fully drag and drop – you need to learn some basic code
- Own scripting language called Game Maker Language – if you learn how to script in GMS2, you will be limited
CopperCube – The Starter 3D Engine
CopperCube is the easiest to use 3D game maker. And it’s free. CopperCube is a complete 3D authoring tool which includes all the features you need for creating games for multiple platforms. And it is light-weight: The whole editor including everything just needs about 70 MB, and your finished created games is just one small .exe file. Or a just 200 KB sized .js file in case of WebGL.
CopperCube has many wonderful features – Terrain Editor, Realtime Shadows and Static Lighting, Wind Moved Vegetation, Realistic Realtime Water, Fast Physics, Great Special Effects and Post Effects, No Programming necessary, Nice and quick Lighting, First class WebGL support, Prebuilt Game Behaviors, Advanced Animation, Powerful Scripting, Procedural Tree Generator, Integrated Texture Packer, Video Playback, etc.
Get it here: https://www.ambiera.com/coppercube/
- Easy to use
- Visual editor
- Terrain editor
- Oculus Rift support
- Exports to PC, Mac and Android
- Old graphics
- Lack of tutorials
Cocos Creator + Cocos2d-x – The Wow Framework
Cocos Creator is a complete package of game development tools and workflow, including a game engine (based on Cocos2d-x), resource management, scene editing, game preview, debug and publish one project to multiple platforms.
Brand New Graphic Renderer: The Cocos2d-x renderer is optimized for 2D graphics with OpenGL. It supports skeletal animation, sprite sheet animation, coordinate systems, effects, multi-resolution devices, textures, transitions, tile maps, and particles. It adopts a RenderQueue design.
Cocos Creator provides an innovative, easy to use toolset; such as the UI system and Animation editor. The game maker will be expanding continuously and quickly, thanks to the open editor extension system.
Get it here: https://cocos2d-x.org
- Easy to use
- Visual editor
- Exports to PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Tizen, Windows Phone, HTML5 and Console
- No 3D Support
- No drag and drop – you need to learn coding
- Slightly difficult for complete beginners
Unity 3D – The Fabulous Engine
Unity is the game engine developed by Unity Technologies targets 27 platforms including the latest consoles such as the Switch and all mobile phones. It has more than 5 million registered developers who use the engine on a monthly basis.
While it is an extremely powerful game maker platform that favors coders, there are a number of solutions for beginners who want to use visual scripting instead. These are all paid but should give you all the tools you need to get started. If this is the road you want to take, you should look at investing in beginner-friendly plugins such as FlowCanvas, uScript, Adventure Creator or PlayMaker.
Get it here: https://unity3d.com
- Best Asset Store with tons of free assets
- Excellent resources and tutorials
- Free until you make more than $100K from your games
- Long list of supported platforms
- Very difficult for beginners
- Slow learning curve
- Need paid plugins to avoid scripting
- Not the best toolkit for 2D games
Unreal Engine 4 – The Real AAA Engine
Unreal Engine 4 is the best engine to create AAA games. With a focus on spectacular graphics and lighting effects that is trusted by big companies and indie developers alike.
UE4 is a complete suite of creation tools designed to meet ambitious artistic visions while being flexible enough to ensure success for teams of all sizes. As an established, industry-leading engine, Unreal delivers the powerful proven performance that you can trust.
Of course, you will need a big team of developers to complete big projects like the ones mentioned above, but one advantage is that Unreal comes with a beginner-friendly solution called Blueprint that lets you get started without any coding knowledge.
Get it here: https://www.unrealengine.com
- Built-in beginner solution with Blueprint
- Multi-platform export including consoles
- Outstanding next-gen graphics
- Good online resources
- Free to use until your games make a profit
- Heavy and demanding on performance
- Slower learning curve
- Even more difficult to learn than Unity
- Marketplace not as full as Unity’s
- Royalty based payment system
In conclusion, a game maker is a game maker, the thing which matters more is what you are and what you do.