Richard Bolton in Games

15/04/2015

At A Glance: Free Game Development Software

With game development software becoming more readily available it’s never been easier to create a genre-changing game from the comforts of your own bedroom. 

With this in mind, we decided to take a look at some of the development products available for free online that can help you create your very first game...

Game Salad

Game Salad is designed primarily for developing 2D platform and arcade games and is able to produce content easily with little to no coding knowledge or skill, opening the door for new developers. The user interface is a simple drag and drop system that can produce games for iOS, Android and HTML 5. Game Salad is free but offers a ‘Pro’ version with even more functions, both of which feature a bespoke integrated physics engine. With Game Salad, you can test your product before publishing on devices and gather real-time stats from players and user feedback. The developer kit has a behaviour library, is able to duplicate objects to save time and offers developers some ready-built environments from its marketplace. Watch the video below to find out more.

Game Maker Studio

Game Maker is one of the most popular development kits on the web but why? First of all, the package’s free entry level access plays a huge part. There’s a distinct feeling that this kit is aimed at all abilities and designed to suit mobile, computer, internet and console development. Although not all features are accessible to the users of basic accounts, there is still a range of development tools to build and polish games. Game Maker Studio is user friendly with its drag and drop interface and option for code scripting. Simple shading and visual effects, along with advanced physics editing give developers an interactive input that can be tweaked easily. With extra input devices or software to expand development, users have a seemingly endless ability at their fingertips. See the video below for more.

Construct 2

Construct is one of the top entry level game development kits and allows users to develop 2D arcade-style games. It’s quick and simple, giving devs the chance to draft and prototype games for publishing with ease. The drag-and-drop system has been utilised to give users an intuitive interface and the instant preview function is very welcome, ensuring physics behave how the user expects. Designed for small indies and hobbyists to develop games for HTML5, Construct’s multi-platform publishing means games can be released on Facebook, Google Chrome, Firefox and Scirra’s own arcade. The software boasts over twenty behaviours with twenty-plus plugins and in excess of seventy visual effects, giving users more than twenty-eight thousand options on every element of their game. Impressive stuff. Watch the video for more information.

Unreal Development Kit

This is one of the most famous developer engines on the list, with a rich history of AAA or top quality games under its belt. The Unreal website hosts its own expansion kits, giving users the chance to purchase ready-built environments, behaviours and objects. The community behind the Unreal Development Kit is one of the largest in the world, making support easy to access. The kit allows developers to work on 2D and 3D games from arcade graphics to virtual reality that can be easily mistaken for high-resolution photos. The dev kit is one for any platform or device, using C++ source code that gives developers the ability to edit and change every piece of the creation. It also has some unique features, like an automatic debugging system, along with a two shade projection. It allows users to develop for iOS, Steam, Xbox, Playstation and more. Have a look at the video below.

Unity 5

Last on our list is the Unity 5 developer kit. It’s one of the most dynamic packages and even includes a fully integrated audio mixer that gives the user complete control of even the finest details such as sound. Unity 5 can publish games for Playstation and Xbox, along with internet browsers like Chrome, Explorer and Firefox. The kit’s latest update features include a new lighting programme to add shadow and depth to scenes along with an improved 30fps making the flow of games smoother. Unity 5 is compatible with a number of external plugins allowing users to expand and enhance their performance and output. The 64-bit editing visual allows devs to edit large environments without needing to render first and its character animations allows the programmer to edit in detail. Find out more below.

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