Game engines are tools that take care of the low level processing thus allowing you to focus on your game right away instead of having to program it all from scratch. You can make any kind of game using an engine, and some engines don’t even require programming knowledge to use! Below are just a few of many game engines that exist.
Don’t let the low initial level of difficulty fool you; GameMaker is a very powerful tool with increasing popularity among developers of the Indie gaming scene. It allows you to receive the instant satisfaction of creating your own simple video games with its intuitive drag and drop interface, but it also can help ease you into basic video game programming concepts through the use of its own customized scripting language.
Because of GameMaker’s popularity, there are a ton of GameMaker tutorials floating around on the Internet, so if you’re ever stuck trying to achieve something that you don’t really know how to do, a simple Internet search for the appropriate GameMaker tutorial could very well get you the answers that you need.
GameMaker offers a limited yet very versatile trial version that is perfect for any aspiring developers that want to get their feet wet and learn the basics of game development.
A great option for both 2D and 3D games: Free Download
Notable Games: Firewatch, Temple Run, SUPERHOT
Learning Resources: Official Unity tutorials, One of many YouTube tutorials
Useful links: Manual, Script Documentation
The Unity multiplatform game development tool, which is free to use, can help you make your own impressive 3D and 2D games relatively easily. In addition to creating games for consoles, computers, and handheld devices, one of Unity’s most impressive abilities is creating visually amazing 3D games that can be downloaded and run within a web browser. It’s difficult to fully appreciate this until you’ve tried out one of Unity’s demonstrations, like the seemingly Far Cry inspired Tropical Paradise demo. There are a large number of features that the Unity game development tool provides, like a 3D map editor and three common scripting languages that you can use to customize your gameplay.
Many of the students in CSC404: Introduction to Game Design swear by this tool, and have made publicly well-received games.
Free Game Media Resources
Here are some resources that you can check out to get FREE Creative Commons licensed media (images and music) for developing your video games with.
- Newgrounds.com – Audio Portal – http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/
- Jamendo – http://www.jamendo.com/en/
- A bigger list – http://videogamecaster.com/royalty-free-music-and-sounds
What if I want to make my own graphics or sound?
Below are some tools you can use to create your own assets for free.
General Image editors
- GIMP – https://www.gimp.org/
- Krita – https://krita.org/en/
- Paint.NET – http://www.getpaint.net/index.html
Pixel Art software
- Piskel(online editor) – http://www.piskelapp.com/
- GIMP, MS Paint, and Paint.NET are great too!
3D modeler – Blender – https://www.blender.org/
Vector image editor – Inkscape – https://inkscape.org/
Sound and Music
- Audacity – http://www.audacityteam.org/
- A big list here – http://www.pixelprospector.com/sound-music-creation-software/