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The 5 Best Game Creation Software

Game Creation Software

Creating a video game is a complex process. Each video game combines multiple art forms, from music to art and animation - even programming is a form of art in itself. All these art forms come together in a game engine, and in this guide, we'll show you our favorites.

Whether you're an art student with some interesting character concepts or an experienced programmer with in-depth knowledge of systems, there's a tool for you. Below, you'll find seven of the best tools for creating a video game, along with some tips to get started on your first game.

How to create a video game?

If you have hundreds of thousands of dollars and professional programming experience, you can still get a license for software like CryEngine, but for most people, it's not realistic. If you don't want to start from scratch, you need to choose the game creation software that suits your skill level. There are many free and paid options, each with its own advantages and tools for creating a video game of your own design. Below are some of the best options available to you, whether you're looking to build a Pong-esque copy, an exciting action game, or a role-playing game (RPG) in the vein of The Legend of Zelda or EarthBound.

To inspire aspiring game developers, remember that the tool doesn't make the game. Choose the engine you're most comfortable with and that best fits the story you want to tell. It may be tempting to use an engine like Unity or Unreal Engine, given their influence. However, if you find that RPG Maker or Godot is more suited to the game you're creating, there's no problem with using it.

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1) Unity

Available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux
If you're serious about game development, Unity is where you should start. Countless indie hits have been created using this engine, from Hollow Knight to Cuphead to Escape from Tarkov. What's so impressive about Unity is that it's powerful enough to produce a AAA-quality title while still being accessible to newcomers. Oh, and you can use it for free as long as your burgeoning game studio has made less than $100,000 in the past 12 months.

For solo developers or small teams, Unity is the go-to game creation tool, thanks to its vast marketplace. The Unity Asset Store offers everything from character models to complete environments, most of which are inexpensive or, in some cases, free. Even if you have no programming experience and can't model a character to save your life, you can create a game with Unity. It may not be ready for release, but given the quality of most packs in the Asset Store, it can still serve as a proof of concept.

Unity also sets you on the path to success. The core platform is geared towards game creation. However, Unity includes a wide range of additional tools to help you achieve your game's goals beyond the development process. There's a game simulation tool, which allows you to harness the power of the cloud to test your game on countless trials, as well as a monetization engine if you want to make some money from a mobile game.

As if that weren't enough, Unity also offers an extensive library of learning resources. Unity is not just a game engine. It's a whole ecosystem aimed at enabling developers, both new and seasoned, to create the games they want.

2) Unreal Engine 4

Available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux
Unity is an engine that can be used to create AAA games, but Unreal Engine is a tool that is used to create AAA games. And it's widely used. If you've played Final Fantasy VII Remake, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Fortnite, Octopath Traveler, Borderlands 3, or Kingdom Hearts III, you've seen Unreal Engine 4 in action. This is just a small sample of recent games that use the engine. If a developer isn't using their own game engine, they're probably using UE4.

Unreal is the tool you should use if you're serious about working in a AAA game studio. Fortunately, Epic Games has made a lot of effort in recent years to make the engine more accessible. You no longer need in-depth knowledge of C++ or even assets to start building your game. Like Unity, Unreal has a bustling marketplace with 3D models, environments, scripts, and much more. Epic also offers content packs every month. At the time of writing this article, a pack of highly detailed skyscraper models is free, which would normally cost $149.99.

For some, Unreal might be a better choice than Unity thanks to its visual scripting system, Blueprint. Unreal uses C++, but you don't need to write lines of code to add scripts to your game. Blueprints provide a visual representation of what your code does, allowing you to connect different nodes to create a script. There's still a learning curve for Blueprints - they offer all the power of C++, after all - but it's much easier and certainly more enjoyable than spending hours learning a programming language.

It's in the cost department that things get a bit complicated for Unreal. The tool itself is free to use, no questions asked. If you distribute a game for free or are just tinkering around, you can use Unreal Engine 4 in its full capacity for free. If you monetize, you owe Epic 5% of your quarterly revenue over $3,000, whether you're self-publishing or working with a publisher. Fortunately, Epic has some options to lighten the financial burden. If you create a concept that interests Epic, you may be eligible for a MegaGrant. Epic has dedicated $100 million to new creators, with grants ranging from $5,000 to $500,000. If you receive a grant, you owe nothing else to Epic outside of the 5% they normally take when you monetize a project. This single element can be incentive enough to start using Unreal over another tool.

3) GameMaker

Available for Windows and MacOS
If you're a fan of indie games, you've probably come across GameMaker more than once. It's the tool behind Hotline Miami, Downwell, Minit, Blazing Chrome, Spelunky, and the recent Levelhead, which has even been integrated into Xbox Game Pass. It falls between Unreal Engine and Unity, with Unity being somewhere in the middle. That said, if you're creating a 2D game and don't need all the features of Unity, GameMaker is an excellent choice. By limiting its platform, GameMaker is capable of making normally complex systems easy to manage.

Additionally, GameMaker bundles many of the tools you'll need to develop a game under one roof. If you want to create everything yourself with Unity or Unreal, you'll need access to image editing tools, 3D modeling software, audio software, and more. Everything is integrated into GameMaker, from a Photoshop-like image editor to a full animation editor. You can very easily create a complete game using just GameMaker.

You also don't need programming knowledge. GameMaker is based on its own programming language, GML. GML is simpler than C++, for example, while still offering the same power. As it was created specifically for GameMaker, it's much more intuitive than a traditional programming language. GameMaker also includes a visual scripting editor with drag-and-drop nodes, meaning you can easily create code without knowing any language.

It's in the price department that things get a bit strange for GameMaker. While you may end up spending a lot more with Unity or Unreal if you create a hit, GameMaker has a higher initial cost. You have to purchase the engine and a license, which means if you want to develop for multiple platforms, you'll need to buy a license for those platforms. Desktop and mobile licenses are cheap, with a permanent license costing $99 and $199, respectively, for each platform. Consoles, on the other hand, are expensive. Exporting to PS4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch will cost you $799 for each console, and that license lasts for only one year. Still, GameMaker proves to be cheaper in the long run, and with the amount of learning resources and assets available, it's a small price to pay.

4) RPG Maker MV

Available for Windows
The RPG Maker series has a long history dating back to 1988. It's a 2D game creation tool that exclusively allows you to create RPGs, or more specifically, JRPGs (no building Skyrim here). RPG Maker prioritizes flexibility over accessibility. You can create a complete game right out of the box, with all the logic and resources ready for you. If you prefer, you can simply play the role of a level designer, placing characters, battles, and items on your map as you please.

RPG Maker works on a grid. When building your map, you can drag tiles from your object box onto the screen to paint the environment. You can link events to these tiles or set a random encounter rate for an entire area. RPG Maker has almost everything covered for you. The systems are already programmed, so all you need to do is specify the conditions for these systems. If you find the pre-defined systems are not enough, you can extend RPG Maker with plugins, either from the community or your own creation. RPG Maker uses Javascript, and you're free to modify any of the underlying code to fit your game.

That being said, RPG Maker doesn't carry the same weight as Unity or Unreal (or even GameMaker, for that matter). A title created using RPG Maker is almost immediately identifiable, and while some creators have used this tool with great success - To the Moon is a notable title created with RPG Maker - most releases with this tool haven't been outstanding. RPG Maker is perfect for creating your own classic Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest-style game. However, the technical knowledge you acquire from using it isn't easily transferable to other platforms.

5) Construct 3

Available for Windows
Construct may not be as well-known as the entries above, but it's still a competent game design tool. It's primarily used for mobile games, with developers like EA, Sega, and Zynga as clients of Construct. For us, the most significant game released with this engine is Iconoclasts, which was developed by a single person using a modified version of the original Construct.

Construct 3, however, brings some changes, the most important of which is block-based programming. It's even more user-friendly than GameMaker and Unreal Engine. Each node comes with very clear instructions, allowing you to build scripts intuitively. Additionally, Construct uses blocks in a sheet rather than a flowchart. So organizing long and complex scripts is much easier.

The issue is that Construct requires you to constantly renew your license. Unlike Unity and Unreal, which allow you to develop your games for free, you have to pay for Construct as long as you use it. There's a very limited free version, but it won't get you very far (e.g., you can't even create custom loading screens). The full version costs $99 per year. That being said, it comes with all the basic features, including export support for iOS, Android, Windows, MacOS, Linux, and Xbox One. There's no support for PS4 or Switch, however, and from scouring forums, it seems that won't be changing in the foreseeable future.


We highly recommend not attempting to develop a game all alone. Game development is an incredibly complex process that inevitably leads to unnecessary anxiety and likely professional burnout.

If you're committed to game development, you'll need a stable group of players to support and succeed with you, especially during tough times. You have the option to join an active community or create your own.

Involving yourself with other people is a crucial aspect of game development and its design. It is so vital that all the tools we've discussed earlier are specifically designed to foster sustainable communities. These particular tools and their associated communities will help you improve your game creation skills.

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