Many gamers dream of creating their own video games, bringing all the concepts and mechanics they envision into reality. However, creating your own game is not simple - in fact, it can be a very time consuming and labor-intensive mission.
You can ease a lot of the burdens of creating your own video game by choosing the right development platform for your project. We’ve compiled a short list of the best and most popular game engines used for multiple genres.
So whether you have no coding experience and need something simple for beginners, or you want to create the next smash-hit video game, there’s something for you on this list.
Best for: All game genres
Developed in 1998 for Epic Games’ first-person shooter Unreal, the Unreal Engine has expanded into becoming the most used game engine. It has proven itself capable of creating stellar AAA games across several genres.
The latest version, Unreal Engine 4, is entirely free to download and create games with. Epic Games also will not charge royalties to game publishers until a developer has earned their first $1 million USD in revenue, which practically makes it entirely and completely free for indie developers and small game studios to use.
Some of the most notable games created using the Unreal Engine include titles like:
- Final Fantasy VII Remake
- Gears of War 5
- Borderlands 3
- Shenmue III
- Street Fighter V
It’s also known as being a very beginner-friendly engine, and the Blueprints Visual Scripting system allows you to create games without any coding necessary. However, it can also allow for deeply complex professional scripting to create some of the modern AAA masterpieces we see today.
Best for: All game genres
Unity 3D can be considered a bit like Unreal-lite. While it takes a lot more work to render graphics as gorgeous as what Unreal Engine is capable of, Unity 3D is still a very powerful game engine, and is generally considered to be a little bit more intuitive and beginner-friendly than Unreal.
This is because Unity 3D has a very large community of indie developers across multiple platforms, and the Unity Assets Store allows you to simply buy scripts, models, and other game assets from publishers. There are also many assets that are entirely free, as long as you give credit to the creators.
Unity 3D is also a preferred engine for browser game developers, as it can easily export games to HTML5 and WebGL. Many viral io games online have been created using the Unity 3D engine and exported to WebGL.
Best for: HTML5 and IO browser games
Phaser is an open-source engine specifically made for designing HTML5 games that you would typically play in a browser or on a mobile device. It has many plug-ins available for you to easily start creating isometric tile-based or voxel-based games like Minecraft Classic. This makes it a wonderful and beginner-friendly engine for simple game projects, such as your first browser or mobile game.
If you’re a true beginner to creating games with absolutely no experience, either Phaser or RPG Maker may be your best bet for your very first game project. Phaser offers a lot of very easy-to-understand tutorials so you can create your first game prototype in probably 3 days or less.
Best for: Nostalgic RPG / JRPG games
If you’re feeling a bit nostalgic and want to create your own tile-based RPG with graphics similar to titles like Legend of Zelda or Chrono Trigger, RPG Maker is exactly what you need.
It is designed specifically for tile-based RPG/JRPG titles, and is simple enough for even a child to use. It offers a drag-and-drop building-block style UI so you can very easily add assets to your game world, and the engine practically holds your hand while walking you through adding events like random encounters and quests to your game.
RPG Maker is absolutely perfect for children to start learning how to create their own games, but adults can also enjoy creating vintage-style RPG games, and there are no additional commercial licenses required for publishing and selling your games.
Other engines to check out
Hopefully you found an engine you’d like to try on our list, but there are plenty of other options for you to investigate as well. Some of the most commonly mentioned game engines in development communities include:
All of these engines are suitable for beginners to start learning, so it’s really a matter of investigating what each offers in terms of universal coding support and ease of use.
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Article by Katie Greene