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Game Development Tool Discussion Sticky

A topic by Squires created May 13, 2018 Views: 268 Replies: 5
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Here's where jam participants can discuss game engines and development tools. Below is a brief list of free ones that I would recommend, some introductory resources to check out, and a list of well known games made with each in order to get an idea what the tools are capable of. I really only have recent experience with Unity, GameMaker, and Twine, so feel free to contribute any tutorials or info I might have missed, and ask questions if anything was unclear.

  • Unity: The most popular game development tool, which is capable of creating both 2D and 3D games. Some C# scripting will likely be required, but a lot can be accomplished in the level editor alone, and with the help of the asset store.
    Notable Games: Gone Home, Hearthstone, Cities Skylines, Ori and the Blind Forest, Cuphead
    Resources: Unity Beginner Documentation; Sebastian Lague Intro Playlist;
  • GameMaker: A relatively beginner friendly tool specializing in 2D games. GameMaker features a drag and drop interface but can also be programmed entirely with it's own unique scripting language.
    Notable Games: Spelunky, Hotline Miami, Hyper Light Drifter, Undertale
    Resources: Making A Game With No Experience; Shaun Spalding Tutorials;
  • Twine: A tool used to create interactive narrative and text based games. While it can be used with no coding, CSS and JavaScript can be integrated for additional functionality.
    Notable Games: Depression Quest
    Resources: Twine Wiki; (Twine is really easy to pick up and shouldn't require much reading to get started)
  • Unreal Engine: Noted for its visual quality, and used in AAA and indie games alike, especially for first person shooters. While a lot of effort has been put into making the engine more accessible, it will still require some research and knowledge of C++.
    Notable Games: Bioshock, Unreal Tournament, Mass Effect Trilogy, Life is Strange, Rocket League, Fortnite
    Resources: Unreal Engine Official Documentation; (I have zero experience with Unreal, so I'll let someone who does fill in the gaps here)
  • RPG Maker: While very focused in its capabilities, specializing in JRPG style games, RPG Maker is also pretty straight-forward and easy to use. It requires no coding, but additional functionality can be added with custom scripts using the Ruby language. There are multiple versions, each with a free trial, but RPG Maker VX Ace Lite is a completely free version, which should serve the needs of this jam.
    Notable Games: To the Moon, Lisa
    Resources: RPG Maker VX Official Documentation; (I haven't used RPG Maker for several versions so hopefully there's someone familiar with its more recent iterations.)

It's pretty newly popular and perhaps rough around the edges, but maybe add Godot engine to the list?  It is free:
Here's the documentation:

I don't recognize any games in their showcase, but it should help give people an idea of what it's capable of:

Good suggestion. Heartbeast, who also used to do a ton of Game Maker tutorials on youtube, has a number of tutorials available for this engine now too.


I'm planning to jam in GameMaker Studio 2 which I've been teaching myself over the last few months. I'm happy to help other people or teams who are learning GMS if they run into trouble. Lets all enjoy games together!


I'm a big fan of Superpowers (although I'm likely the only one):

It's a great collaborative HTML5 engine that actually runs in the browser. If you set up hosting for it you can get google-docs style collaboration, which is not great for proper software engineering but it's awesome for game jams!

It definitely has a few bugs and quirks though but what engine doesn't honestly? That being said I'm happy to help people get started with SP if they're interested.

Never heard of this one. Seems really cool!!