Five game examples/project files have just been added to the website for you to make your own games/projects with. They're all of pretty decent quality, and I have a bit more that I'll be adding to this collection soon! You can click the link above to navigate to that asset page, or you can click the images below and each project's page will open in a new tab.
Game Design Community
If you're here reading this blog post, it's likely that you prefer one engine or another when it comes to game design, regardless of your expertise in the field. Game designing is a massively growing industry, and that's a good thing with all the declining in the industries' money intake as of late. We need new minds, innovative thinkers to pull us out of the money greedy cliches that make up a large part of mainstream gaming and make games that everyone can find fun without eventually face palming, even if they're not well versed in their game engine logic and their capabilities.
Today, I'm going to be talking about Game Engines, what they're good for, what they should be used for, who they should be used by, etc., etc. So, let's begin.
I'm only going to cover 4 of what I consider the main engines for the remainder of this post, but before I continue on with that, I want to talk to you about the VAST selection of game engines that you can find all over the web.
If you're like me, you're probably spending most of your time trying to find out how to get your hands on the engine used to design Star Wars: Shadow of the Empire or Legend of Zelda: Majoras Mask.
My Top Four
1. Unreal Engine 4
Unreal Engine 4 may as well be the best engine ever designed. It can create both 2D and 3D games in the most optimal possible quality. This engine brings forth the most amazing assortment of tools for designing a game I've ever seen. The possibilities are endless, and what's better is that they have examples at the start of installation that show you how to do certain things both in the visual programming environment, called blueprints, and actual C++ code.
The physics, level streaming, path finding, and much much more follow the best possible means of developing that has been thought up yet. The engine consists of enough tools and resources that you could design a full game within hours of picking it up, I'm not kidding, it's that simple. It's literally Construct 2 with 3D, but I'll get to that in a moment.
Games Made in UE4
Unreal Tournament 4
If you know anything about Unreal Engine, you probably know about the Unreal Tournament games. This one though, this one is different, and significantly better. Rather than being created by Epic, this game's creation is being led by the community. Anyone can download and install the Unreal Launcher and use it to install the rig for helping in the creation of Unreal Tournament. The fact that it's an open project almost guaranties the final quality of the game being good, as you can probably tell from the pictures here on this post,but there's a lot more to be seen.
Follow the progress of Unreal Tournament here!
Although the Fable series had been going downhill for some time, Fable Legends is likely to actually be quite an excellent game, and I definitely would not say the same of the third one. Fable Legends brings in some really interesting aspects into the Unreal Engine 4 world, which previously only existed in Unreal Engine 3. The game has some really great art and the gameplay actually looks really niceas compared to the last one. Most problems it previously had seems to have been fixed, and the reason why is quite simple.
On the Unreal Engine showcase of the game, this was said,'“As content creators, we used to have to wait for months or years before we had a stable toolset to use,” Eckelberry adds, “but now we’re able to get straight into building games without having to wait for the systems to arrive.”'. Quite obviously, the reason for the poor quality of the last game is because of lack of programmers, rather than them slacking off in development. But now, with the tools that Unreal Engine 4 brings to the table, they can make the game to be the amazing quality that it is now no problem. I, personally, am quite stoked for this new addition to the Fable series.
You can find the Unreal Engine showcase here!
Rime is an exploration RPG made in Unreal Engine 4. This game is literally one of the most interesting games I've seen so far this year. The artwork is beautiful, but I guess my word on it is best described in the comment you'll find on the Unreal Engine showcase of the game... Wait. It got deleted. Odd. I'll go into a further look of that later, but anyways, the game has artwork that reminds me a lot of a more detailed Legend of Zelda: Windwaker.
The artwork is downright beautiful, and is definitely one of the biggest attractions of the game. I can never grow tired of admiring the games artwork. Anyways, if you'd like to learn more about it you can check out the games showcase here!
Do you like free things? Well, we're quite sure Epic does. Not long ago, Epic released Unreal Engine 4 completely free on the web. Yupp. Free of charge. There's a very minor 5% of money that they take out of profits earned from commercial games made in Unreal Engine 4, but, for a starting group of designers, this is the best option. You don't have to pay anything right away, they only take money if you're actually earning money. It's the best choice for people that don't have much money to spend, and is not a long lasting thing, after a certain point they stop taking money.
So, it's amazing, it's easy, it uses top of the line technology, and it's free.
2. Construct 2
Although the pictures above only contain platformer games, don't get the idea that that is what the engine is catered toward. Construct 2 is the ultimate 2D game engine, and is my professional tool for 2D games. (Unreal Engine obviously being my go to for 3D). There have been many games made in it (also many you might not find on the site, as I have quite a few game design friends that don't share that Construct 2 is the tool they're using). Construct 2 has allowed many people to create all kinds of amazing games which range from every possible 2D game. 3D is possible in it as well using the Q3D plugin which utilizes ThreeJS as the framework for 3D rendering, which is actually quite an efficient way to do such a thing and can actually achieve better performance results than UE4 if you're going for something that doesn't take much to render, such as a 2.5D game.
Although the editor is really simple, it'd probably be best for a beginner to both start with this, rather than Unreal Engine, and learn as much as you can about it before making an actual game, or going on to something as complex as UE4 (because it may be simple, but if you don't know game design, it won't be simple anymore).
This is why you would go to Scirra's tutorial section.
Yupp, they have an entire section of the website dedicated to helping you master game design. Could it get any better than this? The engine is a great start for beginners and an awesome tool for professionals. It's worth doesn't degrade with experience like many old engines that easy to use.
The only POSSIBLE flaw that many people think of it is that it ports to HTML5, but before you started getting convinced by those words, I'd just like you to know that if you don't want to take the time to make something in a much more complicated way and then later on test on EVERY SINGLE POSSIBLE DEVICE YOU PUBLISH TO, then you ma want to use HTML5.
HTML5 is an amazing programming language that is not only universal, but runs well on almost every device nowadays. There's still some kinks in it, but it beats having to do all the optimizations yourself, when all of the optimizations have already been made for you.
Games Made in Construct 2
The Next Penelope
The Next Penelope is a action racing game made in Construct 2 by Aurelien Regard, singlehandedly. Although Aurelien is well versed in game design, the fact that he made the game completely by himself is pretty awesome. This is known to be one of the best games to ever be developed using Construct 2. As a loner designer myself, with the occasional help from my buddy Travis, it's pretty inspirational to see the someone like me also exists in the work and is succeeding quite well at what he does. All you have to do is keep trying and follow your heart, Aurelien shows that by doing what he felt was the right thing to do IS the way to go about things. And Construct 2 really allowed him to bring this dream to life.
To check out the project you can take a look at the game's Steam page here!
Airscape: The Fall of Gravity
In Airscape you play as a gravity defying squid dude in an oddly shaped floaty platformer world. The game has a very neat atmosphere and is way too easy to get lost playing in. It's beautiful, fun, difficult, and basically contains all the possible greatnesses of a classic platformer, but instead of the classic feel, you're stuck figuring out complex puzzles based on the physics side of things. Aside from that the controls are the same as what'd you'd expect from a platformer, which is what really makes it interesting. Instead of changing the platforming behaviour of the engine, they changed the way gravity and physics work to make an experience unlike any other. Definitely a must play game.
You can find out more about the game on it's website here!
To top this intriguing list of games we have CoinOp Story. CoinOp Story has you playing as an arcade cabinet named Gen in a world where arcade games have became extinct and thrown into a dump. There are interesting additions you can make to the game using Jamma which includes a map, and a couple of other objects that I don't currently know about. But you can probably find out more about the game if you take a look at it yourself, here!
If you're a beginner, I suggest you start with and use the free version of Construct 2 at first, but if you're well versed in using Construct 2 then you can get a personal license at a mere $129.99, which is quite an awesome price if you think about it. Of course you can also get a business license if you have multiple game designers on your team, which can be bought with $429.99. Not bad compared to the intense price that GameMaker:Studio makes you pay $799.99 to have to a third of the amount of things you can do with Construct 2's business license, but don't get me wrong, GameMaker:Studio is good too!
3. GameMaker: Studio
Although you'll probably hear me give Game Maker a lot of crap because I've been using it for a very long time and the processes that the team behind it have taken to develop the software has gotten on my very last nerve throughout because almost nothing is compatible with anything throughout the engine's existence, so any old examples or tutorials are basically useless unless some awesome people update them for the newer GameMaker: Studio, and the price is absolutely outrageous; GameMaker: Studio is actually quite awesome. I just have high expectations which were brought to me thanks to my top two choices. GameMaker: Studio is useful, no lie about it.
The possibilities with it are literally unlimited, because it uses native code for all of it's exports. This gives the engine a strength that Scirra's engines may never have because it takes quite a lot of time and work to set these kinds of things up, but Scirra, like me, believe it shouldn't matter as long as the exports still run well, can do everything the others can, etc. This is why I wish GameMaker: Studio's development process was more focused on making the engine easier to use. Regardless, the things that people have achieved with it are pretty awesome, and it's definitely a useful engine.
Regardless if my review is biased or not, it's probably not wrong to say that the map editor, or room editor in Game Maker's case, is the best of all 2D engines.
Games Made in GameMaker: Studio
WizardWizard is a difficult arcade platformer game with difficult controls and environments that really challenge your platforming skills. Although you're playing as a wizard in WizardWizard, you're not actually a wizard, but a total platformer chump that only knows how to jump. Don't worry though, you'll find yourself hating the game so much that you won't want to walk away from your device.
Find out more about the game in the Yoyogames game showcase, here!
Rock, Paper, Wizards!
I've never seen anything more entertaining than playing as a silly little wizard that participates in difficult magical match of roshambo, but upon seeing this I was absolutely amused and particularly lost in my ability to crush the minions of fae with my awesome rock, paper, scissors skills!
To learn more of this incredibly rediculous, yet amusing game, go to the Yoyogames showcase here!
So you're probably thinking... Chad, when are you going to actually show us a good game made in GameMaker: Studio. And by good, I mean downright freaking awesome, which there are plenty more of in the showcase, but I didn't think I'd spoil the fun of having the chance to check it out yourself. But the game Wanderlust: Adventures is, in my opinion, the coolest one of them all. Wonderlust: Adventures is an online, free roaming, action adventure RPG which allows you to play 4-player co-op that has you explore an epic world with real time day and night cycles, 40+ beasties, pets, and crafting. The game is pretty freaking awesome, and definitely proves what can be done with GameMaker: Studio better than what a lot of games made in it can.
To learn more about Wanderlust: Adventures, check out the showcase page here!
As I've already said something about the price, you might as well just check it out for yourself here.
4. Unity 3D
The possibilities with Unity 3D are basically as limited as Unreal Engine 4, although sometimes may be a bit harder to achieve. Just like Unreal Engine 4 though, it has a large selection of items that can be gathered from the marketplace located in the editor of the program. So, there is a lot to work with. The program may be more rigorous than Unreal Engine 4 and may have issues with running as well as it, but Unity 3D is a rather nice engine. To top that off, if you want to make a 2D game, there is a 2D version of the program which is completely oriented towards developing 2D games in a similar environment.
A large community uses Unity 3D in comparison to basically every other engine, so in order to find other developers that use the engine, all you have to do is be social about your developing. You'll eventually find hundreds of Unity users, they tend to be much more abundant than any other, at least from my experience. It'd be nice to have more Construct 2 users to talk to.
Games Made in Unity3D
Virtual Reality Karts, otherwise known as VR Karts, is as you would probably expect, a typical kart racing game. It's pretty neat though, because it's made specifically for virtually reality. Using the Oculus Rift in a Kart racing game must be pretty fun, and makes this game a pretty great example of Unity3D's Oculus Rift and multiplayer capabilities.
To check out the game, visit the game's website, here!
Seems to me like this game pretty well defines itself, doesn't it? Dodgball and Disco combined to make one great game where you're throwing your neon glowing balls across the dance floor at eachother. It's fast, action packed, and full of... Well, no adventure, but at least it has a ridiculously high replay value.
See more of this game on it's Steam page, here!
A Day In The Woods
A Day In The Woods is a "re-imagining of the traditional sliding puzzle game" - best stated by the page for the game on RetroEpic.com. The game has a very cute, yet oddly detailed wooden look to it that really makes the player feel like they're playing an actual sliding puzzle game. You're the fairy guardian of Little Red Riding Hood in the game, and use your sliding puzzle skills to navigate her through the dangers to her grandmothers house. The page on Retro Epic really defines the game in it's best, though, much better than I'm going to right now.
Well, you're going to probably dislike the fact that I rated this lower than any of the engines on this list, but the reasons are not only that the editor is bad and doesn't have the total potential that Unreal Engine 4 does. The other problem is the pricing.
And this is where all hell will probably break loose for Unity 3D users... But 1,500 $ or 75$ a month + the same amount for each export aside for the Windows App store...
This is ridiculous. I'd understand if it was as useful and easy to use as UE4, but it's not. And UE4 is free. This is why I'd never use this engine. But it's still a good engine. So, if you'd like to use it, don't let me stop you. Just be warned that if you will want to make money with it, you'll end up losing more money than you probably would have with Unreal Engine 4.
Experiment with every engine you're able to. In the end you'll find the best engine for you. You may not like my choices, and that's fine, but I based my choices on three factors: Ease of use, pricing, and capabilities. Unreal Engine, as far as I am concerned, is the most capable engine on the market right now. But if you prefer Unity 3D, then I would understand, as that is also a good engine.
Just keep in mind that there are hundreds to thousands of game engines on the net, all with their pros and cons. The most important thing is that you learn the most efficient way to game design, and not only for yourself in this regard. Some engines still use the 1990's method of path-finding, for God's sake. This is why it's important to learn the most you can about the different things that make up your game and make sure that you're using the most optimized methods of creation. This is important as a developer because you'll have less issues in the long run and things will ultimately become easier. This is also important for fans because they will criticize you if you don't use the most optimized methods of doing things. Fans have high expectations, so you MUST rise to the challenge and create a game that fans can truly enjoy.