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Free Game Development Tools For Students

Creating a game used to require excellent programming knowledge, but these days there are several game development tools which do not need coding. Using graphical user interfaces, drag and drop level editors, and event systems to layout behaviours and add special effects students can dip their toes into game development long before knowing how to code. The following are just a handful of free tools for beginners to get started. For more advanced tools please see my video on advanced tools for game development.

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GameSalad

This tool allows a developer to create a game quickly and easily without writing a line of code. Features include:

  • Wide behavior library
  • Visual drag and drop interface
  • Integrated physics engine

The behaviour library allows a developer to create the actions that he prefers from a library of advanced and basic game behaviours. Students can use simple logic to determine the actions and behaviours of game objects. For example, if you wanted to make a player graphic move left on the press of a button, users need only drag the behaviour onto the button.

The free version of GameSalad allows creating, previewing and publishing games to the iOS and web platform. The pro version allows monetizing the game and publishing it to Windows 8 and Google Play Store.

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Stencyl

Stencyl offers a wonderful toolset and vast platform support. It does not require coding and it has an excellent drag and drop interface that is inspired by MIT Scratch project. Developers remodeled MIT’s project through adding other features. Code blocks dragging and dropping has never been this simple.

The software allows innovative game developers to write code, import libraries and develop their own games. They can also build worlds and design scenes with the software’s nifty Scene Designer. Apart from the world editor, there is an Actor editor. This is a tool that allows one to create NPCs and characters and alter their look and behaviour. With Stencyl one can create wonderful games like slot machine online 2017.

Stencyl Basic allows creation and publishing of games to their site. Publishing a game to Windows, iOS, Google Play and Mac requires one to pay 199 dollars per year.

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GameMaker: Studio

This is the widely used tool for both newbies and professional developers that can create beautiful 2D games assisted by its built-in script library (game creator language). Developers can import character sprites, animations and fonts and thanks to a large community of artists and developers, there are a plethora of resources available online.

GameMaker can produce solid, high-quality physics-based games with the help of its Box2D physics engine and shader effects.

Its export modules let developers create a game and several executables that can be exported to several platforms by just pressing a button.

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FlowLab

This tool allows budding developers to create iOS and browser games directly in the browser itself. It has every tool that a student would need and since the toolset is kept online developers can share their games easily.

FlowLab has a unique programming that allows the user to connect behaviours in order to come up with a refined game logic. It also contains built-in drawing and animation tools that let users create animations, characters and NPCs.

The free version of FlowLab contains fifty objects and five levels and it allows users to create three games only. Its pro version has unlimited levels and objects and it allows the creation of an unlimited number of games. It also allows publishing games to iTunes.

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Sploder

This is an online tool that allows amateurs to develop web games with several toolsets. Users can create space adventures, arcade games, shooters or platformers. Every genre has its own tools and there is a physics game developer for developing physics-based games. There is also a graphics editor for creating pixelated characters.

Sploder allows publishing games to the site to have them rated by others.

 

The Choice is Yours 

It is worth trying out the different programs and creating a simple game in each. This way you can get a feel for the engine, it’s behaviours and pick the one that suits your skill set. Either way, these will give you a taste of game design and development that can lead to more advanced programs and a career in game creation.

 

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