The game starts with an idea. Hopefully, it leads to a design document, which outlines the shape of the game. Then, you will need a game engine. Yes, you – yes, you, future game developer, I mean you! You need a base to build the game up from. But if you‘re just starting out, what game engine should you choose? What would facilitate your creations the fastest?
At the most basic level, you can try RPG Maker. It‘s not free, but it sets you on the path of making JRPGs. Sadly, it‘s meant only for JRPGs, and it shows. However, the game mechanics are already there or easy to modify. There‘s probably no game engine that would let you have a mobile character faster than this. You don‘t even need visual assets that much – with some luck and gumption, you could make do with the default assets in the game. Some people have – and they‘re already selling their wares on Steam. And you could join them, provided you come up with a fun JRPG plot and find some coding examples for more fun functions in the game. Failing that, just tell the player that the Princess had been captured and make him fight a horde of skeletons on the way to the rescue.
However, you might be interested in pursuing options that allow you to make 3D games. However, that means getting 3D assets from somewhere. We recommend that “somewhere” be CGTrader. It‘s one of the leading online marketplaces for stock 3D models. Its library of low-polygon – which means “good for games“” – models is tens of thousands strong. Some of the models are even available for free. The only thing you need to know is which formats does your software support. But for that, you need to choose your 3D game engine!
One of the easier ways to start would be Goo Create. It‘s an open-source platform that works on OpenGL. To put into more layman terms, it means that everything you make will run on basically every browser under the sun. It supports visual programming, too, which is one of the most trumpeted of their features. Goo Create is good for both VR and regular game developers. What‘s more, the creations can be seamlessly integrated into websites. And you know what that means: lower requirements for visual quality!
Unity is a more advanced option. From 2D to 3D, it can handle all. This has lead to its popularity with the indie game crowd, as well as various industry professionals making their dream projects through the magic of Kickstarter. Unity is free and with certain plug-ins, it can maintain visual programming, so you wouldn‘t need to learn a line of code. The engine is also gifted with a lot of tutorials, what with being one of the first free professional engines.
An even bigger kid on the block is Unreal Engine 4. UE3 was used in a bunch of games, and UE4 seems to be garnering popularity as well. The newest iteration of the engine is free, which is a great boon for all aspiring game designers out there. Unlike Unity, UE4 has native support of visual programming through Blueprints (which can be traded, too). It also features all sorts of swanky other features to boot – much like with any engine for beginners; the specifics are a little too involved to list. Just get the engine, watch the tutorials available – UE4 has a sizeable community – and get going! UE4 is used to powers games that range from mobile and VR to AAA titles, so the scalability is awesome.
Cryengine is a newcomer to the free game engine ring. The announcement hit us this year on the GDC, and life can hardly be better. Cryengine was used to “achieve” amazing visuals for various games, and now it‘s accessible to everyone, including you. Visual programming is also supported, so you’re once again welcome even without coding experience. Cryengine comes packaged with such goodies as the level-of-detail generator, so it‘s as powerful a tool suite as you could want. Back in the paid days, Cryengine used to have less in the way of tutorials than Unity or UE, but now it‘s making up for that shortfall.
So there you have it. You have five fantastic game engines to choose from and CGTrader to save you from modeling anything yourself. With tools like this at your fingertips, why wouldn’t you develop a video game of your own? So don’t just sit there, rise up, download and spring to action! The world needs your video game!