In his free time, Candle Hour enjoys programming his own video games.
You don't need to be a computer wiz to make your own video game. With a multitude of programs available on the market, it's easier than ever to make your vision a reality. Most of the programs on this list incorporate 3D engines, and with a little practice, your final product can look and play just like a mainstream title!
24 Game Creation Tools for the Beginner Developers
- 3D Game Studio A8
- Adventure Game Studio (AGS)
- DX Studio
- The Blender Game Engine
- CryEngine 3
- DarkBASIC Professional
- The Games Factory 1 and 2
- Game Maker (Yo Yo Games)
- Multimedia Fusion 2
- Engine 101
- RPG Builder 3D
- FPS Creator X10
- Platinum Arts Sandbox Free 3D Game Maker
- Scrolling Game Develpment Kit
- 3D Adventure Studio
- AGE Adventure Game Engine
- LawMaker Game Engine
- Game Editor
- Reality Factor
- Adventure Maker
- The 3D Gamemaker
- Silent Walk FPS Creator
- Wintermute Engine
1. 3D Game Studio A8
Having used 3D Game Studio since the A5 version, I can say that it is a very powerful tool for creating 3D games. Whether it be an FPS, adventure game, or any other type of game that you wish to create, 3d Game Studio A8 may be your all-in-one solution. This package has two main programs a 3D world editor and a 3D material editor.
While in the world editor, you can create normal flat surfaces, unique terrain, unique architecture, and custom lighting. You can also import your own textures and add scripting to your world. The material editor is specifically for characters and objects that you will place in your world.
After creating the shapes of people and objects, you may import a skin and apply it to your creation. If the object or person needs to be animated, you can do so in the material editor and the animations can be called in the script for your world as a command by the player(such as walking, jumping, swimming, etc.) or for other events needed in the world.
A8 comes with a sample game that you can dissect to check how scripting is done as well as prefabricated materials, structures, and scripts to help if you are a novice. So you could construct a game with little to no scripting knowledge. A8 also has a huge community and a site with many resources.
2. Adventure Game Studio (AGS)
Adventure Game Studio is primarily used to create graphic point n' click adventure games—a technique that series such as Sierra's Space Quest, King's Quest, and Day of the Tentacle utilize.
I have used this editor to create an adventure game of my own, and I must say that if you are intent on making a point n' click adventure, AGS is the best you'll find for the project. Everything from rooms, characters, inventory items, dialogue, sounds, voice-overs, cut scenes are all done from the one editor to create an entire game. Best of all AGS is completely free.
The editor and many games made from the program are available for download from their website.
3. DX Studio
Following the same core principles as 3D Game Studio A8 in which you can create worlds and characters, scripting is done in Java. This allows for games and applications alike to be made browser-based. There is a free and commercial version available as well.
4. The Blender Game Engine
The Blender Game Engine allows you to create games in 3D and otherwise. It is primarily a graphic interface for creation, and uses what they call logic bricks to assign actions/movements, etc.
5. CryEngine 3
CryEngine 3 is free for non-commercial use, but a commercial version is also available. It is primarily used to create 3D games. The results from this engine border on photorealistic. If you are thinking of using this engine to create a commercial game or location, I would recommend downloading the free version to learn the basics before purchasing to be sure you have the necessary skill set to use the product.
6. DarkBASIC Professional
This creation software, made by The Game Creators, uses DirectX 9.0c. It is free for home use and available for commercial and educational purchases through a license purchase. It allows for the creation of any type of game, including multiplayer. You can edit your game as you write script in one window and check that it follows your task in the test window.
7. The Games Factory 1 and 2
These programs are best utilized to create 2D games. It is a good introduction to creating games. You can piece together a game from what is included or create your own importing your own objects (illustrations, sound, etc.) to make it unique to you. This system is primarily windows based.
8. Game Maker (Yo Yo Games)
Programming experience isn't needed with Game Maker, owned by Yo Yo Games. You can make your own games and have them hosted on the Yo Yo Games website. Many upgrades have taken place recently and support has been added to create iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad games to be sold through the apple store.
9. Multimedia Fusion 2
Since it was made as a drag and drop creator, you don't need previous knowledge of computer programming to use Multimedia Fusion 2—but it does have a programming language that when learned can help you create even better games. The program can be used to create other applications as well as games.
10. Engine 001
This game creation system allows you to make games that can be used on PC or other systems such as the iPhone. It is primarily used for making 2D games. If you want to sell your games commercially, you must purchase a license that costs you monthly.
11. RPG Builder 3D
This program is used to make RPG-themed games. 3D development is its primary focus, and it will run on PC and other systems.
12. FPS Creator X10
Much like the 3D Game Maker, FPS Creator X10 is primarily for beginners. It lets you use prefabricated objects and structures and assign them actions. However, the uniqueness is somewhat lacking, as it is difficult to customize and add your own objects.
13. Platinum Arts Sandbox Free 3D Game Maker
This engine is open-source and free to use, and is best for those looking to create 3D first-person games. The engine does have a lot of the same features as more advanced commercial engines, and I have played a few beautiful games that were made using it. Like anything, it does require some learning the utilize its full potential.
14. Scrolling Game Development Kit
This game creation system is used to build 2D side-scrolling games and it runs on PC. It is a free, open-source program that is appropriate for a beginner, intermediate, or advanced creator. You can create fully functional games without coding, and if you are more knowledgeable, you can use scripting to make a very specific game.
15. 3D Adventure Studio
3D Adventure Studio is primarily used to create 3D worlds for adventure games. It works on PC.
16. AGE Adventure Game Engine
This program is used to create first-person perspective games like Myst or The Journeyman Project. It allows you to create an inventory, add your own world, incorporate cutscenes, and have realtime conversations with characters.
17. LawMaker Game Engine
LawMaker is a game engine for making 3D games, focusing on FPS, but making other games is possible if you know the scripting. It rivals most features contained in other big-name commercial engines.
18. Game Editor
Though it is primarily used to create 2D games, Game Editor can be used to incorporate 3D elements as 3D sprites if you are skilled. You can create games for PC, Linux, Mac, iPhone, or iPad.
19. Reality Factory
This is another 3D engine that includes everything of most top-grade commercial engines. It will allow you to create FPSs, RPGs, adventure games, and any other game you could think of. Advanced graphics and lighting are it's claim to fame.
20. Adventure Maker
Adventure Maker is a good system for creating adventure games in the first- and third-person perspectives, and it is possible to make both 2D and 3D games. I personally have used this program to create a few games of my own. If you are interested in creating games like Myst or The Journeyman Project, this is the program for you.
It is very user-friendly. You can construct a good, full-sized game without scripting, but it has a scripting language to help those who want something more advanced. This program also has the ability to fabricate panoramic scenes, immersing the user in your game. So whether you want to make a point n click or a 3D game, give this program a try.
21. The 3D Gamemaker
Used primarily for creating FPS and adventure games, The 3D Gamemaker is mostly for beginners. It is difficult to customize, so you are left putting together games from prefabricated characters and structures instead of creating your own. It works well for someone who is new to creating games as it allows you to see how the in-game dynamics can work before moving on to a more advanced tool.
22. Silent Walk FPS Creator
Silent Walk is a strictly FPS creator. It works well and is very user-friendly. It does have its limitations, though; it only has square tiles to place your textures. The lighting options are OK but not awesome, and you can only really have two types of weapons. I would recommend this editor to a beginner or intermediate game creator. It is customizable, and you can import your own textures and objects.
SLUDGE is an adventure game engine used to create point n' click adventure games like Sierra's Space Quest and Kings Quest. Compatible with PC, Linux, and MAC OS X, everything can be created in one editor.
24. Wintermute Engine
Wintermute Engine is a complex tool that is used to make point n' click adventure games. Once you get used to it, you can utilize the many versatile features to produce something really great.
Samuel Franklin on August 30, 2014:
I've only used Game Maker (not very well might I add) but I really enjoyed it. I'd also love to make something for mobile one day, I think that would be particularly fun.
Candle Hour (author) from North America on February 14, 2014:
Hi, yes I was thinking of including mobile game makers :)
Sarah Forester from Australia on February 01, 2014:
I've used both Game Maker and Adventure Game Studio. It was a really fun process and I'd love to make something for iOS/Android one day.
Candle Hour (author) from North America on April 19, 2013:
Manu on April 18, 2013:
Is this only PC's or can we also make for Browser based games?
Candle Hour (author) from North America on January 04, 2013:
BlogSeno - no problem :)
BlogSeno.com on December 20, 2012:
Nice Post, i like it! Thx for sharing friend!
Candle Hour (author) from North America on December 16, 2012:
Black - thanks.
Black on December 13, 2012:
Keep up the goods mate........
Candle Hour (author) from North America on July 04, 2012:
Hi, not quite sure what you mean by post to your website. Most of these game making programs would build a final game file so you should be able to upload that to your website for others to download. Is that what you are looking for?
Fladya on July 04, 2012:
I love adventure maker so much
but I can't post my game on website since I'm using the free one
is there any free program similar to adventure maker that let you to post game on website?
*sorry for bad grammar
Candle Hour (author) from North America on June 22, 2012:
Banan - I'll check out Unity and UDK, thanks :)
Banan on June 22, 2012:
UDK and Unity are definitely missing. They should be in the top 3 along with CryEngine. This list should be very helpful for people who are willing to start with game development :)
Candle Hour (author) from North America on November 02, 2011:
Hi J-u-i-c-e I will check out UDK & Unity I am not sure if I have used them before but a few years ago I was on a mission to make my own game and tested quite a few before I settledd on a couple that suited my purposes, but maybe this will be a top 27 list some, who knows :)
j-u-i-c-e from Waterloo, On on November 02, 2011:
That's a great list, terrektwo. I haven't heard of some of these engines, though UDK and Unity definitely need to be added! Thanks for putting the list together with all of the links.