Trending 10 BEST Video Game Design & Development Software 2021

List & Comparison of Top Game Development Software with Features, Pros, And Cons. Select the Best Video Game Software Based on Your Budget And Requirements:

Are you looking for the Best Video Game Software?

Read through this detailed review on the Top Game Making Software to put an end to your search.

In this technological world, Game Design Software is grabbing the attention of people all over the world. Gaming is no longer just for kids, instead, it’s attracting the interest of people from all age groups.

Game Development Software

Game Development Software: Overview With Statistics

According to fin-tech company Earnest, two-thirds of American households have at least one member who plays video games for more than 3 hours a week.

The statistics revealed by a survey recently conducted by the company that shows investments in gaming by age are given below.

Survey On Gaming By Age:

Gaming by Age
Graph showing the Age Group % of people who spend money on gaming.

[image source]

From the above graph, we find that the amount of money spent on gaming decreases with an increase in age and this is to be expected. However, what is unexpected is the number of people over 40 who invest money into gaming.

A common misconception among many people is that it is mostly high school students who indulge in gaming.

Earnest Survey On Gaming By Education Level:

Gaming by Education level
Illustration of the Qualification % of people who spend money on gaming.

From the above graph, it is evident that it is not just high school students who are spending money on gaming. Instead, the legion of gamers includes professionals like Engineers, Qualified Doctors, Creative Professionals, and people from other sophisticated professions.

The earnest survey makes one thing clear i.e. interest in gaming is not limited to a certain age group or qualification level. Perhaps, this is the reason for which the Video Game Software market is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 9% by 2023.

The key factors that are triggering this growth of the Game Making Software market are the increased use of smartphones and improved internet access & speed.

Today, the gaming development market is growing at a rapid pace, with a range of Game Development Tools enabling this growth.

To help you better understand the Video Game Development and Design Software involved in gaming development, we will go through some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Video Game Software such as “What is Game Development Software?” “How does it assist Game Development?” and much more.

Suggested Read =>> Understanding Vulkan Runtime Library and process to remove it from the system

Let’s go!!

Frequently Asked Questions About Game Making Software

Q #1) What is Game Development Software?

Answer: The simplest definition of a Game Making Software would be a specialized software application that facilitates the development of a video game.

The process involves the development of the video game concept, characters, and the environment. Coding is required to turn these elements into a playable video game.

Several Game Development Tools that allow both novice and experienced game developers to transform their ideas into real video games without too much coding are available now. These programs can execute several functions automatically to save developers the need to write code for several common functions.

Q #2) How does Video Game Software facilitate Game Development?

Answer: All gaming software development programs facilitate asset creation which is often an arduous and painstaking endeavor.

These programs provide a vast suite of useful Game Design Tools to ease and expedite this formidable task. Using these Game Design Tools, you can create gameplay physics, non-playing character AI, characters, icons, menus, sound effects, help screens, buttons, links to online stores, and much more.

The onerous task of creating game mechanics exactly, as you envisioned becomes much easier and rapid.

They also offer a library of both paid and free assets. As you do not have to create assets from scratch with these readymade assets, game design becomes simpler and quicker. However, you may not be able to precisely customize your game according to your ideas.

Q #3) What tools are used for Game Development?

Answer: Video Game Software comes with a wide array of tools for 3D models, items, terrain, environment, objects, behavior, and much more. Level editors and real-time tools allow developers to discern how a newly developed character or element will appear in the game environment.

There are different software packages according to the gaming categories. 3D software packages are more sophisticated and powerful when compared to 2D packages.

Role-playing game software is completely different from these two. Role-playing games (RPG) are characterized by their meticulous storylines and single character control. RPG Game Development Software provides the tools necessary for creating complex games in the genre.

Several Gaming Tools are available for free. As they don’t require the writing of source code, these easy-to-use packages have opened up game development for the multitudes. With these tools, it is easy to create games without the need for a software engineering degree.

All you need is basic computer skills and an organized approach to use these tools for making excellent games.

Q #4) Which Programming Language is used to make Video Games?

Answer: Most of the Game Developers use the C++ language to develop games. A high-level language, C++ is used to build most of the Windows and Console games. Another popular programming language in game development is Java.

A major reason for Java’s popularity among the Game developers/designers is that it is closely related to C++. This means that complex video game systems can be developed using this programming language.

The other less common languages that are used for game design and development are C# and web languages such as HTML5, CSS3, SQL, and JavaScript.

Fact Check: The market research on Game Development Software by Technavio revealed that the Game Making Software market is expected to grow by US$ 40.65 million between 2018 and 2022.

Following is an illustration of all the key findings of the Video Game Software market research report by Technavio:

Game Development Software Market
Illustration of how the Game Development Software market will grow during 2018-2022.

[image source]

From the above infographic, we find that the game design software market will experience incremental growth between 2018 and 2022. We also find that video game streaming will be one of the key factors driving the market growth and that market will be moderately concentrated with few players who occupy the market share.

So, who are these market players who occupy most of the market share of Video Game Software? We will discuss and review all these tools in the following sections.

Pro-Tip: While choosing between the different Game Making Software Tools available today, go for a solution that requires little or no coding knowledge and programming skills. Additionally, make sure that the software allows flexibility in game development and ensures a reliable game design. Last but not least, look for a Video Game Software that comes with a wide array of tools for 3D models, items, terrain, environment, objects, behavior, and much more.
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List Of The Best Game Design Software

Given below is a list of the best Video Game Making Software that is available today.

#1) GDevelop
#2) Autodesk
#3) Stencyl
#4) Construct 2
#5) Twine
#6) Unity
#7) GameSalad
#8) GameMaker Studio 2
#9) RPG Maker
#10) GameFroot

Comparison Table Of The Top 4 Game Development Tools

Tool NameFree VersionFeaturesOur RatingsBest For
GDevelop

GDevelop Logo
Yes Game deployment on multiple platforms, Sprites with multiple animations, Particle Emitters, Tiled sprites, Text objects, Support for
custom collision masks, Physics engine, pathfinding, Platformer engine, Draggable objects, Anchor, Tweens, etc.
4/5Open-source. Intuitive and easy-to-use interface.

Support for HTML5 and native games.
Autodesk

Autodesk Logo
YesComprehensive list of features for rendering, animation,
rigging, modeling exporting and more.
Extensive support from Autodesk and an active user community.
4/5An industry standard and top preference for animation
and modeling in AAA games.

Using the MEL language, you can download or write
custom scripts.

Realistic and powerful rendering is combined
with ease-of-use.
Stencyl

Stencyl Logo
YesIntuitive and comprehensive toolsets to streamline workflow and
accelerate development.

A design approach based on the drag-and-drop concept employed by
the popular MIT Scratch project.

Scene designer tools such as flood fill, grid-snapping, zooming,
selection and more to manipulate terrain, tiles, and characters.
5/5A cross-platform tool that will allow you to publish
Mac, Windows, Flash, Android, and iOS games without coding.

Advanced users can utilize Haxe scripting to extend the
engine and create personalized classes.

Since games are exported to native code, performance on
all platforms are very fast.
Construct2

Construct Logo
NoIntuitive and easy-to-use interface, game development as easy as dragging and dropping objects, good built-in physics engine, export to several major platforms.4.5/5Easy to learn.

Allows you to make impressive games in a short period of time.

Active support community.

One-time purchase payment makes you eligible for lifetime free updates.

Suitable for beginners with little or no programming language skills or experience.

Let’s Start!!

#1) GDevelop

Best For:

  • Open-source. Intuitive and easy-to-use interface.
  • Support for HTML5 and native games.
  • Comprehensive documentation for quick learning.
  • Multi-language support.

GDevelop

Open-source free software, GDevelop allows developers to make games without programming skills. It allows you to create objects for games such as sprites, text objects, video objects, and custom shapes.

You can control the behavior of objects using different tools such as the physics engine that allows objects to exhibit realistic behavior. Additionally, the screen editor allows you to edit all levels as well as create them.

You can use the events feature of this free Software to define reusable functions that can be utilized as expressions, conditions, and actions for games. The other game creation programs do not provide this feature.

Pricing: As this is an open-source package, there are no fees or charges of any kind. The source code is also freely available.

Features: Game deployment on multiple platforms, Sprites with multiple animations, Particle Emitters, Tiled sprites, Text objects, Support for custom collision masks, Physics engine, Pathfinding, Platformer engine, Draggable objects, Anchor, and Tweens.

Cons:

  • Needs more in-depth tutorials to cover all aspects.
  • Object behavior is generalized.

Publishing Platform: GDevelop can make HTML5 games that can be exported to both iOS and Android. It can also create native games for Linux and Windows.

Verdict: Select this free game development software for quickly making a wide variety of 2D games without coding.

Website URL: GDevelop


#2) Autodesk

Best For:

  • Industry-standard and top preference for animation and modeling in AAA games.
  • Using the MEL language, you can download or write custom scripts.
  • Realistic and powerful rendering is combined with ease-of-use.

Autodesk

Autodesk offers a suite of programs for making the most stunning visuals, immersive environments, and 3D models. Unsurprisingly, Autodesk is at the heart of many blockbuster AAA games.

With Maya, you can create the most realistic 3D models. The program allows responsive manipulation and fast playback of character rigs with Parallel Rig Evaluation.

A toolset is provided with a full list of features for animation, character creation, and editing. This versatile platform can be easily customized and integrated into the game development pipeline.

Pricing:

  • Maya and 3DS MAX: Starting at $125 per month.
  • Maya LT: $30 per month
  • A free version is also available.

Features: Comprehensive list of features for rendering, animation, rigging, modeling exporting, and much more. Extensive support from Autodesk and an active user community.

Cons:

  • Both 3DS Max and Maya have steep learning curves as they are feature-rich.
  • Autodesk programs are not cross-platform. They work only on Windows.

Publishing Platform: Windows only

Verdict: Select these software suites for the most comprehensive tools that are used by leading game development studios for the biggest and best 3D games.

Website URL: Autodesk


#3) Stencyl

Best For:

  • A cross-platform tool that will allow you to publish Mac, Windows, Flash, Android, and iOS games without coding.
  • Advanced users can utilize Haxe scripting to extend the engine and create personalized classes.
  • As games are exported to native code, performance on all platforms is very fast.

Stencyl

Stencyl allows inexperienced developers to make stunning and addictive 2D games without the need to write code. It provides intuitive and comprehensive toolsets to streamline your workflow and accelerate development.

This program manages all technical details while allowing you to focus on what is most important i.e. designing and customizing the game according to your ideas.

The game design approach is based on the drag-and-drop concept employed by the popular MIT Scratch project. Although you can make use of several readymade elements, you can also write your own code, custom classes, and import libraries.

Pricing:

  • Free for beginners (Web publishing only).
  • $99 per annum for indie developers (Web and Desktop publishing only).
  • $199 per annum for studios (Desktop, Web, Android, and iOS publishing).

Features: Intuitive and comprehensive toolsets to streamline workflow and accelerate development. A design approach based on the drag-and-drop concept employed by the popular MIT Scratch project. Scene designer tools such as Flood fill, Grid-snapping, Zooming, Selection, and much more to manipulate Terrain, Tiles, and Characters.

Cons:

  • Some features do not work well for Android.
  • Suitable for small games only.

Publishing Platform: Stencyl can publish Flash, HTML5, Linux, Mac, Windows, Android, iPad, and iPhone games.

Verdict: If you are interested in an open-source game development ecosystem that allows you to develop 2D games without any coding knowledge, then Stencyl is a good choice.

Website URL: Stencyl


#4) Construct 2

Best For:

  • Easy to learn.
  • It allows you to make impressive games in a short time.
  • Active support community.
  • One-time purchase payment makes you eligible for free updates for a lifetime.
  • Suitable for beginners with little or no programming language skills or experience.

Construct 2

With Construct 2, you can create 2D HTML5 games without any coding knowledge. Due to streamlined and easy workflow, the developers can create games in days rather than months. Creating games is as easy as dragging and dropping objects, assigning them behaviors, and utilizing events.

The intuitive and easy-to-use interface allows you to develop games straight away, even if you have no experience in this field. The layout editor enables the easy creation and editing of levels using the what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) approach. With the embedded image editor, you can make rapid modifications to object graphics.

Pricing:

  • Personal License: $199.99
  • Business License: $499.99
  • Business Upgrade: $299.99

Features: Intuitive and easy-to-use interface, Game development as easy as dragging and dropping objects, Good built-in physics engine, Export to several major platforms.

Cons:

  • The free version has very limited features.
  • As it relies on JavaScript, mobile performance is poor.

Publishing Platform: You can publish your games to your website, Scirra Arcade, Dropbox, Google Drive, Chrome Web Store, Facebook, iOS Apps, Windows 8, Firefox Marketplace, Android (using Crosswalk), and iOS (using CocoonJS).

Verdict: One of the most cost-effective game development software that allows you to make both 2D and 3D games with an intuitive and easy-to-use interface.

Website URL: Construct 2


#5) Twine

Best For:

  • Twine makes it easy to create interactive text games.
  • It requires little or no programming knowledge.
  • Free web and desktop app.

Twine

Twine is an open-source program that allows you to create non-linear and highly interactive text-based games. This intuitive, free Game Making Software requires no coding experience. If you have the proficiency, you can include JavaScript, CSS, Images, Conditional logic, and Variables.

The remarkable simplicity of this tool means that anyone who can write fiction can make a text game with several different endings or create a gripping mystery adventure. It is one of the best platforms for developing interactive fiction.

Pricing: Twine is open source software and, hence it is a free game making software.

Features: The versatile visual platform allows you to create complex storylines. Its intuitive interface allows you to start developing interactive fiction right away.

Cons:

  • You will need programming knowledge (Javascript, CSS, etc.) for customization.
  • Polls can be improved.

Publishing Platform: This software can publish HTML.
Verdict: Twine’s graphical interface allows developers to visualize storylines for quicker development.

Website URL: Twine


#6) Unity

Best For:

  • Leading app for game development, virtual reality and augmented reality.
  • Extremely easy to use, especially when compared to other platforms with similar capabilities.
  • More economical than the other Game Development Tools of the same caliber.

Unity

Unity is the game development suite of choice for leading studios and developers of AAA games. Unity editor provides Play mode to monitor the effects of your iterations in real-time, thereby accelerating workflow.

The versatile editor provides all necessary tools for creating characters, graphics, and the environment as well as functions for creating top-quality gameplay and logic.

Pricing:

  • Free version offered if revenue and funding do not exceed $100,000 per annum.
  • Plus subscription offered to hobbyists for $25 per month.
  • Pro subscription is available for studios and professionals at $125 per month.

Features: Fully supports cross-platform development. The active forum provides excellent technical support. Assets store contains plenty of resources for rapid development.

Cons:

  • You must pay extra for the mobile version.
  • The Mono 2.6 runtime is not fully compatible with .NET and lacks the latest C# features.

Publishing Platform: With Unity, developers can publish to all major platforms that include TV, Console, Desktop, VR, and Mobile.

Verdict: Select if you want to create high-quality 3D games with the most user-friendly interface.

Website URL: Unity


#7) GameSalad

Best For:

  • The intuitive interface is very easy to use.
  • It requires no coding experience.

GameSalad

GameSalad is a very easy-to-use game making tool for 2D games. It allows you to create 2D games without any coding experience. With this simple platform, you can even make your first game in an hour.

Simple drag & drop and one-click feature speeds up game development and even allows children to create games. GameSalad is marketed as an educational tool for introducing game design to children.

Pricing:

  • Gamesalad offers a trial version of the software as well as subscription packages.
  • The Basic subscription has a $17 monthly fee when paid annually. It provides all the necessary tools for development.
  • The Pro subscription has a $25 monthly when paid annually.
  • 50% discounts are available for educators and students.

Features: Good technical support. Publishes to all major platforms. It is one of the very first platforms to introduce drag-and-drop game development.

Cons:

  • A limited physics engine does not provide in-depth control to customize gameplay.
  • The limited set of features and functions makes this suitable only for very basic games.

Publishing Platform: With the Pro subscription, you can publish to all major platforms including HTML, desktop, and mobile.

Verdict: GameSalad provides a gentle, fun, and easy introduction to programming for children who are completely new to coding.

Website URL: GameSalad


#8) GameMaker Studio 2

Best For:

  • Very easy to learn.
  • The active community offers technical help and lots of tutorials.
  • The marketplace provides plenty of assets and resources.

GameMaker Studio 2

GameMaker allows you to make high-quality 2D games even if you have zero coding experience. Object editor provides all required features to modify and manipulate the game object. You can simply use the drag and drop features without the need for writing code.

You can craft the game that you desire by selecting actions and events from the extensive built-in library. The code preview feature allows you to monitor the code behind different elements so that you can hone your programming skills and customize your game with high precision.

Pricing:

  • A 30-day free trial offers all software features for you to try out.
  • You can purchase a 12-month Creator license at $39 to publish games on Windows and Mac.
  • Permanent Developer license can be purchased for $99 for publishing games on Windows, Mac Ubuntu, Amazon Fire, HTML5, Android, and iOS.

Features: Offers GML (GameMaker Language), a simple programming language to fine-tune your project, simple shader support, Room, shader, image, and sprite editors are intuitive & versatile and supports 3D game development in addition to core 2D game focus.

Cons:

  • You must purchase extra plugins to export to certain platforms.
  • Cannot embed videos within games.

Publishing Platform: With GameMaker Studio 2, you can export your game to major platforms on consoles, mobiles, PC, and the web.

Verdict: One of the best tools for 2D game development on account of its active online community and a long history of reliable use.

Website URL: GameMaker Studio 2


#9) RPG Maker

Best For:

  • It allows you to make RPG games without coding and art skills.
  • Provides room for experienced programmers to make use of their coding skills.

RPG Maker

RPG Maker MV is the latest installment and best version out of several options. This version builds upon the philosophy of developing games without programming expertise. An abundance of Sample data, Character generators, Sample maps, and other resources have been included in the engine to streamline projects.

The latest version includes a vastly expanded database containing characters, classes, skills, items, weapons, armor, animations, tilesets, events, actions and more.

Pricing: RPG Maker offers several versions of its evolving software for purchase. They range from $25 to $80. All of these versions can be used on a trial basis for 30 days.

Features: Active community offers technical support and advice, Inexpensive license for commercial use, Extensive database and libraries expedite RPG game development.

Cons:

  • Since there is no manual scripting capability, 3D support is not present.
  • No built-in feature for real-time testing. Scripts and plugins must be used.

Publishing Platform: With RPG Maker, you can export your game to Windows, HTML5, Linux, OSX, Android, and iOS.

Verdict: Comes with an extensive marketplace for gaming assets and elements to speed up development. Ideal for new and experienced retro RPG enthusiasts who want a tool that allows both the drag-and-drop approach as well as JavaScript programming.

Website URL: RPG Maker


#10) GameFroot

Best For:

  • Simplifies game development for beginners without any coding knowledge.
  • Developers can conveniently create objects, structures, and terrains according to their needs.

GameFroot

Gamefroot simplifies game development for beginners without any coding knowledge. It allows novices to craft quick and responsive games on mobile and the web. Developers can conveniently create objects, structures, and terrains according to their needs.

They can also create interactive items easily in addition to selecting them from the big database. You can use the intuitive tools menu to control all gaming elements.

Beginners can add simple behaviors, whereas, advanced users can use the editor for more complicated functions.

Pricing: Gamefroot is a free game making software. However, you can pay for a greater variety of sounds, images, characters, terrain and other elements of gaming.

Features: Intuitive tools menu to control all gaming elements, drag and drop interface, craft quick and responsive games on mobile and the web.

Cons:

  • The engine is not as powerful as other game development programs.
  • Registration is necessary to access all features of the editor.

Publishing Platform: Gamefroot allows you to publish games on HTML5.
Verdict: With Gamefroot, you can develop a 2D game in just one day even if you have no prior experience.

Website URL: GameFroot


Conclusion

Each game development software that we have listed above comes with its fair share of pros and cons. Therefore, the best video game software for you will vary based on your needs and circumstances.

It might be tempting to single out Autodesk’s suite of tools (Maya, 3DS Max and Shotgun) as the best development software as it boasts the BEST portfolio (Call of Duty, Deus Ex, Watch Dogs 2, Dead By Daylight and more) and an extremely loyal customer base of the very top professional studios (Eidos Montreal, EA Sports, Bioware, Ubisoft and more).

However, you have to consider the high cost and steep learning curve for these incredibly versatile tools. Unity may be a great alternative as it is not too far behind with its spectacular portfolio and a long list of distinguished developers.

Unity offers an intuitive interface and the simplest platform for creating the very best AAA games. So, studios and experienced professionals will want to weigh the versatility of Autodesk with the simplicity of Unity.

If you have fairly good programming skills and a proclivity for 2D games, then you can rely on Stencyl. The software’s record speaks for itself. Stencyl has a long list of number one and top-ranked games on Google Play and App Store to its name.

Gamefroot is a great resource for making simple 2D games very quickly for free. GameMaker Studio has a very loyal fan base spanning two decades for several good reasons. You can expect awesome tools for 2D games and a responsive community to answer your issues.

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Our Review Process

We spent 6 hours researching the most popular game software development packages available on the market. Prior to making final recommendations, we reviewed over 20 different game development tools to select our final list of the 10 best options. We read over 50 user reviews, including negative ones and tested the free tools and demo versions ourselves.

You can rely on this extensive research to zero in on those packages that are best for your requirements.

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We hope you enjoyed reading our review of free as well as paid Game Development Software Programs!