6 Game Development Software Applications (With Key Features)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 3 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Game development applications and tools can help game developers and creators make realistic games with advanced features. Both beginner and advanced game developers use these tools to enhance the quality and performance of their games. Knowing about some popular game development tools can help you make better games and increase the quality of your work output. In this article, we discuss the utility and advantages of game development software tools, list six popular tools and share some tips on selecting a suitable application as per your requirements.

What Are Game Development Software Applications?

Game development software applications are tools that help game developers make video games. They typically simplify processes such as converting assets, designing, level editing, compilation, simulation, testing and debugging. It is important to note that game development tools and applications typically get designed for one game and re-used for other games by the same developer or company. These tools usually have no value for regular game players, and outside of the development team, they have very few applications.

Game development tools help game designers and developers create concepts, characters and environments. Usually, some coding is required to convert these elements into a consistent video game. These tools are helpful for beginner and expert game developers as they can help expedite processes by automating the code for common game features. Using such tools, game developers can create gameplay physics, characters, menus, effects, buttons and links.

Related: How To Become A Game Developer

Benefits Of Using Game Development Applications

Here are some prominent reasons why game development studios use these tools and applications:

Higher efficiency

Game development tools help save time in coding different elements by automating development processes with similar functions and features. They help game designers and developers create, control and deploy different game elements quickly with simple drag-and-drop tools. This makes the entire game development cycle more efficient and reduces the time to complete a game, which helps developers adhere to strict delivery timelines. So, these tools ensure that gaming companies and studios can create and launch several games quickly.

Improved access

Many game development tools are available free of cost, and even most paid ones have a free version. This helps democratise the game development industry and improves the capabilities of independent game developers and designers. Without a large team or budget, independent developers can conceptualise, design, build, test and launch engaging games. So, game development tools help make it possible for small game developers to launch quality games and compete with large studios.

Better cost-effectiveness

Game development applications help ensure that lean teams can develop engaging games quickly. This helps reduce the number of designers, developers and testers required to make a game and makes the process of game development cost-effective. Gaming studios and independent game developers can afford to build cost-effective video games using such tools as using them has a low and fixed cost.

Increased game quality

One of the most significant benefits of using such tools is that game designers and developers do not require expert knowledge of every game development process and step. They can use these tools to compile, convert, test and replicate different elements without knowing how to code them individually. This helps improve the game quality and gameplay as game developers can create more realistic models, elements, physical rules and textures.

Related: How To Become A Game Tester (With Skills And Salary)

6 Game Development Software Applications

Here is a list of six game development tools that game studios and developers commonly use:

1. Stencyl

Stencyl is a tool for game developers with limited coding experience. The software has a simple drag-and-drop interface that allows you to add different gaming elements and features easily. You can also build game environments easily using features such as flood fill, zooming and selection to manipulate tiles and terrains. Stencyl can help create games for different operating systems without specialised coding knowledge. Users with advanced coding skills can use Stencyl to enhance their game design by adding complex code and graphic elements.

2. Unity

Unity can help you create 2D, 3D, virtual reality and augmented reality games. This easy-to-use software uses a component-based design approach, which means that every single element that gets created in the game is considered an individual object, and users can attach different features and properties to it. This helps make the gameplay more nuanced, as each element in the game can get specific behaviour and functions.

Unity also offers game developers an asset store to purchase popular elements such as advanced textures, payment solutions and networking fixes. As Unity is very cost-effective, many leading gaming studios and developers use it to create and publish their games.

3. Autodesk

Autodesk helps make and animate realistic visual elements, characters, environments and 3D objects. It uses 3DS, which is a multi-feature tool that allows you to create 3D objects with different models and textures. Autodesk also uses Maya Embedded Language or MEL, which helps you animate different elements. Autodesk is notably more complex than other game development software as it uses MEL language that allows users to download and write custom code. However, it offers comprehensive support and resources to help users simplify the process of creating and animating 3D elements. The Autodesk user community is also very active.

Considering the powerful performance and features that Autodesk offers, it is usually the first choice for studios and developers for animating and modelling 3D objects. Character creation, animation, editing, rendering, rigging and designing becomes very quick and easy with Autodesk's comprehensive toolset.

4. RPG Maker

Role-playing games or RPGs usually focus on a central character or group of characters and follow their journey through different levels, tasks, missions and adventures. RPG Maker is an excellent choice for creating such games, as it does not require prior coding experience and comes with a diverse template of important game elements such as characters, textures, maps, environments, music and power-ups. Users with more advanced coding skills can use RPG Maker to create more engaging and feature-rich games using custom scripts in JavaScript and HTML5.

5. GameSalad

GameSalad helps users create 2D games with no prior knowledge of game development. This makes it an ideal choice for non-technical people and children who wish to make their own game and learn the process. It offers a simple drag-and-drop interface and includes many one-click features that allow you to add many elements instantly. The tool's visual editor helps users design the visual elements individually and apply behaviour-based logic systems that can improve the gameplay. GameSalad can serve as an excellent way to introduce game design and development to children.

6. Twine

Twine helps make text-based video games with varying storylines, non-linear game narratives and multiple endings based on the user's choices. This helps make the game interactive and offers engaging experiences that allow players to enjoy the same game multiple times. It is not necessary to have advanced technical skills to use Twine, but knowledge of languages such as JavaScript and CSS can allow you to add more complex variables and conditional logic systems, which can help create more advanced games.

Related: How To Become A Game Designer: A Complete Guide

Things To Remember When Selecting A Game Development Application

Here are some things to consider when choosing a gaming development software tool:

  • Type: Different types of game development tools are available for 2D, 3D and role-playing games. So choose a tool depending on the kind of game you want to make.

  • Features: Make sure that the software you choose has the required features as per your game concept and design. Certain features and functions may be necessary for these tools, depending on the gameplay and type.

  • Integrations: Check which formats, tools and plug-ins are available for integration with the game development tool. Depending on the game type and format, you may require the output to be in specific formats or configurations.

  • Pricing: You can choose between a free and paid tool depending on your budget and requirements. Many paid tools also offer a free version with limited features.

  • Support: If you are new to using game development tools, you may require some support to use more complex features or set up certain processes. Make sure that the company provides support and resources to help troubleshoot common problems, particularly if the interface or features are complex.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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