Just a decade ago, we could have hardly imagined that someone with no coding skills can create a website or a mobile app. Today, this is possible thanks to the easy to use website building and mobile app building platforms and solutions.
The question is, is there an easy way to develop a computer game with zero skills?
The good news is that it is possible, thanks to the numerous excellent game creation software solutions for newbies with zero coding skills.
Here is the list of the best game development tools and engines that anyone can use to make a fun and exciting game.
Table of Contents
• How should I choose my game engine?
• Can game engines make any kind of game?
• So, which game engine is the best for me?
- GameSalad – The Educator’s Choice
- Buildbox – The one-box-fits-all
- Construct 2 – The Windows favorite
- Clickteam Fusion 2.5 – The veteran
- RPG Maker – The RPG specialist
- Stencyl – The code teacher
- AppGameKit – For dedicated creators
- GameGuru – The FPS Template Solution
- GameMaker Studio 2 – The hit maker
- Honorable mention for 2D game engines:
- CopperCube 5 – The Lightweight 3D Engine
- Unity 3D – The Serious Gamedev platform
- Unreal Engine – The best AAA graphics
- Honorable mention for 3D game engines:
• Final Thoughts
How should I choose my game engine?
Game development software is a program that you have to install on your computer and use to create a game of your liking. Here are the four main types of game engines that are available on the market:
- Full game template engines
With this type of game development software, you will get a ready-made template for a game and will have different but somewhat limited options to customize it to suit your preferences, such as add your own graphics or change the color or hue of the background.
- Drag and drop game engines
This game development software type offers a user-friendly interface, which allows you to drag a specific figure or element to the place you would like it to be and drop it there. It requires no coding skills or any previous developer experience. All you will need are ideas on how to create a unique and fun game.
- Visual scripting game engines
This is a more complicated option than the drag and drop type game software. It will allow you to choose and use different functions, which will help you replicate code without the need for coding. It does require some tech skills and knowledge and has a steeper learning curve than the previous two options. It will help you understand the fundamentals of coding without having to engage in scripting yourself.
- Coding game engines
These use either the most popular scripting language or in-house scripting language, which is designed for beginners and which will help you learn the basics of coding and help you gain the skills of developing your own games later on.
Apart from your coding skills and your willingness to learn how to program yourself, there are other essential factors to consider when choosing the best game development tools for yourself, including:
- Your computer’s operating system and speed
Some game engines are compatible with Windows or with Mac only, while others work with both. You should check out the computer specification requirements, including the operating system and the processor and speed of your machine.
- The game genre you are interested in
Some game creation engines like RPG Maker are more suitable for making Role Playing Games, while others like Adventure Game Studio are suitable for adventure game creation.
- The perspective of the game
You should pick a game creation engine that is capable of building a game with the perspective you want, including 2D or 3D.
- Your artistic skills
Keep in mind that some engines have image and visual editors, which you can use to create or import art or terrain maps, so your skills and experience as a graphics artist also matter.
- The platform for your game
This is another essential feature to keep in mind when choosing the appropriate game development software. You should pick an engine that can help you create a game for the platform you intend it to be played (i.e., Windows, Mac, VR, Android, iOS mobile game, Xbox One and more).
- How dedicated you are
If you are just curious about making your own game, then you should opt for the simplest solution. On the other hand, if you have a more complex project in mind and want to enhance your coding and game development knowledge, then you should pick a more advanced game engine.
Think about whether you will be working alone or with a team and whether you want to have constant access to support by a community for the game development before you choose the best game development software for your needs.
Can game engines make any kind of game?
Yes, you can create any type of game with a game development platform, but keep in mind that some specific game genres will require coding. You should be warned that you can’t develop a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game or a complex game like GTA on your own if you have little or no coding or technical skills.
Here are the different types of game genres and the skill set required for creating each type:
- Simple 2D games
These are among the easiest to create at home without previous experience or tech skills. Still, you will need to take the time to learn how to use the game development software and then to create your game concept, artwork, levels, and more details of your 2D game. The drag and drop game engine platforms are suitable for making a game of this type, including a puzzle, arcade game, platformer, text adventure, racing game, or other.
- More complex 2D games
Games such as Role Playing Games, Adventure Games, Tower Defense, and Fighting Games will require more coding skills or learning time, as they rely more on AI, physics, and more complex features.
- Simple 3D games
Since working with 3D requires more powerful game engines, you can expect to spend at least 3 months and up to a year or more mastering the skill of using the engine before you can build a game of this type. This goes for 3D games such as First Person Shooters, Adventure Games, or Survival Games.
- More complex 3D games
These are among the hardest to create if you are a beginner. You can expect to have to spend several years studying the code basics and game development scripting in order to create an MMO, Sandbox, Sports, Real-Time Strategy, VR, War, Vehicle, or Life simulation game.
Whichever type of game you pursue making, and whichever game development tools you choose, it is good to know that the more time you spend learning and practicing, the better the end results will be. Thankfully, the Internet has a wide range of resources that can help you understand how games work.
So which game engine is the best for me?
For this review, we will remain focused on game development software, which is the best for beginners. Here are our top picks based on ease of use, support, and useful features.
GameSalad is our Educator’s choice because it actually offers a dedicated Classroom Package for educators and can be used for teaching students the basics of game development.
GameSalad is a game development tool that is designed for use even by complete newbies to coding and game development. It features an intuitive drag and drop editor and dashboard and will allow you to place objects wherever you decide to for customizing the game design, as well as apply simple rules to your game configuration.
It is perfect for people who want to create simple 2D games and want to learn the basics of game development. It is limited in features, but you can still use it to create casual 2D games and mobile app games.
This is the game development tool to choose for creating simple 2D games including Arcade, Adventure, or Puzzle games and 2D Platformers, like Milo and Me, super Spin Tanks, Steam Punks, or Help Volty.
- One of the easiest game creation engines to use
- Reliable support and a large community of game designers
- Drag and drop system for customizing the game design without the need for coding skills
- You can publish the game to multiple platforms
- There is a dedicated educators package, so it is excellent for learning the basics
- It has a Basic plan for $19 per month and a Pro plan for $29 per month
- You will need to subscribe to use it
- The features are somewhat limited
Buildbox is the game maker platform used for some popular mobile games such as The Line Zen and Color Switch. It will provide you with a choice of ready-made game templates so you can start working on creating your game immediately.
This, though, does restrict the choice and freedom you have of choosing your own template and specific features. The computer, mobile and video game designer is more suitable for users who want to create clones of other games rather than develop their own original concepts. On the other hand, there are some advanced features that will allow you to add unique touches to your game.
Buildbox is suitable for creating simple 2D puzzle and casual games, as well as 2D clone apps like Dooby Bird.
There is a free game design plan which you can use to test the software and create one world and up to 5 scenes.
- An easy to use drag and drop user interface
- It has ready-made templates for different games
- You can export the game to most platforms
- There is a free version
- There are options to make money from your game
- Better for clones rather than original concepts
- The license is more expensive than most and starts at $19.99 a month
Construct 2 is one of the most popular game engines with a fast learning curve and a user-friendly interface that is reminiscent of the Windows look, making it a perfect choice for PC users who have no previous coding or game development experience.
The game maker engine is not available for Mac, which is bad news for Mac users, and the games created can be exported only as HTML5. This means that you will need to use a third-party app or service to make your game compatible with iOS, Android mobile operating systems.
The games created with Construct 2 can be played on web browsers on computers running Windows, Mac, and Linux. There is a more advanced Construct 3 game design software version available.
Construct 2 and Construct 3 platform is excellent for creating 2D racing, puzzles, platformers, and arcade games like Mortar melon and The Next Penelope.
The gaming software is now available in a new Construct 3 version as well.
- Drag and drop system interface similar to a Microsoft software
- A very fast learning curve
- There is a free game maker trial available, as well as regular updates
- The prices start at $80
- There are many plugins you can pick and use
- It only works on PCs
- The HTML5 format limits its flexibility and performance across platforms
This is the veteran amongst the game making software platforms on our list and has been around since 1994. Since it is among the first of the kind game developers software products, Clickteam Fusion 2.5 has a huge and very active community of fans and game designers, who are happy to submit their open-source extensions and provide support of any kind.
The software is the platform used for Five Nights at Freddy’s, The Escapists, and other popular games.
Thanks to its visual editor, developing a game with this tool is easy, and you won’t need any coding skills. Still, you will have to spend some time learning which function is for what, in order to create the cross platform game of your dreams.
The software has not been updated for a while, but it is still among the best game development software products for beginners. It is suitable for creating 2D platformers, arcades, and 2D-3D survival and horror games.
- Intuitive drag and drop interface of the visual editor
- You can export the games to multiple platforms
- It has an active and passionate community and forum
- There are thousands of extensions available
- The licensing starts at just $75
- There is a completely free version for creating a free game as well
- The interface is a tad dated
- It comes in a version for Windows only
- There are very little updates to the software
- You will have to pay for Mac, iOS, and Android exporters
As its name suggests, RPG Maker is a game development platform that is dedicated to RPG games.
The engine has a WYSIWYG editor, which will allow you to create your own 2D art directly on it, and has a steeper learning curve than the abovementioned drag and drop engines.
RPG Maker comes in several different variants, all with different features. Still, each of them is suitable for creating 2D RPGs and arcade games like Clock of Atonement and Touhou Wandering Souls.
- A great option for people with artistic skills
- A great tile editor and WYSIWYG editor for 2D art
- Uses simplified code
- Supported by a passionate and active community of game designers
- A large number of different versions with different features can be confusing to newbies
- Not all of the versions can be used for exporting to multiple platforms
- It limits the game genre
- It can be difficult for absolute newbies
This is a drag and drop based gameplay designer engine based on the MIT Scratch project, which uses a simple block-snapping interface for creating simple code. It looks like a puzzle and is a fun way to learn the basics of coding. You will need to find the correct puzzle pieces if you want to create certain reactions and actions in your game.
Stencyl is easy and fun to use and will teach you the fundamental coding skills, which can come in handy later on if you want to create more complex games.
You can use Stencyl for making 2D Action Horror, RPGs, Tower Defense, Arcade games, or Platformers.
- A simple and fun way to create a game and learn coding basics
- It comes with ready-made templates
- You can create your own pixel art
- There is a marketplace with useful extensions
- It can export the cross-platform games natively to most platforms
- It requires a monthly subscription
- The features are quite limited
- Not the best option for mobile app games
Its name may suggest that it is dedicated to creating mobile app games, but the truth is, you can use AppGameKit to make all types of games, 2D and 3D included.
The software is available in Classic, Studio, and Mobile versions suitable for every need and developer skill level.
You can use the game development software to export your games to all platforms, including PC, Mac, iOS, Android, HTML5, and Raspberry PI.
The software uses its own AGK2 BASIC based programming game maker language but supports other languages as well.
With the help of the AppGameKit, you can create a game with nearly no coding skills, but you can also use it to learn how to use the powerful C++ as well.
It is software that is perfect for those of you who want to make their first steps in game development and learn the basics so that you can make games that you can actually make money from.
You can use this game development tool for creating educational apps, 2D shooters, and 3D Tower defense games.
- You can easily port it to a wide variety of platforms
- The games can be tested on all types of devices via the players
- An excellent option for dedicated game creators
- There is a one-time fee and no subscriptions
- You will need to buy the added visual editor if you are an artist or for VR support and shaders
- The documentation is not updated regularly
If you are looking for the easiest to use 3D game design software, GameGuru could be the best option.
It comes with 20 built-in game templates for various game genres ranging from horror survival to FPS and even supports multiplayer games.
You can also use the software to create your own maps and to customize the features via easy to use sliders.
The games created via GameGuru can look similar and run on Windows only, but you can use this engine to create your own 3D Horror, First Person Shooter, or other game.
- Easy to use
- 20 integrated game templates
- A marketplace for affordable assets for your games
- Multiplayer support
- Exports to multiple platforms
- Available in different packs, including Unlimited, Premium, Starter, Sci-fi, and fantasy at affordable prices
- Limited features
- The graphic can seem dated and similar to one another
GameMaker Studio is the platform behind the popular games Hyper Light Drifter, Undertale, and Hotline Miami. It is a game engine that uses simplified code and supports 2D and 3D game projects.
One of the game engine’s biggest pros is that you can create your own assets for your game and preview how everything looks in real time while working on your project.
The game making engine has a drag and drop interface, which is suitable for beginners and experienced game developers alike.
You can use GameMaker Studio 2 to create 2D Side Scrollers, Roguelikes, Arcade, and Point and Click games.
- A free version with a free game trial and reasonably priced one-off payment plans
- A great choice for artists
- Fast learning curve but has advanced features
- Excellent marketplace
- A wide array of tutorials and guides
- You will need to pay extra if you want to export to iOS, Android
- There is a need for learning some basic code
- It uses its own GMS2 programming language, which will limit you if you want to learn more popular scripting languages
Honorable mention for 2D game engines:
- Adventure Game Studio – an excellent choice for small 2D point and click game projects
CopperCube is now available in its latest 6.4 version and is a basic game development engine that will allow you to create 3D Survival and Multiplayer Platformer games. It has a terrain editor, and game developers can import their game design 3D assets from anywhere.
- Easy to use visual editor and terrain editor
- Exports to Mac, PC, and Android
- Limited tutorials and resources
- The game design graphics are slightly dated
Unity 3D is a game builder for devoted and advanced developers. It targets 27+ platforms, including the latest consoles and mobile phones.
There are more than 5 million developers using Unity 3D around the world to create games of all kinds. Still, although the powerful game development tool is focused on big-league coders, there are some solutions offered for beginners who prefer using visual scripting and editing too.
Unity 3D is a superb game maker solution for building 3D Space simulators, RPGs, Action RPGs, Endless Runners, and Survival Action Adventures.
- The best choice when it comes to available assets in the asset store
- Useful tutorials and resources
- There are plans for developers, hobbyists, and professionals
- More than 27 platforms supported
- A popular choice among independent developers
- It can be difficult to grasp for newbies
The powerful Unreal Engine is the game development suite used for creating some of the most famous AAA games, like Final Fantasy VII, Deus Ex, Borderlands, and BioShock.
It offers the ability to create “unreal” lighting effects and graphics and is a top choice by both large enterprises and indie developers. You can use it for making spectacular 3D Adventure, Action, Puzzle, Fighting, and RPG games.
There is a beginner-friendly solution named Blueprint offered by Unreal Engine, which can help beginners get started and allows you to create 2D and 3D games, indie games, video games, and computer games without coding skills.
- There is a Blueprint solution for newbies built in the engine
- Exports to multiple platforms, including video games consoles
- The latest and most stunning graphics and 3D models
- Excellent tutorials and resources
- It is demanding and heavy
- There is a royalty based paying system, depending on the money you make from your game
Honorable mention for 3D game engines:
- Skyline – a drag and drop 2D and 3D games engine, which is still relatively new and easy to learn
- 001 Game Creator – available templates and basic features for PC use only
- CryEngine – useful for creating highly realistic effects but requires C++ knowledge
- PlayCanvas – a cloud-based game making software for game development teams
- Godot – uses its own coding language, and an excellent choice for animations and 2D and 3D games
You may be surprised by the wide variety of game development software engines and solutions available on the market, particularly the ones which can enable beginners to create games without experience and coding knowledge. But the tendency is that new engines keep appearing and improving in order to meet the needs of the newly introduced platforms and consoles.
The best choices for those of you who want to make money from a game are Unity and Unreal, but both have a steep learning curve.
If you are a hobbyist and want to get started and create a game for fun or get familiarized with the game development processes, you can opt for the engines at the beginning of our list.
Good luck with your game creation – and may it become a huge success!