Game Engines

By: Derek Yu

On: April 30th, 2011

There’s been quite a bit of news recently regarding game engines and game creation tools:

Monocle Engine – Monocle is a promising open source 2d game engine that’s being developed by Alec Holowka and Matt Thorson. The creators are inviting developers to jump in and help out.

CryENGINE – In an “open letter to the Crytek Modding Community”, Crytek’s Cevat Yerli announced (via Crymod) that a free CryENGINE SDK will be released to the public in August 2011. This free SDK will be well-documented and kept up-to-date with the advances being made to CryENGINE 3. Developers looking to sell their work digitally will be offered “an innovative low-cost licensing model”.

Adventure Game Studio – After 14 years, Chris Jones has released the source code to AGS, a popular tool for making point and click adventure games. It’s being released under the Artistic License 2.0.

UDK – Epic Games showcased some of the new features of the Unreal Engine at the Game Developer’s Conference in March.

Unity – Unity has added Android to its list of supported platforms.

Game Maker – YoYoGames has released version 8.1 of their game-making tool, which includes some long-due features, such as block-tabbing in the code editor and the removal of SoftWrap. GM 8.1 will cost $25 until June, when the price will be raised to $40. People who own 8.0 will get the upgrade for free. On top of that, YYG has released a video (above) that teases an upcoming edition of GM which will feature multi-platform export (PC, Mac OSX, iOS, Android, HTML5).

FlixelDethmuffin in the comments mentioned that Flixel, the open source Flash game library, has reached version 2.5. I didn’t realize it had such a spiffy new website, either!

Construct 2 – Scirra is also working on a new version of Construct, another open-source game creation tool that people have compared favorably to Game Maker. Construct 2 is being redesigned from the ground up to export HTML5 games and you can start playing with preview builds already.

  • Just Troy.

    For a guy with no programming skill (Except maybe an RPG maker game like 10 years ago) what would be an easier program to build a decent 2D game? The past few years I've been coming up with some good game ideas and I figure its finally time I tried my hand at getting these ideas out as best as possible.

  • Luis Sopelana

    Just Troy: I'd recommend to start with Game Maker. You'll eventually have to use its scripting capabilities, which will be useful to develop further programming skills.

  • DragonSix

    Game Maker or Construct. RPG Maker in itself is still good if what you want to make is a JRPG type of game.

  • DVGmusic

    @JustTroy/Luis: I'm not a programmer but I learning GameMakers scripting language through and through about 10 years ago and it's really helped me develop good coding habits for the few things I do and what you learn transfers easily over. The community was really helpful back then as well, offer help from pure beginner to advanced topics.

  • dethmuffin

    Guys, this list seems incomplete without mentioning Flixel 2.5 and FlashPunk! Where's the Flash love!? :P

  • Guest

    Gah, the first minutes of the video about Monocle was irritating to watch. I don't care who made the mascot, i care even less about his profile on your forum. Show me the damn engine instead!

  • AGuy

    It's pretty fun being an asshole

  • Billy Wenge-Murphy

    I guess completely unproven engines *COUGH*thefirstone*COUGH* count more as long as they make .EXE files.

  • Derek Yu

    I didn't realize there was a new version of Flixel out. I'll check it out.

  • François Gutherz

    :-O What about GameStart ? A game engine made by indie for indie :) The engine is still in Beta, but already promising with a wysiwyg editor.

  • Asdfasf

    It's even more fun being right. That's what he is.

  • guest

    no love for construct and construct 2?

  • lumberbaron

    Unity is pretty good but there aren't a ton of tutorials on how to just get started out and the software likes to say things like, “just use some simple script here” instead of helping out on how to script.

    GameMaker is cool but the free version likes to take out a ton of stuff that is needed to get chunks of things needed in most genres.

  • john smith

    There is also this great engine/tool called Visionaire

    It's kinda unknown even though it's one of the most powerful (and easy to use) engine for creating Point'n'Click games (The Whispered World was created with it)…and it's free!

  • love

    Love is another good 2d game engine. It's open source and cross-platform and it's all Lua based.

  • Davioware

    You should add Construct too. It's one hell of a tool, and the creators are busy working on a html5 version now (still really early in development though)

  • Ninomojo

    I'm wondering why not more people know about Game Start ->

  • Ninomojo

    Oops, didn't see you there François, you beat me to it :)

  • jph

    Monocle Engine looks quite cool, so far. squirrels are cute,. so are monkeys.., is there a scriptable build available now?

    ZGameEditor also got to 2.0 this month,. . 36kb .exe games!

  • Игорь Кашкута

    If Game Maker will support Mac OS X will Spelunky come to OSX?

  • Geterx

    Monocle Engine looks amazing! I can't wait until it's developed a bit more and ready to make games with!

  • Ccc

    No mention of Multimedia Fusion's Flash exporter or the upcoming iPhone exporter?

  • B-Side Games

    I use GameSalad and love it.

  • Matthieu Gazin

    I use Shiva 3D that powered great game under IOS/Android/WII or PSP system.
    Very strong tool with great capabilitie and an unique license for ALL export (you don't need to paid for have ios pay again for android and pay palm for exemple).

  • Aiug3

    Use Game Maker! But just a heads up, to get into the really cool stuff you're going to have to take the dive into scripting, but there are a bunch of handy tutorials around here somewhere that should get you ridin' smooth in no time, cowboy.

  • anthonyflack

    I'm surprised nobody mentioned Monkey, the new engine by Blitz Basic creator Mark Sibly, that was released just a couple of months back.

    It contains a translation tool that converts your code into C++, C#, Java, Javascript or Actionscript, and offers virtually painless cross-platform development for Mac and PC, Android, iOS, XNA, Flash and HTML5. And it's only $120 for an unlimited commercial licence.

  • Arcanod

    Game Develop is another game creation software, similar to Construct :

    Differences between the two softwares :

    Interesting informations about Construct :
    – Open letter to the Construct community concerning the future of Construct v1 :
    – New features in Construct 2 :

  • Tom (I_smell)

    I hate that it's called The Monocle Engine, and that whole thing.

    But I do love how he tiled those backgrounds. I've never done that before, or even thought about doing that, but it's a great idea.

  • The same guest as above.

    The rest of the video was more interesting, especially the part about “path meshes”, as Alec called them. I look forward to seeing more about Monocle/Marian, just get to the point earlier next time. :)

  • Billy Wenge-Murphy

    Sounds too good to be true (so it probably is). I've heard the same promise with HaXe and, well, good luck translating a complicated HaXe app to, for example, both a .swf AND a useful Javascript page.

  • Sknightly

    Monkey rocks. It does what it says – translates 2D games into 7 different platforms. And translates (not compile), so you have the flexibility to adapt it. It's still young, but fine for 2D casual games at the moment, and Blitz Research have the track record to prove that it will continue to be supported and grow (they still release updates to Blitz3D which must be 10 years old!).

  • Sknightly
  • anthonyflack

    I've been pottering around with it for the last few weeks. It doesn't yet contain all the additional functionality you get with a more mature language, but it's easily expandable and people are already working on adding modules to it. The functionality of the core language has largely been deliberately restricted to features that can be guaranteed to behave the same across all platforms, although it is possible to modify the code on a platform-by-platform basis to gain access to extra features at the expense of portability.

    I've written a small game prototype that has been compiling very nicely in HTML5 and Flash and running in my browser (it basically makes no appreciable difference which target I choose when I hit “compile”). Once I get around to installing Xcode on my laptop I'll see how it performs on the iPod Touch… and if I can pick up a cheap Android phone I'll give that a go too.

  • rinkuhero

    i heard it's open source so i assume anyone can port it to osx even if derek doesn't do it — not sure though

  • rinkuhero

    people in the comments section here seem to think this entry is merely a *list of game engines* rather than a news update about recent major changes to game engines

  • Alex


  • anthonyflack

    Apart from the discussion about Monkey, obviously, since that has also just been released recently…

    Although probably any discussion about game tools would quite naturally provoke discussion about other, comparable game tools in the comments.

  • rinkuhero

    yeah, but i suspect a lot of them just didn't catch the “There’s been quite a bit of news recently regarding game engines and game creation tools” part because they're saying things like 'you forgot [engine x]!' — even if engine x hasn't been updated in a year and nothing is newsworthy about it.

    i'm basing this on my experience in posting the 'top indie games of 2010' (as voted on by the forums) list at the beginning of this year — i explained in the first paragraph that, because there were ties, some of the games will have the same numbers (e.g. 1, 2, 3, 3, 5), yet a lot of the comments were like 'what's with the crazy numbers?' and 'you don't know how to count!'.

  • Paxed

    I so want to love Game Maker, but as long as it doesn't run on linux, I'll keepe thinking it sucks.

  • Just Troy.

    I made a game where you click apples and gain points. This is GOTY quality stuff right here.

  • François Gutherz

    That's true. List a few engines here and everyone of the indie community (incl. myself) will feel the need to promote their very own beloved tools.

    Moreover, I feel more connected to engines such as Monocle or Flixel, as they are basically created by the indie community. I've always been puzzled regarding the gap between a Crysis Engine or UDK and the resources available by the average indie team :
    – These engines have involved a hundred of developers to build them.
    – Making a next-gen game with such a technology usually requires half a dozen of artists to build the necessary assets, not to mention the game design & the code.

    Suffice to look at the latest productions of the TigSource content to see that most of us are ages away from being able to use such a heavy artillery :)

    The recent 'Hawken' game being, apparently, an exception :)

    However, I'm convinced that the most recent next-gen technologies are reachable by the indies. Maybe we just need more appropriate tools/workflow ?

  • SolarLune

    So, what? No FlashPunk or (better), Blender Game Engine? The BGE is packaged inside of Blender, which has recently been released in the most recent version, Blender 2.57.

  • SolarLune

    Here's a link:

  • Thelieisacake

     Stencyl is pretty good. It was featured in a later post.

  • TheMan

    Very Nice Post

    I’m creating my own Game Creation Tools Page:
    If anyone’s interested.
    It will list several free and commercial game creators plus tools like sfxr in one place!