The Best 8 Free and Open Source Game Development Software
Technology and its continuous innovation have been blessing us to have some excellent time playing games and entertaining ourselves – we hardly remember the time that we consume in playing the different levels of Super Mario Odyssey and Pokemon Go, and much more. The newer games, after all, ultimately, make us forget everything! Thanks to our hard-core game developers who maintain our fun, thrill and excitement by developing the best video games of the world.
Online games have become more advanced in the present day’s tech-oriented scenario. Multi-functional software solutions have made gaming increasingly enjoyable to the developers as well as gamers.
Let us go deep into the subject to get details about how virtual games are developed utilizing advanced software systems and also about some of the best game development software solutions that are ruling the market.
Game Development Software
The video gaming industry is intriguing, and it is flourishing in an accelerated pace with new apps entering the market every day. Statista reports that there are more than 2.5 billion online gamers worldwide. The escalating internet, easy accessibility to virtual games even from the remote locations, user-friendliness of the software, and quick navigation facilities are the major factors driving the growth of this industry.
The most interesting fact is that 80% of the total revenue earned from online gaming industry belongs to software sales. Modern web technologies and the recent browser technologies are contributing towards the creation of high quality & stunning games, and to distribute those games to different gaming sources. The combination of new desktop technologies and their native OS counterparts have geared up the usage of advanced game development software programs. These programs are continually marking their presence in the industry to make it possible to develop better and more powerful games that can efficiently run on any standard-compliant web browser. They are not just simple card games or multi-player social games based on Flash that have been played earlier. Games today include; 3D action shooters, RPGs, PlayStation-based games, and many more.
What are the different forms of virtual games?
There are many fantasy sports, video games, animation solutions, AR, VR, and MR application programming, online casino games, land-based casino games, race betting, and sweepstakes. Hence, we have categorized online games into the following types:
- Commercial PC or Xbox games – This type of video games are played on personal computers. They are more diverse and include user-determined hardware and software. They generally have higher capacity in input, video and audio output processing.
- Console Games – Console games are a form of interactive multimedia entertainment. They comprise manipulated images and sound generated by the gaming console and can display them on the Television or a similar audio-video system. The game is usually managed and controlled with a handheld device called controller, connected to the console system.
- Indie Games – Indie games are independent video games, and they are most often created without the publisher’s financial support. These are innovative games and mostly rely on digital distribution.
- Mobile Games – Mobile games are played on feature phones, smartphones, tablets, PDA, smartwatch, graphics calculator, and a portable media player. These games are usually downloaded from the app stores and the portals of the mobile operators.
History of Game Development
The first ever video game was developed during the 1950s, but needed mainframe computers and was unavailable to the general public. PONG is one of the earliest arcade video games and was the first ever publicly available game for the public featuring two-dimensional graphics of the table tennis sports game. It was originally developed by Atari and has been released in 1972.
The year 1970 pioneered the commercialization of the game development practices. It was the time when first-generation video game consoles and home computers were invented, and single-developer game development started due to low cost and low capabilities of the computer machines.
Game Development in the 21st Century
During the 1990s, heightened expectations for better consumer experience and increased computer processing power has lead to the creation of mainstream console or a PC game. The average price of developing a video game slightly increased from US$1 to 4 million in 2000 to over $5 million in 2006, and then over $20 million by 2010.
Today, games are not played just for fun. There are thousands of games available on gaming consoles like PS4, Mac, Windows, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and so on. Gamers acquire new knowledge and sophisticated skills too. Games and simulations are also serving as a powerful hands-on tool to impart practical and technical skills. Interestingly, the virtual gaming market is also likely to touch 90 billion US dollars as revenue by the year 2020.
What is the most popular type of online games?
According to a leading report, mobile/smartphone/tablet games take the lead followed by console games. Indie games are slowly taking a back seat while people are still fascinated with the Browser/PC games.
What are the most played gaming genres?
When we talk about the gaming genres, they can be simple board games, card games, action games, and strategy games. As per a recent survey related to activity gaming, the list given below shows the percentage of different gaming genres as per their popularity among the gamers. Action games are at the top of the list, as four in ten players prefer this genre of gaming followed by sports and battle-royale games.
Game Software Architecture
Today, video gaming makes up a $100 billion global industry and nearly two-thirds of the household members in America play video games regularly. Apart from a gamut of development platforms launched recently, video games have been thrilling the gamers in a variety of ways right from arcade systems, to home consoles, to handheld consoles till mobile devices. Let us check what the concept of game software architecture holds for the game developers.
- Coding and Programming
- Game Engine (Rendering your 3D model, game logic and play music)
- Art (Drawing 3D model, texturing and animation)
- Sound/Audio Engine
- Story, Design (GamePlay, and Level Design)
- Rendering & Vision-Input Engine
- Optimization (Using fewer resources for creating a better game)
- I/O Devices (such as Mouse, keyboard, speaker, monitor, etc.)
- Drivers/Device APIs and DLL Files
Leading Trends in Game Development Software Industry in 2019
The gaming demographics is widened and time-killing nature of mobile games is fascinating most players to combat even the complex games. Let us check what more the coming year is going to hold for the game lovers and what interesting things it is brining for recent day’s game developers.
- Fortnite and PUBG (Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds) games have offered mobile players an opportunity to play these games at multiple platforms. PUBG has created a new milestone with getting over 200 million downloads worldwide. Its revenue growth is almost 166%, as reported by the leading news portal Business Today.
- Mobile game developers are constantly suffered by the toxicity in the gaming communities. Cyber-bulling is playing a major role to infect gaming communities across, PC, mobile and console. However, the Fair Play Alliance was created to combat this with hosting a summit during Game Develpment Councel.
- AR is becoming more popular than VR, as it requires lower hardware. ARKit and ARCore are making it easier for mobile game developers for generating AR experiences for mobile.
- ‘Game Discovery Challenge’ is increasing for the mobile game developers to get their game discovered by the players in the app stores. Hence, they are combining the organic growth vectors like word of mouth, SEO, ASO (app store optimization) to build the effective user acquisition strategy to reach more number of users.
Free and Open Source Game Development Software
Today, the gaming solutions are rapidly expanding beyond the proprietary operating systems, including Linux and open source games that are being released regularly. The advent of free and open source game development software solutions have made gaming architecture less complicated and easily affordable for the developers and game development companies. Let us check out some of the best free and open source software solutions that are leading the game development industry.
The following comparison chart will help you understand quickly each of the software solutions at a glance.
Now, let us check each of them in detail.
1. Godot Engine
Godot Engine is a free and open source 2D and 3D game engine that is compatible with the cross-platform application. It operates on Linux, MacOS, Windows, BSD and Haiku (both 32 and 64-bit). It is licensed as per MIT license and can create the games targeting PC, web and mobile platforms. The Godot Engine software is written in C, C++ language and the stable version 3.1.1 of this software is released in April 2019.
(Source: Godot Engine)
- Godot software offers the visual editor with full of sophisticated tools to create fabulous 2D and 3D games.
- Timeline based visual animator facilitates frame-based or cut-out animation for rigs and sprites.
- The software has powerful profilers and debuggers. It can also debug a game running on mobile devices.
- It provides friendly C++ API for optimizing parts of the game or extends any part of the gaming engine.
- It offers uncluttered UI with the context-sensitive editors.
- Unique 2D shooter Stereobreak, Shipwreck, ChromeTrip, and DeepSixed are some of the popular games created using this software.
GDevelop is another reliable open source, cross-platform game creator that unleashes one’s creativity to create any game. The software runs on Windows, macOS and most recent Linux distributions. The stable version of the software is GDevelop 5, and it is tailored for fast and intuitive game making.
- The GDevelop software requires one simple click to add the object to the game or a particular scene – video objects and text objects both.
- Shape Painters facilitate drawing custom shapes on the screen.
- Facilities of debugger and performance profiler given in the game.
- Sound effect generation with Jfxe and designing your assets with Piskel.
- RPG-like maps with the Tiled map objects are the most important product of this software.
Cocos2d-x is the world’s leading game development tool that comes in a unified package. It is cross-platform game development software written in C++ language. The stable version 3.17.1 of the software is released on December 18, 2018, and its latest version is v2.0.5. Cocos2d-x software is MIT licensed and contains many branches i.e. Cocos2d-objc, Cocos2d-x, Cocos2d-html5 and Cocos2d-XNA.
- All the versions of the Cocos2d software work utilizing the basic primitive known as ‘sprite’.
- The software provides basic animation primitives using a set of actions and timers.
- Common GUI elements are included in the software like labels, text boxes, buttons, menus etc.
- Modern C++ API is facilitated with end number of functionalities.
- The software can be installed on OS X, Windows, Linux and is deployable to deploy to iOS, Android, OS X, Windows, and even game consoles.
- Hardest Game Ever 2, DQMSL, Tiny Village, Badland, Small Street, Tiny Tower, are some of the popular games built on this platform.
- The Delta Engine software offers a unified way to support physical simulation. Most 2D and 3D codes are interchangeable.
- The Delta Engine software supports 3D features like 3D model importing and particle effect editor.
- Specific tools are provided in the software itself to create most contents like Images, Sound, Music and 3D Models that are saved directly.
- The software supports the integration of the external libraries and frameworks like Spine – the 2D Sprite animation library.
- Star Chronicles and Delta Force: Black Hawk Down are popular games based on this software.
Staring is a cross-platform, free and open source game engine that can be downloaded and used straight away. It is a Gamua-based product that is a leading company and consistently facilitating different types of gaming platforms like Flox and Sparrow, in addition to Starling. It is a 2D game development framework that supports both mobile and desktop platforms. The latest version of the software is Starling 2.5.1.
- Starling software is the most batter-saving program for the devices on which its games are used.
- Though it is a 2D engine, it can facilitate the transition between scenes flipping playing cards realistically using the 3D magic.
- Fast process of rendering textures with special effects is facilitated like bullet holes in the wall and footprints in the snow.
- The software supports classic Bitmap Fonts and TrueType fonts.
- Different blend modes are promoted like dynamic highlights and glowing fire to create special effects.
- Several filters are provided for modifying the look of your display objects.
- Angry Birds Friends, and Incredipede are popular games based on this software.
Panda3D is yet another popular open source framework for 3D rendering and game development. It is written on C++ and Python and runs on Microsoft Windows, Linux, MacOS, FreeBSD operating systems. The initial release of the software happened in the year 2002, and stable version 1.10.3 of the software was released on May 19, 2019. This game engine is licensed as per Revised BSD license.
- Panda3D can run on any platform when it is combined with the appropriate platform support code.
- The software includes command-line tools to process and optimize source assets.
- It includes pstats, i.e., an over-the-network profiling system designed to help the users to understand the usage of their frame time.
- The software facilitates rapid prototyping with no complicated initialization code.
- It comes with the out-of-the-box support for many popular third-party libraries like Assimp model loader, OpenAL, FMOD sound libraries, Bullet physics engine, and so on.
- Toontown Online, and Pirates of the Caribbean Online are popular games built on this software.
MonoGame is a free and open source C# based game development framework. It supports Windows, Windows Phone, Android, iOS, tvOS, MacOS, PlayStation, Linux, Vita, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch and is licensed as per Microsoft Public License. The stable version 3.7.1 of this software is released on December 18, 2018.
- MonoGame software is the evolution of XNA Touch started by Jose Antonio Farias and Silver Sprite by Bill Reiss.
- The software attempts to implement the XNA 4 API fully.
- It is a Windows and web-based software based on open API solutions.
- Device orientation, accelerometer sensor, and multi-touch gesture points are some new features in the framework.
- The software provides an excellent textual format for the ease of editing.
- It holds a compiled and optimized binary format for the runtime usage.
- Skulls of the Shogun, Bastion, TowerFall, and Transistor (video game) are some of the popular games built on this software.
SuperPowers software is created for Windows, and it is the best example of the real-time collaboration of free and open source 2D and 3D indie gaming software. It runs on Windows Vista/7/8/8.1/10 (32-Bit/64-Bit). It can be exported to Windows, OS X, and Linux, Android or iOS. The stable version of the software is SuperPowers 5.3.0.
- SuperPowers software comes with a host of plug-ins and is a downloadable HTML5 app.
- There is a bunch of asset editors to make games using TypeScript.
- Easy and well-laid GUI interface helps the new-age developers to learn game development quickly.
- Built-in library of games and examples inspire beginners with this robust platform.
We have added one more popular Game development Software- UNITY.
Unity is a popular real-time 3D development platform. It lets users create, manage and monetize captivating games. Unity is known for its flexible structure and close-to-cinematic visuals in real-time. One can create games that feature built-in area lights, volumetrics, reflections, high-quality shadows, advanced materials and more. It lets user develop games on beautiful dark themed User Interface.
- Game developers can modify or remove the splash screen.
- Users get insights about the performance of their game with realâtime data on crashes and user feedback.
- It can store the whole project on cloud servers.
- ad monetization solution for mobile games
- Simplify inâapp purchase
- Unity Learn Premium is designed to impart advanced learning and skills to users. It is a program by which users can learn and master real-time 3D development.
- It provides a platform to build: Console and PC Games, Mobile Games, Instant Games and AR/VR Games.
- Unity offers rich visuals and art tools that are required to build games.
- It's Mobile Games Development Platform assists you to create device-ready content and all types of mobile games.
- It uses the bleeding-edge technology and live-ops services to ensure high visibility, reliable performance and revenue growth.
- Customizable and ultra-slim runtime.
Indie Game Maker, GameMaker, Construct 2, GameSalad, BuildBox, CryEngine, and UnrealEngine are some other popular game development software solutions available for the gaming companies and game developers.
If you are already using one from the software solutions listed above, you can freely share your reviews here.
The game development industry has seen its fair share of technological evolution, and there is much more to go in the future.
Palmer Luckey’s creation, Oculus Rift, a VR head-mounted display is a notable example of gaming sensation today. Augmented Reality (AR) will be more in action in the context of real-time gaming. It makes you feel like you are actually in the ground to enjoy the gaming realm. Pokemon Go – an Augmented Reality based mobile game developed under Unity game development platform has already created a revolution in the gaming industry.
The future of game development is straightaway heading to free and open source technology, especially in the case of mobile gaming. Battle for Wesnoth 1.14.7 – a turn-based strategy game’s latest version has been released recently on April 12, 2019 and is getting popular among the gamers.
Bottom line is that more companies and brands are now investing their time and resources in the gaming industry. Their ever-growing trust on the open source game development software solutions clearly reflects the programming freedom they admire in the open source arena to be able to bring more interesting and creative games for the gaming lovers.