Our Top Picks

Amazon Lumberyard
Amazon Lumberyard
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: Online
  • Supports integrations

While it's one of the most recently released game development software on our list, Amazon Lumberyard has already been adopted by several mid-sized studios and independent developers due to its intuitive workflow, extensive development features, and integrations. With its advanced particle effects system and physically based shaders, game developers can quickly create visually impressive landscapes and photo-realistic interior environments. Amazon Lumberyard integrates with AWS and Twitch, and the software offers Mac, Windows, cloud, SaaS, and web-based deployment. The software also provides full access to its native C++ source code, enabling endless customizations. 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Includes in-app purchases system
  • Supports virtual reality game development

Cons

  • Multiplayer gaming network requires GameLift service with additional fees

Summary

Amazon Lumberyard
Amazon Lumberyard
  • Starting Price
    • Freeware*
    • *Lumberyard game engine has no fees or royalties but user have to pay for AWS services he/she might use.
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Freeware
  • Deployment
    Installed - Mac
    Installed - Windows
    Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
  • Support Options
    Online
  • 2D Games
    yes
  • 3D Games
    yes
Features
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: Online
  • Supports integrations
GameMaker
GameMaker
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: Online
  • Includes physics simulation tools

GameMaker ignores 3D game development altogether and strives to be the ultimate platform for developing 2D games. Its robust suite of game creation tools allows users to drag and drop gameplay logic and in-game art assets with minimal coding. In addition to mobile devices and consoles, users can make games for smart TVs and web browsers. Tile brushes allow developers to quickly prototype level designs for platformer-style games, while the customizability of the software's editor layout and appearance ensures users can build the workspace that makes them most productive.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Includes multiplayer gaming network

Cons

  • High fees for console development licenses

Summary

GameMaker
GameMaker
  • Starting Price
    • Creator
    • Mac: $39/12 months/user
    • Windows: $39/12 months/user
    • Contact for more pricing options
  • Free Trial/Demo
    30-Day Free Trial
  • Deployment
    Installed - Mac
    Installed - Windows
    Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
  • Support Options
    Online
  • 2D Games
    yes
  • 3D Games
    yes
Features
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: Online
  • Includes physics simulation tools
GDevelop
GDevelop
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: Online
  • Includes physics simulation tools

GDevelop is an open source game engine designed to be easy to learn yet also highly customizable with the software's JavaScript extensibility. It comes with physics simulation tools and a user-friendly visual editor. With one click, users can deploy their games to Android and iOS as well as web browsers and Facebook Instant Games and as installed programs on desktops running Mac, Windows, and Linux. Although there isn't any live support available, the software's website includes in-depth documentation and tutorials to quickly get new users up to speed. GDevelop makes it easy for users to incorporate in-app purchases into their games, and the software also integrates with AdMob, enabling developers to further monetize their games with banner ads and reward videos. 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Includes in-app purchases system
  • Supports numerous integrations

Cons

  • No live user support

Summary

GDevelop
GDevelop
  • Starting Price
    • Free & Open Source Software (FOSS)
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free & Open Source Software (FOSS)
  • Deployment
    Installed - Mac
    Installed - Windows
    Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
  • Support Options
    Online
  • 2D Games
    yes
  • 3D Games
    yes
Features
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: Online
  • Includes physics simulation tools
Unity
Unity
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS, iPhone/iPad, Android
  • Customer service: Phone during business hours
  • Creates 2D games

Used by many AAA studios, Unity is one of the most popular game engines on the market. Users can make 2D, 3D, and AR/VR games for any platform, including mobile devices, consoles, smart TVs, and even wearables. Its built-in animation tools enable developers to quickly bring their characters to life, while the software's Cinemachine feature makes it easy to create engaging cutscenes and game trailers. In the Unity Asset Store, developers will find a wide array of useful game assets ranging from free low-poly character packs to time-saving templates that take away the boilerplate code for common game features, such as inventory systems and NPC behavior. 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Supports AR/VR development
  • Numerous free plug-ins and game kits available through Unity Asset Store

Cons

  • Pro subscription required for splash screen customization

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • Individual
    • Student: Free
    • Personal: Free
    • Contact for more pricing options
  • Free Trial/Demo
    30-Day Free Trial
  • Deployment
    Installed - Mac
    Installed - Windows
    Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
    iPhone / iPad
    Android
  • Support Options
    Business Hours
  • 2D Games
    yes
  • 3D Games
    yes
Features
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS, iPhone/iPad, Android
  • Customer service: Phone during business hours
  • Creates 2D games
Unreal Engine
Unreal Engine
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: Online
  • Comes with reports features

Unreal Engine is highly regarded by large studios and award-winning indie developers around the world. From cartoony 2D side scrollers to immersive virtual reality experiences, the feature-rich software comes with all the tools developers need to create nearly any type of game for any platform. Advanced physics simulation tools make adding realistic object collisions a straightforward process, while customizable plug-ins and an array of modular game development systems help teams rapidly iterate gameplay systems and add advanced mechanics. With its Blueprints visual scripting tool, even nonprogrammers can leverage the software's robust feature set. 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Physics simulation tools
  • Supports 3D and 2D game development

Cons

  • Developers must pay 5% royalty fees after reaching $1 million in sales

Summary

Unreal Engine
Unreal Engine
  • Starting Price
    • Freeware*
    • *5% Royalty Applies Once Product Earns $1M
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Freeware
  • Deployment
    Installed - Mac
    Installed - Windows
    Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
  • Support Options
    Online
  • 2D Games
    yes
  • 3D Games
    yes
Features
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: Online
  • Comes with reports features

How We Chose the Best Game Development Software

When searching for the best game development software, we looked for game engines that offer robust development features, reports, and game creation capabilities to enable developers and game designers of all experience levels to realize their creative aspirations. 

Types of Games

Several of the software solutions we found enable developers to create different types of games, with 2D and 3D being the most common. Some options support AR/VR game development for multiple platforms, while others aim to be the best development software for one type or style of game. 

Game Development Features

We recommend game development software that includes a variety of features, such as animation toolsets, prototyping features, physics simulation, and built-in gameplay logic, such as pathfinding for NPCs or conditional events for in-game actions. 

Reports

In-depth game reports can help speed up the development process, particularly when debugging gameplay and in-game interactions. Additionally, game performance reports can show developers the most resource-intensive areas of their games, allowing them to pinpoint opportunities for optimizing graphics rendering and level load times.