Engines and Authoring Tools
This is a list of engines and tools that I found interesting and think either are great options for Indies or have great potential when completed. The main things I look for is the tool must either be a turn key solution or pretty close to it. Indies need to save time and resources so that they can dedicate the most towards their game itself and not just the asset management and core engine functionality.
The brain child of Mark Overmars. This series of products was built for Indies back before Indies were called Indies and casual games didn’t exist. However, Game Maker has suffered from a bad rep because it was originally geared towards a younger audience. Over the years that younger audience matured into this generation of Indie developers. And just as the community has matured their skills, GM has matured as well. GM is now a complete IDE with asset management for your 2D and audio resources as well as a full compiler. GM:S now sports some sexy shaders. GM Studio can export to many different platforms including Windows, Windows 8, Mac OSX, iOS, Android, Windows Phone or Tizen, and HTML5.
March 10, 2014 5:07 pm
One of the most awesome commercial adventure game makers that exists! It is able to make just about any type of adventure game including traditional point and click, hidden object, verb coin, etc.. The price point is really good for Indies. Check out my Youtube tutorials for Visionaire.
June 4, 2015 8:31 pm
AGS is now an open source project which is excellent for those that want to get into the trenches and develop. However, since it has been open sourced, I find the project has lost momentum in a way. It is suffering from too many chefs in the kitchen as it were. It seems to have lost direction to a certain degree. Whether that is true or not, Adventure Game Studio suffers from a lack of continuous support for cross-platform. It is there in surges and only for the engine — not the editor. Otherwise, AGS is an excellent tool for making Adventure and — with a little extra coding — RPG games.
March 10, 2014 5:46 pm
Probably one of the more professional looking open source spin offs of an RPG Maker style engine. It has a lot going for it. It is cross platform — even the editor which is hardly the case. It is based on the feature set of RPG Maker 2000/2003 plus adding in its own extras that make it appealing. It has an active developer who is working on the editor and engine. There are lots of features planned for improving on the RM2K foundation. However, it isn’t finished yet and currently not in a usable state.
March 10, 2014 5:51 pm
This is an amazing little cross platform 2D engine and editor! Although it is designed for and aimed at retro style genres, there is nothing retro about this little engine. Talk about the engine that could! Ethanon is an entity based game engine. It comes with an editor that contains tabs for making scenes, entities, particles and projects. Seriously? What more does a growing indie need? How about a scripting language? Ethanon has that too. It uses Angel script (a close cousin of C). The 2D lighting feature is very impressive and only requires a normal map and some simple entity settings to be set within the editor. The website contains all of the documentation and tutorials that you need to get started and there is a small forum to post questions. And best of all the editor works for both Windows and OSX. This engine is best suited for arcade and action style games. But it with the scripting engine, it can easily be expanded to include adventure and casual puzzle/hidden object games. With a lot of scripting, you should be able to pull off more complex genres such as strategy and RPG.
March 10, 2014 5:48 pm
July 3, 2014 1:00 pm
Another open source RPG Maker spin off is Open RPG Maker. It uses RM2K as its basis as well but adds in some more modern features. This project also has a hard working development team. But again the final project is incomplete. (as of Sept 10, 2013) Once done, though, it will be an excellent replacement for those who want to use an RPG Maker style engine.
March 10, 2014 5:52 pm
There isn’t a lot more that can be said about the RPG Maker series. This is the standard that most RPG style editors start from. Maps and game events are all created through the game editor. No coding is really needed if you just want a basic RPG game. However, the functionality of the game can be customized through ruby scripts while assets for graphics and audio can be managed through the editor. It comes with enough graphics and audio resources for you to make your own game. The drawbacks for this entire series is that it is Windows only and the engine is limited to 640×480 resolution in a non-hardware accelerated mode. Features such as mouse support can be added by a programmer using DLLs and ruby script. If you plan to release games such as this to other platforms such as OSX and iOS, you will have to build your own engine using something like Mac Ruby or Mobius.
March 10, 2014 5:51 pm
March 10, 2014 5:50 pm
GarageGame’s T2D is a pretty powerful engine when it was created about a decade ago. It has been used to create some pretty nice casual and arcade style games. It is cross platform and now with its new and improved open source flavour, hopefully, we will see some more improvements. It has a built in physics system based on the box2D libraries. Their documentation has always been notoriously non-existent in my opinion. However, it seems to have improved a great deal. From what I can see, someone spend a lot of time organizing and making step by step documentation on how to use T2D. This increases this engines worth in my books. I’m going to download a copy and see how it goes.
March 10, 2014 5:48 pm