As a business owner or an entrepreneur, you should invest in mobile game development. Not only is the gaming industry expanding annually but it also generates high ROI. According to Statista, mobile games generated $77.2 billion in revenue worldwide in 2020 and this figure is expected to reach $102.8 billion in 2023.
If you are confused about which tools to employ for your dream mobile game, then don’t fret. We have compiled a list of 10 must-have mobile game development tools that will help you streamline your game development process.
Unity is a cross-platform game engine that was released in June 2005 by Unity Technologies. It is among the most famous game development tools as more than 50% of mobile games are developed on Unity. Unity is at the forefront of the expanding VR industry since it was used to develop 90% of Samsung Gear VR and 53% of Facebook’s Oculus Rift. This widely-used platform allows artists, developers, and designers to collaborate on cinematic gameplay sequences and content using 2D and 3D design tools.
Additionally, its instant play mode can be used for prompt editing and iteration. It also has a powerful animation system that can be used on popular platforms like iOS, Windows Phone, Tizen OS, Fire OS, and Android.
Moreover, Unity allows you to access a wide range of assets that can be purchased from its store. You can import assets from other 3D applications like Maya or Blender. In addition,Unity has in-depth tutorials, guides, and help material for beginners. As a developer, you can code using three programming languages including Boo, C#, and UnityScript.
Unity has three purchase packages including Personal, Plus, and Pro. Some of the top mobile games that were developed by Unity include Pokémon GO, Angry Birds 2, Super Mario Run, and Wasteland 2.
2. Amazon Lumberyard:
Like Unity, Lumberyard is a freeware cross-platform game engine that was developed by Amazon. It was released in February 2016. It allows developers to not only create games but also facilitates smooth integration of the games to AWS Cloud and Twitch. Twitch is a game-streaming platform thus this integration by Lumberyard allows your game to reach the leading gaming community. Moreover, AWS Cloud integration facilitates multiplayer and live games.
Lumberyard supports iOS, PC, Xbox One, PlayStation4, and Android. It is a fully-customizable game development tool. Breakaway, Everywhere, Star Citizen, The DRG Initiative are some of the games that were developed through Amazon’s Lumberyard.
Formerly known as Corona SDK, Solar2D is a free open-source, Lua-based game engine that focuses on easy iterations and use. It initially came out in 2009 and is now widely-used by developers to create high-quality 2D mobile games.
Not only is Solar2D cross-platform, but it also has plug-ins for core features like analytics, media, in-app advertising, and much more. Furthermore, this powerful framework offers more than 1000 built-in APIs (Application Programming Interface). Solar2D is famous for its clear documentation and real-life simulation that helps you see how your game will look like after you make any changes.
Moreover, it supports iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Apple/Android TV, and Kindle. You can interact with the Solar2D community through Discord and Forums. Zip Zap, I Love Hue, Gunman Taco Truck, PKTBALL are some of the games that made use of Solar2D.
Construct is an HTML5 2D game editor that was developed by Scirra Ltd. Its initial release was in February 2011 and is used by over 100,000 people worldwide. Construct3 has a powerful event sheet view that facilitates instant game creation and modification. Moreover, it does not require prior coding or game development knowledge.
Construct3 presents various flexible, pre-set effects and behaviors that are time-efficient. In addition, it is customizable and can allow you to preview and test your games instantly. There is no need to wait for game compilation. It is supported by Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chromebooks, and others.
Some of the games developed through Construct3 are Mortar Melon, CoinOp Story, The Next Penelope, among many others. It has a free trial version but paid plans start at almost $99/annum.
Fusion was created by Clickteam in August 2007. It has a fully integrated engine and hardware acceleration that makes your games and apps run faster. Besides, Fusion allows you to instantly create 2D games through its wide range of extension objects. Fusion also has an easy-to-use interface and you don’t need prior programming knowledge to use this platform.
Furthermore, it offers a visual editor that can be used to position all your game elements such as counter characters, texts, and much more. Its supported platforms include iOS, Android, and Windows. Quadle, Bit Odyssey, Future Police, and Diabolic Seasons are some of the games developed using Fusion. It has a free trial version and premium options start at $95.
Released in 2014, PlayCanvas is an open-source 3D game engine that is sourced on GitHub under MIT and allows simultaneous editing from various computers via a browser-based interface. Moreover, it is mobile-optimized and even performs well on hand-held devices.
PlayCanvas has zero compile time so you can iterate instantly. Load times are also fast due to features like script concatenation, minification, and the deferred load of non-essential assets.
Further, it is supported by various platforms and browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, among others. With PlayCanvas, you can develop both 2D and 3D games.
7. Unreal Engine:
Developed by Epic Games in 1998, Unreal Engine is among the most popular and widely used game development tools. This engine uses C++ as its programming language and has distinct features like VFX, advanced AI, and Particle Systems. Unreal Engine can be used to create games with VR, AR, and Extended Reality (XR) experiences.
In 2014, Guinness World Records awarded Unreal Engine the title of “the most successful video game engine”.
Unreal Engine supports platforms like Windows PC, Sony PS4, Xbox One, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, VR platforms, HTML5, SteamOS, and Linux. Although it is free to use, developers must pay a 5% royalty on gross revenue.
Marvel Heroes, Batman: Arkham Origins, WWE Immortals, and Infinity Blade 3 are some of the games developed using Unreal Engine.
AppGameKit is a simple, cross-platform mobile game development tool that was developed by The Game Creators Ltd. in November 2014. It’s very user-friendly and allows developers to use the AppGameKit Script language instead of C++. As a result, it’s revered by beginners and experts alike.
It is supported by platforms like Windows Phone, Blackberry, iOS, and Android. Its development kit starts at $49.99 while extra bundles and SDK can range from $39 to $99. Na4, Skrobol, Bouncing Brendan, Squashies World, Towerbots, and Bad Robot are some of the games developed using AppGameKit.
9. GameMaker Studio 2:
Developed by YoYo Games in March 2017, GameMarker Studio 2 features a drag-and-drop interface that allows for fast-paced game development. Moreover, it uses a language that’s very similar to C and easy to learn.
GameMaker Studio 2 is the preferred choice of many for 2D game development and is supported on various platforms like Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Tizen, Amazon Fire, and PS Vita.
Hyper Light, Bluk, Drifter, UNDERTALE, Psebay, Crashlands, Feral fury, and Desert Child are some of the games developed using GameMaker Studio.
10. Maya LT :
This 3D modeling and animation software was developed by Autodesk. It was released in December 2020. Maya LT targets indie game developers. Although it’s very easy to use, it still packs a ton of features like 3D animations, motion graphics, animation deformation, dynamics and effects, pipeline integration, 3D modeling, rendering & imaging, and animation rigging. Maya LT offers a free trial however its paid plans start at $265/ year.
A lot goes into building a great mobile game and having the right tools is a must for getting the job done.
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