Every gamer I’ve ever met has at least one great game idea rattling around in their brains.
Got a story that’d put every Final Fantasy to shame? A shooter idea that makes Call of Duty look like Faceball 2000? Perhaps you plan on reviving old-school platformers, like Super Mario Bros?
These days, many engines remove the hard work (the programming) out of game making, so you can focus on crafting the story and content. To help you get started, here are the top 3 code-free, drag’n’drop game engines for game developer newbs:
GamesSalad is used in classrooms to teach programming concepts, sans the programming.
The easy interface helps you throw a game together with a library of images and sounds. Making a prototype that your friends can play takes no time. Think of GameSalad as training wheels. You ARE making games, but not the kind that’ll make you the next Gabe Newell. You’ll have to level up your skills first.
Head over to their games page to play some GameSalad games. Most of the games are app-style, so Angry Birds clones run amok here. But if you want to get started pronto, this one can’t be beat.
2. Game Maker Studio
Game Maker Studio (GMS) is responsible for some very popular indie hits. GMS can make 3D games, but it really shines with 2D.
GMS is another drag’n’drop engine, but you CAN add code to make your games less cookie-cutter. That lets you get started right away, then add code as you improve your scripting chops.
Check out their showcase page. A good pick if you’re learning to code and like having projects to practice on. I’ve bought several amazing GMS games, including Hyper Light Drifter, Hotline Miami, and Undertale.
3. RPG Maker
RPG Maker lets you create your own JRPG effortlessly. It handles most of the heavy lifting for you, so you can focus on making characters, weapon, armor, and a compelling story.
Like GMS, you can use your own scripting to harness its full power, but don’t need to. Another great thing about RPG Maker – you can import your own artwork for characters, environments, and items. Time to brush up on your character illustration! Watch your back, Yoshitako Amano…
You live in the absolute best time to make your own video game – it’s almost TOO easy. And you don’t even have to learn to program.
Triple-A titles may be out of reach, sure, but you can get your hands dirty and add some work into a portfolio. And since more and more companies are looking for people with real-world experience (as opposed to a college degree), it could be all you need to bootstrap a career in the gaming industry.
Who has a game they’ve been hanging on to for years? Tell us a bit about it in the comments (we promise we won’t steal your idea).
Whether you’re deep in mecha marathons, Japanese news, or anime binge watching, we’d like to hear about it. Click the [CONTRIBUTE] button on our top menu bar and get your thoughts out there.