Game design and development require good knowledge of a programming language. Amateur or professional, game developers have to learn ActionScript, JAVA, C++ or some other complex programming language to create 2D games. Nowadays, there are several game-making tools that do not require coding. They have a simple drag-and-drop interface, an event system, graphics editor, behaviors, a level editor, special effects and other toolsets that facilitates game development and saves time and energy.
The current generation of game creators not only offers an excellent toolset, but also lets game developers monetize and publish their games to iTunes, Google Play Store and various other app stores. Some of the most popular Android, PC and iPhone games have been developed using the current lot of software programs. Here’s a rundown of some of the best game creators for making PC, Android and iOS games.
GameSalad lets developers create games effortlessly, thanks to its visual drag-and-drop interface, a large behavior library, fully integrated physics engine and other cool features that make game development easy. The software’s behavior library provides freedom to game developers to create actions of their choice from a list of basic and advanced game behaviors. Once game creation is complete, developers can test their game using the app’s amazing previewer.
While the free version gives you freedom to create games, preview them, and publish them to the web and iOS platform, the pro version lets you monetize your games and publish them to the Google Play Store and Windows 8. There are other additional benefits in the pro version, but I would suggest trying out the free version first and then upgrading to the pro version if you are satisfied with the interface, preview and behavior sets.
Stencyl is your very own portable game studio that offers a splendid toolset and extensive platform support. It’s one of those “no coding required” game creators that provide the best drag-and-drop interface. The interface is inspired by the MIT Scratch project. The software developers have modified MIT’s project by adding new features. Dragging and dropping code blocks was never this easy.
The software program lets advanced game developers write their own code, custom classes and import libraries, giving them complete freedom to create their choice of games. Developers can also design scenes and build worlds using the software’s nifty Scene Designer. Besides a world editor, there’s an Actor editor tool that lets you create characters and NPCs, tweak their behaviors and appearances.
With Stencyl Basic, you can create Flash games for free and publish your games to their website. But for publishing games to Google Play, Windows, Mac and iOS, you will need to pay $199 per year.
Some of the top games created using Stencyl are Making Monkeys and Dangerous Dungeons (PC); Impossible Pixel and Zuki’s Quest (iPhone and Android). You can play them on Armor Games and NewGrounds to know the incredible capabilities of Stencyl’s toolset.
3. GameMaker: Studio
GameMaker: Studio is the perfect game creator for newbie game developers. It also caters to expert game creators who can create stunning 2D games with the help of Studio’s built-in script – Game Maker Language. With this software, users can import animations, fonts, character sprites and create games effortlessly.
With Studio, developers can create visually-appealing, high-quality physics-based 2D games with the help of the software program’s shader effects and Box2D physics engine support.
Studio’s export modules allow gamers to build a game, create multiple executables and export them to multiple platforms at a push of a button (PC, Android, iOS, mobile with HTML5 etc.).
GameMaker was one of the first game making software programs available for PC. It is quite popular among amateur and expert developers and offers a wide range of tools. Some of the best games like Murder in Hotel Lisbon (PC), Spelunky (PC) and Aces of Luftwaffe (Android) were created using GameMaker’s toolset.
With Flowlab, users can make their own Flash and iOS games right in their browser. This online game making tool caters to game developers who don’t have any previous knowledge of programming. The game creator has all the tools an amateur game developer needs. And because the toolset is stored online, it makes it easier for developers to share their games.
FlowLab’s unique flow-based programming lets users connect behaviors to create sophisticated game logic. It also has built-in animation and drawing tools that allows users to create characters, NPCs and animations.
The only drawback is that the free version has limited resources (only 50 objects and 5 levels). Developers can create a maximum of 3 games. The pro version lets them create unlimited games using unlimited objects and levels. Along with unlimited resources, the paid version allows users to publish their game to iTunes.
Sploder is an online-only app for PC that lets newbie game developers create web games using a variety of toolsets. Developers can create their own arcade games, platformers, space adventures or shooters. Each genre has its own set of tools. There’s also a separate physics game creator for creating physics-based games and a graphics editor to create your own pixilated characters.
While Sploder is a great platform to create a game of your choice, it does not support app monetization. Also, you cannot publish your game to a mobile market. You can, however, publish your games to the website and get your games rated by other members.
6. ClickTeam Fusion 2.5
ClickTeam Fusion 2.5 is for advanced game developers, but that doesn’t mean it involves complex coding. The software program’s excellent event editor system ensures developers are able to quickly create games with minimum programming knowledge.
Developers can also take advantage of Box 2D physics engine and publish games and apps to multiple platforms, including the OUYA console, thanks to its Android export module. After creating a 2D app, all game creators have to do is click on Build and Run to create an APK file. Once the APK file is generated, it will be installed on your device.
Another feature is the hardware acceleration support. With this feature, developers can create games quicker. The app has a free version, but it will be available to developers in the near future. The only drawback is that people have to separately purchase Android and iOS exporters. These exporters aren’t included with the main software program. If you still want to try, wait for the free version and try it out first before purchasing the pro version.
7. Construct 2
Construct 2 is an excellent game-making tool that lets users create 2D games. This HTML5 game builder allows beginners as well as advanced creators to create games without any programming knowledge. The app is suitable for amateur developers, hobbyists, indie game developers as well as students. With this app, teachers can teach animation, design and game logic basics to students. Professional game creators can try out this app to create games for Android and iOS devices.
The app has flexible behaviors, such as path-finding, movements, platforms, fade and many other utilities to assist you in creating your perfect game. Like GameSalad, Construct 2 lets you preview your games, but without compiling, thus saving time. You can preview the game anytime on your browser, at a press of your button.
Like other game creators, Construct 2 has a simple visual interface that ensures easy game creation. Developers can drag and drop objects, design levels and add behaviors/effects to breathe life into them. They can create events by choosing actions and conditions or triggers from a list, which is organized to ensure easy selection.
The game creator also has spectacular visual effects, such as particle system, pixel-shader effects and blend modes. This is one tool every beginner or advanced game developer must own. Popular games like Yokai, The Iconoclasts and ClassicVania were created using the Construct 2 game creator.
Another online game making tool, GameFroot has an open community where developers and game enthusiasts can discuss and share creative ideas. The online toolset encourages amateur and professional developers to create mobile, web and HTML5 games.
GameFroot can be a great online tool to create pixilated games, but then again you must pay money if you want to monetize your games, get learning resources and publish to Google Play/Appstore and other markets.
However there are many useful features for pro users, such as private groups, which encourage developers to create games together, copy protection and support. GameFroot may not be one of the best game makers for PC or Android, but it’s worth a gander. Make sure you try the free version first and choose the pro version if you are satisfied with the service, features and interface.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Gamer gz on January 15, 2020:
What about Unity (game engine). You don't need to code for basic 2D game. Unity isn't the only one though. Many of the game engines offer entry level introductions.
Habtamu ababu on August 23, 2018:
thanks a lot guys
Eric Farmer from Rockford Illinois on January 17, 2018:
An interesting list of tools. I have started learning to program using Android Studio recently myself.
mona on December 21, 2014:
nice way but i need an easy video tutorial for making games
Dan Milward on October 01, 2014:
No worries. If you're interested in doing a review of the new upcoming Gamefroot V2 I'd be keen to talk to you about that.
Anurag (author) on September 29, 2014:
@Dan You're welcome :-)
Dan Milward on September 28, 2014:
Hi Guys. Thanks for adding Gamefroot.com to the list.
We're gearing up to launch Version 2 within the next month. V2 has a lot more of a computer science focus, more resources and export to mobile.
Also games published using Gamefroot V2 will be running the Kiwi.js game framework (kiwijs.org) which has a pretty powerful Plugin system. Therefore people will be able to write their own Plugins for Gamefroot (thus extending its capabilities even more).
Any questions relating to Gamefroot please email firstname.lastname@example.org :)
Andrew from Rep Boston MA on July 14, 2014:
Great list! I haven't heard of half of these programs. Thanks for the hub!