Many professional programmers They mention videogames as the reason that led them to be interested in software development: “I also wanted to be able to do that.” And it had merit, because a few decades ago aspiring programmers did not have many of the tools that make life easier for them today: you had to be ready to fight C or assembler.
Fortunately, the range of tools and languages is much wider today, and the ‘learning curve’ much smoother, so much so that it is possible to create a complete video game without touching any code.
From Genbeta we offer you a small compilation, so that you are encouraged to try your luck:
Gamesalad offers us the possibility to create simple cross-platform 2D games without entering a single line of code, just by dragging and dropping objects from one side of the screen to the other, thanks to its gallery of graphic resources.
It has a free version, which does not allow you to customize the start of the resulting video game, or include ads or export it to Android; the ‘Pro’ version removes these limitations.
Widely used in educational settings, when other visual programming platforms such as Scratch are too small.
Stencyl is another example of ‘Scratch on steroids’ focused on 2D video game development. Intuitive and cross-platform (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, HTML5, Flash), it offers tools to design scenes and characters.
Like the previous one, Stencyl also has a limited free version (You can only export a restricted number of projects). Contrary to that, it gives us the option of complementing visual programming with code writing.
Construct 3 is a video game creation tool using visual programming, focused on 2D games, of which its users often praise its learning curve and the intuitiveness of its event system.
To be based on HTML5, the games it generates are multiplatform: not only can we upload them directly to the Web, but we can also compile them for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android. But remember that this use of HTML5 technology also will lead to technical limitations: not the best option for an ambitious project.
Another positive aspect? It has a very active user community and a huge amount of tutorials (both official and unofficial).
Another negative aspect? It costs € 89 per year; and if we stop paying, we will no longer be able to modify our projects.
GameGuru // AppGameKit Classic
The GameGuru website offers, as soon as you enter, a concise description of what this program offers: “an easy, pleasant and complete game creation process, designed specifically for those who are not programmers or designers“.
If you’ve ever used a level editor for other 3D video games, you will notice that the GameGuru interface is quite intuitive: allows you to easily create a functional map and distribute in it the player character, his enemies, and the different items. In general, everything in this program seems focused on creating FPS video games (action in the first person), although with a little inventiveness the range of genres opens up quite a bit.
The artificial intelligence of the NPCs will not – being soft – especially remarkable, but if you want to dig a little deeper and start fiddling with code, you can resort to scripts in Lua (a very simple programming language) to improve it.
Another option is to export the game that we have created to edit it with AppGameKit, another game engine from the creators of GameGuru but much more complex and versatile. GameGuru is on sale on Steam for € 19.99, compared to € 41.99 for AppGameKit Classic.
Godot is a program lightweight, free and open source whose popularity grows day by day. It is available for Windows, Linux and Mac, and allows to generate executables also for Android and iOS, as well as to export to HTML5.
Although it remains in the shadow of Unreal Engine and Unity3D, it is a powerful alternative to them, which allows us to create both 2D and 3D games (using OpenGL for rendering).
That, of course, makes its use more complex, and forces us to start typing code (supports its own GDScript language, as well as C ++ and C #), although we can still use its ‘Visual Scripting’ tool
In the same way that GameGuru is a tool created with FPS genre video games in mind, the goal of RPG Maker is to produce 2D JRPGs (Think of ‘Final Fantasy VI’ or, better, of the controversial ‘Pokémon Iberia’, created – effectively – with the software at hand).
Different versions of RPG Maker offer event, map and database editing tools, in addition to extensive galleries of graphics, textures, characters and audio.
The latest versions offer the ability to compile games for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and HTML5.
Ren’Py / TyranoBuilder / Visual Novel Maker
We group these 3 tools because they are linked to a very particular genre of video games: ‘visual novels’, something like the digital version of an illustrated book of ‘Choose your own adventure’. These video games, very popular in Japan and in which the ‘manga’ aesthetic predominates, are made up only of images (you can even be static), audio and dialogues.
Three programs stand out in this area And, if we had to classify them from least to most visual (understanding ‘visual’ as the possibility of assembling the video game without touching code), the order would be as follows:
- Ren’Py VN Engine (free and open source, lacks the visual tools of the other two).
- TyranoBuilder (€ 14.99 on Steam, available for Windows and Mac, its games are multi-platform).
- Visual Novel Maker (€ 54.99 on Steam, created by the same developers as RPG Maker).
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