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Top 10 Game Engines to Use for Game Development

All seasoned and aspiring game developers are attracted to indie games. An indie game or independent game is developed by indie developers or a small team without any large publisher’s financial aid. These games are often developed using indie game engines and minimal resources. Scour through this article to learn about the best game engine for indie games. 

Table of Content:

What is a Game Engine?

Game engines are software programs or environments that offer developers the necessary tools and APIs required to simplify the video game development process. Game engines are useful for creating everything from physics simulation and audio to AI and animation. The best game engine ensures that developers can focus completely on the game content instead of the detailed technical bits.   

Enroll in a Gaming & Esports course to learn more about game engines.

Why are Game Engines Important?

In the past, every video game used to be developed on its own rendering engines. With time, game engines transformed from proprietary, in-house engines to widely available commercial engines. Commercial game engines can help developers complete the game development process at a faster speed.  

The commercially developed game engines available today can help produce new games as well as extend existing games to more platforms. Game engines offer the degree of consistency, compatibility, and flexibility required to create unique and streamlined gaming experiences by providing developers with a unified ecosystem for developing games.

You should also learn more about esports to grasp the importance of game engines: What are Esports?

Game Engines to Use for Indie Game Development

    1. SpriteKit

      Highlights:

      • Well-designed framework
      • Easy animations
      • Automation of sound and visual effects
      • Fast rendering

      Pricing: Free

      SpriteKit is one of the best game engines from Apple to develop 2D games. SpriteKit lets you develop games similar to making a storyboard. Using SpriteKit will mean that you will be able to develop the best indie games with more images and less code. 

    2. Unity

      Highlights:

      • Free version
      • Multi-platform support
      • Useful for 2D and 3D game development
      • Good for different team sizes

      Pricing: Free for personal use. Paid plans begin at $35 per month.

      Unity is one of the best multi-platform game engines that help developers create interactive 3D content with ease. The excellent functionality and high-quality content offered by Unity make it one of the most preferred engines for developing the best indie games. The all-in-one editor is compatible with Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, Xbox, Switch, PS4, and more.  

    3. CryEngine

      Highlights:

      • Strong interface
      • Excellent visual capabilities
      • Impressive VR support
      • Perfect for buying in-game assets

      Pricing: Free, Subscription plans starting at $50 per month

      CryEngine is one of the best game engines that offers developers the complete engine source code and other features without any license fee. Cryengine Marketplace is the best place to purchase in-game assets, which reduces the time to market. Some of the best indie games and Crytek’s titles, like Far Cry, Crysis, and Ghost Warrior 2, have been developed using CryEngine. 

    4. Amazon Lumberyard (Open 3D Engine)

      Highlights:

      • 3D game engine
      • VR preview mode
      • Visual scripting tools
      • Twitch integration

      Pricing: Free

      Powered by Amazon Web Services, Amazon Lumberyard is a secure cloud platform. It is the best game engine with excellent native support for P2P, C++, and client topology. The extensive capabilities of the feature-rich platform can help develop the best indie games with Autodesk Maya and Adobe Photoshop.

    5. Godot Engines

      Highlights:

      • Easy to use
      • Intuitive interface
      • Active community
      • Suitable for 2D and 3D indie game development

      Pricing: Free

      Godot is an open-source platform with a license from MIT. It is extremely useful for developing both 2D and 3D games. It is one of the best game engines, with several common tools to develop games without having to reinvent the wheel. The active community of Godot ensures that bugs are constantly fixed, and advanced features are being developed. 

    6. Unreal Engine

      Highlights:

      • Useful for both 2D and 3D development
      • Rich customization abilities
      • Multiple features for smooth game development
      • Improved scalability

      Pricing: Free (royalty on gross venue)

      Owned by Epic Games, Unreal is one of the most popular game engines. Businesses of all sizes can use the multi-platform engine to transform ideas into captivating visual content with the help of real-time technology. Its latest version, Unreal Engine 5, can lead to the development of the best indie games and revolutionize the gaming industry. 

    7. Buildbox

      Highlights:

      • Tutorial support available
      • Cross-platform exporting
      • No coding required
      • Excellent asset library

      Pricing: Free, Plus $89.99, Pro $224.99, Ultimate Bundle $599.99 annually

      BuildBox enables users to develop 2D games without having to code. It is one of the best game engines for beginners. Developers can drag and drop different game objects, scenes, and animations to develop games. Some additional features available with BuildBox include a physics engine, level creation, character customization, and more. 

    8. Game Maker Studio 2

      Highlights:

      • Easy to use
      • Intuitive interface
      • Faster game development
      • Inexpensive subscription plans

      Pricing: Free. Paid plans start at $39 per month.

      Game Maker is the best game engine for developing games without knowing any programming language. Instead of using any native coding language, developers will be able to create games using a point-and-click method. Some of the best indie games that have been developed using Game Maker include Hotline Miami, Spelunky, and Super Crate Box. 

    9. Monogame

      Highlights:

      • Open-source
      • Multi-platform compatibility
      • XNA compatibility
      • Unified API

      Pricing: Free

      MonoGame is one of the best game engines that enable developers to build games for several platforms with the help of C#. It offers a unified API for accessing audio and graphics for competitive gaming. It is one of the game development engines that makes it easy to develop games for mobile, web, and desktop without rewriting any code. 

Solar 2D

Highlights:

      • High performance
      • Cross-platform compatibility
      • Lua scripting
      • A large suite of valuable tools

Pricing: Free

Solar2D is the best game engine for developing 2D games on desktop, mobile, and web platforms. The platform offers a large set of tools for multiple features, including audio, physics, graphics, and networking.

Game Engines to Use for Indie Game Development

Conclusion

Choosing the best game engine is crucial for developing the best indie games. The different features of an efficient game engine will ensure that you can build the best games to impress players. Enjoy the free version of some of the best gaming engines to find out whether the features can help you develop a mind-blowing indie game.

FAQ's

Unity is one of the most loved game engines by indie developers.
Indie game developers use existing game engines, game development kits, and middleware to develop engaging gaming experiences.
Unity is one of the best game engines for solo developers.
You can start your game development journey using Godot because it does not demand coding knowledge.
Both Unity and Unreal have special features that can help you develop engaging gaming experiences. While Unity is suitable for beginners, Unreal is preferable for professionals.

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