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.
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.
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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.
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- Well-designed framework
- Easy animations
- Automation of sound and visual effects
- Fast rendering
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.
- 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.
- 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.
Amazon Lumberyard (Open 3D Engine)
- 3D game engine
- VR preview mode
- Visual scripting tools
- Twitch integration
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.
- Easy to use
- Intuitive interface
- Active community
- Suitable for 2D and 3D indie game development
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.
- 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.
- 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.
Game Maker Studio 2
- 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.
- Multi-platform compatibility
- XNA compatibility
- Unified API
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.
- High performance
- Cross-platform compatibility
- Lua scripting
- A large suite of valuable tools
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.
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.