ArticlesMobile Game Development Tools

The gaming industry is one of the biggest in the world. It employs hundreds of thousands of people worldwide and as of 2017, rakes in a revenue of over $100 billion annually. That’s why a lot of developers and enthusiasts want to build their own games and rake in the dough.

With so many mobile game development tools on the market, we’ve compiled a list of useful tools that streamline the game dev process and optimize results.

 

 

There is no one magic tool that will solve all your problems, different mobile game development tools serve different purposes and audiences.

Below are the must-have mobile game development tools to choose from based on your needs.

 

 

Mobile Game Development Tools

 

Game Making Tools

 

Mobile Game Development Tools

 

Game Making Tools allow anyone to create a prototype or even a full-on game without writing a single line of code. They mostly depend on drag and drop frameworks, allowing you to build your game and release it as fast as possible.

With ease of use comes limitations. Even though these tools allow you to go beyond drag and drop and manipulate the code, you’re still limited by how much control you have over the game. This may be great for quick, simple games by newbies and amateurs, but wouldn’t suit large projects and corporates.

 

 

GameMaker Studio

GameMaker allows you to build games from start to finish using their drag and drop interface. It has everything you need to take your idea from concept to finished game.

For more advanced indie developers, GameMaker offers its own language which is similar to C, allowing you to go beyond drag and drop and have more control over your game. GameMaker helps you easily learn the language as you go. However, it’s only good for 2D games and trying to create a 3D game using GameMaker would be highly inconvenient.

  • Developer: YoYo Games
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Tizen.
  • Games: Crashlands, Psebay, Bluk, Feral Fury, and more.
  • Pricing: Free trial. Paid plans start at $99.99. Mobile plan at $399.99.

 

 

Construct2

An HTML5 game creator with no coding or game development knowledge required. It has a powerful event system where you can make your game do what it needs to do in a visual and human readable way.

It features a lot of flexible, pre-set behaviors and effects that can be great time savers and can be customized based on need. You can also preview and test your games instantly without having to wait for it to compile or build.

  • Developer: Scirra Ltd.
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry.
  • Games: Mortar Melon, The Next Penelope, Cosmochoria, CoinOp Story, and more.
  • Pricing: Free. Paid plans start at £79.99.

 

 

Corona SDK

Based on the Lua scripting language, Corona is an easy-to-learn and extremely powerful framework used by over 300,00 developers to create 2D games. It offers over 1,000 built-in APIs, a vast selection of plugins, and Corona Native extensions that will help you bring your mobile game dreams to reality

  • Developer: Corona Labs Inc.
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
  • Games: Zip Zap, Gunman Taco Truck, PKTBALL, I Love Hue, and more.
  • Pricing: Free.

 

 

Fusion

Clickteam allows you to quickly create 2D games, providing you with a wide range of extension objects to accomplish any type of programming challenge you can think of.

It offers a visual editor where you can place and position all of the elements of your game or application including the characters, counters, strings of text, and more, using your mouse. Then you can set up the properties for each of your objects by clicking on check boxes or selecting choices from drop down menus.

  • Developer: Clickteam.
  • Platforms: iOS and Android.
  • Games: Quadle, Diabolic Seasons, Bit Odyssey, Future Police, and more.
  • Pricing: Free. Paid plan at 79,00 €. Extra bundles and DLC available at separate costs.

 

 

Game Engines

 

Mobile Game Development Tools

 

Game Engines are the way to go to properly develop a game and have full control over it. They do require advanced developers and experience, as they’re highly customizable and the possibilities are endless. However, they still save you a lot of time by offering many preset modules, libraries, effects, and tools so that you don’t have to create everything from scratch.

As advanced as they are, it’s fairly easy to pick up knowledge about how to use them over time thanks to extensive documentations, guides, and tutorials. However, it would be a lot harder for a single person to create a decent game on their own, and that’s why it’s probably better suited for teams or large projects.

 

Unreal Engine

Arguably one of the most popular game engines in the world and “the most successful video game engine” as awarded by Guinness World Records. It’s definitely the best engine if you’re working on a large sophisticated game and you need a strong 3D game engine. The problem is that the size of the games will be relatively larger and you’ll need high-end devices to run the games.

  • Developer: Epic Games.
  • Platforms: iOS and Android.
  • Customers: Capcom, Activision, Ubisoft, Microsoft Studios, Nintendo, and more.
  • Games: Marvel Heroes, Batman: Arkham Origins, Infinity Blade 3, WWE Immortals, and more.
  • Pricing: Free to use (5% royalty on gross revenue after the first $3,000 per product, per quarter).

 

 

Unity

Another widely used engine. Currently, 34% of the top 1,000 free mobile games are made with Unity. It’s a platform for artists, designers, and developers to create and collaborate on stunning cinematic content and gameplay sequences, using 2D and 3D design tools, instant play mode for rapid editing and iteration, and a powerful animation system.

While Unreal might be more popular with PC and console games, Unity is definitely more popular with mobile games and has become the go-to game engine for a lot of mobile game developers. It is also at the forefront of the growing VR market and it was used to make an estimated 90% of the Samsung Gear VR games and 53% of the Oculus Rift games at launch.

  • Developer: Unity Technologies.
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Tizen.
  • Customers: Electronic Arts, LEGO, Ubisoft, Square Enix, and more.
  • Games: Pokémon GO, Super Mario Run, Angry Birds 2, Wasteland 2, and more.
  • Pricing: Free for personal use. Paid plans start at $35 per month.

 

 

Marmalade SDK

The edge of Marmalade SDK is its “write once, run anywhere” concept. So you code once and then it’s compiled and executed on all of the supported platforms. This allows you to launch your mobile game in different stores, giving you maximum exposure on as many devices as possible in the shortest period of time.

It also lets you utilize many library files, samples, documentation, and tools needed to develop, test, and deploy mobile games.

  • Developer: Marmalade Technologies Limited.
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Tizen, and Blackberry.
  • Customers: ZeptoLab, Electronic Arts, PopCap Games, Nintendo, and more.
  • Games: Doodle Jump, Plants vs. Zombies, Need for Speed: Shift, Cut the Rope, and more.
  • Pricing: $600 per license.

 

 

AppGameKit

Same like Marmalade, you can deploy your mobile games on as many platforms with just a single codebase. It has its own AppGameKit Script language that you can use or you can use their libraries in C++ instead.

It also allows you to compile your games and transmit them over WiFi to your mobile devices instantly for testing.

  • Developer: The Game Creators, Ltd.
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
  • Customers: Splat Studios, Supertino, Behdad Games, and more.
  • Games: Na4, Towerbots, Squashies World, Bad Robot, and more.
  • Pricing: Development Kit at $79.99. Extra bundles and DLC available at separate costs.

 

 

Cocos2d-x

Cocos2d-x is an open-source game framework that is great for creating cross platform GUI-based interactive games. Its core engine is popular for having the smallest footprint, yet the fastest speed of any other game engine. It is also optimized for running on all kinds of devices, including low-end Android systems.

  • Developer: MIT License.
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Tizen.
  • Customers: Zynga, Glu, Big Fish Games, Disney Mobile, and more.
  • Games: Big Fish Casino, Dragon City, BADLAND, Castle Clash, and more.
  • Pricing: Free.

 

 

MonoGame

MonoGame is an open-source implementation of the Microsoft XNA 4 Framework. It allows XNA developers on Xbox 360, Windows, and Windows Phone to deploy their games to iOS, Android, and many more platforms. It’s also very highly customizable as an open source system, which allows developers to play around with its tools based on need.

  • Developer: MonoGames.
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
  • Customers: Tribute Games, Kongregate, Supergiant Games, 17-BIT, and more.
  • Games: Bastion, Fez, Wizorb, Infinite Flight, and more.
  • Pricing: Free.

 

 

Amazon Lumberyard

Amazon Lumberyard allows you to create your games, integrate them to the AWS Cloud, and integrate Twitch features that help you connect to the world’s leading social video platform and community for gamers. The integration with the AWS Cloud makes it great when creating live or multiplayer games.

  • Developer: Amazon.
  • Platforms: iOS, and Android.
  • Customers: Amazon Game Studios, Leslie Benzies, Cloud Imperium Games, Behaviour Interactive, and more.
  • Games: Breakaway, Star Citizen, Everywhere, The DRG Initiative, and more.
  • Pricing: Free.

 

 

ShiVa Engine

ShiVa is an easy-to-use 3D game and application development suite which allows you to export your games to over 20 different platforms.
It comes with 21 modules, ranging from terrain and animation editors to material tools and a fully integrated code editor. No matter if you are designing a first person shooter, a racing game, an action platformer, an open world game or a mobile puzzler, ShiVa offers a variety of solutions.

  • Developer: ShiVa Technologies SAS.
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry.
  • Customers: Ubisoft, Exkee, Grip Digital, and more.
  • Games: Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame, Babel Rising 3D, Voodoo Dice, and more.
  • Pricing: Free. Paid plans start at $200.

 

 

Graphics and Design Tools

 

Mobile Game Development Tools

 

Game graphics can make or break it. The visual aspect of the game is usually the first thing a user will notice and if it doesn’t appeal to them, then the game is doomed for failure.

From creating the characters, the objects, and the environment, whether in 2D or 3D, to creating the skeletons, texturing, and more, this is one of the most crucial phases when creating a game and each of the tools below excels in a different aspect that can be useful to your game.

 

Spine

Spine is dedicated to 2D skeletal animation, providing an efficient workflow both for creating amazing animation and for integrating it into your games. It provides numerous tools to shape and refine your 2D animations.

  • Developer: Esoteric Software.
  • Games: Sweet Meat, Bulb Boy, Bee Square, Funday Factory, and more.
  • Pricing: Free. Paid plans start at $69.

 

 

Substance Designer

Substance Designer is a node-based texturing tool. It features a complete set of tools and filters including: Crop Tool, Color Equalizer Tool, Extract Channels filters (Multi-angle to Albedo, Multi-angle to Normal, Normal to Height), Smart Patch Clone Tool, Smart Auto Tile Tool.

It allows you to create and edit materials and complete texture sets instantly with full control and infinite variations then export the them to any renderer or game engine, whether known or in-house.

  • Developer: Allegorithmic.
  • Games: Dragon Land, Uncharted 4, Watch Dogs 2, and Call of Duty: Black Ops III.
  • Pricing: Free 30-day trial. Paid plans start at $149.

 

 

Yebis

Yebis is a post-processing effects middleware that enables you to create beautiful, next generation, real-time, realistic environment effects utilizing HDR rendering.

  • Developer: Silicon Studio.
  • Platforms: iOS, and Android.
  • Games: Figureheads, Dragon Ball Xenoverse, Dark Souls III, Magic Duels, and more.
  • Pricing: Free trial. Plans based on demand.

 

 

Enlighten

Enlighten delivers real-time global illumination. It computes indirect lighting at real time and allows you to control the way light is is reflected or absorbed by materials in the game.

This allows you to to include player-controlled lighting in your game, all while maintaining consistent and high quality lighting.

  • Developer: Geomerics.
  • Games: Need for Speed: The Run, Quantum Conundrum, Battlefield Hardline, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, and more.
  • Pricing: Plans based on demand.

 

 

Maya LT

Maya LT is a 3D animation and modeling tool that lets you create characters and environments and make them a reality. It’s cost effective and mainly targeted towards indie developers. It can be conveniently used alongside multiple game engines like Unreal Engine and Unity.

  • Developer: Autodesk.
  • Games: Overcooked, We Happy Few, Wartile, and more.
  • Pricing: $30 per month.

 

 

SpeedTree for Games

Academy Award-winning tool SpeedTree has been used in many major games as well as movies like Avatar, The Avengers, and The Great Gatsby. It offers tree modeling and rendering, allowing you to create your own flora and greenery in your game’s universe or take advantage of their library with hundreds of species and thousands of high-quality texture maps at your fingertips.

  • Developer: SpeedTree
  • Games: Witcher 3, Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Call of Duty 3, and more.
  • Pricing: Free 30-day trial. Paid plans start at $19.

 

 

Audio Tools

 

Mobile Game Development Tools

 

A game can’t be fun without good sound, music, and sound effects. These tools allow you to create your own sounds, use sound effects from their preset libraries, as well as manage these sounds in-game to deliver the ultimate experience to your users.

 

Wwise

Wwise is the most advanced, feature-rich interactive audio solution for games. Whether you’re an indie developer or a huge corporate, Wwise can work for everyone.

It features an audio authoring tool and a cross-platform sound engine, allows for on-the-fly audio authoring directly in game. You can create, audition, and tweak sound effects and behaviors while the game is being played.

  • Developer: Audiokinetic
  • Platforms: iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
  • Games: Dirt Rally, Overwatch, Lucky’s Tale, EVE: Valkyrie.
  • Pricing: Free. Paid plans start at $750.

 

 

FMOD

FMOD is a sound effects engine for video games and applications that play and mix sound files of diverse formats on many operating systems.
With an intuitive visual interface, efficient workflow, and powerful collaboration tools, FMOD makes it easy to get rich interactive audio into your game. It also allows multiple team members to work on the same project at the same time.

  • Developer: Firelight Technologies.
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry.
  • Games: World of Warcraft, Guitar Hero III, Need for Speed: Shift, BioShock, and more.
  • Pricing: Free. Paid plans start at $5,000.