Top Free Game Engines for Computer Game Developers

Whether you're just starting out in computer game development or already have experience in making your own games, you'll find that there are a great number of free game engines available for you to use.

Working on your own computer game can give you the experience and skills necessary to open up a range of job opportunities in the computer games industry. Of course, it can take time, commitment and motivation to develop your own computer game but with our list of top free game engines you can certainly get the ball rolling. Even if you're not a programmer or an artist, the majority of these engines come with easy to understand interfaces, tutorials and community support to help you in your game development journey.

Although these engines are free to download, some may incur added license fees and royalty payments for commercial purposes.

Unity 5 [Link]

Unity 5

Unity 5 is one of the most popular game engines available and is widely used by professional and indie game developers alike. The powerful game development tool is capable of designing many different types of games including 2D and 3D type projects. Unity can develop games for a variety of different platforms including PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox, iOS, Android and much more. Unity 5 is free to download but a Professional Edition is also available which adds a number of additional services and analytical tools.

GameMaker: Studio [Link]

GameMaker: Studio by YoYo Games

GameMaker: Studio is an engine aimed at both beginners and experienced game developers made by Dundee based company, Yoyo Games. It features an intuitive drag and drop system to help easily build gaming worlds and levels but also uses the C programming language for more advanced elements of game design. Like Unity, GameMaker: Studio can directly export to a number of platforms. The free version provides the full engine but can only export to Windows. Professional and Master Editions are available for commercial purposes and additional services.

Unreal Engine 4 [Link]

Unreal Engine 4

Unreal Engine 4 is a hugely popular and widely used game engine that has powered many AAA games including Mass Effect by BioWare and Gears of War by Epic Games, the developer of the Unreal Engine. It is capable of creating games from 2D mobile apps to console blockbusters and can export to a number of gaming platforms. The engine was recently made free to download so now anyone can start building games with it, with the only exception being a 5% royalty fee on games that make more than $3,000.

Adventure Game Studio [Link]

Adventure Game Studio

Adventure Game Studio is specifically made for the development of point-and-click adventure games similar to titles like Monkey Island and Broken Sword. The open-source engine is completely free to use and is used by a variety of developers such as Wadjet Eye Games and Infamous Quests. The community is very supportive and there are modules and online tutorials available to help improve game features and overall quality.

Construct 2 [Link]

Construct 2

Construct 2 is a powerful HTML5 game engine that is built for the development of 2D games and is great for both beginners and experts. The engine uses a drag and drop interface and you could have a working prototype within hours thanks to its ease of use and supportive community. Construct 2 does have a free edition but you are limited to exporting non-commercial games to Windows only. Buying a Business or Personal license opens up a variety of export options including iOS, Android and Wii U as well as commercial options for your games.

Coco2d-x [Link]

Coco2d-X

Cocos2d-x is a free suite of cross-platform, open source, development tools that can create games, apps and other programs. It very powerful and flexible for both amateur and experienced game designers and is popular for the production of casual/puzzle apps for mobile devices, though it is fully capable of delivering high performance games for desktop too.

Lumberyard [Link]

Amazon Lumberyard

Amazon Lumberyard is a relatively new cross-platform, 3D game engine that can create high-quality AAA games. Lumberyard is based on the CryEngine (which would have certainly made this list but requires a subscription to use) and uses AWS services and Twitch to help build live, multiplayer and community driven games. The engine itself is free but there are fees if you require certain AWS services and features. 

Hey, you missed out...

Understandably, we're likely to have missed out on some notable game engines but we have been careful in selecting those that are free to download and are not trial based. Some of these do include additional license fees and royalties for commercial use but ultimately they are free to help you develop and hone your skills in game development.

However, feel free to let us know at @TechnojobsUK of any useful (and free!) game development tools.