Best Tools and Advice for Mobile Game Developers and Game Development in 2017
Best Tools and Advice for Mobile Game Developers in 2017
Smartphones and tablets are already giving a tough competition to the personal computers. As a result, they are giving an amazing opportunity to the gaming experts. This is when game development tools help gaming developers realize their dream of designing the best mobile games. With technology developing at a fast pace, mobile devices are becoming more advanced and comfortable for use.
Moreover, desktop game market has been left behind due to the increased growth of the mobile game market. Thus, the mobile game development market is on a rise and is expanding with each passing day.
However, the increasing market competition must also be considered here. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly difficult for a developer to get noticed with an average product. In order to receive success, you should develop an amazing game that is greater by all means. However, in today’s time, graphics and engine are as important as storyline and gameplay. Thus, to develop an amazing game, you need to be well equipped with suitable development tools.
This article divides all tools which are suitable for game creation into different categories. Read on to know more about them with examples.
GAME MAKING APP
Tools that are listed under this category don’t require a person to have coding knowledge. A majority of them are designed as a Drag-and-Drop framework and provide simplest developing experience to a person. These services enjoy strong popularity among people who want to try their hands on game development. Therefore, a majority of the audience of this game maker programs are amateur and students without any technical knowledge.
However, pitfalls do exist and while it is comparatively easy to create small games, it is extremely difficult to create unique projects. Therefore, the capabilities of these tools are limited. And it is highly possible to get stuck while looking for options to create unique and interesting games.
In addition, these games are not easy when you try them for the first time. In the end, you will end up using as much time as you would have used to develop a game using common game developing SDK. But you won’t code a bit in the end.
Construct 2 – https://www.scirra.com/construct2
Developer: Scirra Ltd
This software gives the developer a chance to build his own 2D game without indulging in the nitty-gritty of coding. Moreover, the projects created with the help of Construct 2 are supported by a majority of mobile platforms. This includes Android, windows phone, Blackberry, and iOS. It is also suitable for web game creation as HTML5 also support it.
Construct 2 offers:
Fast and Easy
To begin with, you just need to place the objects, add behaviors, and everything will fall into place. The easy interface opens a wide toolset that makes it easy for beginners who have little time and knowledge of code to build a gaming app. It gives you an opportunity to get your hands on a working prototype really fast to share and test it.
System of events and actions
The main method is the usage of event sheets.
Behavior is explained as a set of properties of a particular object. It helps you save time. Movement in 8 directions is a perfect example here.
It comes with over 70 WebGL-based effects. Construct 2 provides Particles plugin that provides you with smoke, water and a bunch of other interesting effects.
It uses self-created or built-in plugins. The developers of this app encourage creating new plugins as they give advice on how to write and customize plugins.
Free version has limited features capabilities.
Standard version costs $65.
Business version costs $255
Fusion – http://www.clickteam.com/clickteam-fusion-2-5
Fusion provides remarkable features that can help you build an event based game. It is not really easy to begin with as it does not require any programming language knowledge. All you need to use is conditions and actions. So there is no need to spend hours looking for options. You also get your hands on the intuitive interface and native fillings.
Tutorials – that help you get in-depth knowledge of app
Complete development studio
All visual programming
Copyright is yours
You can choose pre-made graphics
Get access to strong development community
Quick and easy prototype
Full version costs $49.99-$99.99.
Additional functional packages starts from $39.99 to $149.99.
STARTER GAME CREATION SOFTWARE
The starter game creation software is great to start as a game developer. These are easy to understand and contain step-by-step tutorials and guides that make the job easier. Moreover, these frameworks have clear examples of how to use different functionality. Finally, the developers of this tool generally stay active and help their audience by answering their questions and helping them with the problems.
These tools are great for juniors as they are equipped with different features that are required to develop an interesting and unique project. But it also has its own drawback. It is not suited for large scale and enterprise projects because some optimization issues creep in. Therefore, it is always better to limit yourself to small indie projects before jumping into an enterprise level.
GameMaker: Studio – https://www.yoyogames.com/gamemaker
GameMaker Studio was launched by Yoyo games when they want their own development framework special for 2D game creations. It is easy to use and offers drag and drop method of developing. It comes with its own language which is similar to C and is beginners friendly.
You don’t need a large budget to start your own game development as with Game Maker it is pretty simple. It comes loaded with some amazing features, such as:
Full support 2D Spine animations
In-app purchases are integrated and are easily configured
Real-time analytics to get known more about in-game activities
Steam and Git integration
While working in a 3D environment is quite inconvenient, 2D Game Maker projects look way better.
You can use the Yoyo account to access different game making software. If you can get your hands on laptop or PC, you get your hands on an efficient workflow that does not hinder the work of development. Moreover, the platform allows users to personalize itself by organizing workspace or by making changes in the development environment.
Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Tizen, Amazon Fire, PS Vita.
It highly depends on features that developer requires:
Limited with no features may be free.
Average cost varies between $150 and $800.
Corona SDK – https://coronalabs.com/product/
Corona SDK is another tool that has been designed to take place as one of the fastest tools for creating 2D games. The guides and tutorials make it easy for a person with no technical knowledge to learn and build an application fast. Apart from ease of use, a large set of features and functions helps save time.
Some of the major features of Corona SDK are:
There is no need of encryption as you just need to write and save the code in order to view the results. This helps save tons of time while using prototypes to find different issues and bugs.
The built-in monetization is another great feature.
SDK comes with more than 500 various custom APIs and plugins available in the Market place. Therefore, a user is free to design and sell his plugin there.
Users have the advantage to choose from 30 to 60 frame rate per second. However, a better among both is the 60 frame rate per second as in this case; the interface becomes smooth and looks more interesting.
Lua language used by Corona SDK is pretty easy to learn and coding is also easier. Moreover, the platform community is big enough as it includes more than 300 thousand developers when the forum is live. In addition, everything is easy to start as the documentation has all the necessary details and the required advice.
Platforms: It is compatible with Windows Phone 8, iOS, Android, Android/Apple TV, Kindle
Corona SDK – 100% free
Enterprise – $79 per month
Enterprise (unlimited) – $199 per month
CocoonJS – https://www.ludei.com/
CocoonJS is the best-suited web application and web game development based on HTML5 language. Additionally, all the games and web applications are faster and more stable because of WEBGL canvas acceleration tool. In the mean time, the project creation is fast as a majority of features are preset and can be integrated with ease. Moreover, PhoneGap and Cordova are compatible with it.
The developer Ludei has come up with many useful features, but it also has a unique one. Thanks to different projects made on Cocoon, it can easily work on a variety of platforms and support different APIs. Apart from that, Ludei offers to test and debugging tools for all the developers out there which offer them the ease to upload different projects on the market.
Ludei promises the developers to save their app from fragmentation as you will have a specific set of HTML5 features on all devices. In the end, a cloud-based compilation is provided by Cocoon on all platforms.
Free to create a new project
Silver edition costs $8
Gold edition costs $69
Platinum edition costs $199
HEAVY GAME DEVELOPMENT TOOLS
Heavy and complex software, the heavy game development tools need a person to possess technical know-how and skills to manage the project with it. While some of the tools are beginner friendly, thanks to the ever growing community, guides, tutorials and documentations, others still need a person to possess good knowledge and experience of the programming language.
If you want to get your hands on the desirable game maker, you need to spend some money, use your own PC and have an engine of your own. Moreover, it is difficult to create something good enough alone to get noticed. So be ready to get in touch with other sound artist, developers and designers to create a master piece.
Unity – https://unity3d.com/
Developer: Unity Technologies
Unity is the world leading tool in the game development industry as it provides multi-platform solutions to help create 2D and 3D games. Developers use this technology to develop a large number of simple and AAA-class games. And what’s more important for beginner developers is constant support. Unity has a strong community of experienced and skilled developers along with an immersive number of guides and tutorials.
There are tons of amazing features, textures, preset models, and documentation that help new developers peruse the unity advantage. Additionally, an extension of unity is not a problem as it comes with free services and paid addiction services in the Unity Asset Store. You can even get help from standard ones to develop a great project.
The Unity development technology depends majorly on layers where different game objects can be set. Modifying or adding those layers help developers manage different projects.
The quality manager may be editing rendering properties.
CPU would be excessed as too many processes would be running at the same time. Therefore, a reduced game productivity and lags can be observed. However, batch processing can easily solve this problem.
Play Mode integration in the unity engine helps developers debug the program fast by running or pausing the project at any time.
Various services such as Unity As, Collaborate, Cloud Building, and Analytics are offered by Unity for easy and comfortable team development efforts.
Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Tizen and Fire OS
Personal edition – free
Plus edition – $35/month
Pro edition – $125/month
Enterprise edition tailored setup
Unreal Engine – https://www.unrealengine.com/what-is-unreal-engine-4
Developer: Epic Games
Without additional plugins, Epic games provide a development tool release ambitious ideas. The developers are updating their product all the time so that developers can easily use all the new technologies and futuristic trends. A majority of world AAA-class games use Unreal Engine as the main platform as it allows the advantage to build games that are supported by a large number of operating systems and platforms.
The main tools offered to the developers include – Visual scripting Blueprints and traditional C++ and they help deal with the game logics in a better manner. The tool is developed to meet the requirements of both – small game projects and enterprise.
It is suitable for the creation of games of any genre from shooters to quests. In order to make things more clear, the forum contains a large number of helpful documents and YouTube tutorials and guides to help beginners.
The powerful toolset of Unreal Engine include:
Instant game preview
Real-time rendering tool
C++ code view, full source code access, and scripting
Advanced, flexible and customized artificial intelligence
Complete audio system
Film-quality visual effects creation tool
Guinness World Records has awarded Unreal Engine with “the most successful video game engine”
Unreal engine is completely free to start with. However, when the project hits $3000 profit, you are required to give 5% royalty on your game. This is a lucrative and profitable offer to enter the gaming market.
Small projects – Free
Commercial products (with more than $3,000 per calendar quarter) – 5% royalty from revenue
Marmalade SDK – https://marmaladegamestudio.com/
Developer: Marmalade Tech
A multiplatform game making tool, Marmalade SDK, uses C++ code for game building. Therefore, the main concept is “write once, run anywhere.” It includes a set of code examples, libraries, and different tools to simplify programming, deploying and testing applications on a variety of platforms. It supports 2D and 3D game development.
The main features of Marmalade SDK are:
Open source major component
Usage of Android optimizations within original code base
Graphics renders by OpenGL directly or using Marmalade Studio layer
It also provides the developer with amazing features such as:
Set of open APIs
Code-checker for ARM-platform
Support for specific capabilities of iOS and Android
There is no problem with the processing speed for the developed projects on this platform. It provides simple and effective memory model which includes billing and IAP, API for the app store, analytics services, and various other social services.
Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone8, Tizen, Blackberry, Connected TV Platforms.
AppGameKit – https://www.appgamekit.com/
Developer: The GameCreators
Looking for a solution for multiplatform game projects? If so, AppGameKit is the answer. This platform was mentioned in the top 15 game frameworks of 2014 and is suitable for both experienced as well as new game developers.
Key advantages of AppGameKit are:
A new cross-development model complies the game, increases productivity, and launches it on a device in order to test run.
The programming language is similar to C++ is AGK BASIC. Therefore, it enables the developers to start developing without learning much of the development process.
Sell your apps anywhere
Using the engine’s guide, you have the advantage to sell your application anywhere.
You can build games with C++ using IDE, which you have already worked with.
The AppGameKit IDE includes:
The main feature that comes along is cross-platform support and the capability to have one project for all the platforms.
Platforms: Windows phone, Blackberry, iOS and Android
SDK – $39 to $99
Average bundle – $50
MonoGame – http://www.monogame.net/
The MonoGame toolkit enables the developer to build multi platform games. The class architecture of MonoGame is similar to the XNA 4 API. You can run the projects on any C# or DotNet languages. If you are already familiar with the languages, the game development with MonoGame would not be a difficult task. Moreover, you can always take help from the guides and tutorials available online to start your first project.
Shaders written in different languages are used by the platform. This is why MonoGame has developed its own language for creating shaders – MGFX. Finally, the program comes with the same structure as the Microsoft FX files. However, compiled binary format and text format for easy editing can be improved.
Platforms: Windows Phone, iOS, Android
GAME DESIGN SOFTWARE
We all know that without a good looking visual shell, a mobile application or a mobile game cannot become successful. While storyline, gameplay, stability, and mechanics play an important role, graphics makes the first impression on the user. These game design tools will make it easy for you to manage your quest.
There are many game engines that come with built-in design tools. However, in order to make a masterpiece, you need to get used to the specialized software. Here we take only a single example of 2D and 3Danimation as well as model creation. In addition, one tool can also help you buff quality of various visual effects and polish the graphics to Hollywood level.
Spine – http://esotericsoftware.com/
Developer: Esoteric Software
The Spine is powerful 2D animation software that fulfills any game with amazing looking animation. Also, known as one of the best frameworks to use, it is opted for by many artists and developers alike in case they are developing a game that contains tons of features to customize the movement of their characters. However, a majority of features are unavailable when you opt for the free version. Therefore, the free version is more like a demo rather than being a complete tool.
Developers can earn amazing benefits from using it, for instance:
Skeletal cutout animation. The characters are partly attached to the bones to make the animation easier and clean.
Interpolation feature saves the quality of the character while the game plays in slow motion.
Spine animation saves the bone date, thus the animation takes up less space.
Animation data can easily be reused for characters so that they can change the outfit. This can also be used for different characters to make them look different.
Bone data may be manipulated via code.
Two animations can be mixed into one. For example, you can mix running and shooting.
However, the problem here is creating good animation because animation must be integrated and attached to the code present inside the projects. This is when Spine Runtime makes a great deal. The Spine is officially supported by 7 programming language and 19 game engines. Moreover its update work regularly and it not only adds new feature rather it keep polishing the new ones.
Limited free version
Essential – $99
Professional – $329
Enterprise – $2200 annually plus $269 for each additional user (For business with more than $500K budget)
Maya LT – https://www.autodesk.com/products/maya-lt/overview
If you are looking forward to animation software and 3D modeling, then Maya LT is one of the best software. The framework comes with tons of features and plenty modeling tools. These tools and features are used to create different surfaces, the skeleton of character, lighting, and textures. Maya LT also offers Hypershade to work with different textures. Another tool, 3D Paint, provides drawing on the polygon mesh.
Maya LT is generally used for effective and fast application building by qualified developers. Moreover, it is easy to learn for the novice. It comes with a long list but with regular practice and help of guides, a person will be able to make the most of it. you will be able to get your hands on all the tools that will be required to be used in the framework.
Maya LT simplifies the development by using Unity3D and Unreal Engine without causing any change in the format. Moreover, each object can contain up to 25,000 polygons.
Price: $30 per month
Yebis – http://www.siliconstudio.co.jp/middleware/yebis/en/
Developer: Silicon Studio
Heavy and complex software, Yebis make impressive and realistic environmental effects. Silicone studio has a great experience in providing visual effects for famous film studios and game companies. Yebis also offers useful features to help developers create successful projects.
Color grading effects
Method for destroying jagged edges
Easy to use and install
HDR (high dynamic range) effect
Blur effect describing the speed
Aberrations and correction simulation
Special effects, each with tons of parameters
Optical effects as if it is viewed using real lenses
Real, simulated and pseudo-HDR rendering
Recreation the feeling of the real camera with optical effects
Yebis has been used for the development of different projects such as DARK SOUL III, Bloodborne, Ride, Valhalla Knights 3. This development tool can easily be used with any type of pipeline or rendering engine.
In addition, this software has developed over 10 years ago and all these years, it has been growing to add new algorithms and technologies.
Platforms: iOS, Android
Custom price for purchase
GAME AUDIO CREATION SOFTWARE
While developers aim to hit top rated niches in the game market, you never get so far without high-quality sound effects. Music and sound effects play an important role in capturing an audience, making fun games and buffing storytelling.
So while using these tools, you need to be sure that you are able to achieve game sound that you have imagined. The sounds should be clean and loud and should live up the player game experience. Here are few audio tools designed for game creation. However, the main requirement here is – in-game sound managing and sound creation.
FMOD – http://www.fmod.com/
Developer: Firelight Technologies
Another effective sound tool, FMOD is chosen by many for sound creation in a video game. It comes with an organized library of sound effect which can be used probably for any possible game. Therefore, developers have access to stunning effects for their game via Unreal Engine Plugins and Unity. Moreover, it is possible here to create an audio of your own using intuitive visual environment without the help of coding.
FMOD is a multiplatform engine with more than 15 years of successful work. It offers team collaboration and familiar, simple and intuitive interface.
FMOD include four services that come with some interesting functions like digital audio and mixing option.
FMOD can easily be integrated with Unreal Engine, Unity, Source, Cry Engine and BigWorld Technology.
Format: AIFF, FLAC, MP2, MP3, MIDI, VAG, WAV and a few others
Platforms: Windows Phone, iOS, Android, Blackberry
For budget under $500,000 – Free
Over $500,000 – $5000
Over $1,500,000 – $15,000
Wwise – https://www.audiokinetic.com/products/wwise/
Wwise is one of the most preferred audio tools for game developers. It gives the developer a freedom to collaborate teams and provide useful services and plugins. It also integrates with Unreal and Unity. At first sight, it may seem to have a difficult and intricate interface. However, after some time, you will learn more about its functionality.
Wwise offers interactive audio toolset, reduce technical risks and offer comfortable limitless collaboration. Here you could create parameters that easily change sounds depending on the data received by engines. However, the best option here is the RTCP function. With this, sounds are changed in real time.
It allows applying effects, importing sounds, mixing new sounds, and stimulating sounds of different environment. It also includes real time game simulator, effects, sound engine, SoundFrame API and architecture of source.
The Wwise community is large and international. It also provides a free guide to start or improve your skills.
Soundspeed – It’s a set of interactive sound generators
Wwise convolution – Can reproduce any real acoustic space
Motion – With the use of Wwise Authoring Tool
Platforms: Windows Phone, iOS, Android
Small budget production, non-commercial/academic usage – Free
Pro edition – from $750
Premium edition – From $18000
The project development does not end at a point when the game is launched; it is a lot more than that. All the developers responsible for the development of the game take on the mission to maintain, update and fix bugs of their own projects. The professional developers also track achievements of their own creation to make it better.
So if you are brave enough to think strategically while launching your product, you will get many useful software and services to make your next project a success. The process starts from task management services and ends on analytic services integration and privacy protection.
Perforce Helix – https://www.perforce.com/products/helix-core
Developer: Perforce Software
A unique platform, Helix allows protecting any intellectual property and connecting distributed teams. It comes with many interesting features:
Safe and secure
Helix includes components for version control, Helix Swarm for the code review, Helix Insights for analytics of completed work and project status, bug fix and GitSwarm.
Helix works on client-server architecture and has more than 20 years of successful career. Another Helix tool, Insight, describes important information about the state of project, code, team performance in a graphical representation. Perforce carries a very powerful, scalable and fault-tolerant engine that easily integrates with the git workflow.
Platforms: iOS, Android.
Free up to 20 users.
Starts from $320 annually
Upsight – https://www.upsight.com/
World’s leading user lifecycle management platform, the mission of the company Upsight is “Transform the world’s data into valuable action”. Developers who use this software will know about its capabilities and user activities. Therefore, the developers can use the provided information to make the game better.
The platform is known to cross over 500 billion points of data every month. Upsight offers its customers a chance to speak directly with the users, reach out to their users, monetize successfully and use algorithms to analyze the data. Run tests can be conducted to separate users into different segments. This tool can be used for comfortable collaboration, analyze the data and store it in the storage solutions.
Upsight provides solutions to world largest software companies. A customer can easily make dashboard to monitor key performance indicators and control permissions.
Platforms: iOS, Android.
Price: Starting from $500 (depends on usage)
There are tons of mobile game development tools available in the market. This list just describes some of them. In spite of your budget, requirements and the game design, you can easily get your hands on something interesting that meets your ideas, requirements, and expectations.