Today I will be talking about software that you can use to create 2D mobile, desktop, and web games. Most of these programs are free to try, some with a trial. To use the full features of these programs you will have to purchase, or pay a monthly or yearly subscription. Take a look at these and check out their site. Make sure to read carefully and make sure it does what you want before you make a purchase.
Game Maker Studio is an awesome tool. It’s changed a ton since I started programming. There’s a free version, you can make some games and see if you like the software, but if you want to create cross-platform games, you will have to buy the Professional or Master Collection Feature. I believe you will have to have a little experience in programming to use this software, but it has a page on their website to help you get started. It includes tutorials, projects, and documentation. If you get the Professional or Master Collection, you can publish your games in mobile stores such as Google Play, Apple App Store, Amazon App Store, Nook Apps, Tizen App Store, Opera Mobile Store, and even Windows Phone Store. For desktop stores, you can publish it in Mac App Store, Steam, and Ubuntu Software. For web stores, you can publish it on Facebook, and Chrome Web Store. From what I’ve read, those are only a few of the platforms in which you can develop with Game Maker Studio. It comes with a variety of tools that you can use to save you hours of work. and you can make a full game in a matter of weeks. The only problem is the price, but it’s way better than starting from scratch. If you work in teams, you can crank out games in weeks. That doesn’t take nearly as long as starting a whole game from scratch.
GameSalad is another amazing tool. It comes with a 15-day free trial. For GameSalad Basic, it costs $19 a month, and you can create games fast with no coding. It has a drag and drop interface behavior library, and a physics engine to create games fast. You can also store your projects in the cloud, so you can recover your projects if you happen to lose them. With GameSalad Basic I believe you can only publish as an HTML5 game, meaning only on web browsers. If you use GameSalad PRO, however, You can build games on platforms such as Android, iOS, Windows 8, and Tizen. With the subscription, you can also add in-app purchase functionality within you game in on Apple, Amazon, and Google stores. You can also place ads for making money for your free games. For apple devices, you can also add leaderboards and achievements for your game on Game Center. You can also do this with Amazon’s GameCircle as well.
Stencyl is one of my favorites. It’s really easy to use, and it’s free if you want to make web game. The problem is that you will have watermarks and logos on your load screens. There is an Indie and Studio subscription you can get. For Indie it will cost $99 dollars a year, and Studio will cost $199 a year. With Indie you can build Flash, Windows, Mac, & Linux games, but with the Studio subscription, you can do a whole lot more. You can publish to iOS & Android, it also has Ad Support, In-App Purchases, and Leaderboards. Before purchasing the subscriptions, you can test your game on all of their platforms, so you can examine how the software works.
Construct 2 is for people who want to make HTML5 games. It has a powerful event system so you don’t have to do any programming. This is great for beginners. You can publish your games on your website, Windows Store, Chrome Web Store, Facebook, Scirra Arcade, iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, & Linux. Amazon Store App, and surprisingly Wii U. If you are interested in making Wii U games, Nintendo developer registration is required. When purchasing Construct 2, you’ll have to start with a personal license ($129.99). Once you make more than $5,000 you can upgrade to Business ($299.99).
GDevelop is another tool that makes it easier to make HTML5 & mobile games. From my understanding, it’s free and open source which means that the source code is available to the general public. To publish your games, you will need to use the Intel XDK, which I also believe is free. This will probably save you a lot of money if you are planning on making a mobile game.
If any of you are interested in making 3D games, see this post here. If you decide to work on a 3D game, I would recommend working with a group of people, because there is a ton of work you need to do to make a decent game.