Accenture estimates that the video game industry has a value above $300 billion. What is at the heart of that value? Besides the fans who love their games, it is the video game developers who create the eye-catching and attention-grabbing titles. If you are one of those developers or are looking to become one, this game programmer tutorial lists the top video game development tools that could help you create the next hit.
Looking to learn how to become a game developer or video game programmer? Check out our guide: How to Become a Game Developer.
The Best Tools For Video Game Programmers
Video game development has come a long way over the years. Gone are the days when developers had to code simple games line by line, hoping to release a project after several months or years of hard, manual work. Thanks to video game development tools like these, developers can design huge, immersive worlds with less work and more detail in less time.
We begin our list of the top tools for video game developers with gaming engines. If you are looking for an intuitive interface, solid VR support, and stunning visuals, CryEngine may be your video game development platform of choice. This free-to-use platform gives programmers a complete set of features and its engine source code without any licensing costs, and it can shorten your time to market with its CryEngine Marketplace that sells in-game assets.
Epic Games is the company behind Unreal Engine, which is one of the most popular game engines on the market. Game development teams of all sizes can use this game-creating platform to transfer their ideas into visually stunning and playable content. Unreal Engine is highlighted by its full set of features that can help you develop games in 2D and 3D, extensive customization abilities, and scalability.
Many large development teams use Unity to design a wide variety of games, but it will suffice for smaller teams too. The multi-platform game engine offers supreme functionality that can be used to create high-quality interactive 3D content with zero fuss or need for extensive onboarding. Whether you are working with Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, PlayStation, Xbox, or other platforms, Unity’s user-friendly interface makes developing 2D and 3D games as simple as possible.
You can use Amazon Lumberyard to design games, fan communities, and more. The 3D game engine makes it easy to build titles for online play. It has visual scripting tools, native support for P2P, C++, client topology, Adobe Photoshop, and Autodesk Maya, Twitch integration, and a VR preview mode.
Artists can use Houdini FX to create 3D animations for their games, but it has also been used to develop content for commercials and feature films. Houdini FX is particularly helpful with simulations and procedural generation. Use it to construct an entire virtual building, generate smoke, and much more. And while Houdini FX boasts plenty of capability when it comes to creating complex visual effects, it also has another important feature that could make it worthy of joining your arsenal of video game development tools: A huge community for support and tips when you need it, plus other products to take your projects to the next level.
Developers on a tight budget may find Blender an attractive video game development tool for rendering complete scenes, editing existing files, and more, as the open-source suite offers animation and 3D modeling features at zero cost. Blender has a large following, so when you join its free community, you will get the added benefit of several plugins to ease the development process, such as presets, face rigs, etc.
You will have a tough time making a name for yourself as a developer if your games do not deliver a positive user experience. How can programmers deliver such an experience? By ensuring that your titles run on different types of hardware with no hiccups. That is what GameBench will help you achieve, as the video game development tool specializes in testing so you can see what system requirements are needed for your titles to run as intended.
Incredibuild is a video game development tool that is all about speed. But beyond accelerating your title’s time to market, Incredibuild can also help you cut costs per build by as much as 40 percent when developing in the cloud.
A trip to the Incredibuild website reveals some bold claims when it comes to accelerating your development speed. According to the site, past users have been able to achieve the following:
- Compilations in eight minutes instead of 60.
- Reduce game dev workloads from 60 minutes to 10.
- Accelerate continuous integration and dev workloads from 75 minutes down to 12.
- Accelerate testing from 11 hours to just 11 minutes.
And, according to one testimonial on the site, a typical programmer could save two to eight hours weekly in compilation time by using Incredibuild. You can use Incredibuild to speed up game development when creating titles for PC, console, mobile, or VR, and it integrates with Unreal Engine, CryEngine, and Amazon Lumberyard.
The top VFX and AAA studios use Quixel for its Megascans library that claims to be the fastest-growing and biggest in the world. Download 3D assets, decals, tileable surfaces, vegetation, and more, and export them into your game engine to design stunning scenery with ease.
Adobe’s Mixamo tool offers thousands of downloadable characters and animations for free. The program is hosted in your browser, so there is no need for a download. Use your Adobe account, and you can use Mixamo to select a character, animate it, save it as a suite, and download it within minutes.
Character Creator Pipeline
Character Creator Pipeline makes it surprisingly simple to create highly realistic characters that can bring your stories to life. CC Pipeline lets you fully control character creation, allowing you to customize age, weight, body type, and more. It also has a community market where you can purchase custom sliders. Once complete, you can export your new creations into your desired game engine or rendering software.
You need to create games that capture your audience’s eye, but you also need excellent writing to keep their attention. CeltX is scripting software that can help you do just that with its scripts and flowcharts that convert concepts into compelling stories.
Use CeltX’s intuitive interface, storyboard, index card, and scriptwriting features on your own to create a can’t-miss script. Or use it to collaborate with team members to accelerate the creative process even more while keeping everyone on the same page.
Development teams need collaboration software to ensure everything runs smoothly. Helix Core is version control software used by 95 percent of the top development studios to achieve this goal. Use Helix Core to eliminate workflow interruptions, share digital assets, automatically update source code, and more.