Best game development software (The ultimate list)

Best game development software

Categorized list of best game development software—free, paid and open source. If you and your game development team are looking for game making software, tools and resources, look no further.

We also tagged the programs so you may find (Ctrl+F) what you are looking for faster:
– #free-100
– #free-and-paid
– #paid
– #open-source

Game engine

AAA game engines
Advanced game engines
Simple game engines
Story engines
3D engines
HTML5 / JS
Frameworks and libraries

AAA game engines

  • Amazon Lumberyard – Best for live, multiplayer, community-driven games. #free-100
  • CryEngine – Powerful all-in-one game development platform. #free-and-paid
  • Godot – Community-driven 2D and 3D game engine. #free-100 #open-source
  • Unity – One of the most popular game development platforms. #free-and-paid
  • Unreal Engine – Complete suite of development tools for working with real-time technology. #free-and-paid

Advanced game engines

  • Cocos Creator – Script development, entity-component and data-driven game development tool focused on content creation. #free-100 #open-source
  • Cocos2d – Family of software frameworks for building cross-platform games and apps. #free-100 #open-source
  • Construct 3 – Game development toolkit. #free-and-paid
  • Corona – The 2D game engine. #free-100
  • Defold – Game engine for web and mobile. #free-100
  • GameMaker Studio 2 – Powerful 2D development environment. #paid
  • GameSalad – Game design tool to build 2D games with no code. #paid
  • GDevelop – Cross-platform game engine designed for everyone. #free-100 #open-source
  • RPG Maker – Tools and assets for creating role-playing games. #paid
  • Stencyl – Quick and easy way to create game without code. #free-and-paid

Simple game engines

  • Adventure Game Studio – Tools to make your own adventure. #free-100
  • Bitsy – Easy make games where you can walk around, talk to people and be somewhere. #free-100
  • PICO-8 – Fantasy console for making, sharing and playing tiny games and other computer programs. #paid
  • Scratch – Create stories, games and animations. #free-100

Story engines

  • Inklewriter – Write interactive tales while keeping your branching story organised. #free-100 #open-source
  • Ren’Py – Visual novel engine. #free-100 #open-source
  • Twine – Tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories. #free-100 #open-source

3D engines

  • Armory – 3D engine focused on portability, minimal footprint and performance. #free-100 #open-source
  • Irrlicht Engine – Real-time 3D engine written in C++. #free-100 #open-source

HTML5 / JS

  • Babylon.js – Powerful, beautiful and simple web rendering engine. #free-100 #open-source
  • Box2DJS – JavaScript port of Box2D physics engine. #free-100
  • Canvas Engine – Framework for creating video games in HTML5 canvas. #free-100
  • CodePen – Social development environment to build, test and discover front-end code. #free-and-paid
  • CreateJS – Suite of libraries and tools that enable rich interactive content via HTML5. #free-100 #open-source
  • p5.js – JavaScript library for creative coding with a focus on making coding accessible. #free-100 #open-source
  • Phaser – Desktop and mobile HTML5 game framework. #free-100 #open-source
  • PixiJS – HTML5 creation engine. #free-100 #open-source
  • PuzzleScript – HTML5 puzzle game engine. #free-100 #open-source
  • Superpowers – Extensible and collaborative HTML5 game maker. #free-100 #open-source

Frameworks and libraries

  • A-Frame – Web framework for building 3D/AR/VR experiences. #free-100 #open-source
  • Box2D – 2D physics engine for games. #free-100 #open-source
  • Chipmunk2D – Portable 2D rigid body physics library written in C. #free-100 #open-source
  • Cocos2d-x – Open source cross-platform game development framework. #free-100 #open-source
  • HaxeFlixel – Create cross-platform games easier and free, all with one codebase. #free-100 #open-source
  • Heaps.io – Cross-platform graphics engine designed for high performance games. #free-100 #open-source
  • libGDX – Cross-platform Java game development framework. #free-100 #open-source
  • LÖVE – Framework for making 2D games in Lua. #free-100 #open-source
  • MonoGame – Framework for creating powerful cross-platform games. #free-100 #open-source
  • OGRE – Graphics rendering engine. #free-100 #open-source
  • OpenFL – Create Flash and HTML5 applications for desktop, mobiel and web. #free-100 #open-source
  • openFrameworks – C++ toolkit for creative coding. #free-100 #open-source
  • Processing – Software sketchbook and a language for learning how to code within the context of visual arts. #free-100 #open-source
  • pygame – Set of Python modules designed for writing video games. #free-100
  • raylib – Easy to use library to enjoy video games programming. #free-100 #open-source
  • SDL – Cross-platform development library for low level access to audio, keyboard, mouse, joystick and graphics hardware via OpenGL and Direct3D. #free-100 #open-source
  • SFML – Provides a simple interface to various components of your PC to ease development of games and multimedia applications. #free-100 #open-source
  • VRTK – Productive VR toolkit for rapidly building VR solutions in Unity. #free-100

Coding

IDE
Source control

IDE

  • Apache NetBeans – Development environment, tooling platform and application framework. #free-100 #open-source
  • Atom – Hackable text editor. #free-100 #open-source
  • C++ Shell – Online C++ compiler. #free-100
  • collabedit – Online code editor that lets people collaborate in real-time. #free-100
  • Consulo – Desktop IDE with Java and C# language support. It also supports Unity. #free-100 #open-source
  • Eclipse IDE – Java integrated development environment and more. #free-100
  • IntelliJ IDEA – Capable and egonomic IDE for JVM. #free-and-paid
  • JetBrains – Large suite of developer tools. #free-and-paid
  • Komodo IDE – One IDE for all your languages. #free-and-paid
  • MonoDevelop – Cross-platform IDE for C#, F# and more. #free-100
  • Notepad++ – Source code editor and Notepad replacement that supports several languages. #free-100
  • Pure Data – Visual programming language for multimedia. #free-100 #open-source
  • Sublime Text – Sophisticated text editor for code, markup and prose. #free-and-paid
  • Visual Studio – Full-featured IDE to code, debug, test and deploy to any platform. #free-and-paid

Source control

  • AWS CodeCommit – Securely host highly scalable private Git repositories and collaborate on code. #free-and-paid
  • Bitbucket – Git code management and a place to plan projects, collaborate on code, test and deploy. #free-and-paid
  • Git – Distributed version control system. #free-100 #open-source
  • Git Extensions – Standalone UI tool for managing Git repositories. #free-100
  • Git LFS – Git extension for versioning large files. #free-100
  • GitHub – Development platform for hosting and reviewing code, managing projects and building software alongside other developers. #free-and-paid
  • GitKraken – Git GUI client for Windows, Mac and Linux. #free-and-paid
  • GitLab – All-in-one DevOps meets all-in-one cloud. #free-and-paid
  • Mercurial SCM – Distributed source control management tool. #free-100 #open-source
  • Perforce – DevOps tools for fast and high-quality product development. #paid
  • Sourcetree – Git client for Windows and Mac. #free-100

Graphics

Image editing
2D creation
3D creation
GIF creation
Image optimization
Other graphics software

Image editing

  • Adobe Illustrator – Industry-standard vector graphics software. #paid
  • Adobe Photoshop – Probably the best imaging and graphic design software. #paid
  • Affinity Designer – Fast graphic design software for vector and raster graphics. #paid
  • Canva – Browser-based graphic design tool. #free-and-paid
  • Figma – Collaborative online tool for graphic design, prototyping and wireframing. #free-and-paid
  • GIMP – GNU image manipulation program. #free-100 #open-source
  • Inkscape – Vector graphics editor. #free-100 #open-source
  • Krita – Professional painting program. #free-100 #open-source
  • Paint.NET – Image and photo editing software for Windows. #free-and-paid
  • Pixlr – Online photo editor. #free-and-paid
  • XnView MP – Image resizer, batch image converter and more. #free-and-paid

2D creation

  • Aseprite – Animated sprite editor and pixel art tool. #free-and-paid
  • GraphicsGale – Powerful tool for spriting and pixel art. #free-100
  • Piskel – Online editor for animated sprites and pixel art. #free-100
  • Pyxel Edit – Pixel art drawing application especially for working with tiles. #free-and-paid
  • Spine – 2D animation for games. #paid
  • Spriter – 2D game animation. #free-and-paid

3D creation

  • akeytsu – 3D animation made simple. #paid
  • Anim8or – 3D modeling and character animation program. #free-100
  • Blender – 3D creation suite that supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline. #free-100 #open-source
  • DragonBones – Creative animation platform for designers. #free-100 #open-source
  • Houdini FX – Procedural system, multiple iterations, rapidly workflow sharing. #free-and-paid
  • MagicaVoxel – Lightweight GPU-based voxel art editor and interactive path tracing renderer. #free-100
  • MakeHuman – Creation of virtual humans using a GUI. #free-100
  • Maya – 3D computer animation, modeling, simulation and rendering software. #paid
  • Qubicle – Professional voxel editor optimized for easy creation of 3D models. #paid
  • SketchUp – Smart 3D modeling software. #paid
  • Vectary – 3D and augumented reality design platform. #free-and-paid

GIF creation

  • Ezgif – Online GIF maker and image editor. #free-100
  • GifCam – Animated GIF making app. #free-100
  • LICEcap – Simple animated screen captures. #free-100 #open-source
  • ScreenToGif – Screen, webcam and sketchboard recorder with an integrated editor. #free-100 #open-source

Image optimization

  • Image Optimizer – Resize, compress and optimize your image files. #free-100
  • TexturePacker – Sprite sheet generation tool. #free-and-paid
  • TinyPNG – Smart PNG and JPEG compression. #free-and-paid

Other graphics software

  • Color Oracle – Color blindness simulator for Windows, Mac and Linux. #free-100 #open-source
  • Fractorium – GPU-accelerated fractal flame editor. #free-100
  • Paletton – Color scheme picker. #free-100
  • ShareX – Screen capture, file sharing and productivity tool. #free-100 #open-source
  • ShoeBox – Adobe Air-based game and UI related tools for Windows and Mac. #free-100
  • Texture Generator Online – Online texture generator. #free-100
  • Tiled – Level editor. #free-100
  • Tilesetter – Tileset generator and map editor tool. #free-and-paid

Project management

Bring it all together
Communication
Documentation
Flowcharts and mind mapping
File sharing
Other project management software

Bring it all together

  • Airtable – Powerful team workspace. #free-and-paid
  • Asana – Your team’s work in one place. #free-and-paid
  • ClickUp – All your work in one place: tasks, docs, chat, goals and more. #free-and-paid
  • Codecks – Project management for game devs. #free-and-paid
  • HacknPlan – Project management meets game design. #free-and-paid
  • JetBrains (Space, YouTrack) – Integrated team environment and project management tool. #free-and-paid
  • Jira Software – Software development tool used by agile teams. #free-and-paid
  • Microsoft Project – Simple project management. #paid
  • Miro – Online collaborative whiteboard platform that brings teams together. #free-and-paid
  • ProjectLibre – Online Microsoft Project alternative. #free-100
  • ProofHub – One place for all your projects and team collaboration. #paid
  • Trello – Boards, lists and cards that help teams organize and prioritize projects. #free-and-paid

Communication

  • Discord – All-in-one voice, video and text chat for groups. #free-and-paid
  • Google Hangouts – Google’s version of Skype. #free-100
  • Skype – Chat, video meeting and screen sharing application. #free-100
  • Slack – One platform for your team and your work. #free-and-paid
  • Zoom – Video conferencing and screen sharing application. #free-and-paid

Documentation

  • Pengloo – A simple object-oriented design tool for writing wiki-like documentation that brings your team to the same page. With it you can flesh out your game and turn those notes into useful game design docs. #free-and-paid
  • Bear – Writing app for crafting notes and prose. #free-and-paid
  • Evernote – Home for everything you need to remember. #free-and-paid
  • Google Docs – Write, edit and collaborate wherever you are. #free-and-paid
  • LibreOffice – Office suite. #free-100 #open-source
  • Microsoft Office – Office suite. #free-and-paid
  • Notion – All-in-one workspace. #free-and-paid
  • OpenOffice – Office suite. #free-100 #open-source
  • Sligrid – Framework for thinking and knowledge management. #free-and-paid
  • WorkFlowy – Bullet points for organizing your notes. #free-and-paid

Flowcharts and mind mapping

  • Cacoo – Tool for diagrams, flowcharts and wireframes. #free-and-paid
  • Diagrams.net – Online, desktop and container deployable diagramming software. #free-100 #open-source
  • Lucidchart – Visual workspace for remote teams. #free-and-paid
  • MindMeister – Online mind mapping. #free-and-paid

File sharing

  • Box – Secure collaboration with anyone, anywhere, on any device. #free-and-paid
  • Dropbox – Everything you need for work, all in one place. #free-and-paid
  • Google Drive – Store, share and collaborate on files and folders from any mobile device, tablet or computer. #free-and-paid
  • OneDrive – Save your files and photos and access them from any device. #free-and-paid
  • WeTransfer – Transfer large files. #free-and-paid

Other project management software

  • Mural – Digital workspace for visual collaboration. #paid

Audio

Audio creation
Digital audio workstation (DAW)
Audio editing
Audio middleware
Other audio software

Audio creation

  • Abundant Music – Procedural music generator. #free-100
  • BeepBox – Online tool for sketching and sharing instrumental melodies. #free-100 #open-source
  • Bfxr – Make sound effects for computer games. #free-100
  • Bosca Ceoil – Tool for creating music designed for beginners. #free-100 #open-source
  • ChipTone – Sound effect generator. #free-100
  • MilkyTracker – Application for creating .MOD and .XM module files. #free-100 #open-source
  • NSynth: Sound Maker – Make unusual new sounds with machine learning. #free-100
  • Otomata – Generative musical sequencer. #free-100
  • PixiTracker – Tool to quickly create musical sketches, chiptunes and sound experiments. #free-and-paid
  • Soundation – Online music creation and collaboraiton tool. #free-and-paid

Digital audio workstation (DAW)

  • Ableton Live – Software for music creation and performance. #paid
  • Cakewalk – Complete music production package. #free-100
  • Reaper – Complete digital audio production application for computers. #paid

Audio editing

  • Audacity – Multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac and Linux. #free-100 #open-source
  • SynthFont – Edit and play MIDI files using various sound sources. #free-and-paid

Audio middleware

  • FMOD – Game solution for adaptive audio. #free-and-paid
  • Wwise – Engine for powering interactive audio. #free-and-paid

Other audio software

  • Rack – Engine for the VCV virtual modular synthesizer. #free-100 #open-source

Video

Video editing

  • Adobe Premiere Pro – Industry-leading video editing software for film, television and web. #paid
  • DaVinci Resolve – Professional 8K editing, color correction, visual effects and audio post production in one software tool. #free-and-paid
  • Shotcut – Cross-platform video editor (that is powerful yet works on slower computers). #free-100 #open-source

Video recording and streaming

  • OBS Studio – Software for video recording and live streaming. #free-100 #open-source

Miscellaneous

  • Machinations – Browser-based platform to design and prototype game systems. #free-and-paid

Resources

We hope you found this list of best game development software useful. Use it whenever you need, share it and check out Pengloo if you ever have complex ideas that need fleshing out.

For suggestions or if you want us to correct something, use this Google Form.