According to 2019 reports, 5 billion out of 7.7 billion people on planet earth uses a smartphone, and it is going to rise over the upcoming years. Some of us use our spare time to scroll through news feeds on social media, and many of us spend our time playing games on our smartphones. 2019 hit game Player Unknown’s BattleGrounds, aka PUBG, has over 200 million active players in its mobile version worldwide. Even though most of us have a pc, most of the time we depend on our smartphones for gaming because it is portable and is always in our pockets.
So many mobile games are available in different genres across app stores and most of them have millions of downloads and daily active players across the globe. Mobile games have evolved over the years, especially in terms of graphics. There is a plethora of tools and IDEs available for game developers to create incredible games for different platforms.
Let’s see some of the excellent game development tools for the year 2019.
1. Unity 3D
Before the arrival of unity, cross-platform game development for mobile devices was a tedious, time consuming and expensive process. The launch of Unity in 2005, at Apple’s developer’s conference, initiated an era of much easier and cost-effective game development.
Unity’s user-friendly development environment and it’s cross-platform engine enabled game development for 27 platforms in distinct devices. The biggest advantage of unity is its cross-platform support. Developed and deployed apps can easily be shared between PCs and web platforms. Scripting, asset tracking, rendering, and excellent physics are some of the best features which save time and budget and also give the flexibility to deploy multi-platform projects.
Even though unity is rich in features, there are still some drawbacks that make developers hesitant to use the Unity engine for development. The most crucial one is the graphics. Unity doesn’t natively support high-level graphics assets, that are inevitable for next-gen gaming. Developers can achieve graphics support up to a great extent, but that requires them to pay heavy license costs. Next is its memory consumption. Games developed using unity engines consume a lot of memory which causes OutOfMemory error, which makes debugging a pain in the neck.
Unreal engine is the most sophisticated IDE for mobile game development. It is developed by Epic Games, the developers of Fortnite. 2019 hit PUBG also uses Unreal Engine 4.0. Unreal Engine supports Console quality graphics on mobile devices by its support for graphics APIs like OpenGL 3.0, Vulkan and Metal rendering. Some of its features include dynamic shadows rendering, texture enhancements, high frame rate gameplay, and custom post-processing. Many AAA titles on mobile platforms and gaming consoles use Unreal Engine as it’s core development tool.
Some disadvantages of the unreal engine are, it is not an open-source tool. Developers need to acquire a license by paying a handsome amount to its moderators and have to pay five per cent tax after the game gets profits. Also, unreal is not at all suitable for small games with tiny budgets. Unreal is suitable only for lengthy and big-budget games.
Corona is an ideal cross-platform tool for the rapid development of games and applications for mobile devices and desktops. The builtin instant-update simulator helps to check code updates in real-time so that once we deploy the app, we can see the code/asset update automatically.
The disadvantages are that it is a 2D engine and, if you want to make a 3D game you will need to move to another platform. There are not many 3rd party tools available that work with corona 2D. Another issue is debugging, since it doesn’t have a built-in debugger and the only support is just a sublime text editor plugin. Video content rendering is also an issue with the corona. We can’t really see the video while testing in the simulator and functional support for video is very limited.
It is an excellent set of open-source, cross-platform game development tools used by beginners in game development. Cocos2D comes with well-detailed documentation and excellent community support. The biggest advantage of cocos is that it is simple since it is written in C++ and has light libraries. This makes cocos 10x simpler than unity. Moreover, Cocos2D is entirely free. One disadvantage is that it doesn’t have an integrated design environment.
Lumberyard is a cross-platform game engine developed by Amazon. It is based on Cryengine licensed under Crytek. It is free and allows developers to integrate with the amazon web services. It is completely free to use strong rendering engine, excellent for external real-world simulation. One of the issues is it doesn’t have detailed documentation or community. New users definitely need the training to use the engine effectively. Twitch API comes pre-installed which helps to live games to streaming platforms.
6. Marmalade SDK
Marmalade is another simple and easy to use c++ based game building tool. It is known before as Ideaworks3D. Marmalade uses OpenGL ES directly to utilize the graphics rendering capabilities of mobile devices. Marmalade uses exporter plugins to allow 3D models and animations to use it with Autodesk 3Ds Max and Autodesk Maya. Some of the old AAA Titles such as Call of Duty: World at War:Zombies, Doodle Jump, Draw Something, Godus, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, Metal Gear Solid Mobile, Need for Speed: Shift, Peggle, Plants vs. Zombies, SimCity Build It, Tetris, Worms..etc are created using Marmalade. The biggest advantage of Marmalade is its cross-platform compatibility simply by using a C/C++ based abstraction layer on top of the core API.
I believe that this article helped you to gain more knowledge about game development tools. If you like this article do share it with your friends and gaming nerds. To learn more about game development and related tools check our other blogs.
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