Best Game Engines for Android
Common knowledge tells us that games are the most widely used apps on Android devices. Also included is the urge for so many users to try to make games for Android. Many have tried and many have failed. However, many have succeeded in their efforts to make games. It was a matter of their current knowledge of making games at the time, their skills, and the tools they used. But lately that list of tools has definitely changed and most are convinced it’s for the vastly better.
There are so many concerns when making a game. Things like graphics, sound effects, background music, physics, AI, player controls, and etc. But with a game engine and so many freely available resources, everything in that list becomes almost moot. There are lots of game engines out there and many of which can include everything in that list and more. Even IF a game engine didn’t include something like graphics and/or sounds for you to work with, there’re still mountains of resources available for free online anyway!! Even an absolute beginner with just an idea can develop Android games with these tools.
The Game Engines
Yes, there’re lots of game engines that allow the user to create Android games. Some would even go so far as to allow the creation of games on multiple platforms. But for the purposes of this article, we’ll stick with the game engines that have Android in the list of supported platforms. If other platforms are available on the specific engine, that just works out better for you!!
The City-Building Kit
The City-Building Kit is a Unity add-on that allows the user to create real time strategy (RTS) games similar to Clash of Clans, The Simpsons Tapped Out, Castle Clash, and various others right out of the box. It is a full game engine specific for this purpose but it can be modified to create tower defense games too. The real advantage to this game engine is that you can modify every part of it and create your own unique game without having to deal with a lot of the other aspects of game developing. Things like path finding, AI control, multi-player setup concerns, and various others are already built in and ready to go.
- Everything can be edited to make your own unique game.
- The majority of the hard parts are already done and ready right from the start.
- Included graphics, sounds, scripts, and the whole bit are royalty free.
- Works with Unity 5 and higher.
- A large variety of support to help you out.
- Not free.
- Not a stand-alone product but it IS a full game engine.
- The hefty amount of time savers and other things could possibly be seen as overwhelming. There is a lot in there!!
GameSalad is a game engine that allows the user to create Android games without programming. One of the main aims to GameSalad is to make game creation easy. And as such, the engine creates your Android game just like the other platforms it can create for. You place your sounds and graphics in the needed locations and set attributes. That’s it. Seriously, that’s it!! Your game is setup and ready to go. Even the tutorials would show you how to make a game in about 15 minutes!! Do note that some of the games created with GameSalad have won some serious awards. So don’t start thinking this is some cheesy little mess!!
- All kinds of easy to use.
- Active forums, a very large community/user base, tutorials, and lots of help available.
- No need to program anything. You can’t code with this engine anyway!!
- Not free.
- Currently no access to code which might have been some fun but there is mention that access to code might be included later.
- Unless the subscription is paid for, you can only publish on the GameSalad Arcade.
Game Maker: Studio
Game Maker: Studio is an all out game engine that uses the Game Maker Language (GML) scripting language to allow the user to create games for Android and other platforms. GML has a very similar appearance to C++ so those with experience in that language should have little to no difficulty using it. With the scripting, you’d have a lot of control over how things work when making your games compared to other game engines. Even at that, pros and beginners alike won’t have that much difficulty in using this game engine. Once you’re done making your game, compile it for Android or another platform you might want.
- Easy to use and with advanced features to make something really cool for a game.
- Event driven game engine so those with experience in event driven programming languages have a nice start already.
- There’s a free version.
- Lots of tutorials to get you started and help if/when you need it.
- Still need to pay for features that might be needed depending on what platform you’re developing for.
- You need to take the time to learn the game engine and the scripting language.
- System requirements can go all over the place depending on what platform you’re developing for.
The Esenthel Engine uses C++ to develop games for Android and other platforms. So C++ programmers can use it all too easily. However, the C++ in the Esenthel Engine has various differences to make coding go much faster. For example, you make a function somewhere in the code editor and it comes up as ready to use instantly. No other coding or extras are needed for this. But when you mix in all the other editors that are already built into the IDE as you can see in the screen shot above, you have one very complete game engine!! Depending on what you pay for towards it, free and the not so free, you can also get a variety of resources included with the Esenthel Engine. This does include both 2D and 3D resources and music.
- Free version also includes 2D and 3D graphics and music for you to use.
- Faster coding capabilities and very nice code editor.
- Can handle just about everything for game making right from the start. It’s all built in.
- Nice set of video tutorials and the written documentation. Very large and active community.
- Can’t make commercial games without buying the license.
- If your C++ isn’t so great, the editor won’t help you that much!!
- You won’t escape the learning time due to the very large list of features!!
The Wave Engine is a completely free to use 2D/3D game engine that allows you to create games for Android and other platforms. The Wave Engine is an add-on for other IDEs such as Visual Studio, Xamarin, and MonoDevelop. So those with experience in, for example, the .Net programming languages, already have a pretty decent head start. It just depends on which operating system you’re working on. You can make your game on Windows and convert it to run on Android later. All you have to do is make sure the Wave Engine logo is setup as a splash screen at the start of your game and you’re all set. Literally that’s all and you can create any kind of game you want, commercial or otherwise, with no further concern. A new version is scheduled to launch in September 2015.
- Completely free. Go all out as much as you like.
- Wide variety of samples, tutorials, and documentation to help you.
- Active community to help you out.
- Lots of features to handle your game development.
- Not a stand-alone product.
- You either need to know a supported language or take the time to learn it.
- You need a Pro version or higher of the supported IDEs to get mobile functionality working properly.
These are arguably some of the best game engines currently available from the very enormous list of game engines out there to make Android games with. And they’re each getting better on a near constant basis. With better support for more and more things, better features, and better capabilities. You don’t even have to code for one of them!! How cool is that?!!
If you have any comments, questions, and/or suggestions, please feel free to post them in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!!