Mobile Game Development Tools Worth Having

By 2020, it’s projected that global gaming industry will likely be valued at 128.5 Billion.

The popularity of mobile technology has rapidly risen over the past few years. Almost every one owns a smart phone now. Aside from the availability of smartphones, the improvement of augmented reality and virtual reality has also paid their contribution to the development of mobile gaming. Many innovations have been made which resolved or drastically improve the ongoing mobile problems such as limited storage, heating issues, battery issues, processing limits, etc.

If you’re a thriving businessman, mobile game development is a good investment. Many are trying their hands on this field of business in the hopes of scoring it big. Bear in mind though that this is not an easy market to get into, especially if you don’t have any background with technical stuffs.

No worries though, there are tools that you can use to help you. Below are some of the mobile game development tools that you can use to begin your project.

  1. Unity

This intuitive game development engine offers many features for both 2D and 3D game development. If you want to easily and quickly port games into Windows Phone 8, iOS, Android and BlackBerry platforms, this is your best pick. It supports assets from major 3D applications like Maya, 3ds Max, CINEMA 4D, Softimage, Blender etc. A new version Unity 4.3 was released with features like supporting sprites, native 2D capabilities and 2D physics added to its design capabilities.

Though Unity can integrate with all major 3D applications, it has some limitations specifically with its editing capabilities inside the engine editor. You would need to use a third-party 3D application, apart from some primitive shapes. You also have the alternative to purchase assets from the asset library. Undeniably, Unity is a strong contender among the mobile game development engines.

This engine comes with many pricing options. You can get the Pro version at $1,500 or $75/monthly per seat and per platform. You can also get your hands on Unity 5 Personal Edition which includes many common features like Physically-based shading, Profiler, Reflection Probes etc.

  1. Unreal Engine

Released by Epic Game, UE4 is the next version of UDK (Unreal Development Kit). It comes with immense options for console, PC as well as mobile game development. It carries graphical capabilities like advanced dynamic lighting and a new particle system that can handle up to a million particles in a scene simultaneously. It’s an absolute heaven for any 3D game developer.

The new Unreal Engine 4 has been made better compared with its predecessors. It replaced the popular UnrealScript with C++ as the scripting language. More user-friendly Blueprint system also replaced Kismet. Because of these many changes, it’s normal to go through a learning curve before you can master the updated version.

Apart from Android and iOS, you can also use Unreal Engine 4 for Mac, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One game development. It’s also great that it comes with tools for leveraging augmented reality technologies and virtual reality for mobile game development. Development of stunning games of any size is now possible, plus making it in superb quality is another advantage.

  1. Lumberyard

This free AAA game engine can be used for iOS, Android, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The developer used CryEngine – a game development kit developed by Crytek – as the basis of this tool. You can create AAA quality games thanks to its cross-platform functionality.

It comes with great features like networking, full C++ source code, seamless integration with AWS Cloud and Twitch API and Audiokinetic’s feature-rich sound engine. The graphics are made better with acceleration in character, range of terrain, rendering and authoring tools which help with the creation of photo-quality 3D environments at scale.

What makes Lumberyard a competitive advantage is its pricing. You don’t have to pay any licensing fees or royalties. Instead, you would only be paying the e necessary usage of AWS Cloud for online multiplayer games. It’s definitely worth the cost because it comes with an advantage of faster development and deployment.

  1. Corona SDK 

This cross-platform 2D game development kit is perfect for games development for mobile platforms as well as Android TV and Apple TV. Lua, a popular scripting language, is used which ensures that you will have a short learning curve.  It comes with over 500 APIs for a range of functions from networking to animation. You can conveniently code, ideate and have your validation in one go. Corona SDK is available for Windows operating system as well as Mac.

What makes Corona a good choice for mobile game developer is its pricing. The basic version is free which makes it a popular choice among many developers. It also comes with an enterprise solution for $79 per month while another version priced a little higher at $199/month.

On the downside, Corona is only applicable for 2D game development. It has limited to no capabilities in VR, AR or 3D gaming. This platform is not ideal if you are planning to create AAA game.

  1. Cocos2D-x

Just like what it says on its name, Cocos2D-x is a 2D game development kit for iOS, Android, OS X, Linux and Blackberry mobile phones. It’s a highly efficient resource tool because you can make games of a size as low as 1.5 MB. To create optimized 2D graphics, it utilizes OpenGL. Cocos2D-x is a great choice because it comes with detailed documentation and community support.

Over the past few years, this platform has improved dramatically which is why many developers around the world prefer to use this application. Amongst the popular games that use this platform are Clash of Kings, Badland, Contra: Evolution and Hardest Game Ever 2. It’s a good competitor for 2D game development due to its library of existing resources and free pricing.

Take note that it has limitation in 3D game development though. Apart from this, it is a superb game development SDK for a small to mid-size project.

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