Best Mobile Game Engines and Development Sources for Your Ideal Game
Mobile phones are not just for calls and texting anymore. Since phones went ‘smart,’ they have become integral to everyday life, now having more than 7.2 billion users worldwide.
That means more than 90% of the population should have or use a smartphone. Almost everyone is guaranteed to have one when they are out and about, or even at home, bored.
What do people do when they have free time? They use their phones, of course, and they use their phones to play games and pass the time with quick and easy ways to play.
That is where mobile game development comes in, and you, the one looking to create a game for people to enjoy. These games are created using mobile game engines. But before we get into mobile game engines, we have to understand their role in mobile game development.
Before we jump into the main topic, it’s important to first understand the first few things you require for starting the mobile game app development process like a PRO!
The necessary things you need for Mobile game app development
Here are the top four things you require, and need to know before starting a career in mobile app development.
- A Computer
A separate computer device is required for the development process because with that you can perform all the coding and other functions.
A developer without a reasonable device, with high configuration, can not create amazing mobile applications. Also, if you know how to run all the heavy mobile gaming engines you need devices that can bear the working speed, and sizes of the application.
- Set of Mobile Phones
Usually, developers ask for mobile phones both Android and iOS to test the developed mobile games on those devices.
Without testing, you can not ensure if your designed and developed mobile application is working well. Over the development platform, it seems good but when we check it over the mobile phones there are glitches that disturb the overall performance.
So, it’s very important to have at least two phones in both operating systems, to check, and rectify the issues beforehand.
- An Animator
Without an animator, you can not add elements to your developed mobile games. An animator works at the end of the development process but without him, the design and development don’t matter.
Transition is required in every phase of mobile app development and without it, you can not grab the attention of the players. If one screen stays there, no one will ever bother to open the mobile application.
- A Mobile App Developer
Lastly, a mobile app developer is the main brick of the mobile gaming industry. You know, a game developer researches all the gaming engines to integrate them smoothly.
They have the skill of converting those designs into a transitional gaming application, backed by recent technologies and gaming engines. Integration is the most important part of any application, and if it’s not done right there is no use for any design.
Mobile Games and their Popularity
Out of the 7+ billion smartphone users, 2.2 billion of them are active mobile game users, a number that keeps on increasing day by day. Most of these people play games at least once a day, and about ten times per week on average.
When video games were first launched for home consoles and the personal computer, they were heavily focused on the player sitting down and having the time to do complex tasks, read long paragraphs of text, and solve complex puzzles.
That meant mobile game development was focused on different things, too.
The action-focused console games and more complicated games of the personal computer took time to play. That means if you want to enjoy playing video games, you need at least half an hour to be able to get the full experience.
Mobile games, however, are different. They are designed to be quick, packed with just enough of a difficulty curve that progress is quick, with gradual difficulty increases.
That makes mobile games perfect for a quick refresher during the day or when you are on the bus. That means if you want to begin mobile game development, you must work with a mobile game engine that supports that methodology.
Mobile Game Engines are the Foundation of a Mobile Game
A mobile game engine is best when its design complements the playstyle you want your game to have.
A mobile engine is the same as a car engine. You want your car to be fast, then you put a sports engine in there. If you want it to be economical, then you put in a regular engine that is designed for fuel efficiency.
In a video game, if you want your game to be simple, the mobile game engine should reflect that as well.
While different games can be made on a mobile game engine that doesn’t natively support it, it involves a ton of extra work that is not worth the time, effort, and resources it takes to get a game to completion this way.
The Best Mobile Game Engines for Mobile Game Development
We have compiled a short list of mobile game engines you can use to make the best kind of mobile game yourself.
- Construct 2 (Now Construct 3)
We know to always start out simple, and this is as simple as you need to get for mobile game development.
Construct 3 is an engine that is designed for simplicity and limited scope. For anyone new to mobile game development or the gaming industry in general, there can be no simpler or better way to get familiar with things than in Construct 3.
Better yet, it is available through a browser, too! It is a mobile game engine that can create simple, 2D block-based games that require little to no programming and coding knowledge to run. The UI/UX of the tool is user-friendly as well, giving you a great mobile game engine platform to build 2D games with ease.
There is even a user preview option to see how the game is played from the user’s perspective.
Construct 3 works with Windows, Android, Linux, and Mac.
If Construct 3 is as simple as it gets, Unity is its complete opposite, but that is not a bad thing.
There is a reason Unity is known for being one of the best real-time game development tools on the market. Not only is it one of the most powerful mobile game engines to work with, but it is also a primary tool for indie video game developers for consoles and PCs.
One of the best features of this mobile game engine is that it is a very community-focused experience. That means anyone seeking help has loads of people to talk to. There is even a Unity Asset Store that can have people publishing custom assets for others to use in their game development.
Unity is best for both 2D and 3D games, is easy to integrate across platforms, and finds itself on top of the mobile game engine popularity lists everywhere. More than 50% of mobile game developers use Unity, which is a number that should speak for itself.
The best time to learn and use Unity is right now, but it is mainly to get an idea of the scope of the games created using Unity. Simple games are possible, but this engine is best for advanced users.
So, start learning Unity while you make simpler games with mobile game engines like Construct 3. It is a great way to learn advanced skills while still building a respectable portfolio of mobile games under your belt.
- Unreal Engine
If there is a direct competitor to Unity in the mobile game engine landscape, it has to be Unreal Engine. It is a favorite of both mobile game developers and for AAA, multi-million-dollar video games such as Deus Ex and Batman: Arkham Knight.
In mobile game development, though, most would look towards Unreal Engine as one that requires more programming experience and is targeted for better graphics and visuals overall. Just like Unity, the Unreal Engine has community features and an asset store where users can port different assets into their own games, either purchasing them or getting them for free.
Unreal Engine supports cross-platform features and allows you to build for Android and iOS simultaneously with minimal changes necessary for full integration.
Most of the time, Unreal Engine is for bigger budgets and larger teams, whereas Unity is for smaller teams and more developer-friendly aspects.
If simplicity, ease of use, but also a tool that is powerful is something you need, then the GameMaker mobile game engine might work best for you.
It is designed to allow developers to break down their development into sections, with tools available to make each design process as easy as possible.
Images, sprites, objects, tile sets, rooms, sequences, etc., all get their own dedicated editors you can use to create your game. It is an all-in-one mobile game development toolkit, and best of all, it has a free version that you can use to start out!
If you are a good programmer already, chances are you might have heard about the Haxe programming language. It is certainly not one that is easy to use, but if developing using strictly code is your thing, then this is one of the best ways to create complete 2D games using a single code base.
As a mobile game engine, HaxeFlixel allows for easy cross-platform development. Haxe itself can be a good language to learn, but this is one that is strictly not for beginners, at least if they don’t want to sit in the debugging window for hours.
However, being an open-source engine certainly helps in having other industry professionals come together and create a great engine for robust mobile game development.
- GoDot Engine
The GoDot mobile game engine is open-source, too, built using C++ and works with nodes. It is also an engine that makes version control a lot easier, so debugging and rolling out bug fixes is less of a hassle.
The engine itself also has all the toolkits one needs to make video games without too much of a worry. It is a better option if you want to switch to Unity in the future, as the latter is geared towards larger projects too.
However, there is a reason this engine is completely free and does not require any royalties when you make and sell your mobile game using it; it does not make a lot of money.
For small projects that you are doing because you are passionate about it—and for experience—GoDot is an excellent engine that is quickly gaining more and more traction. For more serious projects that have dedicated teams and monetary incentives, going with other engines on this list will be a plus.
We still recommend you give this a try, though. It is an excellent tool that just needs to be recognized for the user-friendliness and help it provides!
Key Takeaway | Best Mobile Game Engines And Development Platforms
The six engines listed here are certainly not the only ones, and we could not say everything there is to know about them, either.
However, this makes for a great starting point in mobile game development, as you know the very simplest ways you can start out in Construct 3 and GoDot, then move forward to GameMaker and Unity, before going big-budget in Unreal Engine and doing passion projects in HaxeFlixel.
We hope you enjoyed reading about some of the amazing gaming engines, and platforms that would definitely help you out in bringing the best version. However, if you still have some questions in mind then, feel free to share in the comments section. We will try to get back to you soon with a more descriptive elaboration.