**While there are so many Game Development Engines out there, these are IN MY OPINION the best to utilize when learning, and utilizing your talents for Game Development.**
Updated as of 9/9/13
Unreal Development Kit
Let’s face it, Unreal is at the top of its game when it comes to developing games. Not only is it compatible with all current generation consoles, but if you are to create a game, and you want it published; it would only require royalty fees after the first $50,000 and 25% there-after that you publish free-to-play or else you will be paying some fees.
Not only is it the best game development software, it has a HUGE support base system. If you where to go to their forums, it is more than likely that you will find exactly what you are looking for; on many occasions I found myself on the forums searching for new things to pick up on.
Here are some key points with Unreal Development Kit:
- Complete Editing Environment
- Pure Rendering Power
- State-of-the-Art Animation
- Powerful Scripting
- Real World Physics
- Eye-Popping Lighting and Shadows
- Gorgeous Cinematics
- Built-in Networking
- Real-time Shaders
- Broad Audio Support
- Particle Effects
- Distributed Computing
- Destructible Environments
- Bink Video Codec
- SpeedTree Foliage Editor
- FaceFX Facial Animation
If you are interested then you should more than likely head on over to www.udk.com and download the newest build. Trust me when I say that you will not be unhappy about learning this powerful piece of software. (The screenshots shown are a game called “Epic Citadel” made in Unreal)
Unity has been the building staple of the mobile development for quite some time now. Not only do they have a powerful mobile engine, it too is a PC and Wii development program. If you have the talent, or the willingness to learn how to use new software, then I would really suggest Unity 3D for its powerful engine.
Update: Unity has released its brand new Unity 4 not too long ago, and also shipped the Mobile Development with it. You will of course need an AppData / Android Environment to test / play your mobile game.
Key points with Unity 3:
- Rendering: Optimized for speed and quality
- Lighting: Precision control over your game’s ambiance
- Terrains: Beautiful vistas at incredible speeds
- Physics: Built-in Physics to bring your world to life
- Audio: the world’s leading audio engine
- Programming: Flexible scripting with native-code performance
- Networking: Real-time networking made simple
If you would like to know more information about Unity, then go on and visit www.unity3d.com.
Update: Since the last time this was done, CryEngine 3 released along with Crysis 2, and we are not awaiting the SDK for Crysis 3.
SDK is the way of the future for video games and PC enthusiests. Every single PC gamer has heard of Crysis, in some form or another. Well turns out that CryTek’s SDK is one powerful beast. Afterall it did create havoc back in the early 2000s when no computer except for a NASA Super-Computer could run it at full resolution.
While the CryEngine SDK is free, you have to own a copy of Crysis in order to obtain it. As of this writing you can head on over to www.crydev.net to download and install the CryEngine SDK.
Here are some of the key features of CryEngine 3:
- Real Time Lighting and Dynamic Soft Shadows
- Volumetric, Layer and View Distance Fogging
- Terrain 2.5D Ambient Occlusion maps
- Normal maps and Parallax Occlusion maps
- Screen Space Ambient Occlusion
- Subsurface Scattering
- Eye Adaptation & High Dynamic Range (HDR) Lighting
- Motion Blue & Depth of Field
- Light Beams & Shafts
- High Quality 3D Ocean Technology
- Advanced Shader Technology
- Terrain LOD Management Feature
- In Game Mixing
- Data-driven Sound System
- Interactive Dynamic Music System
- Dynamic World Sounds
- LUA Script Driven AI System
- Dynamic Path Finding
- Smart Objects
This is where a great deal of up and coming independent video game developers get their start by learning Blender. I even admit, this was the very first game development software I had ever used. Blender 3D should be the very first stop for someone looking to learn 3D modeling and Game Development. It is the easiest to learn and user-friendly design available to date.
Update: Blender 3D has come a long way as of this writing pushing itself into the premier club of 3d modelling software. There are so many more new features to list so head to the link below to check them out!
There are far too many features available with Blender 3D to actually write them all down. So in that case, head on over to www.blender.org and see for youself.