Top 10 Gaming Tools & Engines You Should Be Using in 2021

Based on the cost, richness in features, and overall usability, below you can find a selection of the ten best game app development tools for a 2021 project.


Sophie Zoria

3 years ago | 4 min read

Beginner or expert, indie or mass-production, one-man-army or a team of developers — all of them need app development tools to turn an idea into reality and begin planning, designing, and developing an application.

Based on the cost, richness in features, and overall usability, below you can find a selection of the ten best game app development tools for a 2021 project.

1. Unity

Unity is the all-inclusive game development engine. It offers everything one might need to create a 2D and 3D game of any scope irrespective of the budget and team size; both indie and well-established companies actively utilize it for game development. The popularity of Unity comes from its versatility.

A game created on this engine can be released on any possible platform, matched with all types of hardware, and adapted to every OS (both mobile and desktop). Besides, the supportive community of professional game developers comes in handy for beginners in the industry.

2. Unreal Engine

It is one of the most sophisticated and encompassing game engines for complex and large 3D game development projects. Unreal Engine, just like Unity, offers a release of apps that can further be supported by multiple platforms and OSs.

The distinctive feature of this engine is its graphical capabilities and AI components for the development and design stages. The tool is free from any charges except for the 5% royalty payments for large-scope projects.

3. ARKit

ARKit means an augmented reality kit. Apple developed the tool to support developers working on high-point AR development solutions for iPads and iPhones. Here are some of the features ARKit offers to its users with the latest release:

  • Depth API (for more precise measurements and realistic experience)
  • Location anchors (to pin the AR objects to a particular location)
  • Object detection and face tracking (the newer version allows triggering the AR-based on the physical objects that move)
  • Shared experience (multiple users can access the app or game simultaneously for the same experience)
  • Persistent experience (the apps now save the past experience of a user: an AR chess game will be there even after the user closes the app)

4. Blender

This is an open-source and completely free 3D creation pipeline for every artist and game development company in Singapore of every size. This tool helps with working on all aspects of 3D creation: from modeling and rigging to adding animation to the objects.

It also provides professional rendering and motion tracking. Owing to its great community of supporters, anyone having interest or troubles with game creation or video editing can find a lot of valuable information here.

5. RPG Maker VX Ace

Just as the name suggests, RPG Maker is an ideal set of tools for role-playing games. The main benefit is that the creator does not have to know how to code at all. The Maker offers a map editor to develop a world for the game and a DB library with characters, equipment, pieces of equipment, and specifically designed enemies.

For those willing to be unique, an editor allows creating a character from scratch and also designing the game logic, levels, battles, and overall strategy.

6. PlayCanvas

PlayCanvas is one more example of an open-source platform for the collaborative development of 3D applications. It is hosted in the cloud, being a perfect way for developers from different teams and locations to work on the same project efficiently. With PlayCanvas, one can build a game with a wide range of specific features such as:

  • per-pixel lighting and shadows
  • post effects
  • detailed audio editing and effects
  • joints and a variety of artifacts
  • entity system

7. jMonkey Engine

Unlike RPG Maker, jMonkey requires developers to code because its distinctive feature is a complete control over the game code.

The engine is open-source with a perfectly flexible and adaptable idea to match every project and every developer’s need. It is designed majorly for 3D game development based on Java.

8. Buildbox

The company asserts that due to this software, video game developers with no experience in coding and scripting can create a game in a month. Their 30-day free trial is one more proof of the statement.

This is a drag-and-drop tool with a wizard for setting up a storyline, 3D models, environment, and scenes. However, for the advanced users and in a paid package, JavaScript code can be altered for custom changes.

9. GameMaker: Studio

It is one of the most extensive game development tools in the market for 2D and 3D development. Anything that a game maker might need (source control, multiplayer networking, real-time analytics, etc.) can be found within the Studio.

Beginners can work here via the drag-and-drop model while experts in game development have access to the code for customization. The free trial version will get support from Windows-based platforms, while the paid version offers support for HTML5, iOS, and Android.

10. Stencyl

Stencyl is a popular engine for developers of all expertise levels. It mainly provides a no-programming approach to the users, but the experienced audience can write code, import libraries, and create custom classes.

The engine offers development for AppStore, Google Play Store, and Stream development, which is sufficient for startups and indie games.

Game engines are a set of tools that allow game developers to work on a project from A to Z. Some focus on planning, while others give priority to design; the majority of software examples mentioned above are suitable for all levels of developers, while a few of them are better fit for experts in the industry.

The process of tool selection would heavily depend on the existing skills and personal preferences of a game development professional.

The list above does not imply that the outlined tools are the must-haves in your arsenal, but these are rather some options that can deliver the best results at a fair price and in the set timeframe. So have a go at the trial runs and get on with turning your dream into reality.


Created by

Sophie Zoria

Sophie Zoria is a passioned journalist writing about tech and marketing trends, mobile apps, and design. Check out her Medium page:







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