Want to make your own video game but don‘t have a big budget? Don‘t worry – there are plenty of free tools and resources out there to help you build games without spending any money. In this guide, we‘ll outline different options for making games at no cost, whether you want to learn coding or use no-code game builders.
Learning to Code Games Yourself
One option is to learn programming and make games from scratch. While this has a steeper learning curve, coding your own games allows for the most flexibility and creative control. Here are some tips for getting started:
Use free game engines like Unity, Unreal Engine, or GameMaker Studio. These provide all the core functionality you need to build different types of games. Unity and Unreal work for both 2D and 3D games while GameMaker specializes in 2D.
Take advantage of the many free coding tutorials and courses online. Sites like YouTube have ample materials to teach yourself game programming at no cost. Start with beginner tutorials to learn fundamentals.
Begin with simple 2D games like platformers or top-down shooters. As your skills progress, you can tackle more complex 3D games and integrate advanced features.
Be prepared to invest significant time learning to code. Making games from scratch takes dedication but pays off in creative freedom.
Some key programming languages used for games:
- C# – Widely used for Unity games
- C++ – Used by Unreal Engine and many AAA studios
- GML – GameMaker Studio‘s own simple coding language
Using No-Code Game Builders
If you don‘t want to code, various no-code game builders allow you to make games by dragging and dropping. Some top options include:
Buildbox – Easy tool for building 2D games like platformers and puzzles without any coding or art skills needed. Free to try with paid subscriptions for exporting games.
GameSalad – Drag and drop game creator for iOS, Android, desktop, and web games. Free tier available with limitations, pro version unlocks all features.
Construct 3 – Browser-based game maker for 2D web games. Free with a splash screen, paid subscriptions remove limitation.
No-code tools allow faster development but limit complexity compared to coding from scratch. They work best for simple 2D games.
Using Free Game Assets and Resources
To help build your games faster, leverage free game assets and resources:
OpenGameArt – A community site offering thousands of free sprites, textures, sound effects, music, and more under various licenses.
FreeSound – Archive of 200,000+ CC licensed sound effects and sample recordings.
itch.io – Many creators offer free game assets and tools through this indie game marketplace.
Creative Commons – Search this site for CC-licensed assets like images and 3D models.
Tap into communities willing to share free resources, but recognize you may still need to create some assets yourself.
Playtesting, Polishing, and Publishing Your Game
Don‘t neglect the final steps before releasing your game:
Playtest early builds to get feedback. Fix bugs, improve gameplay, and polish rough areas.
Consider monetization. Ad support, paid upgrades, in-app purchases, etc. Define your revenue strategy.
Publish on app stores. Reach players on web, iOS, Android, consoles, or PC distribution platforms.
Market your game. Social media, influencers, press coverage, and advertising can help get the word out.
With the right tools and dedication, you can go from concept to finished game without spending a dime. Ready to start building your free game?