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28. May 2019

No-code or codeless systems are becoming more and more common among game engines and they offer a few benefits. Using a visual programming language enables non-programmers to interact with the code in a more tactile way, while the code itself tends to be a bit more self documenting then most scripting or programming languages. Make no mistake, you are still programming, you just aren’t typing in lines of code in a text editor, instead you script logic by defining events and properties or by connecting nodes together in a graph.

If you are interested in game engines with traditional scripting options, be sure to check out our guides to C/C++, C#, Haxe, Lua, JavaScript and Python game engines.

In this article we are going to look at the majority of codeless options among modern game engines, both 2D and 3D.

3D Game Engines

Armory 3D

Built on top of the Blender open source 3D application, this game engine has a node based option for game development, in addition to a Haxe based API.  Learn more here.

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BuildBox

BuildBox is a commercial game engine sold on a subscription basis that uses an entirely visual based node programming system.  Aimed at making games without requiring any programming knowledge.

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CryEngine

CryEngine is a AAA calibre game engine with a visual programming language named Schematyc.  It is designed to enable programmers to expose portions of their game logic to designers.  Writing a full game in Schematyc is not really the purpose.

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CopperCube 6

CopperCube 6 recently received a free version.  It is designed to work by attaching and configuring actions and behaviors to game objects.  You can expend the functionality in JavaScript, but creating a game entirely without coding is quite possible.

Learn more here.

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Godot

The Godot game engine has a Visual Scripting Language, with much of the same functionality of GDScript.  You can mix and match between the two scripting styles in the same game.  Honestly though, it’s not really that useful yet.

Learn more here.


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Unity

Unity doesn’t actually support Visual Scripting, although a Visual Scripting language is in the works for a 2019 release.  In the meanwhile there are several addons adding a Visual programming language such as Bolt.


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Unreal Engine

Unreal has perhaps the most robust visual programming language in the form of Blueprint, that can be used for everything C++ can, beyond changing the engine code itself.  It is also perhaps the most complicated visual programming language on this list.

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2D Game Engines

Clickteam Fusion 2.5

Perhaps most famous for making the 5 Nights series of games, this game engine use a tree/spreadsheet hybrid approach.

Learn more here.

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Construct 3

Construct 3 is a commercial, subscription based game engine that runs entirely in the browser.  Uses an event sheet programming model very similar to GDevelop and ClickTeam Fusion.

Learn more here.

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Stencyl

Stencyl is a game engine using a lego style brick approach to programming.  There is a free version available and the visual programming language ultimately generates Haxe code, which you can also code with.

Learn more here.

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Scratch

Scratch is an MIT project aimed at teach programming concepts to kids.  It, like Stencyl, uses a lego brick style programming interface.

Learn more here.

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GDevelop

GDevelop is a free and open source game engine that uses a programming model based on behaviors and events.

Learn more here.

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GameMaker Studio 2

YoYoGame’s GMS2 has been around for decades and is a complete game editing environment with two programming options.  A visual drag and drop programming system, and their own GM scripting language.

Learn more here.

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GameSalad

GameSalad is focused at students and non-programmers and is programmed using a behavior based logic system.  I have virtually no experience with this game engine.

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Pixel Game Maker MV

Pixel GameMaker MV is a complete commercial game making package from the same publisher as RPGMaker.  It uses a visual programming system and property based programming model.  It’s also pretty awful, IMHO.

Learn more here.


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Design Programming


23. May 2019


Scirra announced today that they will be adding JavaScript language support to their currently codeless cross platform game engine, Construct 3.  We did a hands-on video on Construct 3 shortly after it was released, and the lack of scripting support was one of my biggest complaints.

Details of the new scripting support from the Construct blog:

We are well aware that not programming has been central to the design of Construct since Construct 2. We know many of our users will have chosen Construct specifically for this reason. Some may even have no intention of ever using coding. We're still committed to this approach and also fully intend to keep developing features for events. So why are we doing this?

At Scirra we've always aimed to help get more people involved with and excited about technology. We want to make amazing tools that make incredible technologies accessible to all, allowing them to be active creators rather than passive consumers. With the rising profile of technology in the world today and more people than ever getting involved with technology and programming, we think this is an important step towards that goal.

Details about price:

Once we're ready to launch it, the scripting feature will be sold as a separate add-on for Construct. However anyone who's ever had a Construct 3 subscription - of any kind, past or present - will get the scripting add-on for free, for life, at no additional cost. Currently this still applies to new subscribers too, so if you want to use the feature and have been thinking about subscribing, you'll save money if you subscribe now! We'll announce the cut-off date for this offer in the near future.

Details about the timeline:

We are aiming to have an early version of the scripting feature in the next beta release of Construct some time in the next couple of weeks. If you're already a subscriber, you'll be able to test it as soon as the next beta. The feature will continue to develop and expand over time, and we'll likely have more news about it in future. So stay tuned and we look forwards to seeing what you can all do with it!

GameDev News


23. May 2019


One common problem with game development is compression, it’s a classic trade-off.  Do you save disk space at the cost of either performance or VRAM usage or do you favor performance at the cost of size?  When it comes to GPU Image Textures, this is exactly the trade-off Binomial is trying to get rid off.  Thanks to a recent partnership with Google, their work is now available and open source!

Details from the Google open source blog:

Today, Google and Binomial are excited to announce that we have partnered to open source the Basis Universal texture codec to improve the performance of transmitting images on the web and within desktop and mobile applications, while maintaining GPU efficiency. This release fills an important gap in the graphics compression ecosystem and complements earlier work in Draco geometry compression.


The Basis Universal texture format is 6-8 times smaller than JPEG on the GPU, yet is a similar storage size as JPEG – making it a great alternative to current GPU compression methods that are inefficient and don’t operate cross platform – and provides a more performant alternative to JPEG/PNG. It creates compressed textures that work well in a variety of use cases - games, virtual & augmented reality, maps, photos, small-videos, and more!

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How does it all work? Compress your image using the encoder, choosing the quality settings that make sense for your project (you can also submit multiple images for small videos or optimization purposes, just know they’ll share the same color palette). Insert the transcoder code before rendering, which will turn the intermediary format into the GPU format your computer can read. The image stays compressed throughout this process, even on your GPU!  Instead of needing to decode and read the whole image, the GPU will read only the parts it needs. Enjoy the performance benefits!

The project is available now, open sourced under the Apache 2.0 license on GitHub.  This new technology should be a great boon to game engines and tools hoping to support texture compression across a number of devices, and I assume will make it’s way into more Google products as time goes on.

GameDev News


23. May 2019


Today GitHub just announced GitHub Sponsors, a new funding model that just may change the way a lot of open source projects get funded.  Instead of relying on third party services such as Patreon to fund open source development projects, GitHub sponsors will enable users to financially support their favourite open source projects directly on GitHub.

Details from the GitHub blog:

Zero fees

Open source is the heart of GitHub. The developers who build our shared digital infrastructure are what make this community so strong. As a thank you for these valuable contributions, GitHub Sponsors charges zero platform fees when you support the work of other developers. We’ll also cover payment processing fees for the first 12 months of the program to celebrate the launch. 100% percent of your sponsorship goes to the developer.

A global team

GitHub Sponsors supports payouts all around the world, in every country where GitHub does business. We are all part of a global software team. Expanding opportunities to participate on that team is at the core of our mission, so we’re proud to make this new tool available to developers worldwide.

All contributors welcome

Many contributions that are crucial to a well-functioning project are not visible in code review. GitHub Sponsors is built for funding all types of work that advance open source software. Anyone who contributes to open source—whether through code, documentation, leadership, mentorship, design, and beyond—is eligible for sponsorship.

One more way to contribute

GitHub Sponsors is one more way to contribute to open source: financially supporting the people who build and maintain it. Funding individuals helps them keep doing important work, expands opportunities to participate, and gives developers the recognition they deserve. Starting today, any GitHub user can sponsor an open source developer in the program.

Native to your GitHub workflow

You can now sponsor developers as a seamless part of your familiar workflow. When a contributor answers your question, triages your issue, or merges your code, you can head to their profile—or simply hover over their username—to sponsor their work.

Currently the system is launching on a waiting list system, you can join the wait list here (GitHub login required).

In addition to launching GitHub Sponsors, they have also launched the GitHub Sponsors matching fund:

To supercharge community funding, GitHub created the GitHub Sponsors Matching Fund, which matches up to $5000 per sponsored developer in their first year of sponsorship. In the first year, GitHub will not charge any fees, so 100% of sponsorships will go to the sponsored developer. In the future, we may charge a nominal processing fee.

With direct GitHub integration, global support and zero fees (at least for the first year), I imagine quite a few projects will transition over from a Patreon funding model.

GameDev News


22. May 2019


BuildBox is a cross platform 2D (and soon 3D) game engine heavily targeted toward the “no programming easy to use” segment.  With the 3.0 release coming Thursday, May 22 2019, there are also price changes coming to the game engine.  Currently the pricing is as follows:

Monthly Pricing:

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Annual Pricing:

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According to the BuildBox blog, the new pricing is changing as follows:

The first announcement is that soon we’ll be rolling out new pricing options. We’re ditching the monthly subscription plans and switching over to just annual plans.

Our goal and vision for Buildbox is to create a suite of game development tools that makes the entire process of making games and getting started super simple. These new price changes are simplified to be the most economical plans we’ve ever had! 

New Simplified And Most Economical Plans Ever
  • Plus Plan – $99 (per year)
  • Indie Plan – $199 (per year)
  • Pro Plan – $299 (per year)

If you already have a monthly subscription plan and love it, don’t worry, you’re good. However, the option to sign up for any of our monthly subscription plans or switch over to new monthly subscription will end on May 23. So, if you’ve been thinking about it now is the time.

We will honor the current monthly prices to anyone who signs up before that date. You can contact our awesome support team at [email protected] with any questions or for assistance in changing your plan.

Each plan includes all the core features of Buildbox like the menu editor, scene editor, actions, effects, logic, monetization, and creator with all gameplay possibilities.  The only difference between plans is the total amount of worlds, scenes, and export options you can have in your game. You can view current plans right here.

Learn more about the engine and pricing change in the video below.

GameDev News


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