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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


1. May 2019


The PixiJS HTML5 2D rendering library just had their first release in almost 2 years, with the release of PixiJS v5.  PixiJS is an open source, MIT licenses library available here on Github.

The v5 release experienced a great deal of internal refactoring to improve modularity and performance but also resulted in a 20% reduction in size compared to v4.  The API however stayed relatively uniform so migration shouldn’t be difficult, with a supporting migration guide available here.  The new version includes new sprite batching support that should have a pretty profound effect on drawing several different sprites.  The Graphics object also received a few new tricks such as now being cloneable, supporting holes, texture fills and more.

Perhaps the biggest new feature is the new mid level API that has been added, that Pixi itself builds on top of.  Describe in the announcement blog like such:

Ok so I saved the best till last as I think this isn’t far the coolest part of v5. The midlevel API. We created an API that basically abstracts as much of WebGL as possible but still keeping all the power, giving you guys the power to create awesome WebGL that is automatically optimised for you!

In fact all of v5 is built on top of this API. Expect a more detailed post and examples for this one soon.

Additionally, the community created an excellent new tool in the form of the browser based Pixi Playground, a complete editor and runtime environment for playing with Pixi applications.

GameDev News


22. April 2019


GDevelop, the open source 2d game engine I dubbed “the Ultimate Beginner Engine” just had another release, bringing it to version 5.0 beta 66.  This release brings several new features including new tweening capabilities, the ability to save your project to multiple projects to be more version control friendly and a new experimental video object.

Full details of the release from the release notes:

New features

  • New behavior: Tween, to animate objects position/angle/properties (thanks @Wend1go!)
    • See "Pairs" starter game for an example of using tweens to animate objects.
    • Tweens are run using Shifty.js tween engine (thanks @jeremyckahn).
  • Add support for saving a project as multiple files, ideal for team work and using version control systems (like git, mercurial, svn, etc...)
    • In the game properties, choose "Multiples files" and save the project.
    • Layouts, external events, external layouts and functions will be saved into different json files.
    • Make sure to make a backup of your game!.
    • Be sure not to erase any of the multiple files, or GDevelop will be unable to open again your project.
  • New option: Extract Events to a Function, to automatically create a function from selected event(s).
    • Select an event, right click and choose Extract Events to a Function in the menu. Parameters will be automatically filled with objects, behaviors and groups.
    • Read more about it on the wiki.
  • Experimental new object: Video (thanks @Bouh!)

Improvements

  • Add variable and object thumbnail icons in the event sheet (thanks @blurymind!)
  • Add tooltips in the scene editor, when hovering an instance (thanks @blurymind!)
  • Autosave is now made for the project when a preview is launched (thanks @blurymind!)
    • If the editor crash, or the autosave is more recent than the file, GDevelop will ask if you want to open the autosave.
    • Autosave is created next to the original file, with a ".autosave" extension.
  • Update rendering engine to Pixi.js v4.8.6
  • Add checkboxes to filters by conditions/actions in the Events Search (thanks @Bouh!)
  • Show object name in menu when pasting and show hint if pasting as global (thanks @blurymind!)
  • Add setting to set the maximum framerate (FPS) of the game. Default is ~60fps.
  • Show resource name when hovering thumbnail (thanks @blurymind!)
  • Improve events function performance
  • Add support for groups inside events functions.
  • Updated translations.

Bug fixes

  • Disable some menu items (disable event/adding subevent) if not applicable (thanks @blurymind!)
  • Fix crash when choosing a folder for a new game
  • Fix color picker in the scene properties (thanks @KinkGD!)
  • Update link to Discord channel (thanks @Bouh!)
  • Avoid crashes due to clipboard handling
  • Fix crash when using the resource editor in the web-app

You can learn more and download GDevelop here.  It is an open source MIT licensed (core library, IDE is GPLv3) project hosted here on GitHub.

GameDev News


3. April 2019

 

Humble are currently running two new bundles of interest to game developers.  The first is the Humble 8-Bit Pixel Game Dev Bundle and the second is Humble Book Bundle: Classic Video Games by Boss Fight Books.  They are also still currently running the Humble Microsoft.NET bundle if you are a C# developer in need of books… Humble sure do a lot of developer targeted bundles these days.

The first bundle, the 8-Bit Pixel bundle is a collection of game development ready graphics from the Game Dev Marketplace, containing 8/16bit style graphics and sounds.  You can read the Humble License here and the Game Dev Marketplace license here.  I will detail the contents of this bundle by tier below.

The second bundle is described as:

Boss Fight Books publishes nonfiction documentary-style books about classic video games like EarthBound, Metal Gear Solid, and Shadow of the Colossus! Collected here for the first time in one bundle, each ebook takes a critical, historical, and personal look at a single game.

All of the books are available in PDF, MOBI and EPUB formats. 

 

Details of the 8-bit bundle by tier:

1$ Tier

Fantasy Enemy Creatures

Pixelart Game Backgrounds

Super Pixel Objects and Items

Food and Kitchenware Pixel Art Icons

Textures

Golden Coin, Rotate Sequence

World Map Pixel Art Tileset

Game Collectable Pack Pixelart

Will’s Magic Pixel Particle Effects

Deep Forest 16 Colour Tileset

Pixel House Set

8Bit Retro Game SFX

14$ Tier

Arcade Item Pack

Cyber Punk Shooter

Pixel Art Spaceships for SHMUP

Pixel Side-Scroller Spaceships

Pixel Art Bedroom Kit

Pixel Art Tileset Collection

Adenture Package

Pixel Font Pack

Fantasy Platformer Pixelart Props

Zombie Survival

Valiant Knight Pixel Art Character

25$ Tier

Pure 8Bit Magic

Pixel Art Farm Kit

8Bit SFX Pack

Zombie Package

Pixel Game Kit

Pixel Art Game Kit (separate from above)

Customizable Pixel Art Character Kit

Fantasy Medieval

Tiny RPG Dungeon

8Bit Tunes 8pack

Pixel Art Sci-Fi Space Station

Pixel Art Forest Kit

Fantasy Forest Pixel Art Tileset

Music Loops for 8Bit Games

Space Package

Simple Pirate Character

Zombie Characters

Simple Medieval Characters

 

When purchasing a humble bundle, you are able to decide how your money is allocated, between humble, publisher, charity and if you choose (and thanks if you do!) to support GFS.  Watch the video below for more details of the bundles.

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