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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


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


22. March 2019


At GDC 2018, Microsoft unveiled DXR, or Direct X 12 Raytracing, an SDK enabling real-time raytracing, followed closely by NVIDIA announcing hardware support.  This year at GDC 2019, those technologies have come of age, with major raytracing support coming from 3 major game engine manufacturers.  Additionally NVIDIA have announced some potentially game changing news as well.  Let’s break down the announcements and demonstrations one by one.


CryTek

CryTek started the raytracing announcements off with their amazing real time demo Neon Noir.  Even more impressive, it was done using an AMD card without real-time raytracing support!  Unfortunately, the demo was never released to the public.


Unity

Unity showed an impressive demo Reality vs Illusion which intercuts real world footage and real time raytraced BWM footage that is nearly impossible to discern the difference.  Unity’s technology is sadly several months from being available in a future HDRP release.


Unreal Engine

Unreal is the closest with their real time raytracing implementation, in fact it’s available now in Unreal Engine 4.22.  They also had a presentation in the form of the short movie Troll.


NVIDIA

NVIDIA also had a real time raytracing demonstration in the form of Project Sol, Part 3.  Their announcement may have been the most significant however, as they announced that DXR driver support will be shipping in April to older generation NVIDIA GPUs, such as the 1060/1070 and 1080 cards.

GameDev News


19. March 2019


Today at their GDC 2019 keynote, Google announced Stadia, their upcoming “gaming platform”, a server based streaming game service that runs on any Chrome enabled device.  Powered by custom GPUs designed by AMD using Vulkan on the Linux OS and spread across the same networking powering the Google search engine, Stadia promises to bring 4K at 60FPS gaming to the masses, with future support for 8K and 120FPS promised.

Being entirely server side, Stadia offers a number of innovative features.  Combined with their newly announced Stadia Controller, you can play games across any Chrome device and seamlessly transition your game between devices.  Since all the work, client and server are done on Google’s servers, they claim this will make cheating virtually impossible, while being able to scale existing game play up to thousands of users over night.  It also offered unique features like Streaming multiple sessions to the same endpoint, enabling flawless couch co-op, or the ability to use multiple server side GPUs for a single game instance enabling advanced special effects.

Stadia is built on top of familiar developer tools:

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Unreal Engine

Epic Games' official support for Stadia means you’ll have access to the latest technology and features of the world’s most powerful creation engine.



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Unity

Unity is the world’s most widely used real-time 3D development platform, enabling developers to create rich, interactive experiences.



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Custom tools

A suite of debugging and tuning tools help you get the most out of our platform, from fine-tuning streaming performance to diagnosing GPU crashes

Industry tools


Current dev tools include Havok®, RenderDoc, Visual Studio, LLVM, AMD RadeonTM2 GPU Profiler, IncrediBuild, UmbraTM 3, FaceFX and Intelligent Music Systems, plus we’re constantly expanding to deliver a familiar development experience

For developers interested in getting started with Stadia, you can sign up at Stadia.dev.  For gamers interested in learning more visit Stadia.com for more details.  If you missed the GDC keynote, you can watch our condensed developer focused version in the video below.  We have done a similar treatment for the Unity keynote as well, available here.

GameDev News


14. March 2019


The Esenthel engine, previously previewed in this video, have moved from a license based business model to a donation supported one.   Additionally the source code has been released and is available on GitHub.  The source code is not under a recognized FOSS license, instead releasing under a proprietary one with one particularly poisonous condition:

Esenthel Engine code/algorithms/designs may NOT be used for development/improvement of other Game Engines.
You may NOT browse Esenthel Engine source code if you work on improving other Game Engines, in that case
you may only compile it with the included tool and work with the compiled binary version of Esenthel Engine.

If you are working on or contribute to a game engine then you want to stay far away from this source code! Other than this clause, the license is fairly liberal and allows you to use Esenthel freely and without requiring a splash screen or watermark.

The key features of the Esenthel engine include:
  • Very Easy to Use
  • Advanced Graphics and Physics
  • High Performance
  • Low Memory Usage
  • Unlimited Sized Worlds
  • Collaborative Development
  • Auto Publishing
  • 100+ Tutorials and 90+ Documentation Pages Included
  • Esenthel Store to sell your own Items
  • Frequent Updates
  • Rock Solid - Zero Bug Tolerance
  • Free!

Essenthel can be downloaded for Windows, Mac and Linux here.

 

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