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20. July 2019


Machinations.io is a fairly rare breed, a tool dedicated to game design.  Currently in a free beta, Machinations is a browser based tool for designing and simulating mechanics for gameplay.

Descriptions for the Machinations.io website FAQ:

Machinations.io is a browser-based platform to design, balance and simulate game systems. It allows you to map any game system in an interactive diagram, set parameters that define elements and the relationship between them, and visualise the way in which these systems work. Based on that, you can simulate different outcomes, plot results and balance your game economy.


If you are familiar with diagramming software like Visio or have used a mind mapping application, you have a decent understanding of Machinations.  Machinations is however one of those tools that is easier to understand when seen in action, so I would recommend watching the video below.

GameDev News Design


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


6. May 2019


If you are looking for a tool to quickly create complex shaders by mixing and matching existing shaders, ShaderFrog might be the perfect tool for you!  Running entirely in your browser, ShaderFrog can be used to create WebGL shaders in two ways.  First you can create a shader by connecting together existing shaders, to create a new composite shader.  Shaders can even be imported from ShaderToy or the GLSL Sandbox.

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In addition to the composition based approach, there is also a full blown GLSL text editor with automatic compilation/error reporting, syntax highlighting and more.  Once you are happy with your created shader, you can save it, share it, or export it to iOS, Unity or Three.js.

Check out ShaderFrog in action in the video below.

Programming Design Art


11. April 2019


One of the most requested Godot tutorials I get is to cover how to export models from Blender to Godot and retain textures, animations and more.  Therefore I have created exactly that tutorial in both video and text formats, hosted on our sister site devga.me.  This tutorial is mostly in Blender, showing how to properly configure textures, an armature and create NLA strips so when exported “it just works” in Godot.  This example uses Blender 2.79 and Godot 3.1.

Don’t forget, if you want to learn Godot we have a complete Godot 3.x tutorial series available here, a step by step creating a full 2D game tutorial available here.  We also have Blender tutorials available in our tutorial section that should get you up to speed using the popular open source 3D application.

Art Design


6. March 2019


GAEA (not to be confused with GAIA for Unity), is a newly released terrain generation tool from QuadSpinner.  They describe GAEA as:

Gaea takes terrain design toe-to-toe with the rest of the CG landscape. Designed with artists and their vision in mind, Gaea brings together advanced toolsets in an easy-to-use package where you can get Hollywood quality results in minutes.

Using either a simple stack of nodes, or a more complex graph of nodes, you can easily compose primitive landscapes, apply millions of years of erosion and other modifiers, mix and match nodes to your hearts content, until you get the perfect terrain for your game.  The ultimate output from GAEA are height maps that can be used in almost any modern 3D game engine.  GAEA is available at a number of different price points, including a completely free but still usable for commercial projects tier.

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GAEA is available for download on Windows PCs here.  For more details of GAEA, a getting started tutorial or just to see GAIA in action, watch the video below.

Design GameDev News


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See More Tutorials on DevGa.me!

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