There are many different software programs that game designers use to make a game, but there are some standouts that are most common. Every game designer should have a development environment that includes code development and game asset production. This sounds like a lot, but software has become much easier to use over the years and there are many options available. The following are some of the software programs that are used by game designers:

1. Nuclino 

Nuclino is an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) that makes it easy to create games in Java and native languages like C#. The Nuclino API (application programming interface) allows a game designer to create games using just a browser, text file or the grid-editor version of their choice. The software also has an on-line tutorial and forum for more information on coding. The software is cross-platform, meaning you can use it on a Mac, PC or Linux. On ui game design can get very complex in the Nuclino environment so it is recommended that you have one of the programming kits to further your artistic skills.

2. Unity3D 

Unity3D is a popular software program used to create games. It is used by many different companies and has an indie alternative called MonoDevelop . Unity3D is a complete game engine with tools for 3D modeling, audio, networking and scripting. The scripting language is called UnityScript, which is a C-style based scripting language. Programming in Unity3D uses events that the programmer has to define, making it closer to an event based programming language. The game ui design and ui interactions are made in Unity3D using the GUI system.

3. Torque 2D 

Torque 2D is an open source framework that allows game designers to use a technical and data driven design system. It uses the Lua scripting language to create games and is especially good for first person shooters and real time strategy games. The best feature of this software is the ability to render as much detail as desired, even in a browser. This software can be run on Windows, Mac or Linux and supports wxWindows. The Torque2D library is often used along with the free Torque physics engine.

4. GameMaker: Studio 

GameMaker: Studio (formerly YoYo Games Game Maker) is an easy to use game creator that allows programmers and designers on a budget to make games. The foundation of the software is a drag and drop environment where designers can create their games without coding. The software will automatically generate all the code needed for 2D and 3D games in most languages from C to C++, Lua and JavaScript. For those that do want to code, GameMaker: Studio has the ability to write in any language. The software is cross-platform and is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

5. Stencyl 

Stencyl is a game creation tool that allows game designers to create games without any programming knowledge. It has a drag and drop interface that makes it very easy for ui design work. Stencyl supports game builds for iOS, Android, Flash and HTML5. For those that do have knowledge of programming, Stencyl has plugins for C# and the like. The software is cross-platform and is available for Windows and Mac. The ui design for games created with Stencyl is very similar to GameMaker: Studio, but Stencyl has a more serious look with better graphics. The software is available for Windows and Mac and the Stencyl website has good tutorial videos.

6. RPG Maker 

RPG Maker is a popular game maker that allows designers to make rpgs by using Adobe Photoshop as a base. The software is easy to use and a great option for those that want an advanced game designer with little coding experience. The free version of the software allows designers to create up to 5 characters and battle in 2D, but designers can upgrade to the full version that offers much more features. The ui game design system is simple and easy to use with very little limits. The software has cross-platform support and is available for Windows, Mac and Linux as well as ios and Android mobile games.

7. Godot 

Godot is a free and open source software designed for video game development. It supports 3D games and can be used to create 2D games as well. There are great tutorials on the website to help people learn how to use the software and it has a large community of users. The best part about Godot is that it is completely free with no hidden costs for anything, including commercial use. This means that you only pay if you want extra features or support, but the base freely available software will meet any game designer's needs. The software is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. 

8. Construct 3

Construct 3 is a powerful tool that allows game designers to create games without any programming. Construct 3 uses a visual editor that allows artists and professionals without coding experience easy access to game creation. The software is available for Windows, Mac and Linux with support for ios and Android mobile games as well. The 2D design system is easy to use making it perfect for beginners and experts alike. The software is free but has a premium version that offers faster export, more game templates and custom tools.

9. Unreal Engine 

Unreal Engine is another powerful game engine used by game designers. It is especially good for creating games that use a lot of real time effects and complex models. One of the biggest benefits to Unreal Engine is that it can be integrated with other tools like Unity and Game Maker if the designer wants them to work together. The ui design system in the Unreal engine has many complicated functions designed to allow art professionals and those without programming experience create games easily. The software is available for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android mobile phones.

10. Game Salad

Game Salad is a game creation tool that allows designers to create simple games and games with more advanced features. The simplicity of the program makes it great for beginners and experts alike. Game Salad is free with no costs to download or play and does not restrict the type of game that can be created. The software is available for Windows and Mac, but the ui design system is completely web based.


These ten game design software programs have been listed to give you an idea of the ones that are most popular and well known in the industry. While there are more out there with more features and better features, these ten programs should be able to get any game designer started on their journey.

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