The trends in the gaming market are on the rise as the number of game developers increases. The demand for newer games with character upgrades, booster features, and never-seen-like graphics drives game developers to introduce new concepts, each better than before. Gaming is definitely here to stay!
As per reports, the worldwide gaming market revenue in 2021 was $178.2 billion. That figure is expected to rise to $196 billion by 2022. While the industry has been steadily rising since 1997, revenue growth has been much stronger in the last seven years, owing to technological advancements.
Developing games is surely no joke. Compared to 2D games, 3D games necessitate hours of modeling and animation, as well as intricate three-dimensional coding. They are usually more expensive to create and demand more resources.
2D games are simple to create and are less time-consuming. The coding is significantly simpler and the assets are 2D, making them much easier to make. Flat games like platformers, top downs, and isometrics are just better for small or solitary teams, which is why most indie games are 2D. To summarize, 2D games are easier to work with than 3D games.
Following are some of the best 2D game engines, both free and otherwise, that you can use to create 2D games.
List of Best 2D Game Engines in 2022
Godot Engine is hailed as the next great thing by many. It is free and open-source supporting 2D and 3D games. The community funds the project through Patreon. Its user interface is similar to Unity's. Furthermore, its programming uses a GDScript, a Python-like language. If you like, you may use C++ or C#. Furthermore, the development environment is compatible with several operating systems like Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows.
You do not even have to create an account to utilize it. Simply download a zip file, unzip it, and run it. There is no need to install anything. It comes with comprehensive documentation and a thriving community. If you already know how to code, this is a good choice.
On the other hand, several users have criticized its features, claiming that they make it impossible to reach the same level of customization as competing engines. It also has a learning curve, as the engine operates uniquely, especially if you have already worked with another engine.
You have most likely heard of this one. It is now the most popular gaming engine. Unity is mostly used to create 3D games, although it can also be used to create 2D games. It includes a large community with plenty of helpful tutorials and the Unity Asset Store with many useful tools and assets for game production.
Almost 50% of mobile games are created using Unity. It is important because it implies it has a lot more information and tutorials than the competition. Unity is not developed specifically to make 2D games. 2D game projects may sometimes be bloated with unneeded tools or elements of the engine dedicated to 3D and require dependencies or tools not included with the editor.
GameMaker Studio 2 is the successor of GameMaker, and it boasts several outstanding features. The engine can create a whole game without any additional software. It comes with a pretty powerful sprite creation engine, an animation system, a level editor, and more.
With an extremely fast setup time and an easy-to-learn programming language, GMS 2 excels at getting started and developing games rapidly. You can make games with a drag-and-drop (DnD) interface or GameMaker Language (GML). Although this language is not widely used, it is related to Java and C#. The documentation is thorough and informative along with several excellent YouTube teaching channels.
Solar2D, previously known as Corona, is a free and open-source game engine geared toward creating mobile games. However, individuals can also use it to develop games for a variety of platforms. You will have to use Lua to code. It is a simple language commonly used in modest 2D gaming engines. Corona is particularly vital since it allows you to make modifications to the game in real-time, so the action you take is immediately visible.
The RPG Maker suite is quite popular among new game developers. The editor is comprehensive and functional. It has options for mapping, inventory, item creation, and character creation.
libGDX is a Java game development framework that provides a wealth of useful features for creating games. It necessitates some coding skills, although not necessarily in Java. libGDX may be used with other languages like Scala or Clojure. It is very portable and can run on a variety of platforms since it uses a JAVA platform, which proves to be a huge benefit.
However, the disadvantages are as obvious as the benefits. If you are new to programming or game development, you should look for a more beginner-friendly engine than this barebones framework. Even setting up the environment for libGDX may be difficult for some users.
Ren'py is a unique engine. It is unique because it is built on a popular theme. It features a built-in scripting language that is simple to learn, with Python support if greater sophistication is desired. It's free and open-source, and it exports to Windows, Linux, OSX, Android, and iOS, with HTML 5 support in the works.
It has been around for about 15 years, with thousands of games under its hood. However, only some of them have found professional releases.
Although the number of Construct 2 users is still significant, the engine is regularly updated, and the community is fairly active. All in all, it is a good engine for developing simple games and sufficient to make commercially viable games. The engine supports publishing on most systems, except Switch and PlayStation.
Cocos2d is an open-source framework that individuals can use in a variety of languages depending on the version. It is a bundled product that includes the Cocos2d engine, an editor, and other tools. While some of them are independent editors contributing to the areas of particle editing and font editing, others are world editors like Spritebuilder and CocoStudio.
You may also utilize the engine directly. However, using the engine directly is less user-friendly for beginners. You can combine the basic animation primitives to form complex animations. Furthermore, selective versions of Cocos2d allow you to animate particle editing and image filtering.
GDevelop is a free, cross-platform, and open-source alternative to Construct and other game engines that do not require any code. It is ideal for beginners, given its ease of use and distribution under an open-source license. You can even try out the engine in your browser and learn how it works by starting with one of the various templates available.
You design levels by placing objects in a scene and adding events to the game logic. This engine will most likely only allow you to create rudimentary games, which is unavoidable when utilizing a visual editor.
The gaming industry is all set to grow in leaps and bounds. The number of individuals joining the gamers community is rising as every house gets a smartphone or a computer and an internet connection. Some of these game engines require little or no formal training, whereas some are trickier than others.
You may start developing your 2d games with the most basic engines, gradually moving to the more complex ones. Since most of these engines have adequate documentation and an active forum to solve queries, using them should not be a lot of trouble! Finding the right game engine may feel like a trial and error process. However, once you find it, there is no looking back. A career in game development is rewarding with multiple opportunities. Take the first step to move ahead!