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Best Game Engines For Indie Developers

April 10, 2024

Game Development has never been more accessible for Indie Developers, especially with the amount of free game engines available. This is our guide of the best game engines that Indie Developers can use to create their games on PC, Mobile and Consoles.

If you're new to game development, you might have heard of a Game Engine. It is essentially a piece of software that has been curated to help you make games. It provides tools, scripting and asset management for building games across a wide variety of platforms.

You don't have to use a game engine to make your game, but then you'll be spending a lot of time redeveloping a lot of features that come out of the box with an already established Game Engine. Game Engines have been perfected to handle any kind of game you can think of including 2D top-down RPGs to 3D AAA games.

Twenty years ago there wasn't a lot of choice for Indie Developers when it came to using Game Engines to help create their games. Today, the landscape is very different and has allowed Indie Game Developers to produce professional games with very few team members. You can take a look at our top Kickstarter RPGs projects just to see the type of games that small indie developers are creating today.

That being said, let's take a look at some of the most popular Game Engines that Indie Developer's are using today.



Possibly the most popular game engine amongst both Indie Developers and Professionals, Unity has established dominance in the game development market.

Unity is free to download and start practising with; when you're ready to start publishing your game and selling it to the world, you'll need to consider what kind of Unity License you need. The Free License allows you to earn up to $100,000 in yearly revenue without having to pay Unity anything!

Sea Of Stars

Some examples of games made in Unity include Escape From Tarkov, Genshin Impact, Fall Guys, Oddworld: Soulstorm and Sea Of Stars.

If you're looking to get into the game's industry with experience of a professional Game Engine, Unity is one of the most recommended engines. Not to mention there are thousands of online tutorials, in-depth books and courses aimed at training you to use the Engine.

Unity did have it's own controversial moment when they announced plans to start charging per install, but these plans were scapped pretty quickly after uproar on social media.



Godot Engine is an open-source completely free game engine designed for both 2D and 3D games. If you've never used a game engine before and are looking at producing your own games for free, Godot is our top choice.

Whilst Godot does lack several features that the major game engines like Unity and Unreal provide, it is slowly catching up with new upgrades being made all the time.

The game engine has a foundation that pays it's developers to create new features and there are some spectacular examples of games being made for this engine.

Did we mention it's also free? Even if you sell a million copies of your game, you pay no fee at all.

Godot supports it's own scripting language called GDscript, which is based off Python. It also supports industry standards like C# and C++.

Cassette Beasts

Some examples of games being made in Godot include: Coromon, Cassette Beasts, Rogue State Revolution and City Game Studio.

Unreal Engine

Unreal Game Engine

The makers of Fortnite, Epic, have developed their own game engine called Unreal Engine. This is an engine aimed at professionals within the game industry, allowing game developers to create the best looking AAA games on the market.

Unreal Engine is free to download and use; you only start paying a 5% royalty once your game has exceeded $1,000,000 in revenue! For Indie Developers who have a small budget, this allows you to get your hands on one of the most powerful tools in the industry without having to pay up until your game is a success.

Unreal Engine isn't just used for game development, however, it is also been used in animating feature-films, developing applications and simulations.

Some examples of games being made with Unreal Engine include: Fortnite, Kingdom Hearts III, Coral Island and Final Fantasy 7 Remake.

RPG Maker

RPG Maker

RPG Maker is designed to make games of a specific type: RPGs. It mostly supports 2D top-down RPGs like classic JRPG games and has been around for decades, being one of the first game engines available for indie developers to make games on.

Today, it is regarded as not as powerful or dynamic as other game engines, but for a beginner it gives a great introduction into game development. It can handle battle systems, tilemaps, npcs and scene rendering.

Some examples of games made with RPG Maker include: Omori, OneShot, Detective Girl of the Steam City and Dragon Spirits.

You can also view on their forum community new games are being released all the time.

Game Maker Studio

Game Maker

Game Maker is another game engine that solely focuses on 2D games and has been around since 1999! It is aimed at new and upcoming game developers who have never used a game engine before.

It comes with several licenses, including ones that allow you to export to PC for a one-time fee or a yearly fee to export to console.

It offers it's own scripting language called GML to allow for more custom games.

Some examples of games made with Game Maker Studio include: Undertale, The Swords of Ditto: Mormo's Curse and Katana ZERO.

Game Engine FAQ

What is the best engine for create indie games?

It is entirely subjective to the developer and your own personal preferences.

If you're looking to get into the professional game's industry in the future, you should try working with Unity and Unreal Engine.

If you're looking to develop your own game as a beginner with good development background, Godot is a great choice.

If you're new to programming and game development, RPG Maker and Game Maker are great choices.

How much does it cost to use game engines?

Each game engine has it's own License. Most Game Engines are free to download and create with, but require you to have a license in order to sell your game on marketplaces like Steam.

Godot is one of the few engines that is completely free and doesn't require any kind of payment.

What game engines do professionals use?

Most professionals use Unity or Unreal Engine.

Other game studios have their own custom engine.

Is it easy to switch between different game engines?

No. Each Game Engine will have it's own way of compiling your game, including storing assets, files, classes and other game logic. Whilst some game engines may have similarities, converting your game from one engine to another will be a long and painful task.

That's why it is very important to choose the right game engine before you dive into making a professional game as it can end up being quite costly.

What game engine should I use to develop for Nintendo Switch?

Many Game Engines offer the ability to export your game to the Nintendo Switch platform. Of course, you will still need a Nintendo Game Developer account to add your game to their platform.

Unity offers support for Nintendo Switch, as does Unreal Engine.

Got any other questions about game engines? Post them below and we'll update our FAQ!


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Aleph is the main writer and programmer of DigitalTQ. His aim is to provide quality gaming guides, articles and news from the video game industry. We've been playing games since the 90s and are always on the lookout for new gems to play.


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