Pin Me

Open Source, Free Video Game Creation Software for Linux

written by: Tolga BALCI•edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 5/22/2011

There is no reason why you cannot develop your own games under Linux. Be it 2D or 3D, given the software you are comfortable with, all you need is to unleash your inner artist. Inside are the best tools for creating games under Linux.

  • slide 1 of 6


    Linux is criticized for not having too many game titles(!) and the inability (!) to run Windows games (obviously these detractors aren't following our Linux articles on gaming on Bright Hub). Do these discussions mean that Linux lacks game development software? Definitely not: in the coming sections we will see many open source game creation applications and analyze them in detail.

  • slide 2 of 6


    Game-editor Game–editor is very simple but powerful 2D game creation software for newcomers and intermediate users. First, it is a cross-platform game creator: you can create your game and then compile it to run under Windows, OS X, Linux, Pocket PC, Windows-based smartphones etc.. The interface is very intuitive and it guides you easily to the events and actions you want to place in your game: just define what will happen when the user clicks on a key, mouse button, or their combination.

    Create your map, place your character on it, define how your character will move with paths, define how the environment or your character will respond to the events, set physical responses (collisions etc.), set your game configuration (screen resolution, sound quality, frame rate etc.) and compile it for the platform of your choice. You can also enhance your game with Game-editor's built-in scripting engine.

  • slide 3 of 6


    Novashell Novashell is another 2D, cross-platform game creation software tool. Novashell supports only Linux, Windows and Mac OS X, not handheld platforms. It takes game creation one step forward from Game-editor and lets you work with more advanced features, such as advanced hierarchical goal based artificial intelligence (AI), physics, the option to connect an unlimited number of maps, warps, doors and passages, changing map dimensions during play, parallax scrolling with unlimited layers, mod support, particle system, advanced audio system with music cross fading, positional sounds, and, effect filtering, just to count a few. Of course, Novashell also has scripting support.

    Novashell seems to be for intermediate to advanced users. This does not mean that the newcomers to the world of game creation cannot use it, but it is oriented towards the game creation enthusiasts. If you are a newcomer who can dedicate longer hours to learn the program and create your game world, then Novashell will be a very good fit for you.

  • slide 4 of 6


    Ogre Ogre is 3D game creation software, giving the developer the flexibility to render 3D scenes independent of the Direct 3D/Open GL implementation. However, this does not mean that these implementations are not supported. Ogre supports material declaration language (which you can use to maintain materials outside of your code), vertex and fragment programs, multitexture and multipass blending, texture coordinate generation and modification, color/alpha operations, pass effects/iterations, flexible mesh data formats, and many materials and meshes. In terms of skeletal movement, Ogre lets you combine multiple animations with multiple weights, manual bone control, variable/multiple bone weight skinning, flexible shape animation, scene nodes for camera paths, flexible scene management, hierarchical scene graph, shadow rendering with adaptive and modulative techniques, particle systems, sprite graphics and transparent objects, just to highlight some of Ogre's capabilities.

  • slide 5 of 6


    Blender If Windows has 3D Studio Max, Linux has Blender. Blender is excellent 3D modeling software, which every 3D artist working with Linux knows about. It has modeling, rigging, rendering, animation, shading, UV unwrapping, imaging and compositing, physics and particles feature, covering all the areas of working in 3 dimensions. From another perspective, it gives you the ultimate flexibility to design your games from simple graphics to textures, from collision detection to lighting modes.

    Blender is the most complicated game creation software in the Linux world. I strongly recommend you check out its features in detail and read the documentation before putting your hands on the program.

  • slide 6 of 6


    For a game designer, open source has lots to offer: beginning from simple 2D games to complex 3D games, there is something you will find to start unleashing your creativity. For the newcomers, I recommend going through the programs' own sites, checking the features in detail, and start playing with the programs. When you feel comfortable with the program, start building your own dream world. For the intermediate/advanced game designers, who want to go for a multiplayer networked game, I suggest taking a look at BYOND (Build Your Own Net Dream).