Top Game Engines For Indie Developers

Over the past few years we’ve seen a surge in Indie game titles that not only have given excellent gaming experiences, but do so with game engines that in most cases are 100% free. As a budding game developer myself. I’ve waded through the waters of fanboyism and random opinions to find some game engines that may work for you or the team you may be apart of.

Id Tech

Every iteration of the id Software’s id Tech game engine has been responsible for some huge gaming titles, but none more notable than Call of Duty. However, id Tech has two different type’s of licensing, free and proprietary. To break it down in layman’s terms, if you plan on including the game engine with the game so people can mod it, then you’ll need a proprietary license.

Unfortunately I was not able to find many games that are using the latest version of id Software’s id Tech 4 game engine, nonetheless I did find some. Here they are:

Games Website

Quadrilateral Cowboy

Game Website


Perhaps the single most popular game engine amongst indie developers and hobbyists alike. Unity3D is an incredibly powerful game engine that’s designed to be modular. The engine is like a blank canvas, whatever you want to create you can. It just requires a bit of technical know how, and before long you’re up and running. I myself am currently using this game engine and while there are some things I wish were covered a bit more in the ‘Learn’ section of the Unity website, it hasn’t stopped me from writing what I consider complex code. Luckily, I don’t have to show you the monstrosity I’ve made with this engine, instead here’s a demo reel of other games made with Unity.

Unity Games Library

Unity3D 2013 Showreel

Unreal Development Kit (UDK)

The Unreal Development Kit (UDK) has been the standard choice for most people interested in game development, especially for some third-party studios. However, I believe these third-party studios have access to a slightly more robust version of the Unreal Development Kit, but don’t hold me to that. You can make games and mods in the Unreal Development Kit all you want, but should you choose to make some cash from your creations then you will have to give Epic a cut of it. License Info!

“According to the current EULA, game developers can sell their games by paying Epic the cost of $99 USD, and 25% royalty on UDK related revenue above US$50,000 from all UDK-based games or commercial applications.  ~ Wikipedia”

For current information regarding licensing for UDK or the Unreal Engine please click the following link.

Here’s a reel of developed games using the Unreal Development Kit:

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