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Now you have the beginning of a necessary list of programs and software to help you build your own custom dream game, however the list is not fully complete. The other programs might not provide the tools or options that you wish to have because you simply have a different type of game in mind. That is perfectly fine.
Here are some more user-friendly programs that will help any average gamer design a custom video game from the ground up.
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The first program, on the second part of this list, is offered up by a game development company known as YoYo Games. The title is certainly not original, but very simple to remember; it is just named Game Maker.
The features offer up a program unlike any other; allowing users the basic functions of "drag and drop" to place icons and content on a screen to piece together a game. The program is designed more to create a traditional platform side scroll game of any genre, but the included programming language also allows the creation of first and third person shooters, MMORPG's, and even Construction and management simulation games.
The newest release is known as Game Maker version 7, and it incorporates the use of Direct3D and limited 3-D graphics. There are conversion programs available that also allow more 3-D file formats other than the native extensions, and particle effects such as rain, snow, hail, and fog. An extensive library is also included so that a user can organize and create a personal database of drag and drop functions they use most in their game making. The program itself is slightly more difficult to use and get used to than any of the other programs mentioned earlier, but there is a large quantity of online tutorials and help guides on the official site. Once again thanks to Game Maker 7 it is not difficult for any average person with no further game programming knowledge to create their own custom video game any way they see fit.
YoYo Games offers up two versions of the software on their official site; one is free (Lite) but has limited functionality and watermark logos on most of the content. The other version (Pro) retails for about $20 and gets rid of the restrictions that exist in the lite version and offers much more to users.
The Game Maker 7 official site can be found here.
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The Game Creators Again: 3D Gamemaker
The Game Creators, the same brilliant company who I mentioned earlier that cooked up the FPS Creator series, actually have a few good programs which average users can take advantage of. The next in this list, and off The Game Creator's available programs list, is called The 3D Gamemaker. It offers up, well...exactly what it says in the title.
The interface is a little more complex than YoYo Game's Game Maker mentioned above. There are two mode options for users of the program: Beginner and Expert. Beginner is designed more for the novice users of the program to help introduce the features, and several tools offered up in expert mode do not show up in beginner mode. On top of the two skill modes there are also sub-categories for the themes. The individual themes that 3D Gamemaker offers up to choose from are as follows; shooter, horror, war, space, driving, jungle, and cartoon.
The overall presentation is a little more light-hearted than any of the design software mentioned earlier in the list, including the sample games that come along with it. In my personal opinion each of the themes has more of a cartoony/silly approach to them. Users are allowed to import custom content however so they are not limited; as is the same with most of the other programs, to the stock content which is provided.
3DGamemaker is only available for purchase through The Game Creator's official site and only sold contained on compact discs, there are no files to download and there is no free trial edition. 3DGamemaker retails for $34.99.
The 3DGamemaker official site can be found here.
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Adventure Game Studio
Adventure Game Studio is an interesting freeware (free) program that allows users to create both commercial and free distributions of graphic point and click adventure games. Point and click games are those like Grim Fandango, Myst, Riven, etc... The software was designed by a small indie developer named Chris Jones and was first released in 1997. The latest version or update was released on July 4, 2008.
The software won't necessarily allow you to make next-gen 3D games; but it does allow you to build realistic 3D environments and a rich expanse of adventure gaming functionality. The game interface and skin is fully customizable through the use of templates which means you'll never get bored of the same dull grey borders and menus like most other programs. The program also does all the hard work in compiling the game for you and operating load and save functions, pathfinding and scrolling rooms. There is a graphic editor included as well where you can set up, and design characters, sprites, and rooms. The program offers complete customization while also allowing average users the chance to build very professional looking adventure games.
To top it all off, Adventure Game Studio also has an extremely large cult following which has even organized many IRL (In Real Life) meetings and outings. They also offer, of course, forums and tutorials for the noobies.
The official Adventure Game Studio website can be found here.
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Even More Programs
This still does not conclude the list however, as there are quite a few other user-friendly game design programs out there. Keep on reading further for some more if you still would like to know some other great programs!