• jan@cosmigo.com

Game Engines for Pixel Art


#1

I would like to start a thread on game engines that support Pixel Art graphics, hoping that it will grow in time by users’ contributing links and to the discussion — where «game engine» can be interpreted in a non strict manner, including well known middleware and graphics/game libraries, as well as game-oriented programming languages and IDEs.

Pixel-Art is definitely a determining factor in the choice of a game engine, beacuse some 2D engines can’t handle pixel art well — it needs to support pixel perfect graphics, without apllying filters that might distort the pixels, and it should handle well pixel ratios at different screen resolutions, and possibly do a good job in scaling up images.

Some engines might offer Pixel Art support out of the box, while others might need some configuration tweaks or dedicated scripts. I’d like users to share in this thread their experience with various engines, highlighting the pros and cons of each, and maybe some guidelines and/or links on how to setup the engine for Pixel Art projects.

It might be worth also listing 2D Engines that don’t support Pixe Art, and explain why — this could spare us embarking in dead-end attempts to use a given engine. The last time I looked into it, I had found it a time-consuming task to work out which engines are good to work with Pixel Art (isometric or otherwise) and which aren’t up to the task.

Here is a table for quick reference of various reknown game engines, further down a more detailed review of some of them.

egnine pixel-art develop games in has IDE license
AGS yes via GUI and scripts yes Artistic License 2.0
Anura yes FML/FFL yes zlib
Construct yes JS / via GUI menus yes commercial
Ethanon ??? AngelScript yes MIT
Game Maker yes via GUI / GML yes commercial
GDevelop ??? via GUI yes MIT
Godot yes GDScript / C# / C++ yes MIT
LÖVE yes Lua no zlib
PGE 100% via GUI menus yes GPLv3
Phaser yes JavaScript / TypeScript online MIT
Torque2D ??? TorqueScript no MIT
Gate 100% Rust no Apache 2.0

Engines That Support Pixel Art

The following game engines are known to support creation of 2D games with Pixel Art, either out of the box or by tweaking settings.

AGS (Adventure Game Studio)

AGS is a cross platform open source game engine and IDE for developing click-and-point graphic adventures, supporting Pixel Art. Initially developed in 1997, AGS is actively maintained and updated.

Anura

Anura is the game engine used for creating the videogame Frogatto & Friends and it’s’ Pixel Art oriented right out of the box. It’s cross platform, open source and free for commercial and non-commercial use.

Construct

Construct, Construct 2 and 3 support pixel art videogames creation via settings.

Ethanon

A cross-platform and open source 2D game engine programmable in AngelScript that comes with a full IDE. Compiled games can run Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. Although development seems to have stopped in 2017, the engine is stable and usable in production.

Ethanon is designed with 2D graphics and lights effects in mind: it supports pixel shaders, static and dynamic lights, shadows, normal mapping, height and specular maps, and particles — and it works well with pixel art, especially if you are looking for special light and fire effects.

Game Maker

Game Maker is a family of commercial game engines by YoYo Games.

Game Maker supports Pixel Art.

Godot

Godot is a free open source and cross platform game engine supporting both 2D and 3D graphics. It natively supports Pixel Art via custom settings, as well as isometric games. Godot ships with a full IDE.

Third party extensions are freely available to further help in developing isometric games — see the godot-isometric-framework.

LÖVE

LÖVE is a free open source and cross platform 2D game engine. Pixel Art support is achived by disabling anti-aliasing and setting scaling filters to “nearest neighbour”. Various Pixel Art video games have been creted with LÖVE engine.

LÖVE doesn’t have an IDE, and games must be programmed in Lua language. Many third party libraries, frameworks and resource are freely available.

PGE

PGE (Platform Game Engine) if a free and open source engine and IDE for creating Super Mario Bros. style platform games without programming, via the PGE Editor’s menus. The PGE engine is 100% pixel art oriented.


#2

Though can’t hardly be considered a game engine, I think Monongame is great for pixel art graphics.


#3

Would that be the framework of the link below?

http://www.monogame.net/

I’ve heard of it but hadn’t had a chance to look at it. Why do you say it isn’t a game engine? From a quick look of the homepage and GitHub repo it seems an engine allright.


#4

Construct/Construct2/Construct 3 is good for pixel art games with the point sampling setting.


#5

I’m updating the list in the original post as I get feedback.

For some engines (like Construct) I’m putting a very short description because I haven’t used them in a very long time and don’t remember much about how they work. Others, I simply don’t know them.

So I’m trying to go by what I remember here.

If anyone has a more recent (and deeper) experience with some engines, I’d like to ear also some feedback on how Comsigo tilemap projects integrate with the engine — ie, regarding autoupdating the game tiles when they are changed via PM.


#6

Adventure Game Studio supports pixel graphics – and palette cycling too, if I remember correctly.


#7

Gate is a pixel art game engine written in Rust that I discovered on the rust_gamedev subreddit recently-- it’s in infancy, and it seems very domain-specific, but it also supports WebAssembly compilation so you can pretty readily run the game in a browser which supports WASM.


#8

Thanks for the links @jahnocli and @EvanMWalter!

I’ve tried adding them to the original post above, but for some reason I can’t edit further the original post this time (only reply to it). It looks like something changed in the forums settings, or maybe after a given length of time posts can’t be edited any more.

So, I’ve updated and published the original post with the engines list on my Pixel-Art Supplies project:

Unless I find a way to edit and update the original post in this thread, all future updates will be published on that list.


#9

how is gamemaker studio not in this list, it has been used for top pixel art games and has a complete pixel editor in built to create sprites (its not as advanced as promotion)


#10

As soon as the next release is done which contains tons of improvements for the tile mapping system I plan to create some tutorial videos on how to create tile sets/maps and also how to use them in common game engines.
The first engine I’ll use is Construct, but I’d also like to show others. Please vote which one you’d like to see:

  • Anura
  • Construct
  • Ethanon
  • Game Studio
  • GDevelop
  • Godot
  • LÖVE
  • PGE
  • Phaser
  • Torque2D
  • Unity

0 voters

Please understand that I will prefer those that have a lower learning curve for when using tile mapping.

(I stupidly added Construct to the poll which I will do anyway. But can’t remove it anymore :blush: )


#11

how is gamemaker studio not in this list, it has been used for top pixel art games and has a complete pixel editor in built to create sprites (its not as advanced as promotion)

because (1) at a certain point I wasn’t able to edit the original post anymore, as mentioned above. But now it seems that it’s editable again (probably the forum engine poses a limit on consecutive edits of the same post).

And (2) because the idea of this thread was that everyone could contribute by proposing more engines, like you did.

I’m aware of GameMaker Studio (and own a license for it too), it’s just that I didn’t get to add it to the list yet, but now that see that I can edit the original post again I will update it.

Adding an engine to the list takes a bit more markdown editing work, as I have to add various links for each engine (homepage, repository, license, etc.) and a quick review too. From time to time I edit the list and add the engines that were mentioned in the thread; but users posts in the thread are intended to contribute to what the list lacks.


#12

Actually I was wrong, the original post can’t be edited any more, so I won’t be able to add any engines to it. (fixed)

Jan, why is this? What is the forum engine policy on editing old posts?


#13

Please try again. There was a setting that allows an edit within a limited time of days (given in minutes actually :thinking:). I removed this setting.


#14

Thanks Jan, now I managed to edit it again!

Before the “edit” button was not cliccable. I understand that forum engines tend to use such settings to protect the forum’s integrity — especially with the main post of a thread, which if deleted could make the whole thread collapse.


#15

Can I make a suggestion for App Game Kit (AGK)


#16

Voted but assumed “Game Studio” is “GameMaker Studio”.


#17

Can I make a suggestion for App Game Kit (AGK)

Any links?


#18

Oops :slight_smile:

Main page
https://www.appgamekit.com/

Forums
https://forum.thegamecreators.com/