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How to Make a Game App for Free Online (And Tools to Get Started)

Ever wonder why mobile game apps are so popular? There is a reason for that of course. The mobile gaming industry is considered as the most lucrative and biggest business opportunity for potential revenue. More and more businesses leveraging from mobile gaming apps since the global gaming market is expected to generate $152.1 billion in 2019.

The ever-growing figures encouraging businesses to produce highly engaging mobile gaming apps for brand promotion. Since profitability is the key consideration for developing mobile gaming app.

Therefore, it is imperative to make a mobile game with highly captivating and addictive features and striking user experiences is definitely added in this list of most wanted features.

In this article, you will explore how to successfully make a mobile gaming app.

Let’s start with these success stories for your inspiration.

World’s Most Successful Mobile Gaming Apps

1. Candy Crush

candy crush - how to make a mobile game app for free
Source: Polygon

The Candy Crush launched in June 2016, and till today the game is still people’s favorite, showing no signs of stopping yet. The secret behind the success of Candy Crush is the simple concept that keeps the players coming back for more.

Initially, the game allows users to simply match the three same color sweets. Users found satisfaction after completing each level. Later on, as users pass different levels then they start unlocking different features that’s the addictive power of the game. Users also required to send Candy Crush requests to the friends for unlocking lives. All in all, the colors, design, sound effects, and features are quite engaging and become the reason for the app’s success.

2.    Clash of Clans

Clash of clans - how to make a mobile game app for free
Source: Reddit

The app Clash of Clans powered by Supercell turned as the mega-seller-app of 2012.  The success secret of the app is its multiplayer-function, good gameplay, concept, graphics, and usability. Moreover, both Clash Royale and Clash of Clans generated a profit of $635 million on revenue of $1.6 billion in 2018.

These were few examples of the world’s most successful mobile gaming apps which earned great revenues. Now you must be thinking about creating your gaming app right? If yes then here is a complete rundown describing the ways to make a free game app successfully.

How to Make a Game App For Free

Before taking you on the mobile gaming app development journey, let us explain to you something important. Mostly, many of us create mobile game apps to generate some income, and for that, you need a straight monetization strategy.

Create Monetization Strategy for Your Mobile Game App

If you are creating your mobile gaming app for the profit purpose, then you first need to create your monetization strategy. The monetization strategy will help you to figure out how you can achieve maximum benefit from the app.

Also, when you develop a mobile game, you invest some cost, to recover it, you must have a monetization strategy. To design the upright monetization strategy, select from the following most common ways.

  • In-app purchases – In-app purchase is a good way to earn profit from players. The in-app purchase is an approach that allows players to buy virtual products for the particular game through which developers can generate money.
  • Include the Ad Content – Another great way to generate income from gaming apps is an advertisement. You can combine ads with in-app purchases. Together, both strategies will incredibly work but, make sure to include the most relevant ads otherwise you’ll not get the desired results.
  • Premium Versions – Premium versions enable the players to take a demo of your product then pay if they want to further play.

Tools to Get Started With

To develop your next mobile game, take a look at this quick guide that will show you some essential tools to create your gaming app.

1. A computer

First and foremost you will need a system to install the gaming engine on it. You can have a PC or Mac for that. Keep in mind that there are certain gaming engines that only work on a PC or a Mac, they don’t support both systems.

2.  A smartphone

The next thing you will need is definitely one or two smartphones to test the game on your required platform. If you want to run your app on both Android and iPhone then it’s worth ensuring that it runs well on both the platforms.

3.  A developer account

A developer account is required if you want to submit your gaming app.

Submission at the Play Store requires $25 for life and $99 per year for the App Store. It’s not similar to App makers, you have to be responsible for the updates to make sure that the game runs on all devices. This could require various new updates yearly.

4. Tools to design Game

No matter you are willing to develop a 2D or 3D game, you must need robust game assets to make it stand out in the market. The gaming assets might include gaming characters, music, background, and menus.

5. Web hosting

Depends on the nature of the game app, if your game requires you to store data online such as user profiles, activity history, etc, a reliable web hosting is necessary. The hosting can comes in a lot of forms, from database storage to server performance, what you need is highly depends on the function you develop.

Otherwise, if a standard standalone offline game app like Tetris then it doesn't need any.

6. Game Engine

The game engine is the most important tool for developing your mobile game app. There are various game engines available in the market depending on your game app requirements; you can select from the most basic to extremely sophisticated gaming engine.

You can categorize your game engine based on the following features:

Game Template

The game template is the way to get started. It doesn’t enable you to make several changes except for characters, music, and background. To select the game templates you can check many online solutions like AppyPie or ChupaMobile.

In addition, there are few WordPress game templates that will be helpful for the beginners, some good examples are mentioned below:

Arcane mobile game app template
Arcane mobile game app template

Arcane the robust WordPress game template entails fantastic features and options to create massive gaming communities. It’s a good template for those who want to create tournaments and team wars. The main features of the Arcane template are:

  • Easy team wars and tournaments creation
  • Custom user profiles
  • Custom team pages
  • Front-end forms
  • Fully responsive design
  • Visual composer PB
  • Footer options
  • Unlimited colors
  • SEO options
  • Cross-browser compatible
  • Animated images and icons
  • One click install
eSport mobile game template
eSport mobile game app template

eSport is another gaming website template that is suitable for beginners. It comes with an impeccable ready-to-use material that enables you to do things in your way while updating its look the way you want. eSport offers robust features including:  unlimited games, fixtures, players and sliders, sponsors section, the list of features could be never-ending.

Drag and Drop

For the beginners, drag and drop is a well-suited approach. It provides you with a list of actions and you only need to apply it to your game objects. Suppose, if you are developing a 2D square then the drag and drop approach will direct you with some directions. It will show you that if you’ll press any specific key, your square will start making jumps.

Visual Scripting

Visual scripting is an easy process that provides the facility to code without coding. It’s an advanced solution that allows you to create nodes which represent actions for your game objects. It shows a diagram that represents every activity taking place in your game window.


Now the most important feature of the game engine is coding. If you just want to develop an app for the earning purpose then you can select a game engine that offers simple scripting language that is easy to understand for the beginners. However, if you want to see yourself as a professional developer then you must start learning how to code for a game app.

Examples of Game Engines

Like mentioned earlier, the game engine is the most important thing when making your game app. If you don’t have any idea about which game engine is best for you then take a quick look at a few recommendations.

1. GameSalad

game salad - Example of game engine
Source VB

It’s a good go for the beginners. GameSalad features drag and drop menu with an intuitive interface. The best part is that it comprises a mobile viewer that allows you to test your game on different devices.

2. BuildBox

BuildBox - Example of game engine
Source: BuildBox

BuildBox is a new game engine and listed 100 games using their platform and few of the games got top downloads in the App Store including The Line Zen and Color Switch. BuildBox comprises several features including drag and drop, game templates, great UI, 2D graphics (sprites) editor and animator.

3. GameBuilder Studio

GameBuilder Studio utilizes visual scripting therefore, to get started with it you need to check out any video tutorials just to get the basics. GameBuilder Studio entails the following features visual editor, game physics, plugin marketplace, good tutorials, 2D animations.

4. CryEngine

Cry Engine - example of game engine
Source: Cry Engine

CryEngine is an all-in-one game engine that provides users with full engine source code along with complete features without royalties, no obligations, and no license fees in return. The CryEngine features include Sandbox and tools, Visuals, characters and animations, platforms, and Audio/physics.

5. Godot Engine

Godot Engine - example of game engine
Source: GitHub

Godot Engine is an advanced, powerful game engine. It’s a multi-platform, 2D and 3D open source game engine. Godot Engine provides a set of some detailed tools including nodes for a variety of custom behaviors, flexible scene system, visual editor, live editing and other custom tools. It’s a good go for creating highly professional mobile game apps.

Be Ready to Create Your Next Game App

Mobile games are interesting enough not only for the players but, also for the developers. If you are not too much into the development process then there are platforms available which don’t require coding and you can create a wondrous product with the help of some ready-made templates.

In case, if game development is your passion then you can learn to code with millions of online resources available. Take out some time to create the next biggest mobile game app and enjoy your creation.

It could stand a chance to turn your mobile game app into a profitable business

Co-authored with Rameez Ramzan

Rameez Ramzan is an Assistant Manager – Digital Marketing at Cubix, a Washington based renowned software and product development company. He specializes in paid marketing, SEO and SMM and site audits to help sites perform better. Connect with Rameez on LinkedIn.

Photo of author

Article by Jason Chow

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