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Leadwerks is the easiest way to make games that look amazing. With a rapid development pipeline, Lua script integration, plenty of learning materials, and a royalty-free license, Leadwerks is the perfect platform for your next project or your first game. Get started today making your own 3D games for Steam.
Release Date: Jan 6, 2014
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Blender exporter for Leadwerks now available

July 19th, 2014

Leadwerks Software has released an official Blender exporter for the Leadwerks model format. This allows Blender artists to export their models to Leadwerks with automatic materials generation and full animation, without going through the FBX format. The Blender exporter comes as the fulfillment of a stretch goal reached during the Leadwerks for Linux Kickstarter campaign, which achieved over 200% its goal of $20,000.

The Leadwerks exporter for Blender can be downloaded on the Leadwerks forum. A free forum account is required.

About Leadwerks Software
Leadwerks Software was founded in 2006 to build powerful game development tools that are easy to use. The company launched Leadwerks 3, their first multi-platform product, in April 2013 at the GDC expo. Last summer, the company conducted a successful Kickstarter campaign to bring Leadwerks to the Linux operating system, reaching over 200% of their goal in just six weeks. A concurrent Greenlight campaign for Steam was also successful, making Leadwerks the first 3D game engine approved for distribution on Steam.

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Leadwerks Game Engine 3.2 Unveils Steam Workshop

June 19th, 2014

Leadwerks Software today announced the release Leadwerks Game Engine 3.2, the newest version of their game development software on Steam. This update brings integration with Workshop, Steam’s system for user-generated content. The Leadwerks Workshop gives developers a head start by launching with more than 50 free packages of content ready to be used to make games.

“Leadwerks was created to give people who love games the freedom to create something of their own”, said Leadwerks CEO Josh Klint. ”With version 3, we basically nailed the workflow. There’s always more features you can add, but we basically have the technology problem solved. Once you get to that point, the next thing that comes up is content. Developers need lots of content to choose from. The Leadwerks Workshop on Steam leverages our community so we can all collaborate more effectively.”

The Leadwerks Workshop has some features similar to existing stores like Turbosquid or the Unity Asset Store. You can browse and install various third-party model and texture packs. However, the Leadwerks Workshop takes collaboration a step further. Derivative works are supported, meaning items in the Workshop can be used to make new items that can be published. For example, it’s possible to take a gun from one author, mount it on a vehicle someone else made, and publish the assembly as a new item. “With traditional content stores, artists are always worried about people ripping off their work,” explains Josh. “This kind of flips the equation. Now you want people to reuse your work, because any derivative items they publish always link back to your original.”

Game content isn’t the only thing that can be distributed through the Leadwerks Workshop. Games themselves can be published to Steam via the Workshop, with no waiting period and no approval process. This allows developers to get their game in front of an audience and build a following, without going through the Greenlight process.

Leadwerks Game Engine 3.2 costs $99.99 on Steam, with a 25% discount during the 2014 Steam summer sale.

About Leadwerks Software
Leadwerks Software was founded in 2006 to build powerful game development tools that are easy to use. The company launched Leadwerks 3, their first multi-platform product, in April 2013 at the GDC expo. Last summer, the company conducted a successful Kickstarter campaign to bring Leadwerks to the Linux operating system, reaching over 200% of their goal in just six weeks. A concurrent Greenlight campaign for Steam was also successful, making Leadwerks the first 3D game engine approved for distribution on Steam.

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About the Software

Leadwerks is the easiest way to make games that look amazing. With a rapid development pipeline, Lua script integration, plenty of learning materials, and a royalty-free license, Leadwerks is the perfect platform for your next project or your first game. Get started today making your own 3D games for Steam.

Now with Steam Workshop support, you can choose from tons of free content to build games with, share your own 3D models, textures, and sounds, and even publish your game to Steam for other Leadwerks users to try with the built-in game player.

Key Features

Learn to Make Your Own Royalty-Free Games
We provide tons of documentation and video tutorials walking you through the steps to build your own 3D games. Leadwerks is the perfect pathway to go from total noob to pro game developer. And when you do publish your commercial game, there's no royalties to pay, ever.

Advanced Graphics
Leadwerks brings AAA graphics to the masses, with hardware tessellation, geometry shaders, and a deferred renderer with up to 32x MSAA. Our renderer redefines realtime with image quality more like a cg render than real-time games of the past. The use of OpenGL 4.0 provides equivalent graphics to DirectX 11, with cross-platform support across operating systems, for future expansion.

Built-in Level Design Tools
Build game levels from scratch right in our editor with constructive solid geometry. Our tools make it easy to sketch out your design and bring your ideas to life. Anyone can build their own game worlds in Leadwerks, without having to be an expert artist.

Integrated Lua Script Editor
We integrated Lua right into Leadwerks because of its proven track records in hundreds of commercial games including Crysis, World of Warcraft, and Garry's Mod. Lua integrates seamlessly with native code for rapid prototyping and instant control. The built-in debugger lets you pause your game, step through code, and inspect every variable in the program in real-time. Lua is perfect for beginners, and the integrated Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler ensures your games will keep running fast as they grow.

Visual Flowgraph for Advanced Game Mechanics
Our unique visual flowgraph enables designers to set up game mechanics, build interactions, and design advanced scripted sequences, without touching a line of code. The flowgraph system integrates seamlessly with Lua script, allowing script programmers to expose their own functions and add new possibilities for gameplay.

Royalty-Free License
Your games you make are yours. Yours to play, yours to sell, yours to give away, and do as you please. You will never be charged royalties for any game you make in Leadwerks.


  • OpenGL 4.0 deferred renderer with uniform lighting model supports any number of lights, all casting soft dynamic shadows.
  • Up to 32x hardware MSAA makes rendered images incredibly sharp and detailed.
  • Full support for vertex, fragment, geometry, and tessellation shaders.
  • Dynamic megatexture terrain provides fast rendering of terrains with many layers.
  • Hierarchical hardware occlusion queries provides fast visibility testing.
  • Hardware tessellation for dynamic real surface displacement on the GPU.
  • Normal mapping with specular and cubemap reflections.
  • Instanced rendering allows fast drawing of large volumes of objects.
  • Hardware skinning provides fast skinned animation.
  • Deferred transparency with multiple overlapping layers of shading.
  • Real-time mesh modification.
  • Trilinear and up to 16x anisotropic filtering.
  • Blend and transition animation sequences.
  • Extract animation sequences in the editor.


  • Automatic asset management reloads models and textures when they are modified from another application.
  • Drag and drop import of FBX, DDS, BMP, JPG, PNG, TGA, and PSD files.
  • Visual interface controls every aspect of the art pipeline.
  • Constructive solid geometry modeling tools.
  • Brush primitives include box, wedge, cylinder, sphere, arch, tube, and torus.
  • Automatic UV mapping.
  • Brush smooth groups.
  • GPU-accelerated terrain editor makes sculpting silky smooth and fast.
  • Built-in shader editor with instant visualization and error highlighting.
  • Native user interface is used on each supported platform.


  • Built-in Lua script editor with debugger, code stepping, and syntax highlighting.
  • Visual flowgraph lets you connect objects to control game interactions and set up scripted sequences.
  • Launch your game and debug the Lua virtual machine as it runs.
  • API design with an object-oriented command set lets you code any type of game.
  • Entity scripts provide a per-object hook interface.
  • Direct programming gives you control over your game's loop and program structure.
  • Script variables are displayed in a visual interface and reloaded in real-time.


  • Navmesh pathfinding provides automatic AI navigation that works everywhere.
  • Navigation paths are displayed in the editor in real-time as you build your game level.
  • Character controller movement seamlessly integrated with physics and pathfinding systems.
  • Set entities to automatically chase another object or navigate to a position.


  • Fast and accurate rigid body physics.
  • Constraints including hinge, ball, and sliding joints.
  • Joint actuators provide fast and stable motorized constraints for doors, robotic arms, and other motion.
  • Automatic physics shape calculation.
  • Generate physics shapes in the editor from models or brushes.
  • Swept collision.
  • Raycasting with lines or spheres.


  • Real-time particle editor with instant visualization.
  • Emission volumes include box, sphere, cylinder, tube, and cone.
  • Adjustable curve graph for alpha and scale.
  • Particle animation sheets with adjustable frame counts and layout.
  • Velocity-based rotation for directional particles like sparks.


  • 3D sound spatialization.
  • Emit a sound from any entity.
  • Automatic channel management frees up unneeded channels.
  • Skip to any time in sound.

Enhanced for Steam

  • Automatically adds rendered images to your Steam screenshots library.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows Vista, 7, 8, or 8.1
    • Processor: 2.0 ghz dual core
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 4.0 / DirectX 11 capable graphics card or integrated graphics chip
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
Helpful customer reviews
5 of 8 people (63%) found this review helpful
293 products in account
4 reviews
133.0 hrs on record
I have used many engines... from the toy-like FPSCreator to Torque3D, and I have to say that this engine is one of the easiest/most fun/non-limiting I've used.

It has built-in editors (everything but a modeler, which are free); a standed scripting language (Lua... a language you can take with you), a great community, and awesome tutorials.

I made my first prototype in 2 hours... with a custom floor plan, working doors, lights attached to switches, and things to shoot at. :)

Great for beginners and advanced users (if you're really advanced, I suggest going to the leadwerks site and getting the source code(C++), or just getting their $199 version which includes it).
Posted: February 3rd, 2014
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5 of 9 people (56%) found this review helpful
319 products in account
11 reviews
127.6 hrs on record
I am buying Leadwerks for my nephew as a spring break gift. I highly recommend Leadwerks. Try the free versions and read the Terms of Use for Epic Unreal engine , Unity and CryEngine. I think $100.00 will be a bargain. If your interested in learning what goes into creating a 3d game and you will be given enough to start learning. I think you can't go wrong with the Leadwerks engine and the helpful community. You won't be left alone in the dark. My experience with Leadwerks has been nothing but positive. I have built a working map level within 80 hours and I'm old and feeble minded. Buy it, support the revolution, make games not war!
Posted: February 5th, 2014
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3 of 6 people (50%) found this review helpful
82 products in account
1 review
135.7 hrs on record
This piece of software has been really great so far, though it may not quite be for complete beginners to game programming.

-Good level editor
-Automatic normal map generation
-Flowgraph editor (good for scripted events & ect)
-Relatively easy asset importing

-Can be glitchy at times
-Shadows are laggy
-Character controllers have a fixed size
-Can't export for mac or linux (I don't know, maybe you can with the $200 version)
-Some of the error messages aren't that helpful
-Model animation is weird to import, and isn't that obvious to do.

I'd definetly recommend this to a starting indie game developer, especially since it's not $1500 *cough*Unity*cough*
Posted: February 8th, 2014
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3 of 6 people (50%) found this review helpful
947 products in account
13 reviews
1.2 hrs on record
First off I write this review as a newbie "game designer" with zero knowledge really of how this sort of thing works.

This engine is by far the easiest I have picked up since the Serious SDK (Used in Serious Sam). Many engines are designed for the versed with little guidance. This one however is built it seems for whomever wishes to pick it up and give it a shot. True it is not an easy thing to do its not like it will turn you into a game developer in minutes. Which is after minutes I write this review. But in 15 minutes of looking I already found out how to make a terrain, paint it, put a character on the ground and also a pipe which I walked through and as simply as I did that I then went on to figure out collision meshes.

It seems there is also a lot of material on Youtube and an active community at the website.

Other pros include the commercial non-royalty licence you get with this which means once your game is finished you can package it and sell it with up to 100% of profits coming your way. Certainly worth considering as a foot in the door to the indie game market or as an educational tool to learn how to start with game design. And a relative snap at $99.99 although for C++ support you will need $200 (this addition is an upcoming DLC on Steam but purchasable on the website already). As a person with limited to no knowledge of programming LUA will do for now.
Posted: March 30th, 2014
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
59 products in account
1 review
92.7 hrs on record
Aside from the fantastic graphics capabilities, this is a very good engine for the price! It provides a lot of freedom and the workshop is a great feature that should be integrated into other engines the way it is in this engine. Haha, this might be a bit long but here are my pros and cons:

-Graphics: this is likely something that will improve much more in the future, but what's already in the engine is great to be honest, especially since you can achieve a lot of performance with the deferred renderer since it lessens the performance hit of geometry and lights
-Price: I know $100 may seem like a lot, but with what you get out of this engine, it's well worth it
-Polish: Despite missing some features, this engine is very easy and intuitive to work with (especially the drag-and-drop options) and CSG editing
-Workshop: This actually sort of sets this engine apart from the rest since so many quality assets are in the workshop with a great and helpful community
License: The license is great for both the Workshop and the engine itself
Coding: I was hesitant about using Lua, but for me it's a great language for this type of engine, and it's pretty easy to put objects with Lua scripts into a scene without breaking other code

-Missing features: Some "basic" functionality is missing such as water and vehicle physics. However, the most notable feature missing is a vegetation system, which is being worked on, but it's a bit surprising not even something simple for now has been implemented
-Advanced graphics: While the graphics are great, many visual effects are missing such as SSAO (or something similar), HDR, and DOF (yes I know these can be supported by shaders, but I would still prefer these to be integrated better into the engine)
-Hardware: This engine requires a lot in terms of hardware to create many useful projects (of course this is a downside of a deferred renderer in general)

Overall, I would definitely recommend this engine, especially since the development team behind it is very helpful and supportive of the community.
Posted: July 3rd, 2014
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119 of 131 people (91%) found this review helpful
675 products in account
20 reviews
50.7 hrs on record
Ok here is what I think of the engine

- It is really easy to use once you get the hang of it
- Is a good start for newbies to mess around with
- Cheap royalty free engine (This is hard to come by now)
- Lua is a simple language to start out since it's a scripting language and the engine has a built-in IDE.
- Very easy to build basic maps without any modeling skills
- Come with a few simple scripts for doing simple tasks (Doors, Platforms, Character Controller, Etc)
- Easy to use lighting
- Supports OpenGL 4.0 (Same as Directx 11)
- Steam Controller Support
- Steam Workshop (In beta)
- Option to upgrade to C++ Version (Uses C++11 and works with VS2013)

- No built-in protection for assets when compiling
- No native network support built-in (You can use Raknet)
- No vegetation painting system in Terrain Editor (Only Ground)
- Limited support and documentation (It's growing and has good starter videos)
- Doesn't support older version of OpenGL (Give it a few more years and it won't matter anyways)
- No Demo (They said they are working on this)
- Needs more announcements on whats going on with the development of the engine.
- No Mobile Support (I'm sure in time)

Like any engine starting out I'm sure it will have it's ups and downs. Some of you are asking, is this worth it? Well that depends on what you want to do with the engine. They give you a blank slate to work with and you start building. You can build any type of game you want but it will require some effort to do so.

Q: Any latest roadmap?
A: Apirl 1, 2014 http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/blog/1/entry-1192-refocusing-on-the-pc/

Q: Can I sell the game I make?
A: That is a big Yes

Q: Is it fun to play around with even if I have never built a game before?
A: I'd say yes

Q: Can I build any game I want?
A: Sure

Q: This or Unity or Another Engine?
A: Well I'm sure some of the other engine has more features but they do come with a price and not royalty free. If you want to be cheap then this is a good engine. New features are being added every few months.

Q: Can you model inside the engine?
A: We it's not a modeling tool but you can place primitive shapes and texture them. (like a wall or floor)

Q: Do I have to code?
A: Well yes, if you want to do anything besides walk around then you'll need to know Lua or C++ if you have the upgrade version.

Q: What type of models can I import?
A: FBX file type

Q: Does the engine come with some Assets?
A: A few but you'll need to provide most of the stuff for your game.

Q: Can I run this if my video card doesn't support OpenGL 4.0?
A: No, Check your support OpenGL version with this http://www.ozone3d.net/gpu_caps_viewer/

Q: Does the free version of Visual Studio Express 2013 work with Leadwerks Standard?
A: Yes it does Visual Studio Site

Q: Well I'm using linux so what compiler can I use?
A: Codeblocks http://www.codeblocks.org/

Q: What are accepted file types for the workshop?
A: (As of May 20, 2014)
For any type of asset:

For add-ons:
Posted: January 8th, 2014
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