New version 4.1 - Leadwerks is the easiest way to make 3D games. Learn everything you need with our comprehensive tutorials. Build games with the world's most intuitive game development system. Publish to Steam Workshop and show your game off to the world.
User reviews:
Overall:
Mostly Positive (185 reviews) - 75% of the 185 user reviews for this software are positive.
Release Date: Jan 6, 2014

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Recent updates View all (58)

June 23

Leadwerks Game "Rogue System" now available on Steam Early Access

Rogue System is now available on Steam. Get it in Early Access and help guide development of this hyper-detailed space flight simulator.

Built with Leadwerks Game Engine, Rogue System's goal is to depict the possibilities of space exploration and combat within a realistic environment--choosing not to ignore the "science" in science-fiction. Key features do/will include proper orbital mechanics for all objects in space; detailed ship system control, functionality, inter-dependency and damage reaction; and the ability to move freely from one ship to another, EVA, and effect repairs while in flight.

http://store.steampowered.com/app/366000/





1 comments Read more

June 23

Leadwerks Game Engine 4.1 Released

Leadwerks Game Engine 4.1 is now available on Steam. This release cranks up the already legendary Leadwerks visuals to new levels of awesome.



Environment Probes
The new environment probe entities can be used to add global illumination and reflections to any scene.



Volumetric Lighting
Each light in Leadwerks can now display an adjustable volumetric effect using a ray-marching technique to give your game dramatic visuals.



Enhanced Post-Processing Effects
Leadwerks 4.1 includes new built-in post-process effects including volumetric light scattering and screen-space ambient occlusion. Older effects like bloom have been updated for improved visuals.



Leadwerks Game Engine is available for purchase on Steam and can be purchased at a discount during the Steam summer sale, for Windows and Linux.

http://store.steampowered.com/app/251810

3 comments Read more

About This Software

Leadwerks is the easiest way to make 3D games. Learn everything you need with our comprehensve tutorials. Build games with the world's most intuitive game development system. Publish to Steam Workshop and show your game off to the world with Leadwerks Game Launcher (now available in early access).

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.

New Global Illumination and Volumetric Effects
Leadwerks Game Engine 4.1 introduces environment probes for global illumination and reflections, along with volumetric lighting effects, all in an easy-to-control and intuitive interface. This makes it easier than ever to create games with amazing graphics.

New Vegetation Painting System
Leadwerks Game Engine 4 introduces a one-of-a-kind vegetation system for handling massive amounts of foliage. Instead of storing each instance in memory, our new system uses a distribution algorithm to dynamically calculate all relevant instances each frame for rendering and physics. This allows enormous densely packed scenes with minimal overhead. The results are blazingly fast, efficient, and easy to use. In fact, our new system is so advanced it's featured in the book Game Engine Gems 3.

Advanced Graphics
Leadwerks makes AAA graphics achievable 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. (Please note that C++ programming support requires the Standard Edition DLC.)

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. And because we only rely on free open-source middleware libraries, you never have to worry about purchasing expensive licenses from third parties.

Free Self-Publishing to Steam Workshop
Leadwerks Game Launcher is a new way to distribute games. You can publish your Lua-based games from Leadwerks Editor, then send a link to your friends to play without installers, plugins, or zip files. Use this to get your game in front of players and build a following. Games can be played on the desktop with a PC or in the living room with a Steam Machine. (Does not support Workshop publishing of C++ games.)

Steam Features

  • Download and publish game content with Steam Workshop.
  • Publish your Lua game to the Workshop for other users to play.
  • Publish image renders and YouTube videos directly to Steam from the editor.
  • Built-in Steamworks support makes your game ready to publish to Steam.

Graphics

  • 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.

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.

Programming

  • 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.

AI

  • Navmesh pathfinding provides automatic AI navigation that works everywhere.
  • Character controller movement seamlessly integrated with physics and pathfinding systems.
  • Set entities to automatically chase another object or navigate to a position.

Physics

  • 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.

Particles

  • 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.

Sound

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

System Requirements

Windows
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, or 10
    • Processor: 2.0 ghz dual core
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Nvidia, AMD, or Intel OpenGL 4.0 / DirectX 11 graphics.
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Non-English characters including Cyrillic in the user path are not supported.
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64-bit
    • Processor: 2.0 ghz dual core 64-bit
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Nvidia or AMD OpenGL 4.0 graphics card with proprietary drivers
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Intel graphics drivers do not presently support OpenGL 4.0 on Linux. Non-English characters including Cyrillic in the user path are not supported.
    Recommended:
    • Graphics: Nvidia graphics card is recommended on Linux.
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Overall:
Mostly Positive (185 reviews)
Recently Posted
The Hankinator
( 547.2 hrs on record )
Posted: June 26
I really like this 3D engine, it is the first that worked for me the way I wanted. You can do so much by scripting with Lua, I've yet to find a task I could not complete. I bought professional edition but I've yet to use it because you can do so much with just Lua. 3D modeling isn't something I enjoy but with this engine I can build the majority of my levels with CSG right in the editor. This makes it really easy to set up something really quick to test out an idea. The developer of this software has been pretty active in the (official) forums and is always improving the engine. It's a great community and there are a lot of helpful users.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Firebal69
( 570.7 hrs on record )
Posted: June 25
If you're just starting out making games, this is the perfect engine for you, it's simple, easy to understand and you can make some really cool things with it.
Thanks to Leadwerks, I'm living my dream of becoming a game developer, which is something that neither Unity or UE4 were able to do thanks to their incredibly steep learning curve. So if you want something that is easy to grab, this is for you.

Helpful? Yes No Funny
awgsknite
( 199.2 hrs on record )
Posted: June 24
I should have made this review before way back when I bought this but I was too busy making video games with it ! So here's my little review for this awesome engine ! :

If you want to make a really awesome looking modern video game then I would recommend that you use this engine ! There is awesome support on the forums that can help you create the video game of your dreams ! Also there is literally tons of assets that are for free that come with this through the workshop that you can use in a commercial game that you make with this engine ! If and when you need help with making your game with this then the forums will help you out.

A personal Thank You to the maker of this engine for making this awesome game engine available for us !
Helpful? Yes No Funny
[G.H] Martyj
( 392.0 hrs on record )
Posted: June 24
Probably one of the best purchases I have ever made.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
[BE]MalachiAD
( 16.3 hrs on record )
Posted: June 8
This review is posted for both the indie and professional version 4.0 of Leadwerks.

Before I go into this, just for internetz credibility reasons because that's a thing I guess, I'm going to note that I'm a model & texture designer first and a programmer like fourth or something. I have extensive knowledge of a lot of free, professional and indie-level game development engines and suites, I've worked on a lot of projects for a lot of people -- Now I'm not saying I'm completely fluent with some of these editors I'll be comparing, because there's definitely room to always learn -but- I have researched quite a bit and dumped lots of hours into many of them, including the Unreal Engine, Gamemaker Studio and Unity. I do have a somewhat decent grasp on a variety of languages (LUA, C++, HTML5, Java, Uscript and so on.) So with that all being said, some points of this review will touch base on comparison of other editors against Leadwerks 4.0

I'll be listing my perspective on both the indie and pro versions of the editor, and on the two different rigs (by relevant specs) I used them on (one strong, one weak).

PCs Used Leadwerks on:
  • AMD Athlon 64 x2 5000+ 2.6ghz | 4gb RAM DDR2 (1066) | nVidia Geforce 980 (2gb) & nVidia Geforce 550 TI
  • Intel i7-4790K 4.0ghz | 16bb DDR3 RAM (2133) | nVidia Geforce 980 (2gb) | OCZ Vertex 4 SSD

PROS:
  • Frequently goes on sale and can be used as an alternative to buying a Unity license. Both have a somewhat similar setup: People familiar with Unity will recognize and understand how the hierarchy and asset settings function.
  • Very easy-to-use editor allows you to create brushes on the fly with little to no effort.
  • LUA scripting allows you to do some complex actions and keep the load light. (C++ available in Pro version.)
  • The engine itself has a fairly decent lighting engine.
  • Friendly interface and a simple asset hierarchy similar to the older Unity3D versions.
  • Surprising amount of overall engine flexibility for the price.
  • API reference site exists and is maintained with every update.
  • Very nice Steam Workshop integration, it's easy to publish and get user workshop content, shaders, placeholders and everything else for entry level stuff and testing reasons.
  • Fully functional terrain editor with multi-layered texturing, which you can have set by elevation and however you carve it. you can also paint it fairly easily with a texture of your choice and blend them together.

CONS:
  • Skybox creation is limited strictly to cubemaps. As far as I know, after a lot of researching and toying around, there isn't a way to do projection or spheremaps for a skybox. While you can still make some amazing looking skyboxes this way, it hurts in the category of trying to make outdoor environments visually immersive when you can't have free flowing clouds, ships in the atmosphere, large buildings off in the distance and things of that nature.
  • It falls behind compared to other cheaper alternatives. The amount of time learning the API and getting oriented with it could be better spent on another engine (Unity, Unreal Engine, and so on.) - For simple projects, Leadwerks is amazing, but for a more mechanically defined experience, there's better readily available.
  • I'm a visual designer more than I am a programmer: Importing your own models can sometimes be annoying. Just remember, if you export from Blender to Leadwerks (.fbx) to change the scale in Blender. A small model in blender can appear MASSIVE and take up the entire scene if it is free-exported. You also have to calculate normals with every new import, regardless of Blender's export. To be fair on this one; I don't know enough about what FBX entails, but I do know that no other engine I've used has this problem. Also, mesh above 10k tris don't handle well during imports.
  • Bugs, lots of bugs. Luckily, the community is aware of most of them and they seem to be fixed with every update.
  • Ghost assets. Sometimes upon removing an asset from the scene the asset's 'ghost' gets left behind. In test-play, you'll notice the collision will still be there for the object after you've already deleted it, causing you to have to save and restart Leadwerks before it goes away and things get back to normal. This also happens in the hierarchy, where you'll delete an asset but it stays in the scene (even as an instanced prefab). So rather than deleting your asset in the hierarchy and it being done with the deleted asset, you have to actually navigate to the folder your asset is in, and physically delete it from your hard drive to get rid of it from the editor.
  • Terrain editor, while very nice, is a memory hog. Sometimes when you lie down a new terrain of 1024x1024, it can cause Leadwerks to crash. This happened more frequently on my AMD machine than it does on my Intel one, mostly because of the 4gb VS 16gb gap - And yes, it still can use the full 16gb when it first lies the terrain out for editing, it's ridiculous.
  • One of the greatest bugs Leadwerks has is that if you have an asset, say a character or projectile that moves too fast, collisions get ignored (regardless of physics properties or collision restraints) and pass through objects, terrain, brushes and a variety of other things. It seems to be based on a combination of the speed and size of the object also -- Smaller objects at the same movement speed tend to collide properly most of the time. I played with it for a bit and showed it to one of the gurus in community, and he noted it also.

GREY AREAS:
  • The API Reference site, while maintained pretty frequently, has a few areas where explanation is light. Certain things that require more explanation have very little, and things that require very little have tons.
  • The Leadwerks community, both on Steam and the official forum is extremely helpful and very knowledgable. They've become adept at fixing a wide variety of problems. However, the community is extremely small and some of the weirder issues I ran into (again, turned out to be bugs) are harder to fix if one of their guru users aren't being active that day. The size of the community could be partially blamed on the "price vs. buyer" skepticism - People won't always want to drop $99 on things they can't readily find a ton of info about. I know I didn't, even after reading the forums, digging around Reddit, Steam groups and elsewhere. I waited until I could get the Indie version for $20 on the first sale, then waited again a few months later until the Pro update showed up for $20.
  • While they market it as easy to use without scripting, I attempted to try to make something without messing at all with the scripting editor and could see how a new user would have some issues creating a functioning project without using only the default Leadwerks assets. They have this in-editor node system similar to the one Blender and Unreal Engine use for their shaders. It allows you to plug logic from existing scene-based assets into other assets also in the scene. While this seems great, it sort of still requires you to script your own assets, because you still have to create the functions for the node to plug into on each asset. Meaning that the only "scriptless" part of this would be the mapping portion of the editor and the ability to import assets (this doesn't always mean scriptless either).

TL;DR: Leadwerks is great for simple projects and it gets better every update, but right now it leaves a lot to be desired for more complex stuff. User friendly, but not game-mechanically friendly, and somewhat buggy.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Crazycarpet
( 114.9 hrs on record )
Posted: May 11
Great engine, very powerful and easy to use. Josh and other community members provide great assistance. Any problems I had with Leadwerks have been fixed, or I've figured out that it was more a me problem.

Great Lua integration, and ToLua++ makes life extremely easy.

Really excited for the release of Josh's "environment probes" that provide rooms with Global Illumination, Ambient lighting, etc. They look amazing so far.

Couldn't be happier with Leadwerks and I'd definetly recommend it to anyone looking to make games. If you're interested in game development Leadwerks, I'd strongly recommend getting Leadwerks. It's a great way to learn since not everything is done for you like in some other all in one solutions, but because if this it's very flexible. It's very straight forward, fast, powerful and easy to use.

However, personally I'm not a fan of the water. But you can't please everyone.
(I'd also recommend buying Leadwerks: Standard Edition - you need it to be able to fully interact with Leadwerks and use it to it's potential.)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
HGI
( 9.3 hrs on record )
Posted: May 8
Excellent engine, and much more powerful than I thought it would be. I go between Leadwerks and CryEngine and I'll be honest, I find myself swaying towards using Leadwerks more nowadays.

Highly recommended
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Lucian Alexander Moon
( 1.4 hrs on record )
Posted: April 29
I originally posted a bad review because my computer could not run the engine. I discovered it was an issue with my graphics card. It was fixed, but then I never bothered to edit my review. Well I was playing around on it since Unity was having some issues on my not-so-good computer, and I've decided its not that bad after all. Maybe not worth $100, but definetly worth the $70 I got it on sale for (It was like years ago, cant remember the exact price) It would be nice if it could use multiple languages, as I do not know lua, but it didnt seem hard to learn so Ill give it a look over. Would give it a 7/10.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
TheBrandonK
( 0.6 hrs on record )
Posted: April 28
It works well but I can't find a single tutorial. The ones I do find are very outdated.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
 
A developer has responded on Apr 28 @ 6:45pm
(view response)
Fb||Picou
( 149.6 hrs on record )
Posted: April 25
In one word : AMAZING !
I'm a newbie in game development and after 2 hours of tutorials, I knew : put the skybox, sculpt, paint the floor, put assets on the ground, manipulate them (rotate, scale them, etc...).
I think that if you want to put many assets on your scene (like trees), Leadwerks is made for you ! you can do it with no problem ! I covered the map with trees, then I played : any problem !

CONS :
- it's not easy to put water on your map...Water is always at the same level...I think it's a feature that will be developed in the future (I read that).
- You can't dig like others softwares...
11/10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
Recommended
16.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 8
This review is posted for both the indie and professional version 4.0 of Leadwerks.

Before I go into this, just for internetz credibility reasons because that's a thing I guess, I'm going to note that I'm a model & texture designer first and a programmer like fourth or something. I have extensive knowledge of a lot of free, professional and indie-level game development engines and suites, I've worked on a lot of projects for a lot of people -- Now I'm not saying I'm completely fluent with some of these editors I'll be comparing, because there's definitely room to always learn -but- I have researched quite a bit and dumped lots of hours into many of them, including the Unreal Engine, Gamemaker Studio and Unity. I do have a somewhat decent grasp on a variety of languages (LUA, C++, HTML5, Java, Uscript and so on.) So with that all being said, some points of this review will touch base on comparison of other editors against Leadwerks 4.0

I'll be listing my perspective on both the indie and pro versions of the editor, and on the two different rigs (by relevant specs) I used them on (one strong, one weak).

PCs Used Leadwerks on:
  • AMD Athlon 64 x2 5000+ 2.6ghz | 4gb RAM DDR2 (1066) | nVidia Geforce 980 (2gb) & nVidia Geforce 550 TI
  • Intel i7-4790K 4.0ghz | 16bb DDR3 RAM (2133) | nVidia Geforce 980 (2gb) | OCZ Vertex 4 SSD

PROS:
  • Frequently goes on sale and can be used as an alternative to buying a Unity license. Both have a somewhat similar setup: People familiar with Unity will recognize and understand how the hierarchy and asset settings function.
  • Very easy-to-use editor allows you to create brushes on the fly with little to no effort.
  • LUA scripting allows you to do some complex actions and keep the load light. (C++ available in Pro version.)
  • The engine itself has a fairly decent lighting engine.
  • Friendly interface and a simple asset hierarchy similar to the older Unity3D versions.
  • Surprising amount of overall engine flexibility for the price.
  • API reference site exists and is maintained with every update.
  • Very nice Steam Workshop integration, it's easy to publish and get user workshop content, shaders, placeholders and everything else for entry level stuff and testing reasons.
  • Fully functional terrain editor with multi-layered texturing, which you can have set by elevation and however you carve it. you can also paint it fairly easily with a texture of your choice and blend them together.

CONS:
  • Skybox creation is limited strictly to cubemaps. As far as I know, after a lot of researching and toying around, there isn't a way to do projection or spheremaps for a skybox. While you can still make some amazing looking skyboxes this way, it hurts in the category of trying to make outdoor environments visually immersive when you can't have free flowing clouds, ships in the atmosphere, large buildings off in the distance and things of that nature.
  • It falls behind compared to other cheaper alternatives. The amount of time learning the API and getting oriented with it could be better spent on another engine (Unity, Unreal Engine, and so on.) - For simple projects, Leadwerks is amazing, but for a more mechanically defined experience, there's better readily available.
  • I'm a visual designer more than I am a programmer: Importing your own models can sometimes be annoying. Just remember, if you export from Blender to Leadwerks (.fbx) to change the scale in Blender. A small model in blender can appear MASSIVE and take up the entire scene if it is free-exported. You also have to calculate normals with every new import, regardless of Blender's export. To be fair on this one; I don't know enough about what FBX entails, but I do know that no other engine I've used has this problem. Also, mesh above 10k tris don't handle well during imports.
  • Bugs, lots of bugs. Luckily, the community is aware of most of them and they seem to be fixed with every update.
  • Ghost assets. Sometimes upon removing an asset from the scene the asset's 'ghost' gets left behind. In test-play, you'll notice the collision will still be there for the object after you've already deleted it, causing you to have to save and restart Leadwerks before it goes away and things get back to normal. This also happens in the hierarchy, where you'll delete an asset but it stays in the scene (even as an instanced prefab). So rather than deleting your asset in the hierarchy and it being done with the deleted asset, you have to actually navigate to the folder your asset is in, and physically delete it from your hard drive to get rid of it from the editor.
  • Terrain editor, while very nice, is a memory hog. Sometimes when you lie down a new terrain of 1024x1024, it can cause Leadwerks to crash. This happened more frequently on my AMD machine than it does on my Intel one, mostly because of the 4gb VS 16gb gap - And yes, it still can use the full 16gb when it first lies the terrain out for editing, it's ridiculous.
  • One of the greatest bugs Leadwerks has is that if you have an asset, say a character or projectile that moves too fast, collisions get ignored (regardless of physics properties or collision restraints) and pass through objects, terrain, brushes and a variety of other things. It seems to be based on a combination of the speed and size of the object also -- Smaller objects at the same movement speed tend to collide properly most of the time. I played with it for a bit and showed it to one of the gurus in community, and he noted it also.

GREY AREAS:
  • The API Reference site, while maintained pretty frequently, has a few areas where explanation is light. Certain things that require more explanation have very little, and things that require very little have tons.
  • The Leadwerks community, both on Steam and the official forum is extremely helpful and very knowledgable. They've become adept at fixing a wide variety of problems. However, the community is extremely small and some of the weirder issues I ran into (again, turned out to be bugs) are harder to fix if one of their guru users aren't being active that day. The size of the community could be partially blamed on the "price vs. buyer" skepticism - People won't always want to drop $99 on things they can't readily find a ton of info about. I know I didn't, even after reading the forums, digging around Reddit, Steam groups and elsewhere. I waited until I could get the Indie version for $20 on the first sale, then waited again a few months later until the Pro update showed up for $20.
  • While they market it as easy to use without scripting, I attempted to try to make something without messing at all with the scripting editor and could see how a new user would have some issues creating a functioning project without using only the default Leadwerks assets. They have this in-editor node system similar to the one Blender and Unreal Engine use for their shaders. It allows you to plug logic from existing scene-based assets into other assets also in the scene. While this seems great, it sort of still requires you to script your own assets, because you still have to create the functions for the node to plug into on each asset. Meaning that the only "scriptless" part of this would be the mapping portion of the editor and the ability to import assets (this doesn't always mean scriptless either).

TL;DR: Leadwerks is great for simple projects and it gets better every update, but right now it leaves a lot to be desired for more complex stuff. User friendly, but not game-mechanically friendly, and somewhat buggy.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
199.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 24
I should have made this review before way back when I bought this but I was too busy making video games with it ! So here's my little review for this awesome engine ! :

If you want to make a really awesome looking modern video game then I would recommend that you use this engine ! There is awesome support on the forums that can help you create the video game of your dreams ! Also there is literally tons of assets that are for free that come with this through the workshop that you can use in a commercial game that you make with this engine ! If and when you need help with making your game with this then the forums will help you out.

A personal Thank You to the maker of this engine for making this awesome game engine available for us !
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
547.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 26
I really like this 3D engine, it is the first that worked for me the way I wanted. You can do so much by scripting with Lua, I've yet to find a task I could not complete. I bought professional edition but I've yet to use it because you can do so much with just Lua. 3D modeling isn't something I enjoy but with this engine I can build the majority of my levels with CSG right in the editor. This makes it really easy to set up something really quick to test out an idea. The developer of this software has been pretty active in the (official) forums and is always improving the engine. It's a great community and there are a lot of helpful users.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
661 of 714 people (93%) found this review helpful
36 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
126.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 23, 2015
My short time with Leadwerks and its Sockpuppets here on Steam.

At first it looked promising to get a true alternative to Unity "on the cheap", in regards as annual subscription comparison to other engines vs up front fees. The reason for that is, indie developers are on extreme low to no budgets and calculate different than studios taking small risks, only, and are prepared to cut deals on a royalty basis when a game hits the shelves. Or one could spend little to no money for other engines (see below).

The good:
With under 100 quid, Leadwerks is in the indie pricelist acceptable with no royalties to pay. The Engine has a clean user interface and eveerything for most parts makes sense how to do things. Every newbie will manage to get around quickly how to use the controls in Leadwerks.

The bad:
Leadwerks' asset pipeline can be quirky when importing static or animated meshes via FBX (a caution to LightWave users). The asset creation tool should be at least Autodesk FBX convertion tool which is free of charge, before importing anything into Leadwerks. Another topic to address is textures with alpha - Leadwerks will not automate anything for you at this point, instead you have to fix everything yourself and depending on complexity, you can spend hours to get a tree look right.

The ugly:
Leadwerks comes in two flavours; Indie Edition (Lua Scripting language) and Standard Edition (Lua and C++). As such, this is where the Game Engine won't crack the shell to be one tool to rule them all. At least not with the API Documentation efforts been made so far. In fact, it's a disaster to read the API Documentation. Not in everyone's favor to get a skinny bone to chew on. Last but not least, Leadwerks Documentation includes old stuff, depricated or missing non-consistent with the current 3.3 version (including but not limited to like, there is no vegetation painter as opposed to a previous version, no screenspace ambient occlusion, no sample content for the special effects and shaders, glass refraction, not enough from this and not enough from that and overall nothing to offer but "learn Lua").

The bottom line:
Leadwerks is not a game engine, but offers the potential to be one in the future (only time will tell).

Suggestions to free royalty-free alternatives:
- S2 Game Engine - free version for commercial use without royalties (AAA Graphics Engine)
- NeoAxis Game Engine - free without limitations but no full source code access
- Torque 3D Game Engine - MIT License with full source code

UPDATE:

The "Developer" of Leadwerks gave me a permanent ban, because I told the truth that Leadwerks is a rip-off. The graphics software doesn't offer a game engine you get.

1. Shaders: no, you can't write a GLSL, instead you have to port it over to Leadwerks to actually work.

2. Asset pipeline - if there is any, instead your FBX files get screwed up and you run into a loop

3. DOCUMENTATION !!! what a JOKE

4. and I could write volumes what a great mess Leadwerks is.

5. don't spend your money on it, get Unity 3D, Neoaxis, Torque, S2 Engine or the 20 quid deal with Epic Games UE4
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A developer has responded on Jun 11, 2015 @ 6:03pm
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230 of 256 people (90%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
51.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 8, 2014
Ok here is what I think of the engine

Pros:
- 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)
- Demo (Please for the love of god try it before buying)

Cons:
- 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)
- 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: 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:
"mat","pfb","phy","tex","mdl","lua","shader","wav","ttf","map","meta"

For add-ons:
"luo","lib","a","so","h","c","cpp","dll","pdb","ini","html","htm"
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189 of 206 people (92%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
Recommended
4,497.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 7, 2014
So after using the engine for some time now I decided to write a review. Having no prior experience in coding (Lua) I was able to learn by using the tutorial maps provided with the engine, as well as helpful tutorials created by other users of the engine (leadwerks.com/werkspace).

Now after creating a basic game and publishing it on the community workshop I have moved on to creating a rather big game. Keep in mind I have only been coding and using this program for about 6 months. My game is called the Hunt for Food. Check out the videos on my steam profile if you want to see what you can do with this engine in its current state (with little experience). My most recent update on youtube. - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Voq5c3abIU

Ok now onto the engine itself.
Pros-
Engine Developer- This engine is being built by one person (for the most part as far as I know) which is great because he is really good at communicating (he responds to forum posts everyday and will even talk to you personally if you have issues). You might think that means there are slow updates? Well that isn't true if you opt into the beta. You will get multiple updates every month if you are in beta.
Coding-The script functions are easy to learn and you will be able to code your own game after spending some time on tutorials. Lua is addicting to me now, when I start on making a script I can't stop until I am done.
Graphics- It really looks great. It's easy to make a really good looking scene and even add post-effects to it. Even with everything on low quality it looks good.
Community-The leadwerks community has been extremely helpful and a lot of people will help you out. Many useful tutorials have been made by community members.
Art Workflow-It is very easy to import textures and models straight into your game. Just drag and drop the file into your folder and the editor imports it for you. Setting up animations is quite simple now that an animation viewport has been added so that you can watch your animations play before you seperate them into sequences.
Price-At first I thought this was going to be a rather low end piece of software due to the price comparison between it and unity. I was pleasantly surprised when I found this engine to be very useful and of high quality for the low price of 100$.
License-You don't need to show a splash screen or pay any royalties and that is awesome. There is no need to worry about publishing your game if anything the engine developer will help you out.
Workshop-The workshop is full of useful assets create by the community that are free to use.

Cons-
Scene Organization- Right now the scene is organized in one list starting from the first entity you added to the last entity you added to the scene. This creates problems and makes you spend a lot of time scrolling up and down a long scene list looking for a tree you placed a long time ago.
Missing Features/Improvements-The engine isn't 'done' yet. While it is usable and the things it can currently do are very impressive it still feels a bit young sometimes with features like water and vegetation painting missing. There could also be other improvements implemented to things like physics and lighting. On the other hand this leaves lots of room for the engine to grow since it isn't locked down yet in terms of development.

Overall-
This engine is very fun and easy to use. The engine developer is awesome, the engine is great, and the community is friendly. You can make a game in a day with this engine if you put your mind to it and then you can put it on the workshop and have everyone in the community check it out!
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190 of 208 people (91%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
756.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 3, 2014
(Edited 2/21/2016, updated to reflect 4.0)
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:

Pros:
-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
-Support: the engine is mainly a one man show, but the support from the development team and their (his) strong presence in the community is great
-Shader Editing: it's very easy to edit shaders and the post-processing stack is very simple but effective
-Price: I know $100 may seem like a lot, but with what you get out of this engine, it's well worth it
-Polish: this engine is very easy and intuitive to work with (especially the drag-and-drop options) and CSG editing, which are the best CSG tools of any game engine I've used
-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. Also, it's super fast to test because it doesn't need to be recompiled.
-Vehicles: This used to be a missing feature, but it now has been put into the engine, and the physics are very stable and realistic
-Exporting games: This has been changed a lot since the first release. You can now publish files with encrypted folders to help protect assets and code.
-Animation: This has also been changed a bit. Models imported can have additional animations imported from models with similar bone structures, which helps to reduce redundancies with animating. Also, there is a panel that allows for working with animations (such as extracting animations from other animations-this makes more sense once you start working with it).
-Character controller: I forgot to talk about this, but it's become one of the most polished and powerful features of the program. This is a custom-made physics component for characters in the game and allows for pathfinding, realistic movement, and controlled physics. In short, while it isn't too flexible, it provides a great physics base for characters and the player.
-Vegetation: the vegetation system is great, and in some ways it's innovative in it's implementation which means better performance

Neutral:
-OpenGL: most games today use DirectX, and that's fine but they are limited to Windows. OpenGL is roughly as powerful as DirectX from a graphics point of view. OpenGL can be used by Linux games, which is nice. Unfortunately, OpenGL for computers (non-mobile) are often overlooked by driver developers (notoriously AMD), and AMD often has bugs related to this. Usually they are sorted out, but this can be frustrating from a developer point of view

Cons:
-Hardware: this engine requires a lot in terms of hardware to create useful projects (of course this is a downside of a deferred renderer in general), but with that comes with great graphical potential
-Water: the water in this engine is average in quality
-No streaming: this is a big one if you want to do open-world games because you'd run out of VRAM

Overall, I would definitely recommend this engine, especially since the development team behind it is very helpful and supportive of the community.

IMPORTANT NOTES (read carefully):

Some people may be confused by past documentation and think that this program can export Android and iOS. This is NOT true. These platforms were only in the early versions of LE 3, and they have since been completely dropped in favor of PC gaming. DO NOT buy this software if you plan to make mobile apps with it because you won't have the ability to do so.

Also, download the demo BEFORE purchasing. If you have trouble running it, there is plenty of support in terms of links to various drivers, particularly for ATI and Intel cards (NVidia cards tend to work the best with Leadwerks). Both ATI and Intel cards tend to have drivers bugs often for Leadwerks. That being said, the developer does a good job at contacting ATI and Intel to get these bugs fixed and has provided links to earlier drivers that work well.
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90 of 98 people (92%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
Recommended
402.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 15, 2015
Leadwerks is a very intuitive and unique mid-scale game engine. With a certain investment of effort, I made things I had no idea how to do with other engines.

What's even better, I discovered and learned so many things related to computer graphics by simply using the LE (Leadwerks). That said, the main strength of LE lies probably in its use of industry standard technologies: OpenGL + GLSL for CG, and c++ and Lua for programming.

A nice thing about Leadwerks is that you can use it as a regular API and totally ignore the editor, which is, btw. quite decent and has a great CSG brushes support. A big plus (and a necessity for me) is a complete transparency of a program flow: in LE, you start from the main function (in the case of C++ - a standard edition) or from Main.lua file that gets invoked from the main c++ function (an indie edition).

Now, despite its claims, it's not meant for utter beginners. Nevertheless, it's easier to use and has a less steep learning curve than other engines, such as Unity, Unreal, etc. However, you'll have to invest some time in learning programming and a minimum of linear algebra (matrices, vectors and similar) to be able to develop any 3D game. Also, you won't find an asset store (there is a very basic user workshop sharing space). And while the engine does the heavy lifting (OpenGL, input, physics etc.), you will have to implement most of the things related to game logic yourself (there are some prepackaged useful script for FPS character, for example).

The downside of the engine lies in the fact that it's developed and maintained by a single developer. He works very hard and responds regularly to LE users, which is quite nice and respectful. However, I have an impression that a mid-scale engine, such as LE, demands a lot more work than a single person can deliver.
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193 of 254 people (76%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
20.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 25, 2014
Leadwerks advertising caught me at the right time, I was seeking an alternative to Unity that included features that shouldn't be excluded in this day and age, and I wasn't about to pay $1500 for the them.

As an individual hobbyist, the price was right, the advert promised to turn players into to gamers! And I have absolutely no doubt it could... that is if you've created games in LUA before. This is definitely not an engine for beginners, it's an advanced engine for individuals who are well versed in LUA game development.
The severe lack of progressive tutorials for new users is unacceptable and even though the community maybe helpful most times, they expect you as a newcomer to know exactly what they're speaking of... And even though most are right when they state you should learn LUA, the implementation of the language isn't 1:1 with Leadwerks, which led me to frustration and confusion. As an artist first, the lack of LUA/Leadwerks tutorials working together becomes very very demotivating to someone such as myself.

Aside from that, the features aren't there yet (for example an integrated HUD creator) and if you're not making another FPS then you may become quickly frustrated as I have.

At this point, I don't have buyers remorse, but I am really upset at myself because I was unfortunately swept away by the advertising which led me to not doing full due diligence as I usually do on any product I buy.

I will hold onto the engine as I really have hopes for it maturing, but at this point it's off my list until the next update and some time has passed to allow for documentation to be created.
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61 of 66 people (92%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
102.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 27, 2015
I spent a good while (12+ months) reading up on Leadwerks and other game engines before I finally made my purchase. The deciding factors were native Linux support and royalty free licensing without an astronomical price tag. Other engines will deploy a game on platforms other than Windows, but may not actually be usable without installing the engine itself in Windows and that was a "no-go" for me.

The UI is simple. You're not inundated with tons of tools resulting in hours upon hours of reading through documentation before you can create a particle emitter. In fact, the UI is so simple, I was able to create a basic obstacle course before I even bothered looking at the tutorials.

Speaking of tutorials, while they are short, they explain what they set out to explain, how to do the thing in their title. I was also really impressed with the fact that, as simplistic as the scripting tutorials were, they can take someone with zero (LUA) scripting skills and get them to at least the point of usefulness (assuming they are using Leadwerks' API). In fact, part of the tutorials is that at the end, you have a working game. So essentially, you go from "zero" to semi-confident in as long as it takes you to read and follow along. That's not bad.

Will I end up making a masterpiece game after only two weeks of use? Nope, even as an experienced polyglot software developer I still have plenty to learn. But, it's doesn't seem so unattainable of a goal to be able to put together some basic games, whether or not they are worth selling is a whole other ballgame.

If you've always wanted to learn about game development but were put off by costs or complicated tools, then Leadwerks Game Engine is a good way to get started.
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