New version 4.0 - 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:
Mostly Positive (180 reviews) - 74% of the 180 user reviews for this software are positive.
Release Date: Jan 6, 2014

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April 11

Dexsoft Games Releases Five Material Packs in Leadwerks Workshop Store

Dexsoft Games, producers of game content with a library of thousands of game assets, have released five new material packs in the Workshop Store. All materials and textures are ready to use with Leadwerks, with source image files included in TGA format.

All of these can be purchased now through the links below, or through the Workshop interface in Leadwerks Editor. See the links below for more information and additional preview images.

Sci-Fi Materials 1

Sci-Fi Materials 2

Sci-Fi Materials 4

Sci-Fi Materials 5

Sci-Fi Materials 6

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February 29

Three new model packs released in Workshop Store

Today we are releasing three new model packs in the Leadwerks Workshop Store.

The Candles Pack provides beautifully detailed candles and sconces to bring atmosphere to any horror game.

The Modern Furniture Pack includes numerous chairs, sofas, and a bar stool to populate any residential setting with.

The Old Wine Bottles Pack gives you a variety of bottles with two texture variations. Decorate your map with them or use them for target practice.

You can get these items by opening the Workshop interface in Leadwerks by selecting the Workshop > Browse Workshop menu item in the main window.

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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 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.


  • 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.
  • 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.

System Requirements

    • 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.
Helpful customer reviews
57 of 61 people (93%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
64.2 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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25 of 29 people (86%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
243.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 4, 2015
I considered purchasing Leadwerks for a long time before I bought it. Now I wish I had bought it sooner. It's an excellent tool with a very friendly community. Constant updates from Josh (dev) make me feel secure that Leadwerks will continue to be developed far into the future.

The Indie edition supports lua script, which I am finding to be a great language to start out in, and the standard edition supports C++. I love the fact that your creations can easily be uploaded to Steam for others to play (which even the devs will try out and feedback on!).
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10 of 12 people (83%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
87.7 hrs on record
Posted: February 10
For quite sometime I have wanted to show my game ideas, for a very long time I have been switching between Leadwerks, Unity, and unreal engine, For me leadwerks has won me,
Being new the game building world, having no experiance, learning is hard and takes alot of time, but you do get there,

Unity does my head in, the scrips, the non compiling, WHAT did i do that stoping this running, hard work, for new builders.

Unreal Engine, It is good, let me say if again, really good, but, BUT, it is a raw platform, easy to play around with, very hard to make a working game, you cannot be new to programing, It requires knowlegde, knowlegde I hope to gain but dont have yet, and the assets while great also, are costly, NOT an engine for first time builders, admire those that can.

Now down to Leadwerks, map building easy to follow, assets, you can get alot from all over the net, might take some time playing around but really workable, the ASSET Store, getting bigger as I type, so many great items ready to just drop in yor scene, Lua scriping, have not had any problems with, fantastic, those the have the C++ background, I believe if you can program in C++, you have the ability to use Leadwerks to produce a AAA game,
Now, I own the indie version with only Lua, but for more the standard version is with C++,

Do I recommend, for sure, if your new, don't have programing knowledge, Leadworks is for you, if you know C++ leadwerks is also for you, show us something great,
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7 of 9 people (78%) found this review helpful
633.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 28, 2015
Leadwerks is a semi easy-to-use, but also very powerful game engine that is frequently updated and has a very friendly and active community. With Leadwerks, you can create any game you want, be it an FPS game, 3rd person shooter, or a puzzle game, you can make it in the Leadwerks engine.

Some Of The Great Features

The deferred renderer is a great thing giving you the ability to easily add dynamic lights and/or static lights with realistic shadows. CSG level editing (like Source Engine's Hammer editor) is fun and fast in the Leadwerks editor, allowing you to map out and create a level to test out pretty quickly. Another great thing about this engine is that it is Steamworks ready. If you get your project Greenlit, you are ready to rock n' roll publishing your game on Steam.

Leadwerks Game Engine vs Professional Edition

To note about the two versions of this engine, the regular version (Leadwerks Game Engine) is the base version. It allows you to program your game in LUA scripts which do not need compiling time and it gives you the easy-to-use game editor that allows CSG level editing, like you would find in the Hammer editor. The Professional edition is an add-on (DLC) that requires the regular verion, but gives you the ability to program your game in C++ in which gives you more power and the ability to download and use any other C++ libraries such as RackNet for networking and so on.

Is This For Beginners? Well...

Is this engine for novice game developers? Well... I would not think so, I say "semi" easy-to-use for a reason. This engine does require you to program in at least LUA script. Yes, it does have a tutorial for beginners and it comes packed with a couple game examples and templates (FPS example and marble game example) that you can work from when you create a new project, but I would say these are only examples/templates that still need to be built upon. If programming is not your forte, this would not be the engine for you. Also, the documentation needs work as there are many commands in both LUA and C++ that are not well documented or not documented at all, requiring you to search the forums on in hope for a post already created and answered, but if you cannot find a forum post you can always ask the friendly community that are more than happy to help you out.

In Conclusion

If you are looking for a powerful engine that has LUA scripting, CSG editing, Steamworks ready, all run through an easy-to-use editor, I do recommend the Leadwerks Engine. The regular version (Leadwerks Game Engine) is the way to go. However, in addtion, if you want to program your game in C++, I recommend you to pick up the Professional Edition also. This engine is truely great and will continue to grow for years to come. I will be using this engine for many of my own future projects on

Teamed Developers, Please Note:

Please note, if you are working on a team, only people who will be coding the game in C++ are required to get the Professional edition, everyone else that are either designers and/or LUA scripters are required just to get the base version.

CSG Map Making Tip

As a tip from a fellow game developer to another, I would urge you to use CSG brushes only for whiteboxing (or prototyping your map). As you draw more and more brushes, your map may begin to lag heavily in the editor. This makes the map design stage cumbersome and time consuming. Saving a map with lots of brushes takes a commitment. One of my maps that I worked on had at least 300 CSG brushes and it took at least 20 to 30 seconds to save. The reason why it lags is because CSG is different from models and, I believe, it uses a different rendering technique than a regular model that you import. Luckily, you can export your CSG brushes to OBJ files, import them into a modeling program such as Blender (which is free, highly recommended) and then export them to FBX files which you can feed into Leadwerks. Do youself a favor, optimize your map as you design it with the export function, it makes life that much easier ;)
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8 of 14 people (57%) found this review helpful
101.8 hrs on record
Posted: February 18
The game engine has a lot of bugs and it's a one man show doing the work and updates that are not tested before released. The end user of the product is the beta tester and good luck getting any support when the program crashes.
I bought it at 80% off for $20.00 so no big deal throwing away $20.00 but not worth $100 at all.

Save your money and move on to a real game engine with support and people use to make games.
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