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 or as a standalone and show your game off to the world.
User reviews:
Overall:
Mostly Positive (205 reviews) - 75% of the 205 user reviews for this software are positive.
Release Date: Jan 6, 2014

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August 23

Leadwerks Summer Games 2016 Roundup

With the Summer Games 2016 Tournament completed, it's time to review the entries. This tournament brought a new level of quality, with several small games that could be considered Greenlight-ready, made in just four weeks!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiljzBFNvsM
Sound Game
http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/viewitem?fileid=732192584

Test your spatial reasoning skills in this unique and challenging game. Navigate with your map and lit up clues to get to the end of the maze.



Soundscape
http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/viewitem?fileid=732248859

Solve the mystery in this atmospheric puzzle adventure.



Astrotrack
http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/viewitem?fileid=733382938

Race through this futuristic yet retro world with a rockin' 8-bit soundtrack.



Log Riders
http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/viewitem?fileid=734499057

Jump from log to log in this fun physics-driven game.



Realm of the Lamb
http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/viewitem?fileid=735323135

Explore the afterworld in this atmospheric adventure. A great example of storytelling and pacing.



Little Dagon
http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/viewitem?fileid=735476592

Run. Glide. Shoot fireballs. Any way you do it, you're going to have a blast in this polished and fun game.



Leadblocks Jump n' Run
http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/viewitem?fileid=743969073

Slafstraf is back, not with horror, but with a psychadelic first-person jumping experience. Test your skills with this challenging LSD-driven adventure.



Anesthetic
http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/viewitem?fileid=747490351

Blast through hordes of enemies in this frantic fast-paced action title. Steam Leaderboards let you see how well you're doing compared to other players.



Spookemon Go!
http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/viewitem?fileid=747753330

Race an RC car around your beach house and collect all the Spookemons. You've got to catch them all!



Robo Platformer
http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/viewitem?fileid=747899296

Jump your robot from platform to platform in this challenging third-person game.



FPS Nightmare
http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/viewitem?fileid=748730998

Fight for your very soul. We couldn't have said it any better.



The Hankinator's House of Darkness
http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/viewitem?fileid=749141006

A blend of action and puzzle-solving with excellent game mechanics makes this a must-play!



Dino Land
http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/games/_/dino-land-r113

Collect photos of dinosaurs in this unique adventure! Also features completely awesome water. Did we mention there's dinosaurs?



TinyGom
http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/games/_/tinygom-r110

Race a tiny remote-control car through a fun and active setting.



Pew Pew Bang Bang
http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/games/_/pew-pew-bang-bang-r111

Red vs. Blue team-based battles. What more do you need to know? Go play it!



Run! Jump! Crawl!
http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/games/_/run-jump-climb-r114

A classic side-scroller with satisfying graphics and a fun vibe. Try it out!



Crawler's Den
http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/games/_/crawlers-den-r115

Replay the Leadwerks AI and Events map with this reimagined implementation done in pure C++. There's also an interesting blog about the development experience.



Grimlight
http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/games/_/grimlight-r116

Sneak through the corridor and avoid the enemies. Excellent map design makes this a great entry to check out.

0 comments Read more

July 18

Leadwerks Summer Games 2016



Now that you've had time to get acquainted with Leadwerks, it's time for the Summer 2016 Game Tournament.

When
The tournament will start Monday, July 25, and end Sunday, August 21th at 11:59 P.M. (Pacific Standard Time).

How to Participate
Publish your summer-or-other-themed game to Steam Workshop or upload it to the games database before the deadline. You can work as a team or individually. Use blogs to share your work and get feedback as you build your game. If you need models for your game, we've got a bunch of free content in Leadwerks Workshop for you to use.
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=464751401
Games must have a preview image, title, and contain some minimal amount of gameplay to be considered entries. It is expected that most entries will be simple, given the time constraints.

Prizes
Rather than a competition, this tournamant is a "co-opetition". Everyone who participates gets a prize!

If this is your first game tournament entry, you will receive a cool Leadwerks sticker in the mail.



If this is your second game tournament entry, you'll receive a collection of three limited-edition professionally printed postcards featuring beautiful Leadwerks screenshots. Send them to a friend or put them on the wall.



If this is your third game tournament entry, you'll receive a rockin' Leadwerks T-shirt in the mail. Wear it to show how cool you really are.



If this is your fourth game tournament entry, you'll receive the new Leadwerks hoodie! This gorgeous garment makes you look like a Silicon Valley startup geek. This light jacket is perfect for air-conditioned spaces that are just slightly chilly.



If this is your fifth game tournament entry, you will receive a Steam Controller. The Steam Controller lets you play your entire collection of Steam games on your TV—even the ones designed without controller support in mind.



Bonus Prize
All participants will receive an 11" x 17" printed poster for the Summer Games 2016 Tournament! This limited-run item will be printed only once, only for this event. This is your only chance to get this poster, ever.



Make games and have fun!

2 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 (205 reviews)
Recently Posted
Suppercut ekirtsatem
1.3 hrs
Posted: August 27
I was willing to give this engine a try for creating non-FPS types of games, but as it turns out, it has no controller support whatsoever, and the whole physics system just seems very clunky anyways. Uninstalled.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Thirsty Panther
665.2 hrs
Posted: August 24
Leadwerks Game Engine + Zombie and Weapon DLC , $150

Updates, Royalties, Liecences, $0

Telling your friends and family you have a game on Steam, Priceless!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
TitForTat
11.0 hrs
Posted: August 21
Linux C++ support is extreamly broken right now. It seems to have taken a back seat.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
 
A developer has responded on Aug 23 @ 2:37pm
(view response)
TheColdQuasar
2.2 hrs
Posted: August 9
It is pretty good as I remember. I did refund it as it didn't have a multiplayer feature. I would rebuy if it has a multiplayer feature. Pretty good and nice tutorials. Keep up the work.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
[Team NR] Dragonfreak
239.3 hrs
Posted: July 31
Alright, i finally got the time to write a review. I'm usually not the person that write reviews either because i'm either too lazy or it just wasn't good enough. So this sort of proves that it must be review worthy :)

First of all, i will mention that i finished my study exam thanks to this engine. I personally learned only 10% tops from my current knowledge of creating games (programming in general) through my study. It was crappy and i won't spill much more on it.

(Link here: http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/topic/14873-exam-game-realm-of-the-lamb/#entry100915 )

However, i needed to be able to fully create a game for my exam. This is where leadwerks jumped in. I have learned atleast 80% of my knowledge through leadwerks by messing around, poking the community and overal following ALL their tutorials. Only by doing the tutorials, i already learned the 50%. I even learned basic lightning things, texturing and modeling things that i should've learned in my first year of my study.

For me personally, this was all clear and understandable especially since i had barely any knowledge on the things i mentioned above. This worked a lot in my favor.

I can continue on a long time with this.. But i rather keep it a bit more compact and go straight to why you should buy this engine.

This engine is always developing for more features, listening to the community and expanding it's possibilities.
The interface is also extremely friendly to any user, beginner or advanced! ( Or in between ;) )

Another awesome feature, which i personally loved insanely and made my life so much easier during creating this game:
The flowgraph feature. This feature pretty much makes it possible to hook up different kind of scripts with just a line. You can add additional values with it to make it more mobile.

For example, i had 1 script for multi purpose. I just made the value output change based on the user input during the game and together they formed the "key" to open a door! Genius if you ask me!

Next to that is the script property dynamic functionaliteit (excuse me if i named this wrong, i didn't know how to describe it differently)
For each script, you can make custom "settings" which appear on the script tab it self. So for the same thing as i mentioned above, you can create 1 dynamic script for example a few NPC's, but they need a different color, speed and name. With this functionaliteit you can exactly make 1 script that you can attach to multiple NPC's and just give them their own differences! The engine will handle the rest! (This is really a life safer)

To be honest, i might not be the best review writter, i might have missed a few important things..
But these things and many more, really made it possible for me to create a solid complete game. With a start and an end.

Before i was never able to do this.. Hence my reason to write this review :)

I hope this was helpful with your decision! I personally bought it in the sell, but truly the price of this engine is really cheap considering for everything you get in return. Especially the fact that it's ROYALITY FREE! My lord, what more reason do you need?!

Thanks for reading if you made it this far, here have a cookie :)

One thing i forgot to mention: Thanks to leadwerks, i found back what i have lost long ago and that was my joy and fun of programming. I'm a person that can get stuck in it, forget time completely and suddenly realize it's 4 in the morning. So thanks again leadwerks, truly amazing :)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Thor-Games
23.5 hrs
Posted: July 22
Excellent gaming engine for me and my games!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
mike_mihai89
41.7 hrs
Posted: July 13
PROS:

Highly recommend for beginners, or anybody that has zero experience with game engines and zero experience with coding.

This is main reason why, A TON of tutorials.
http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/tutorials

You do not need more than a basic laptop to run Leadwerks. I use an A6-4400 2.7Ghz APU with amd integrated graphics.
I imagine a beefier PC will be needed later on as you start to create better and better quality content.

Follow and add program to wishlist, it goes on sale for about $20 occasionally.

(this is both pro and con, but mostly a pro) - Uses LUA scripting which is a dynamic (like english and much easier than C++ tho a bit more limited)

CONS:

I feel like the tutorials are not constantly updated, however the Leadwerks Editor is, Most of the tutorials are word for word accurate, however sometimes they are a bit off. It can be confusing unless you take a moment and try to think what it's trying to say and realise there is a typo or a mistake somewhere.

Minor con, this is not cryengine, or frostbite, or unreal, etc. Meaning that it can not do all the cool things you see in newer videogames, the effects are limited, but that is ok. I didn't buy leadwerks to make the next biggest triple A title. The upside is that it is easier to work with Leadwerks than it is to work with the more complicated and advanced game engines.

I use win10 on my weaksauce laptop and while everything works fine, there is one thing that really bothers me.
I can not simply drag/drop (like in the instructions) when it comes to importing textures from any file and into the editor.

The only way to do it (and it's not hard, just annoying) is that I have to (as an example) go into editor "assets" tab, and got to "materials" or "models" depending what I am importing and then Right click, select open folder, then copy/paste new materials or models in this folder.

This is the ONLY way it works for me. In the tutorials they say just drag/drop and it will automatically do it all for you in the highlighted folder. Well nope that doesn't work. It might be to do with the operating system as they claim for linux it does not work either.

I really can't think of any more pros and cons, but when I do I'll update.

P.S. if you want to use the steam workshop use the one that is built into the editor, not the one off the steam app. Why? Because it's an integrated function that works seamlessly. Also you have to go back to the workshop inside the editor and install meterials or models each time you create a new project. So just cuz you downloaded them and installed them once, doesn't mean jack if you started a new project you have to repeat the process. A new project is essentially a new game meaning you have to rebuild your textures and models library as usually no 2 games are alike.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
boagrius52
0.3 hrs
Posted: July 11
Very disappointing...
Helpful? Yes No Funny
QuickNinjaCat
0.2 hrs
Posted: July 7
Good thing I got this on sale, so at least I didn't blow $100 out of my pocket on this garbage. Since I was used to Hammer editor for the Source engine, I recall there being a claim somewhere in one of the official videos for this that said "If you're used to the Hammer editor, you'll feel right at home with Leadwerks," which, at first was a selling point for me, and when it was on sale for $20, I was excited to get into this program. Once I opened it up, I was expecting to be able to do at least something with my prior knowledge. Nope. This program took everything I knew how to do and threw it out the window.. I was expecting similar controls to Hammer, but I couldn't move the 2D or 3D views at all. Do not buy this unless you are completely new or you aren't a creature of habit.

I got a refund the day after I purchased.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
 
A developer has responded on Jul 7 @ 10:27am
(view response)
rogy
35.8 hrs
Posted: July 6
Before I bought Leadwerks I've tried almost all "free" game engines out there: unreal, lumberyard, cryengine... All of them very powerful but in my case very confusing to use. Of course that's how my brain is working: software that is overfilled with features that I am not using and that I will never use as Indie game developer is just not for me. Simple as that.

To be honest, I bought Leadwerks when it was on sale, price was just too yummy to ignore and I couldn't find too many information about this piece of engine and that's how my exploration started. For now, I am really happy with my purchase...

Let me get this straight. Someone who played less then 20 hours with Leadwerks can't give honest review. This program asks you to be an adventurer, UI is so simple but when you search more deep, (or under the hood if you like) there is hidden the secret of good software engineering. This is the first and the biggest reason I like about Leadwerks.

I understand that today ppl like node based logic approach in game programming, but you know what: code is code. I learn that from Game Maker Studio (oh, I forgot to mention that I am a 2D game developer): drag and drop is nice I agree, but code is giving you not only deeper control, but training for your brain as well, how game logic needs to be set (there is Flowgraph option though that can help you visually to set code logic in your game) Lua is the main scripting language in Leadwerks and therefore it's easy to learn it if you don't have any prior knowledge in programming (like me). C++, C#, yes they are all superb but again: I don't need something that powerful but confusing to use.. (professional edition gives you option to code in C++ but I don't find my self that professional)


Before I clicked "Add to Cart" button I was worried about 2 things. 1. Learning materials and, of course, 2. what games can I make in Leadwerks?

Let me start with the second question. All sorts of games! What I really don't like is Leadwerks marketing. It's very misleading and it's somehow pushing towards FPS games and I think that's wrong. To be honest, in Leadwerks you can't make AAA looking FPS like you are seeing today. Don't expect some crazy things from Leadwerks although 4.1 brings some really cool post fx. Some things are also too complicated to make compared to the other engines because some features are missing; such as sequencer for ingame cut-scenes, ragdoll physics, Substance material support and lists goes on. The most that you can expect from Leadwekrs FPS is quality from Doom III era. Not so wow for today's standard, but hey, at least it lets you making them in easy manner. FBX support on the other hand is superb! I didn't have a single problem in importing FBX, even from 2D animation packages like Anime Studio Pro and Creature Animation. With all Leadwerks post fx, imported 2D animation look really amazing and you can make them shine with ease!

But, so many (if not all) developers are pushing Leadwerks for FPS and I don't like that. As I said, I am coming from 2D game world, and I am aiming at 2D/2.5D side scroller / platforming games. And YES! This software can help you make them. I was blown away how few lines of code can set all controls for my 2D/2.5D character. But you have to dig to find all that. And that's how we are getting to the first question: Learning material.

Well, you have to understand this thing. Leadwerks site is giving you a decent amount of learning materials to get you started. YouTube still has something left from version 3 that you can apply in latest version. But, before you start complaining how you don't understand what is function, what is variable, table, etc. you have to do this: LEARN LUA! If you don't understand simple LUA syntax you can't move forward. And although you can find LUA crash course on Leadwerks site, trust me, that's not enough. Search for more, if you are beginner like me, you need more learning sources than one. When you learn LUA basics, Leadwerks API reference (from their site) is all you gonna need :) And of course, let's not forget HUUUUGE community. Leadwerks forum is full of experienced users, and it's only matter of minute when your question will be answered (of course this depends on your Time zone, some ppl might ZzzZz while you are still awake, breaking your head trying to solve the burning problem) .


All in all, I am very satisfied how my learning process is going so far, and for now I like most of the features that this software is giving me (for my 2.5D side scrollers). I would like to see even more features in the future (more advanced Visual flowgraph for example, substance shader support, sequencer for cut-scene, etc.), but again that depends from the other users as well. More variety in game genres will make this wonderful piece of software even more flexible and competitive on this growing market.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
 
A developer has responded on Jul 6 @ 8:34pm
(view response)
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
665.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 24
Leadwerks Game Engine + Zombie and Weapon DLC , $150

Updates, Royalties, Liecences, $0

Telling your friends and family you have a game on Steam, Priceless!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 9
It is pretty good as I remember. I did refund it as it didn't have a multiplayer feature. I would rebuy if it has a multiplayer feature. Pretty good and nice tutorials. Keep up the work.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
688 of 750 people (92%) found this review helpful
37 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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233 of 260 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
4,657.3 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 209 people (91%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
759.5 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 99 people (91%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
Recommended
403.0 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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195 of 257 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 67 people (91%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
102.4 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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78 of 93 people (84%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
14.8 hrs on record
Posted: February 22, 2015
I'm very disappointed with this software. It's incredibly basic, with simple add ons which IMO should come with the software, costing ridiculous amounts.

The work people have done with previous versions has been practical thrown out, as it's changed so much with no backwards compatibility. So it seems little consideration is given to people trying to make things with this software.

The only great things this has going for it is the royalty-free part. It is fairly easy to use too.

I'm pleased I at least waited for the sale discount and opted to only get the lui version.

You will also need the beta drivers to run this software if you have a ATI GPU. link Kindly put there in the developers responce.
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A developer has responded on Mar 21, 2015 @ 11:19am
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