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 (164 reviews) - 74% of the 164 user reviews for this software are positive.
Release Date: Jan 6, 2014

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Recent updates View all (46)

February 8

Game Engine Gems 3 Now Available for Pre-order

The book "Game Engine Gems 3" by Eric Lengyel is now available for purchase on Amazon (ISBN #978-1498755658). This title, set for release April 21, 2016, features 22 chapters of game programming knowledge, including a chapter by Leadwerks founder Josh Klint titled "Vegetation Management in Leadwerks Game Engine 4". The accompanying CD even includes source code for an early version of the Leadwerks vegetation system, so you can see exactly what is going on under the hood of the engine. Pick it up now on Amazon:

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January 18

Introducing the Workshop Store

Leadwerks Workshop provides a repository of free game items for game developers to use in their projects. Workshop content has been heavily used in several game tournaments to make many different games of different genres.

Today we are rolling out the Leadwerks Workshop Store. This allows us to add new and better quality content for you to use in your games. All assets are curated and verified to work correctly with Leadwerks Game Engine. This includes material setup, sizing, and correct grid alignment of modular pieces.

You can purchase items from the Workshop interface in the Leadwerks Editor. When you find a paid item you would like to purchase, click on the "Buy" button and you will be taken the purchase page for that item.

You can checkout of the store page by adding funds to your Steam Wallet. The item will then be available to install in the editor, just like a free Workshop item. You can also purchase items from their page on our website. Your purchase will always be associated with your Steam account, so you never have to worry about backing up files or losing them.

If you have any feedback on the purchasing process, content, or requests for future items, don't hesitate to let us know how we can improve. If the community finds this useful we will keep growing the library of available content ready to use with Leadwerks.

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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.

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
90 of 96 people (94%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
395.1 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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35 of 42 people (83%) found this review helpful
8 people found this review funny
694.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 27, 2015
I have 'finally' choosed this software for a number of reasons.

Its the most easy way to actually get something done and still have full control of the details. The editor is leightweighted and quite capable with easy 'drag and drop' import of models, sounds and images. You can add behaviour to any object using LUA scripts which is a very fast way to write code and almost instantly see the result. If you need even more power you can mix LUA and C++.

The API is one of the most easy to understand and control I have ever seen. You can even design code parts using a visuak Flowgraph editor. The visuals are great and getting better and better each month, much because the shader system. Another thing that's absolutely great is the Workshop system where you can import models from the Steam Workshop directly inside the editor. The support for publishing games are there also and works together with the new GameLauncher here on steam.

I higly recommend this engine, no matter if you are a newbie or a more experienced developer
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24 of 26 people (92%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
58.6 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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21 of 23 people (91%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
92.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 14, 2015
This software is making my dreams come true. Easy to use, allot of functions to work with. The developer is always making this engine better and better and he is always helpful with support and he is always concerned to know what the users need and what can be done to add new functionalities. 100% RECOMMENDED
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12 of 13 people (92%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
188.4 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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