Leadwerks is the easiest way to make your own 3D games. With a rapid development pipeline, Lua script integration, and a royalty-free license, Leadwerks is the perfect platform for your next project or your first game.
User reviews: Mostly Positive (41 reviews)
Release Date: Jan 6, 2014

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Recent updates View all (21)

September 16

Halloween Game Tournament II Kicks Off

The weather is cooling off, leaves are falling from the trees, and kids are heading back to school...which means it's time for the second Leadwerks Halloween Game Tournament. This year the theme is "Pumpkins & Poltergeists".

How to Enter
Submit your playable game to the Leadwerks Workshop, or upload it to the showcase forum, before October 31st. You can use the tournament theme for inspiration, or come up with your own Halloween or non-Halloween related ideas. You can work together in teams or on your own. On the evening of October 31st, a review of submitted games will be posted.

Rather than a competition, this year's tournament will be a "co-opetition". The community is encouraged to help one another make fun playable games. Everyone who participates in the tournament will receive a Leadwerks sticker in the mail. After you submit your game, you will be contacted for your mailing address so your prize can be sent.

A SUPER BONUS PRIZE will be awarded for the games we feel are extra noteworthy, but there's no set limit on the number of these that will go out.

Getting Started
To help kick off the contest, we've released the Halloween Model Pack by Rich DiGiovanni for free in the Leadwerks Workshop. Feel free to use these models to get started with your game idea. You can participate by posting blogs about your game's development, or just post some work-in-progress screenshots.

If you've got a serious project in development, this is a great opportunity to take a break and make a simple fun game, or you can even make a simplified teaser of your game to drum up a fan base.

Most of all have fun, and beware the Judderman!

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August 25

Leadwerks Game Engine for Linux Launches on Steam

Following completion of their successful Kickstarter campaign to bring Leadwerks’ game development software to Linux, Leadwerks has announced the release of Leadwerks Game Engine for Linux on the Steam distribution platform. This provides Linux users with a powerful tool to easily create their own 3D games.

Over the last year, Leadwerks has focused on desktop Linux as a platform for creating and playing games. For many users, Leadwerks provides the last missing application they need to move entirely over to Ubuntu or another Linux-based OS. With Leadwerks for Linux now available on Steam, developers can build and play games without ever leaving Linux.

Bringing Leadwerks Game Engine for Linux to Steam means that existing games can be more easily deployed to Linux. The Leadwerks Game Player allows users to play games published through the Steam Workshop. In most cases, games developed for Windows can be played on Linux with no changes and no recompiling, due to Leadwerks’ platform-agnostic design.

Linux support also opens the door for Leadwerks developers to publish games to the living room. Last year Valve Software announced the SteamOS, a Linux-based operating system for game consoles. Although SteamOS is still in development, Leadwerks for Linux and SteamOS promise to provide indie game developers with a way to deploy their games to the living room quickly and easily.

Leadwerks Game Engine is a powerful and easy to use development tool for building 3D games. The software has recently grown in popularity due to its ease of use, royalty-free license, and strong support for C++ and Lua programming. Thanks to the quality of modern Linux graphics drivers, Leadwerks is able to deliver high-end 3D visuals on Linux with an advanced deferred renderer using OpenGL 4.0. The Indie Edition of the software can be purchased on Steam for $99.99.

About Leadwerks Software
Leadwerks Software was founded in 2006 to build powerful game development tools that are easy to use. The company launched Leadwerks 3 in April 2013 at the GDC expo. Last summer, the company conducted a successful Kickstarter campaign to bring Leadwerks to the Linux operating system, reaching over 200% of their goal in just six weeks. A concurrent Greenlight campaign for Steam was also successful, making Leadwerks the first 3D game engine approved for distribution on Steam. In June of 2014, the Leadwerks Game Player on Steam opened the door for indie game developers to publish their games to the Steam Workshop, with no waiting period and no approval process. Although it’s been available on Steam for less then a year, Leadwerks users already have a dozen games and concepts on Steam Greenlight.

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About This Software

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

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

Check out some of the great games Steam players are making with Leadwerks.

Key Features

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

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

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

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

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

Royalty-Free License
Your games you make are yours. Yours to play, yours to sell, yours to give away, and do as you please. You will never be charged royalties for any game you make in Leadwerks. And because we only rely on free open-source middleware libraries, you never have to worry about purchasing expensive licenses from third parties.

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


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


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


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

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows Vista, 7, 8, or 8.1
    • Processor: 2.0 ghz dual core
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 4.0 / DirectX 11 capable graphics card or integrated graphics chip, with current drivers
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
    • OS: Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64-bit
    • Processor: 2.0 ghz dual core 64-bit
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 4.0 ATI or Nvidia graphics card with proprietary drivers
    • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
Helpful customer reviews
50 of 55 people (91%) found this review helpful
283.6 hrs on record
(Edited after using this engine quite a bit)
Aside from the fantastic graphics capabilities, this is a very good engine for the price! It provides a lot of freedom and the workshop is a great feature that should be integrated into other engines the way it is in this engine. Haha, this might be a bit long but here are my pros and cons:

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

-Missing features: Some functionality is missing such as water and vehicle physics. However, the most notable feature missing is a vegetation system, which is being worked on
-Hardware: This engine requires a lot in terms of hardware to create many useful projects (of course this is a downside of a deferred renderer in general), but with that comes with great graphical potential

Overall, I would definitely recommend this engine, especially since the development team behind it is very helpful and supportive of the community.
Posted: July 3
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12 of 14 people (86%) found this review helpful
1,717.6 hrs on record
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.
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.

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.

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!
Posted: September 7
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17 of 24 people (71%) found this review helpful
39.7 hrs on record
It's almost ready for creating some cool games :) It needs a little work (which it is recieving as I am writting this review) but already you can do some cool stuff. Unlike some of it's competitiors it doesn't require royalties to be payed. The only thing you pay for is the software (and optionally the c++ support too). I recommend this to developers, especially when it is finished :D
Posted: May 30
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
33.0 hrs on record
Outstanding graphics, Lightning fast, Lua integration, easy to use... this engine is perfect for any indie developer or professional game studio. I would recommend Leadwerks to anyone.
Posted: September 17
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13 of 23 people (57%) found this review helpful
35.6 hrs on record
This engine is definintly an amazing app for steam, users can finally make games for steam. The price might seem high but trust me. Its worth it. If you have any questions about this game engine, message my steam account. Hope to see your game on here soon...
Posted: April 28
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166 of 180 people (92%) found this review helpful
50.7 hrs on record
Ok here is what I think of the engine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For add-ons:
Posted: January 8
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