Isometric Game Engines

Posted by on Nov 29 2007, in Computer Game Programming, Isometric Game, Programming, zegarkus

3d isometric Ah remember those high graphic computer games before 3D Games became a mainstay? Those were isometric games – basically 2d games with 3d perspective: Many old school great computer games, including some with highly detail graphics have used isometric perspective. I particular liked the Black Isle NeverWinter nights, Torment and Baldurs Gate Graphics. Below are a list of tools that you can use to create an isometric game or graphics, i took the website blurb where available and pasted it below so describe the game better (not in any particular order):

  • isotopeIsotope is an Isometric game engine for Pygame written using the Python programming language. It provides the framework for constructing an Isometric graphics game with actors who can pick up objects and jump onto platforms. Isotope also provides automated actors who can interact with the player or their environment. There is a specific focus on documentation which sets it appart from the other projects in this area. Other SDL versions available also.
  • kyraKyra Sprite Engine:A Sprite Engine is the drawing and rendering component of 2D and quasi-3D games. Examples of this kind of game are Civilization, Donkey Kong (classic arcade), Pharaoh, Zeus, Warcraft, Diablo, Frogger, and Pirates!, among many others. It is so called because the “characters” or “little men” are referred to as “sprites”.
  • explorationsExplorations: Explorations RPG Maker is a full featured 2D rpg engine capable of creating real-time role playing games comparable to Baldur’s Gates, IceWind Dale, & Fallout. Explorations features a simple yet powerful drag/drop interface with extensive debugging & support tools which makes Explorations the highest quality rpg maker available. The Explorations game creator makes local, network, and even mmog (massive multiplayer online games).
  • wintermuteWintermute Game Engine: Wintermute Engine Development Kit is a set of tools for creating and running graphical “point&click” adventure games, both traditional 2D ones and modern 2.5D games (3D characters on 2D backgrounds). The kit includes the runtime interpreter (Wintermute Engine, or WME) and GUI editors for managing and creating the game content (WME tools) as well as the documentation, demonstrational data and prefabricated templates.
  • isoworld IsoWorld is a Cross-Platform Isometric Game Development Engine that allows professionals and hobbyists alike to easily bring their isometric game visions directly to the gaming world without the huge investment of developing the underlying sprite technology or isometric gaming engine.
  • novashellNovashell is a high-level 2D game maker that tries to handle all the hard work behind the scenes allowing you to whip up sweet games using pathfinding, dialog, persistant dynamically sized maps with contruction/decontruction, save anywhere, and especially features that adventure and RPG type games would use. It’s also built to allow easy sharing of games you make and modding of them. The underlying concept is everything is cut and pastable and can be added and removed even during play.
  • cjkMap-like Web Game Engine: The basic challenge for a web game is continuously loading of the world, the same for general client games. However, the dynamically loadding of many web based map meet the request. With this game engine, the game world can be dynamically loaded to the browser, and objects/sprites can also be optimized to be dynamically loaded.
  • theoworldTheoworld: is a tile-based isometric engine implemented in Flash. It can be used to create PRG/MPRPG games, 3D avatars chats and other interactive applications. TIE gives the possibility to create maps with objects on it (furniture, plants, collectable objects, etc.) and moving characters. It handles all the functionality, like drawing the map, placing all the objects on it, moving the characters around, detecting the collision, interacting with objects and so on, giving developers the freedom to create their own isometric worlds.
  • goldtGolden T Game Engine: is an advanced cross-platform game programming library written in Java language. GTGE library provides a complete routines for making 2D game from low level routines such as hardware accelerated 2D graphics, mouse and keyboard input, audio support, game timing, to game specific routines such as sprite, background, collision detection.
  • fifeFife Game Engine: The mission of the FIFE project is to create a cross platform game creation framework. Although we do provide support for some assets of the original Fallout games, FIFE is not an emulator to replay the storylines of Fallout 1 & 2 with it. The development team emanated from a Fallout-related project and is now working to deliver an easy to use but powerful cross platform 2D game creation framework.
  • jcraftJcraft: is a free cross-platform tile-based real-time strategy game engine (RTS). It includes support for playing over the internet/LAN, or playing a computer opponent. The engine is configurable and can be used to create games with a wide-range of features specific to your needs. The initial version has been initiated by a software project assignment at the University Of Applied Sciences Rapperswil (HSR).
  • flash isometric gameZenbullets – Flash Isometric Game. Currently there is an Actionscript 3 class library for Flash Player 9 as well as an AS2 version for Flash 8 for this game, At the moment there are no plans to make this open source, but if there is sufficient demand it may be considered further down the line. Read more:
  • isointeractiveISOinteractive (STUDIO) The ISOinteractive STUDIO is software and additional components that allow rapid development of cross platform Isometric Macromedia Director environments. Used for communications (such as multi user), games and other interactive online, downloadable or CD/DVD content.
  • j2m3e.jpgJ2ME Isometric Engine: An engine/framework for isometric games (like japanese RPGs) for mobile devices supporting J2ME (MIDP 1.0). This engine will manage maps, objects and characters. A full Action-RPG using this library is going to be released… Stay tuned…
  • isoengineIsoEngine SDK is a 2D/isometric game engine software development kit. It is the best isometric engine on the web, offering great quality and lightning speed at a very low price. It comes with an abundance of tools, including a map editor. IsoEngine can help you create 2D and isometric games in very little time.
  • The FFilmation EngineThe FFilmation Engine is a free AS3 isometric programing engine, focused mainly on game development. Its name is a tribute to the filmation engine used in some of the greatest games in the 8bit era. The aim of the project is providing a robust development platform, where game designers can work on the game’s details and forget about the render engine. It is intended to be really usable from a “real production scenario” with limited resources.
  • GEMRB Game Engine GemRB (Game engine made with preRendered Background) is a portable open-source implementation of Bioware’s Infinity Engine which was written to support pseudo-3D role playing games based on the Dungeons & Dragons ruleset. It should run on GNU/Linux, Microsoft Windows, OS X and possibly other UNIX derivatives. It is licensed under the GPL.
  • Haaf Game Engine HGE is an easy to use yet powerful hardware accelerated 2D game engine. It is a full featured middleware for all who want to develop commercial quality 2D games rapidly and easily. It covers all imaginable 2D game genres: you could create everything from a simple puzzle to advanced multilayered platformer or strategy without even thinking of any non game logic code! And you don’t have to know anything about “window messages”, DirectX programming and all that stuff. Instead you can start developing your own game within 15 minutes!
  • ika Game Engine ika (all lowercase) is a generic gaming engine geared (only slightly) towards making console style RPGs. It’s already been proven quite able to make puzzle/platform/what-have-you as well. You can read more about the feature list of ika here.
  • picture3fn5thumbnail-6580246As3isolib is an open-source ActionScript 3.0 Isometric Library developed to assist in creating isometrically projected content (such as games and graphics) targeted for the Flash player platform. As3isolib includes utilities, primitives and views. As3isolib was developed with simplicity, speed and performance in mind so that developers can focus on actual implementations rather than having to learn a complex API. The as3isolib is loosly based on a scenegraph implementation.
  • slickthumbnail-3669030Slick2D is a simple set of tools wrapped around the LWJGL OpenGL binding for Java. It’s aims are as follows: * Provide a simple 2D API * Make transition from Java2D to OpenGL easier * Enable distribution via WebStart without the complexity * Provide the tools required for most simple games out of the box * Extensible framework for flexibility * Mix and Match – you use what you want, nothing is enforced. * Help with rendering, sound, input, collision and anything else we can think of.
  • verge3-2325079Verge3: Verge3 is a game engine designed to help people make rpgs, but it can actually make most any game in a Genesis/ Super Nintendo style. It is Windows Native, written in C++, and allows for a huge amount of flexibility. VERGE is an acronym for:Vecna’s Extrodinary Role-playing Game Engine.
  • agen-2964674Agen: AGen is a framework that serves as an abstract interface layer between the system hardware and your game. Programming games should not be about studying the inner workings of a hardware device or an operating system. AGen allows you to focus entirely on the game logic thanks to its simple and lightweight framework
  • isomyr-6928050Isomyr is an isometric game engine based on Pygame, and written in Python. A fork of the Isotope game engine, it provides the framework for constructing an isometric graphics game with actors who can pick up and drop objects, jump onto plaforms, and move about in projected 3d isometric environments.
  • gameeditor-7971421Game Editor is the open source game design software that gives you the power to create the games of your dreams, and, unlike other game creation tools, gives you the chance to get and change the source code of the game creator and design and develop 2D games for personal computers as well as mobile devices.
  • iso-8290895Eclipse is a free to use 2D game engine. This game creator makes online mmorpgs. No previous knowledge is necessary becouse Eclipse uses a simple point and click system. If the software does not have the requirements you need you can program it with the source. Remember, Eclipse is a easy to use. But to create a truly fabulous games with this mmorpg maker time and effort will have to be put forward into your masterpiece. Story lines, sprites, graphic interfaces these are all key essences in making the difference between a simple game and a truly unique mmorpg that will go places or generate revenue. The eclipse game engine has the capability to create professional games but it takes the user to truly harness that power.
  • avesengine-3197591The Aves Engine is a professional game engine to build any type of web based 2D or 2.5D game by only using HTML, CSS and JavaScript, giving game studios the power to deliver stunning games for all kinds of genres on multiple platforms. It’s in a way similiar to Game Engines on PC or Console systems but utilizes many important patterns you need to consider when working in the web environment.
  • The Flax Engine (henceforth called Flax) is to be a 2D game engine for the web, using features introduced in HTML5, speci?cally the canvas and audio tags.
These isometric game engines are in SourceForge, they appear to be dead, but might be worth looking at:
  • JEDI-IsoAxEE WorkShop by Delphi: Using Delphi to write a complete Isometric Engine and Editor and to port it to Kylix upon it’s release. Features… 1. Cross-platform Isometric game engine and editor. 2. Full OO game object inheritance model so objects can be handled…
  • Java Isometric Engine: JIsoMan is an isometric game engine written in java. It has line-of-sight, entity & terrain objects, and a tilemap and wallmap. It also has a design mode to graphically design isometric maps.
  • The Lupercalia Engine: The Lupercalia Engine is an isometric game engine that will be used to develop multiplayer online games of various designs. Later on it will become the basis of a single game design, while allowing others to develop their own projects based on the engine
  • Deadlock Engine: The Deadlock Engine, or DEngine, is a generic, cross-platform isometric game engine written in Python.
  • Blackfish Engine Isometric Engine: BlackFish is an open source isometric game engine written in C++ for the MS windows DirectX7 platform. It runs in 800x600x16 graphics mode, either windowed or full screen. A custom map editor, called EditFish, is included.
  • Buttermilk Game EngineButtermilk is the 2D XNA game / GUI engine that’s being built for the game “Rogue Bishop”. It’s a very easy-to-use 2D game engine which tranparently supports 3D objects in the 2D scene graph. It currently includes a dynamically-skinned GUI system. The GUI system is completely separated from the 2D game engine in its own project module, and can be used in any XNA application, 2D or 3D.

Note the Alternativa Engine is 3d now, so I removed it from the official list, however is still worth checking out (it looks pretty impressive!)


  • I was intrigued when I initially came across IsoWorld. The product, although no longer being developed and despite it's dated appearance, appeared to be an interesting development tool worth investigating. I went through the info provided by SpriTec on their website and gave the demo a go. I then decided to purchase the software. This was a mistake. On the night of purchase I emailed SpriTec and enquired how I was to get the software that I had purchased. After several days without a reply I went through their site and found that all products are provided via digital download within a 24 hour period after purchase. I then sent another email enquiring what was happening. After another week or so, several more emails from me, and still no response from SpriTec I initiated dispute resolution through Paypal. After sending two further messages to SpriTec from Paypal there was still no response. The matter was finalized yesterday with me getting a refund of my $39. I am not happy with SpriTec though. They have shown complete disregard for a customer. I would not advise anybody to purchase this product as you are unlikely to receive it. SpriTec are only there to rip off unsuspecting customers. Stay well clear of IsoWorld and only buy from reputable companies.  

  • Wanted to add ISO MOVeS.

    The ISO Interactive Multi User Virtual Environment System
    (or ISO MOVeS) is a robust set of tools and code base for online development of simple to complex (massive) multiplayer virtual worlds and social games (and on social networks such as Facebook). In other words, MOVeS is the software that makes things like massive multiplayer games, virtual words, MMORPGs and social games.