Platinum Arts Sandbox Free 3D Game Maker is a free open source 3D Game Maker, world creator and 3D Game Design program currently being used in many schools throughout the world that allows kids and adults to create their own video games, worlds, levels, adventures and quests, even cooperatively! The goal is to make it accessible to kids but also powerful enough for full game projects. With a simple click and roll of a mouse wheel users can modify the world however they want. In the words of a nine year old Sandbox whiz I babysit for, “Press Edit and go fulfill your dreams!”. Now features new game modes such as sidescroller, machinima, kartmode, RPG, and more!
I've tried a bunch of game making software over the past week, and so far Sandbox is the only one that I've gotten as far into as being able to actually start creating a level. Some AAA commercial products crash upon starting or just won't start at all, or claim to have a free trial period but won't start at all unless you purchase a registration key.
With Sandbox, I was able to launch it and start altering the terrain and changing textures on it almost immediately. It's really fast and smooth, too. I was getting between 50 and 60 fps on my mid-range PC running around the first level I made in game mode.
But every silver lining has its cloud. Its user interface is downright user hostile. It's not intuitive from the splash screen how to load a map you created and saved the previous day (to save a map just click on SAVE AS, but to load a map you have to go into the console and type a command...it took watching several YT tutorial videos to be told about this). Also, the game I want to make is more of a simulator. But when you create a new map, you have to choose between FPS or a RPG, so your character runs around pointing a gun at everyone or has a big ugly HP and MP power bar at the bottom of the screen. I know there's a way to turn the HUD off altogether, but it's far from intuitive how, and I haven't come across the particular tutorial video on YT on how to do it yet. I know and expect that software as complex as this will have a steep learning curve, but these simple details like the UI not being able to load a saved map, and lacking a simple menu to select the HUD for the type of game you're making is a pretty obvious design oversight.
So I'm giving it an 8 simply because it works, is reliable, is fast, and is free, but docking it 2 for the user-hostile UI.