Free & open source multi-platform 2D game development in Flutter
Today I’m excited to introduce you to a major update of the Flutter Casual Games Toolkit, a collection of new templates and new developer resources to make game developers more productive with Flutter.
Flutter is Google’s open source UI framework for building beautiful multi-platform applications. Today, Flutter is used in more than one million apps ranging from early stage startups to large companies like ByteDance, Tencent, BMW, and Google, to deliver beautiful, performant, and portable experiences across platforms, from a single codebase.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a growing community around casual game development. Tens of thousands of games have been published using Flutter, from simple but fun puzzles to more complex arcade games. Some of our favorites include Etermax’s Trivia Crack, Lotum’s 4 Pics 1 Word (word guess game), Dong Digital’s Brick Mania (arcade game), Onrizon’s StopotS (categories game), the retro pinball game we built in Flutter for I/O, and PUBG mobile who uses Flutter in their social and menu screens.
Flutter is a great choice for game developers. First, it’s free and open source, giving you fine-grained control over your game’s rendering and input handling logic. This allows you to debug issues at their core and customize the engine to your needs. Flutter’s openness also extends to our ecosystem. All Flutter plugins and packages are also available for integration at no cost.
Second, developing in Flutter is highly productive. Flutter introduced a revolutionary capability called hot-reload that allows developers to see instant UI updates after making code changes, thus making the development process more iterative and efficient. Besides, Flutter supports multi-platform game development, so you can build your game for iOS and Android, web, and desktop all from a single, shared codebase. This saves you time and effort, and allows your game to reach a wider audience from day one.
Finally, Flutter games load fast and are generally very performant, even on low-end devices or in browsers. Bundle sizes can be smaller because the Flutter engine only adds a few megabytes to your game.
Since we released the first version of the toolkit in 2022, we’ve seen a lot of excitement from the Flutter community, but we have also heard strong feedback that you want more resources and guidance in developing a successful game. So we are updating the Flutter Casual Games Toolkit with new game templates, and resources to help you easily build casual games in Flutter. Just to highlight a few updates:
Templates for multiple game genres
We added three new game templates to provide a starting point for building a casual game. First, you will find a basic template that has a simple UI for the main menu, settings screen, simple level selection, and audio integration.
Second, you will find a Card game template that builds on top of the base template and adds basic drag and drop of cards, and is ready for multiplayer integration.
Third, we partnered with the open source game engine Flame (built on top of Flutter), to provide an endless runner template. While you can already use only Flutter to build many turn-based games such as card games, word puzzles, and board games that respond to simple user input, you might also want to build real-time games such as endless runners, shooters, and racing games that require a game loop. In those cases, you can use Flame to implement play steering, collision detection, parallax, spawning, and different visual effects.
To use these templates, simply check out the repo, and start building your game using the template that is the closest to what you want.
Developer resources for game service integrations
The toolkit includes developer guides for integrating necessary services to make your game more successful. For example, we included a few new Cookbook recipes and codelabs to show you how to:
The Flutter Casual Games Toolkit, like Flutter, is available for free (BSD 3 License) and is open source. You can learn more and get started at flutter.dev/games. We hope to release further updates to the toolkit with more genre-specific templates and developer resources. Please email us at [email protected] to tell us what else would make your game development experience easier!
We’re excited to see what you build with the Flutter Casual Games Toolkit. Whether you’re a seasoned game developer or just getting started, we have the tools and resources you need to create amazing casual games. So what are you waiting for? Start building today!