"Driller Engine can help you make better games faster and quicker. No more having to write large amounts of code!"
- Official attention grabber

'Driller Engine' (Japanese: ドリラーエンジン, Hepburn: 'Dorirā Enjin') is a game development tool created by Hiroshi Takajima and Kenjirou Nasaya formerly for the Commodore Amiga but now available on the main operating systems. The engine is designed to have beginners and novice computer users, and especially children, make video games without having to learn a complex programming language like C++ or Python.

Almost all Drillimation games were made using Driller Engine, using programming actions combined with the Driller Engine Scripting Language. Originally intended to be an animation program to animate the anime, Takajima chose to make a game development system instead to develop the original Mr. Driller game. Several notable franchises, including Touhou Project and To Heart, as well as several legendary games by Seymour Games in the 1990s, saw their start on Driller Engine. The program can also export to consoles and other operating systems easily without reverse engineering.

After an initial success with the program, several third-party manufacturers, as well as independent developers, began using Driller Engine for game development. Driller Engine was also very popular in the demoscene throughout the 1990s, with its features attracting some notable demogroups such as Future Crew. Several notable music artists such as Skaven and Purple Motion were also attracted to the engine.

Until 2006, Driller Engine's naming scheme was based on version numbers, before the introduction to high-definition graphics that the sixth version of Driller Engine became known as Driller Engine Ultimate. The seventh version, which was released in 2011, was Driller Engine Ultimate 2.


For Educators

"Get your students ready for tomorrow's jobs. No college degree required to teach!"
- Official attention grabber

From the creators of the popular TV show The Drillimation Series, Namco and Drillimation can give you and your students a cutting-edge computer science solution. That's right - it's Driller Engine! Driller Engine can teach your students engaging game design projects that will make them a superior candidate for a position in the video game industry or any business that uses e-learning, visualization, simulation, interactive web applications and graphics-based computer systems. This will teach your students the following concepts:

  • Programming - Driller Engine's Drag & Drop and Scripting Language teaches the complete Programming 101 course found at most colleges and universities. Younger students might want a head start on that!
  • Art - The games we develop today use a wide variety of art styles. Creativity is one way for creating a video game. This helps students visualize difficult concepts and understand vital information.
  • Design - Game design is what helps every video game take its shape. Your students can expand their creativity through wireframing, one-page design documents, and storyboarding.
  • Storytelling - Game development is one way of telling a story. Like movies, books, and television, storytelling exists in video games as well. Our internet culture is comprised of visual information, the ability to communicate using multiple media forms is an increasingly valuable skill.

For Developers

"With or without code, create your first game in under an hour."
- Official attention grabber

From the creators of the popular TV show The Drillimation Series, Namco and Drillimation have created the easiest game development tool in the world. That's right - it's Driller Engine! It is the most revolutionary tool for anyone to create the game of their dreams.

  • Amazingly easy to use - Load art, music, and sound effects into your game. Write your own music tracks with the revolutionary Open ModPlug Tracker that is also very easy to use. Whether you choose code or not, the Drag & Drop and Driller Engine Scripting Language can really help make your games come to life.
  • Playtesting has never been this easy - Playtest your game with just a click. Once you create a great game, you will want to share it with the world.
  • Driller Engine supports everything - Driller Engine has support for publishing your game to Steam, consoles, and mobile devices. You'll probably want to publish it to every known platform.

Driller Engine is also the best way to learn programming concepts, game design, and digital media creation for everyone. Originally created in 1986 for the development of the first Drillimation game, Mr. Driller, Driller Engine has been used by over three million independent developers and studios and has powered more than 300 games that won Game of the Year awards, including numerous #1 games by video game magazines such as Nintendo Power, GameInformer, and Kotaku.


The roots for Driller Engine came naturally as Drillimation Studios founder Hiroshi Takajima wanted to develop an engine that can allow easy game development and effectively reduce the amount of code written in a Triple-A game. The engine was originally created for the PC-9801 series of computers in 1984 before Takajima wrote a version for the Commodore Amiga. The engine was used for Takajima to build the first Mr. Driller game for the arcades.

Before the Driller Engine 2 Era, Driller Engine was used to create all the main Drillimation games such as Lucky Star, Angry German Kid, and Touhou Project. This engine caught the attention of Amusement Software founder Jun'ya "ZUN" Ohta, who went on to become the first third-party licensee for the engine before he joined Drillimation. ZUN wanted Takajima to turn the engine into a fully-fledged game development tool since ZUN was still a teenager and a rookie in programming, having just begun making games for Nintendo's Famicom Disk System.

After Takajima saw the success and popularity of the Driller Engine games in North America, Takajima traveled to Silicon Valley, California and gave a demonstration of the engine to Adobe. The showing was successful, which prompted Adobe to enter a ten-year deal with Namco and Drillimation to distribute the engine in the United States and Canada. In North America, it was sometimes called Adobe Driller Engine and was originally a 2D game development tool, and 3D would not be supported until the 1991 version (the first version for Windows) where it implemented Mode 7.

Driller Engine would go on to become a massive hit in the Japanese and Western markets. Several major developers such as Seymour Games and Latikuu went on to become the first major licensees for Driller Engine. In 1989, the second version of Driller Engine was released for MS-DOS and Macintosh, as well as TS-UGOS. Driller Engine 2 went on to become used by more than 5,000 programmers worldwide in 1990, making it a record for any piece of computer software, before Adobe Photoshop beat it out.

In 1996, after several delays, Driller Engine 3 was released, which supported 3D polygonal graphics and was the first video game engine to allow exporting to consoles without reverse engineering.

Version History

Version Released Note(s)
Driller Engine 1
Driller Engine 1.0 February 1986 Initial release.
Driller Engine 1.1 October 1986 Added support for Macintosh.
Driller Engine 1.1.1 June 1987 Added support for VGA-compatible monitors.
Driller Engine 1.2 December 1987 Added support for Windows 2.0.
Driller Engine 1.3 August 1988 Added support for the AdLib and Sound Blaster cards.
Driller Engine 2
Driller Engine 2.0 April 1989 Initial release.
Driller Engine 2.1 June 1990 Added support for Windows 3.0.
Driller Engine 2.2 May 1991 Added support for Mac OS 7.
Driller Engine 2.3 April 1992 Added support for Windows 3.1.


Kisekae Editor

First introduced in Driller Engine 2, the Kisekae Set System, often abbreviated as KiSS, is an editor used for creating characters in Driller Engine-based games. Kisekae is short for kisekae ningyou (Japanese: 着せ替え人形, Hepburn: kisekae ningyō); a Japanese term meaning "dress-up dolls". Unlike standard computer art which creates or displays traditional art via a computer, the KiSS uses the computer as the medium, allowing the character to be not only be animated but can also be exported into interactive sprites/models for use in-game.

FMOD system

Used in all Driller Engine versions, the FMOD system supports all major sound formats and even includes the ability to play Protracker (.mod), Scream Tracker (.s3m), FastTracker (.xm), Impulse Tracker (.it), and even .mo3 files.

Support Status

Version Mainstream support ended Extended support ended
Driller Engine 1 April 9, 1989 September 16, 1996
Driller Engine 2 September 16, 1996 March 5, 2001
Driller Engine 3 March 5, 2001 May 16, 2003
Driller Engine 4 May 16, 2003 November 17, 2006
Driller Engine 5 November 17, 2006 July 20, 2009
Driller Engine Ultimate July 20, 2009 October 23, 2015
Driller Engine Ultimate 2 October 23, 2015 still in support
Driller Engine Ultimate 3 still in support still in support

Intro animation

Driller Engine is famous for their intro movies, which are short animations that showcase the capabilities of Driller Engine by various characters.

Driller Engine 2

First appearing in the Driller Engine 2.1 revision, the intro is broken up into several segments that showcase the capabilities of the engine.

Category Song Animation sequence Description
Multitasking MIDI version of Take It! Sailor Uniform Konata Izumi running through a stage hitting enemies with her Lightning Rod. Enjoy the full power of multitasking.
Simplistic Use Mr. Driller's Theme Susumu Hori drilling a block to obtain an item. So easy, even a child can master it.
Collaboration Dimension of Reverie Louise throwing all of her bullets into a clump. Collaboration keeps all your files in one place.
Fascination Pushing Onward Leopold Slikk running and jumping. The frontrunner of music and sound effects.
Exporting Bad Apple!! Kagami Hiiragi playing on a Super Nintendo. Export to consoles easily without reverse engineering.
Illumation Sala De Masala Hiyori Tamura writing Tell your story in fun and unique ways in Drilliscript.
Personalization Voyager Keel Sark putting up graffiti. Customize your game with Extension Packages.
Heavyweight Brans Reimu Hakurei firing a barrage at Alice Margatroid. Tough enough for any genre.

Driller Engine 3

In early versions, there is no music, just the word "Welcome" in numerous languages flying towards the screen, accompanied by the text, "We'll have you up and developing in no time." In later versions, it is basically the same thing but with Flower Viewing Mound ~ Higan Retour from Touhou 9: The Phantasmagoria of Flower View playing in the background.

Driller Engine 4

The intro animation features a raindrop from a leaf falling into an ocean in a sunset setting, with Western Sunset Vignette from Driller Engine Grand Prix 3 playing in the background, as the word "Welcome" shows up in many languages again.

Driller Engine 5

The intro animation features the camera panning across islands featuring welcome signs in various languages, while Beloved Tomboyish Girl in Love from Touhou 6: The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil plays in the background.


Driller Engine has been critically successful and acclaimed. Seymour Games was one of Drillimation's first licensees for the program. Shortly after Seymour's debut with Driller Engine, other game studios across the Vlokozu Union was using it as well. By the late 2000s, almost every game studio there was using Driller Engine.

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