Did you ever sketch out a blueprint for your dream house? Spend hours designing physically impossible mansions on The Sims? Or wanted to experience the thrill of operating a CAT 797F haul truck or the AC 250-5 mobile crane? Construction simulator games let you do all of that and more, from your sofa.
What are the 3 best construction simulator games of 2022?
- Construction Simulator 3
- Construction Simulator 2015: Deluxe Edition
- Builder Simulator
Construction simulators aren’t just great for leisure. Students of construction, architecture, and engineering can learn scheduling, resource management, and resource allocation by managing a full-scale project in a simulator. Lectures and case studies can never match first-hand exposure to various construction stages and complexities, but a good simulator is one step closer to the real deal.
But what are construction simulator games? Do they really provide a good virtual construction environment? Are there any polished construction simulator games available right now?
What are the best free construction simulator apps? Fan of road & bridge construction? Are there any simulators for that?
We’ll answer all these and expand on them. We’ll also review the best construction simulator games of 2022.
Alright, that’s enough waffle — let’s jump in!
What Are Construction Simulator Games?
Construction simulator games are designed to simulate real-world construction projects.
It is a virtual environment where you can operate heavy construction machinery, excavate the foundation for a building, pour concrete into the wall panels, install footings, and do practically everything you would expect in a real-life construction project.
You have complete freedom to do whatever you want – but if you’re going to win, then you’d better keep your projects on track and on budget. Or you can create chaos, just to see what happens. The choice is yours!
You can work on different construction sites — building something as simple as a house or more challenging projects like bridges or a swimming pool.
Depending on the game, you can operate excavators, bulldozers, tractors, telescopic forklifts, tower cranes, etc. The 3D models of all these vehicles are based on designs from CAT, Palfinger, Bell, Liebherr, STILL, MEILLER Kipper, ATLAS, and other real-world machinery.
In summary, you get to experience the real deal minus the manual material handling, physical labour, dust & air contaminants, high temperatures, and noise.
What’s not to love?
3 Best Construction Simulators
Construction simulators have come a long way over the years — offering more freedom to build and how we approach various construction tasks.
But which construction simulator titles have it all? The best sites, the best challenges, the best vehicles, the best construction management and the best controls.
Let’s be honest — there are tons of glitchy construction video games swarming the internet. Some lack high-resolution textures and accurate vehicle handling, while others are riddled with bugs. But don’t worry. PlanRadar staff tested several simulators available on different platforms to get hold of the best ones out there.
Let’s dive in.
1. Construction Simulator 3
Official Website: Construction Simulator 3
Construction Simulator 3 is the worthy successor of the block-buster Construction Simulator 2014.
You take over an existing construction company that went bankrupt. The contracts range from small Bavarian-style family homes to mega projects like industrial warehouses and skyscrapers.
The physics of the vehicles is quite impressive. There are over 70 challenging contracts to keep you immersed in this 3D-modeled version of Alpine foothills. These missions range from building houses and gardening/landscaping to road and bridge construction.
The art style is semi-realistic. There are no see-through windows or dynamic reflections. The vehicles have fairly high-textured models with decent shadows and lighting.
You can rent or buy over 50 licensed vehicles by famous brands: Caterpillar, Liebherr, CASE, Bobcat, Palfinger, STILL, MAN, etc. You can drive around in first-person or third person. Moreover, you can choose between Arcade, SAE/Euro, and ISO for hydraulic controls.
The cockpit view is just mind-blowing. The developers put their time into perfecting in-cabin graphics — the side mirrors actually work in this game. The only downside is that your character cannot get out of the vehicle or roam freely.
The UI and controls are intuitive and easy to understand.
Although Construction Simulator 3 is not super realistic, the expansive 10 km² map with three districts, a multitude of vehicles and missions coupled with pedestrians, speeding tickets, and NPC cars make it one of the most lived-in construction video games. Apart from some minor bugs, Construction Simulator 3 is definitely a grab.
2. Construction Simulator 2015: Deluxe Edition
Official Website: Construction Simulator 2015: Deluxe Edition
Construction Simulator 2015 is more of an open-world construction equipment simulator game that focuses mostly on buying construction materials, delivering them to the construction site, and unloading them. There are over 200 working stages in over 150 different missions.
Yes, you do get to excavate the foundation for a building, pour concrete or install wall panels and roof trusses, but most of the construction happens automatically. Later in the game, you can hire workers and additional foremen to do the jobs for you.
The three highlights of this game are:
- Steering wheel and joystick support
- Multiplayer — up to four workers
- Modding — using 3ds max, Unity3D or Maya
The graphics on this game are just mind-blowing. Everything from character models to vehicles and building textures is just extremely well-done. The dynamic shadows really work with all the vehicles; the animations are buttery smooth, not to mention how eye-catching the whole map is.
The 19 construction vehicles fleet in this game features realistic 3D models of different vehicles from LIEBHERR, STILL and MAN.
The deluxe edition also features the Liebherr LB 28 drilling rig, Liebherr 150 EC-B flat-top crane, Liebherr LR 1300 crawler crane, and the escort vehicle for heavy loads. To top it all, you can navigate an excavator with two joysticks using SAE controls — it feels just like the real thing.
You can use the first person or third person perspective to drive around. The cockpit view is detailed with a working speedometer and side mirrors.
The sound effects in Construction Simulator 2015: Deluxe Edition has to be one of the best among all construction video games.
Construction Simulator 2015: Deluxe Edition manages to deliver comprehensive gameplay but lacks on several fronts. The optimisation is not what you’d expect from a PC title; the vehicles’ physics is buggy, and there are several gameplay glitches — for example, an NPC Prius can flip your humongous haul truck.
Yes, it does not have all the bells and whistles, but the non-linear missions, vibrant world, and solid graphics make it one of the best construction simulators out there. The journey from a small-time village contractor to a full-fledged construction company will surely leave you in awe.
3. Builder Simulator
Official Website: Live Motion Game
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows
Builder Simulator is more about the building aspect itself. Your character is a construction worker who uses real-life construction tools to lay foundations, make walls, build a whole house, and decorate it.
For instance, to lay your home’s foundation, you use a shovel to dig out the site, place all the supports manually, spread the reinforcing mesh, and use a wheelbarrow to pour the concrete. Similarly, when making load-bearing walls, you place all the hollow blocks piece by piece.
The best part? You can make your own blueprints. Do you want a two-floor house with lots of windows and a swimming pool in front of it? Go for it. Everything from the type of material to the size of windows is in your hands.
Right now, only nine contracts are available, but they are fun and will keep you hooked for a long time. Here are the four modes that you can choose from:
- Interior Design
The developers have nailed it in the graphics department. Everything is realistic with high-quality textures and soft dynamic shadows.
The tools are super detailed, with some of the best animations so far. The drapes actually move and so does the vegetation around the construction site.
You have a lot of different environments to work in — suburbs, deserts, highlands, mountains, etc. You can’t really interact with the environment, but that won’t be considered a downside for a game that just focuses on the actual building process.
Unfortunately, there are no construction vehicles available in this game. Your character uses a tablet to buy different supplies, and that’s pretty much it.
Another similar game called House Builder (early access game) allows you to operate construction machines and build stuff piece by piece. The only downside is that you start from igloos, and it takes a really long time to reach modern-day architecture.
In contrast to a mainstream construction simulator where you spend most of your time juggling between suppliers and construction sites, Builder Simulator offers a different perspective. You build everything piece by piece — giving you a sneak peek into what actually goes inside a construction site.
The game is fairly new, so the campaign mode is not that polished. You can let loose your imagination and build stuff, but we doubt it will be enough to keep you immersed for long.
It’d be nice if the missions were more challenging — limited budget, construction vehicles, and a story mode where you can see your character grow.
4 Free Construction Simulator Apps
Want to enjoy building stuff without spending any money on construction simulator apps? Numerous free construction simulator apps are available on the Google Play Store and iOS, but most are just filled with ads and weird graphics.
Our team tested several free construction simulators for their gameplay mechanics, diversity of contracts, and graphics.
Here are the 4 free construction simulator apps you should install right away:
1. Construction Simulator 3 Lite
2. Construction Simulator 2 Lite
3. City Construction Simulator 3D
4. Real Construction Simulator
5 Road & Bridge Construction Simulator Games You Should Try
Roads and bridges look so plain and ordinary, yet the engineering and thought-process behind their construction is fascinating.
For roads, you need to consider vertical & horizontal clearance, lane width, level of service, traffic volume and much more.
Similarly, bridges also require intricate designs and geotechnical analysis to hold the weight of heavy vehicles.
Do you want to design & construct roads and bridges without going out in the field? Here are the 5 road & bridge construction simulator games you should try:
1. Road Construction Truck Games
2. Road Builder City Construction
3. Road Builder 2018: Off-Road Construction
4. Bridge Construction Simulator
5. Bridge Construction Sim
If you are a construction worker, you must know how difficult it is to explain the challenges associated with the construction industry to friends who are chefs or software engineers. Most people don’t even know how their own house was built, so how can they understand the complexity of a construction site?
Meanwhile, Gen Z thinks construction is just for the old-timers as there is little to no representation of the industry in pop culture or mainstream media – most movies about building are from the 90s or earlier.
So, what’s the best way to expose the youth to the wonders of construction? Construction simulator games!
These construction game apps provide a realistic and interactive learning experience, teaching important construction management concepts.
Speaking of construction management, in the real world, PlanRadar’s construction management app helps you track construction progress, collaborate with the team, and maintain a robust quality inspection process.
All stakeholders (architects, clients and contractors) have access to all project-related documents and daily field reports, helping maintain a comprehensive digital audit trail.