Useful Tools for Game Development

2D tools

  • Mappy – A tile editor (free/pro version)
  • Graphics Gale – An animation graphics editor – great for pixel based graphics (free/shareware)
  • Photoshop – A graphics editor, considered the standard when it comes to editing images ($699)
  • Gimp – A graphics editor comparable to Photoshop (free)
  • Angelcode Bitmap Font Generator – Generates bitmap fonts. Can be very useful in some frameworks. (free)

3D tools

Audio Tools

  • Audacity – useful for converting and rudimentary editing for audio files (free)
  • Acid Music Studio – multitrack audio recording for making sound tracks. ($54.95)
  • Sound Forge – Audio recorder, which does effects processing and lay down audio tracks to movies. This is also more affordable than most Pro tools setups.  ($340)

Other Tools

  • Rad Game Tools – a suite of tools used to generate video, audio, and also has useful 3D frameworks (very expensive)
  • Flash/Flex – useful platform for making games. ($699/$249 [Flex SDK is free])

Programming Tools

  • Visual Studio Express editions – everything you would need to create an executable in Windows. Does not include ATL, so some directx samples will not compile out of the box. (free)
  • Visual Studio Standard – Same as above, but includes MFC and ATL and allows you to use plugins ($250)
  • Visual Assist – This is a plugin for visual studio that fixes intellisense. If there is only one plugin to use, this is it. ($249/$99)
  • Lua – scripting language that can be easily hooked in to programs written in C/C++. This is one of the most used scripting languages for game development. (free)

Websites

  • Gamedev.net – One of the most useful communities in the game industry
  • Devmaster – tutorials and forums for making games
  • Nehe – OpenGL tutorials

I could go into game engines, but there are just too many to list, and I haven’t tried most of them out, so I couldn’t really tell you how good or feature complete some of them are compared to others.

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