If you are an indie game developer or even a professional, you probably know the struggle of finding the right software for you. The game industry never stays in one place and is constantly developing and evolving, and so does the software for creating games.
To aid you in every stage of game development, there are some very useful tools that you will find in this article. From character design to programming, here are twelve best tools for editors to use in game development.
Table of Contents
Photoshop is perhaps the most well-known and widely-used software for creating character and game designs. It has a wide variety of features available, including a large number of brushes and fonts, and many other options that other programs lack.
If you are not familiar with the software, however, you might find it a bit hard to grasp all of the available features at once. On the other hand, there are numerous learning materials that can help you master Photoshop.
There are different ways you can export your finished product, but at the same time, Photoshop is not a cheap program. If you want to keep up with the industry standards, you will have to pay a considerable price for it.
Sketchbook is used less often than Photoshop, but it has many similar features. Of course, it is less robust, but it does come at a smaller price which makes it a good option if you are on a budget.
If you are looking to start somewhere, then Sketchbook is probably your best option. You won’t be as overwhelmed with the number of tools available to you and you will be able to learn quickly and master the basics.
Painter primarily focuses on mimicking traditional media which makes it the best option for those who prefer traditional art over digital. It is also much easier to learn to use it compared to Photoshop.
Painter is less stable than Photoshop, but it is still pretty good and offers a wide variety of brushes, textures, and tools. On the other hand, you may feel overwhelmed by this amount of features.
Before you get into the process itself, you first need to get some ideas to start designing your characters. This is where mind maps can be of great help.
MindMup is a free online mind mapping tool. It is easy to use and has various options for exporting your mind map afterward. It also supports different keyboard shortcuts to speed up your work.
Everyone knows of Excel, but not everyone knows of its online version which can be accessed by several users simultaneously and saved to OneDrive. If you are working in a team, Excel can really speed up your work by coordinating all of the actions you and your team members make.
In addition to outlining the storyline of your game, you can also create to-do lists and assign certain members of your team to complete those, adding comments and more.
Freelance game developers may find themselves in a situation when they should translate the game into a different language. These may be just the general description of the game or some features inside it.
Instead of using Google Translate which constantly makes dozens of mistakes in its machine-generated translations, you can use The Word Point, an online translation and localization service. They have several dozens of languages so you will definitely find the one you need.
Once you have planned out all the aspects of your game, you can finally start developing it. And while there are some professional tools in this list, we will start with free ones.
Twine is a free online tool for creating text-based games. You add text and images and link them together to create a nonlinear story. You can also add video and audio files, and the game itself is a great starting point for those who want to learn interactive storytelling.
After you are done, you can save your work and publish it to HTML. Twine is perfect for those who are new in the game industry and are planning to then move on to RPG.
Stencyl is another easy-to-use tool for beginners with no coding experience. Unlike Twine, Stencyl does not let you develop games that are text-based. On the contrary, Stencyl has a drag and drop interface that lets you design your game by using existing templates.
The software allows you to alter it with your own code (if you have coding experience) and lets you upload your own graphics and designs. You can develop games both for mobile devices and for desktop usage (including Windows, Mac, and Linux).
Stencyl is available both in free and paid versions and each has certain options for further publishing.
GameMaker, like the programs above, is a code-free game development program. It is one of the easiest to use with its surprisingly uncomplicated interface and a drag and drop structure. Similarly, GameMaker also has a big forum community to help you learn how to use it.
The software has a free version, but if you want more variety in export options, you will have to purchase a paid one.
10. RPG Maker
And now we are finally moving into the more serious ground. RPG Maker is used for designing, you guessed it, RPGs. It has several versions which are all, unfortunately, paid, but you can download a free trial.
RPG Maker does not require you to possess any coding knowledge. There are also lots of learning materials that you can easily access and a huge dedicated community behind it. Moreover, there are stock character images and music available to you.
11. Visual Studio
Microsoft’s Visual Studio is already a fully professional game development software that includes all of the necessary features a game developer could wish for.
You can design both 2D and 3D games and analyze them right there and then. Visual Studio has everything from interactive content building to a shader editor and project templates. Obviously, it is not free and you will have to purchase a subscription to enjoy all of its benefits.
Last but not least, Unity is a widely-used game creation tool that allows you to design both 2D and 3D games, just like Visual Studio. It offers you audience engagement, retention, and monetization tools that are absent in other programs.
Unity is available both in a free version and a paid one with the latter providing additional tools to those who don’t want to design a game purely for personal reasons. Unity is perfect for those who want to profit from their games.
All in all, game development might be a difficult task, but in modern days it has become much easier with the advanced technologies we have. The question is not in the level of difficulty but whether or not you are using the right tools to make the process more enjoyable and less painful in all its senses.