005 – Tools and resources

Game development requires lots of tools, and most of the time they are expensive. As an independent developer, it is important to find lists of free or inexpensive content creation tools. Here are some links.

I have been using primarily commercial development tools during the first couple years. As I worked with more independent developers and those commercial tools moved through version numbers (and upgrade costs), I began to switch to free and Open Source tools.

My own list of favorites is pretty small after all these years of working on the same project in multiple mediums:

2D art – Paint.NET. As someone who never quite got into Photoshop and GIMP (also free), I was always on the lookout for a tool for my 2D raster graphics. Paint.NET eventually became that tool for me.

3D art – I use the free tools Wings 3D and Truespace 7.6 and my current free modeling/animation tools, but I am really making effort to switch to Blender and Google’s Sketchup in the future.

The new Collada and FBX formats are really making it much easier to choose whichever 3D modeling and animation tool works for YOU and not worry so much about how it will fit into your overall production pipeline.

I have found myself more and more working with people on a variety of platforms and I fully expect to be delivering to multiple platforms in the near future.

I decided that I should most likely master a 3D tool now which i can count on being able to use no matter WHAT platform or financial level I standardize on in the future, and that’s Blender.

It is Open Source, free, has a long history and large user community. It comes integrated with it’s own game engine with plug and play logic blocks (for rapid prototyping) and Bullet physics integration.

For Audio, we use a combination of Audacity (a freeware wave/audio editor), Reaper (a low cost shareware alternative to pro tools, cubase, or cakewalk. with free full featured non-expiring trial version), and LMSS (a linux/windows free alternative to sequencing tools such as fruityloops studio).

I also want to try out a tool called Seq24, a free audio sequencer, but have not yet gotten around

There is a GREAT list of a TON of free and low cost MMORPG development apps over at a site called mmorpgmaker.com

Specific link to the forum article listed here

For anyone interested in 2d and 3d art and animation, or other elements of multimedia production, I hope this information has been helpful.

I have not really started to get into the video editing components too much yet because I need some material worthy of making demo clips from first 🙂


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