10 Game Development Tools You May Not Know

Game Development

There are so many Game Development tools out there and they are here to help us make games faster and be more efficient. However with the vast array of hugely successful game development tools out there many smaller unknown tools go unnoticed, that’s why I’ve decided to do a quick write up about 10 game development tools that you may not have heard of yet.

Shoe BoxShoebox

This is one of my favorite tools out there, Shoebox is a free image manipulation tool capable of so many things such as Packing Sprites, Texture Ripping, Generating Animation Frames, Bitmap Fonts, Pivot Points, UI Slicing and so so so much more!

 

PixylPyxel Edit

Comes in both a free and paid flavour one of the greatest dedicated pixel art editors out there boasting a super simple interface with powerful features like onion skinning, tile repeat testing, tilesheet packing and exporting to open formats such as JSON, Xml as well as powerful animation tools Pyxel is another great tool that you may not have heard of!

 

SekaijuSekaiju

This is a completely free and open source (now who doesn’t like that!) midi sequencer! its super easy to learn and will let you start writing some classic 8-bit style music for your games in no time at all! With a tiny footprint of 18mb and a practically portable “zip”install this is a win win! (For English just open the Sekaiju.ini file and change UserInterface=Japanese to English!

 

BFXR

BFXR

Totally free sound effect generator that runs in your browser (That’s right no downloads!) this thing is a beast for any game development project, be it prototype or final product that your working on bfxr will get you up and running with all the sound efects you could imagine and all the sounds it generates are royalty free!

 

CaptureVideo Tags

This is actually a small utility I made (yes… me :P) if your ever recording some game-play footage, game development logs or video content in general for your games and related projects then you can use this to leave markers during recordings (I.E. if you cough or the chair squeeks etc) so you know where to edit later.

 

CrazyBumpCrazy Bump

If you’re doing any sort of 3D work and decide that you need some normal maps, spectacular maps or some other map that this tool supports then this is the go! you can use it to generate normal’s based on some image processing and a simple diffuse map a huge time saver while your prototyping your next game development project!

 

How to create a language

Have you ever wanted to create a fake spoken language like Al Bhed found in Final Fantasy 10 or Simlish in The Sims this is a comprehensive guide published by Pablo David Flores and based on the great book “Language Construction Kit – Mark Rosenfelder” on how to do it. Covering everything from sounds and tones through to actual alphabet creation which on its own could be totally useful for games with a fantasy setting and some hidden ancient languages / texts.

 

Graphics RiverGraphics River – Game Assets

This is a huge marketplace where I get most of my assets from when I’m working on a project and cant find an artist. They have everything you could ever want from tile sheets, sprite sheets, branding, logos, game worlds and so much more this is one of the best places to find game artwork that you can use legitimately in your projects.

 

TrelloTrello

This is a super great mostly free project management and productivity tool I use this to keep track of all my projects. What needs to be done, What I want to do, What I am doing and when i am doing it its a fantastic tool for keeping you productive. Think of it as a virtual cork-board with paper notes!

 

eP6Or4qB_400x400Bitbucket

This is my favorite of all time so I saved it for last! Bit bucket is a git and mercurial source code repository that is completely free you’ll get unlimited storage, project management, public and private bug tracking, project wiki’s as well as integrating all of that into your source code for free what more could you ask for!

The thing I love most about this is just having my entire project in one place the code… the bug reports and feature requests and having it all tied into the individual code files so I can just login and see whats left to do and whats broken and whats been fixed.

Game Development Tips #2 – Finishing Projects, Engine Choice

I'm a distrction image from Deviant Art
By R2ninjaturtle

Evaluate your game ideas

When starting a game development project or any project for that matter its a good idea to sit down first and evaluate your ideas. I find that writing down your thoughts on paper allows me to clearly see where my projects are heading and what the final goal should be like. Once you’ve spent some time brainstorming, charting and describing your ideas on paper its a good time to evaluate if they will be worth your time. If you do decide that a project is worth your time then set some goals and stick to them.

Finishing your games

Personally this is a tough one and I believe we all face some kind of inner demons that prevent us from finishing our projects but they can be overcome with some simple tricks.

Remember that you are one person so don’t try to re-invent the wheel and design a new engine every time you make a game project realistically, how many engines have you started and finished and then gone on to make a game with? there are plenty of game engines out there for you to use and with just a little bit of research you can find the ones that suit your projects perfectly.

RPG Maker
Unity 3D
Game Maker
Construct 2
UDK (Unreal Development Kit)
Craft Studio
Stencyl

A few good resources

here are a few good reads that I can recommend on the subject they aren’t specifically game development focused but the key elements of focusing on projects and sticking to your ideas translate across any subject.

Why cant i finish? – By Elizabeth Grace Saunders
Heres how to finish anything you start – By SSCHEPER

Final notes

Forget about stigma, no ‘gamer’ cares what engine you write your games in, all the gamer / consumer cares about is that your game is fun to play so if you feel like writing your RPG in RPG Maker or making your space shooter in Game Maker then just do it because at the end of the day your consumers will not care and any fellow dev’s who put you down for using craft studio? or stencyl are probably 12 and writing their 789,964th engine in c++ and assembly

Finally always remember why you are creating games, maybe your long term goals are to turn this into a career but initially we make indie games for the fun of it, there’s no rush to complete an indie game and that is the benefit of being an indie. Work on your games in your ‘spare time’ don’t neglect your life maintain your relationships with family friends co-workers.

Game Development Tips #1 – Finding assets

House in the style of pokemon
By WesleyFG

Finding Assets Online

When you begin a game project you might have this amazing idea of how your game will come out but it is extremely hard to visualize without matching assets. Thankfully there’s a lot of resources online and many options presented to you as a developer to find great assets. Here is a small list and some notes that I have to say about each.

Open Game Art

This is a great place to find game assets with most requiring only a mention in your games credits or a link to the owners website. Just be sure to check what the requirements of each asset are before using them open game art provides links to the licences and simplified descriptions of what the licence requirements entail.

Envato Networks

Finding Assets Is Easy Now

This company plays host to a bunch of website namely themeforest activeden graphicriver photodune audiojungle and a bunch more this is one of my primary sources of audio assets and website themes however recently there has been a huge spike in game related assets appearing on graphic river such as tilesets characersets user interfaces and many more. I’ve taken the liberty of searching the whole website and creating a collection of game assets from graphic river Graphic River – Game Assets Collection.

Here’s a link to my two favourite items on graphic river I have used these both in past projects. Platformer Pixelart Sprite Bundle and Top Down Pixelart Sprite Bundle.

Frogames

These guys have been around since the dawn of unity3D most of their assets are tuned towards unity however nothing is stopping you from downloading their asset packs and pulling out the bits you need for use in any engine. Keep in mind its not just game related assets these guys make and distribute they have full game packs tutorials artwork and sound effects

The Unity 3D Asset Store

This is an amazing place to get assets for your games there is a huge community backing unity 3D both indie and professional and as such many of these users have created and submitted amazing scripts resources sound effects 3D models even full environment packs. While once again these assets are usually tailored to Unity3D and scripts tailored to the engine there is absolutely nothing stopping you from extracting what you need from these assets. In my own personal projects I’ve found many scripts on the unity asset store that I’ve purchased or downloaded free in most cases these would not just ‘Plug In’ and work in other engines but they’ve helped me out in understanding algorithms or code related effects that I would not have grasped without a good example.

Dont forget to subscribeTwitter

Twitter is an amazing place to find assets I’ve made so many friends on twitter and most of you are probably the people reading this! The amazing thing about making friends on twitter is that if you are talking with the right community i.e the people posting to #gamedev and #ss you will inevitably meet game artists. Most of these people will always be willing to work on projects with you and game jams you just have to meet the right people while this can take time it is defiantly worth growing your social network. In my own personal experience I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the most amazing and talented people whom I’ve met on twitter not just artists but audio engineers, other game developers, game designers and artists when there’s more than one person working on a project your always more inspired to finish what you start AND have fun doing it!

Making Biolab Chronicles Part 6

imageimage

Version 0.08 – Force Fields and Sharks with Frekin Lazers on their heads

I’ve tweaked the lighting engine to be more subtle i found that previously the lights were far too harsh and the color of the light would obscure the colors of the objects below them.

Secondly I’ve added a new force field / laser section this stops the player from entering an area these lasers are linked to a computer with the same color glowing from them the player must find the corresponding computer to unlock the gate.