Free tools and resources for game development

Discussion of tools and resources for game developers

Post » Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:10 pm

Hi all,

Construct is really a great freeware tool we can use to code a game, but itself alone can't handle all the job. We need graphics, sounds, etc.

I'm starting this thread because i think many people here doesn't have too much $$$ to spend on tools for such task (photoshop came in mind), and besides, not everybody has knowledge to do artwork or anything else. But there are many free / open source or cheap alternatives and free resources that can do the job very well, and to help everybody, a good compiled list in on thread should help a lot, huh?

For this thread (that also could be called as 'how to make games if you are short on money'), i will contribute with some tools i've found on internet that are free;



* TOOLS - GRAPHICS *

FREEWARES OR OPEN SOURCE

Gimp - http://www.gimp.org/
A well known image editor, this one isn't a full photoshop replacement, but probably it's the most complete free one. You can deal with layers, multiple undos, many features and export work in many bitmap formats. Plus, it accepts 3rd party extensions! Supports tablet pen pressure.

Mypaint - http://mypaint.intilinux.com/
This one could be called the free Corel Painter tool. It's very simplistic and minimalistic in terms of features and interface, but it shines when it comes to the brush engine. Also supports tablet pen pressure.

Inkscape - http://inkscape.org/
The best freeware vector-drawing alternative i know (if not the only one). Good drawing tools (bezier, free form), good plugins, bitmap export.

Hornil Stylepix - http://hornil.com/en/products/stylepix/
A decent and very small image editor, although not as good as Gimp. Has layer support, effects, and more. Also supports tablet pen pressure.

RealWorld Paint.COM - http://www.rw-designer.com/image-editor
Weaker than Hornil, but yet with useful features like layer support. Again, this one supports tablet pen pressure. Interface very clumsy.



* TOOLS - ANIMATION *

FREEWARES OR OPEN SOURCE

Synfig studio - http://synfig.org/
A very complete open source animation software, that supports automatic inbetween animation (like flash). Doesn't have bones system.

Plastic Animation Paper - http://plasticanimationpaper.dk/
This one was released some time ago as a full freeware animation app. It's designed for traditional (frame by frame) animation.

Cool Motion - http://www.yuzhesoft.com/cool-motion.html
This one is a free alternative to flash 6/7 ( mx / mx2004, if i do remember correctly), although less powerful, but still very useful. It can only import bitmap files to the library, but has a vector drawing tool, has some transforms and motion tween, so it has enough resources that makes it suitable to cut-out animation like flash. Supports AS aswell. If you are familiar to flash, you will be familiar with this one, since interface is very similar to its comercial counterpart. Has some bugs (freezes here everytime i try to dropdown comboboexes), but perfectly usable. Unfortunately doesn't support bones like newer flash version, and only exports swf output. But, there are some freeware tools floating around that converts SWF to image sequence or png spritesheet. Take a look at SWFSheet (good one - http://www.bit-101.com/blog/?p=2977 ) or Kurst SWF Renderer (simpler but efficient - http://swfrenderer.kurst.co.uk/) or SwfSpriteSheet (not tested - http://fermmm.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/swf-spritesheet-creator/) - they all relies on adobe air framework, wich is also free.

TISFAT - http://t.sektorz.net/
This little one is very buggy when it comes to frame by frame exporting, but it's also free and has pivotal animation system that behaves much like 2d skeletal animation system (bones). Features timelines, layers and keyframes, similar to Flash. Neat features that could really be useful (i've heard rint screen? lol)



* TOOLS - MUSIC*

FREEWARES OR OPEN SOURCE

Pxtone - http://hp.vector.co.jp/authors/VA022293/pxtone/index.html
A simple music composing software, it's good for 8-bit styled retro music. The same tool was redistributed with a great manual by Locomalito (from hydorah fame) and is available at: http://www.gr87.com/?page_id=64

LMMS - http://lmms.sourceforge.net/
Excerpt from LMMS site: "LMMS is a free cross-platform alternative to commercial programs like FL Studio, which allow you to produce music with your computer. This includes the creation of melodies and beats, the synthesis and mixing of sounds, and arranging of samples. You can have fun with your MIDI-keyboard and much more; all in a user-friendly and modern interface."

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That's my contribution. I would glad to see more tools here, and improve this post. Maybe you should sticky this post, i think it's could be very useful!

And sorry about my bad english, not my native language hehe.Kyatric2012-01-27 01:14:04
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Post » Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:03 pm

Great list! I have a few to add:

Tiled Map Editor http://www.mapeditor.org/

Tiled is a general purpose tile map editor. It's built to be easy to use, yet flexible enough to work with varying game engines, whether your game is an RPG, platformer or Breakout clone. Tiled is free software and written in C++, using the Qt application framework. The main features in a nutshell:

    General purpose tile map editor with XML-based map format
    Supports orthogonal and isometric maps
    Custom objects can be placed with pixel precision
    Full undo/redo and copy/paste support
    Add custom properties to tiles, layers, objects or the map
    Automatically reloads tilesets when changed externally
    Resize or offset your tile map later as needed
    Efficient tile editing tools like stamp and fill brushes
    Supports input/output plugins to open and save files in custom formats

Tile Studio http://tilestudio.sourceforge.net/

Tile Studio is a complete development utility for graphics of tile-based games. The application contains a bitmap editor for creating tiles and sprites and a map editor for designing level maps.

Tile Studio was originally designed to be used with the Game Library for the language Clean (a functional language, developped by the University of Nijmegen). But Tile Studio can be used together with ANY programming language, since the output is completely programmable! You can program Tile Studio to output your maps, animation sequences, bitmaps, palettes, etc. in any format and include the output directly into your source code!Kyatric2012-01-27 01:15:09
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Post » Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:07 pm

I'd like to add FamiTracker to the freeware music composition list. It's supposed to create music in the format of the original 8-bit Nintendo Console complete with arps and pitch bending. You can even use it to create sound effects if you're creative enough.
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Post » Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:16 pm

Some admin or mod could fix the links formatting please?

I'll add this:
Aviary
A series of on-line image and music editing and creating
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Post » Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:17 am

Links format corrected. Now you can click your heart out

I guess the list is missing Blender about graphics/3D rendering.

Good list though.
New to Construct ? Where to start

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Post » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:10 pm

Add Paint.net
Its a easy-to-use powerful alternative to Ps and its free
And also add Q-block
for 3D Cubic image makingkbdmaster2012-01-27 20:44:22
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Post » Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:04 pm

@kbdmaster: if only those were links...
New to Construct ? Where to start

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Post » Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:42 pm

@Kyatric Updated :)
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Post » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:20 pm

Graphicsgale is a free program for pixel art and animation. It's one of my favorites because you don't need a tablet to make some decent art with it.
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Post » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:47 pm

Not free, but comes with a very generous trial period:
Goldwave - an excellent audio editor with all the features you could ever want- GoldwaveCross_2012-01-28 23:48:51
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