Tools I Use

If you’d like to start programming or game design and dont know what tools to use, here’s a list of tools i used to and currently use:

IDE/Compilers

Visual Studio

Excellent IDE. You have to buy it tho, i got mine for free :D. If you only want it for compiling c++ applications then you can download the express version

Eclipse

It’s a Java IDE i use this one for making java apps and for android development.

CodeBlocks

An opensource/free alternative to VisualStudio. Unlike visual studio its only for compiling c/c++ programs.  Download the one that comes with mingw, unless you already have it installed or there’s another compiler on you hardrive.

Dev C++

Another c/c++ compiler/ide. This one doesnt require installing a separate compiler, it has one built in. It has a portable version as well, if you want to work from your flash drive or external hdd.

 

Modeling tools:

Blender3D

This is the tool i use to model ad texture my 3d models and export them. It is a very powerful 3d modeling package, dont let the fact that it’s opensource and free fool you. If you cant afford 3ds max or maya or lightwave then Blender is your bets substitute. Wings3d is another free alternative.

Text Editing Tools:

Notepad++

I use this to design webpages, edit css and javascript code. It can open any file and view it as text or binary, and it does it very quickly. I dont use the  notepad that comes with windows at all. It has syntax highlighting for most common languages out there. There are a large variety of plugins for it available online, ranging from json parsers to color pickers. I dont use the popular web package Adobe DreamWeaver, not only because i cant afford it, but because np++ is just more lightweight.

Sublime Text

This is another powerful text editing tool. It’s website should walk you through its any features. I like its dark theme, its a bit easier on the eyes. Is free, but you can buy it to support the developers. The free version has popups every now and then begging you to pay for it.

Image Editing:

Gimp

This is great for making and editing textures and images. Not so great for designing web pages. I use it for game design, whether its stitching up textures or applying filters to them, this is the best alternative i’ve seen for photoshop as it regards to image editing. There’s an awesome normalmap plugin for it so i can make normal maps for my textures right after making them.

MSPaint

I dont use this so much anymore, its difficult to do pixel art on the ones that come with windows vista and 7. I want the old one back >.<!!!

I use Microsoft Paint to hack up quick pixelated textures for testing purposes or for resizing or cropping images. Using it for those simple tasks are handy when i cant bother opening gimp and waiting for it to load.

Graphics Gale

This software is good for doing pixel art and making animated sprites. I discovered it a while back when i was into 2d game design.

SDKs/APIs

DirectX

This is microsoft’s package of apis used for render 3d graphics and handling other forms of multimedia(like music and video). It is popular for its use in the game development industry. It is, however, microsoft based and only used in microsoft based systems (xbox,xbox360, windows operating systems, windows phones). If the libraries and headers dont come with your compiler then the link to download the sdk is here

OpenGL/OpenGLES/WebGL

These are apis used to render 3d graphics. Unlike the directx package they are cross platform. OpenGL is used on Computers, while OpenGLES is used for embedded systems(hence the ‘ES’ at the end). I use OpenGLES for making 3d games for the android os. You can use it for making iPhone/iPad/iPod games as well. WebGL is an OpenGLES 2.0 based api for the web. You have to use javascript to make WebGL apps though. There are many wrappers for OpenGL across different programming languages so there should be a library for it available for your language of choice. OpenGL’s headers and libraries comes with you compiler if your using c++. If your using any other language then you’re going to have to search for the OpenGL libraries it. OpenGLES comes with the android sdk if your using it for android and i think it comes with the ios sdk( i’m not an apple person). WebGL comes with your browser as long as it supports it, so no extra libraries are needed.

XNA Game Studio

This isnt so much a Game Studio, but rather a bunch of classes that you can use to create games. It is a DirectX based, so your games wont be cross-platform. The perk of using XNA is that you can make games for the windows phone and xbox360 with it ( and pc games ofcourse). c# is the language used with XNA so you dont have to worry about memory management, this isnt so much a perk since c# is notably slower than c++. If you’re making a high-end game that requires every last drop of performance available then i suggest using c++ and directx, if your an indie wanting to make a game without having pro knowledge of c++ then XNA gamestudio is should suit you fine. Download the latest version here (4.0)

SDL

SDL is a great c++ library for making 2d games. If you want to make 3d games with it you can mix it with opengl or directx. It has a port for almost every other language out there. There are alot of tutorials and resources out there for it so you’ll catch on to it in no time. A site to get you started is here

PyGame

This is an SDL based libary for making games with python. If you think making games with SDL couldnt get simpler then try pygame. It has a great community for posting tutorials and games you’ve made online.

 

If you realize, most of the software i use are free/opensource. Yea, I’m cheap like that. This doesnt mean you cant  make good looking games tho. i”ve seen alot of great looking games made with these software. As soon as i can find the links i’ll put them up here.

 

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