Creating games can be a costly business as commercial indy title can cost tens to hundreds of thousands dollars to build. A portion of this funding is set to software licences. Starting out, these software can be very expensive for first time developers interested individuals that are interested in creating games. Pirating these programs can seem an option to learn to use the software and experience game development, however to develop with these software commercially will lead to hefty law suits and devastation.
As someone staring in the industry and running business, I couldn’t afford to use the industry standard software. So I been searching and using freely available software in my development process and have compiled a list of freely available software that allows developers to create games commercially on windows and mac.
Unity3D : Game Engine
OpenOffice : Documentation
For any documentation either development or business related. I use OpenOffice. It is an open source office software suite that is a freely available to use commercially. The software included are a word processor “Writer”, a spreadsheet editor “Calc”. Presentation software “Impress”, a drawing program “Draw” and some other helpful software. Its interface is similar to the Microsoft suite and is able to export files to Microsoft documents making it very easy to learn.
GNUCash : Accounting
GNUCash is a freely available accounting software that helps manage funds for a project. Built for small business accounting, the system can easily be modified and customized to manage business and project cash flow, profits and losses and expenses. It also can be used on android phones so the accounts can be managed on the go.
Audacity : Sound Effects
Audacity is free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds. This is a simple program that makes it easy to manipulate and edit a variety of different sound files. You can also use it with a microphone to record and manipulate your own sounds. If you are downloading sound files, check their licences and obtain them legally. Freesound.org is a good place to find creative commons 0 sound files for your projects.
Sunvox : Music
Sunvox is a digital music workspace that has a tracker interface with modular synthesizers. This interface was interesting at first however it became very intuitive and managed to create a nice sounding piece within a few minutes. Interestingly the use of the tracker and modular synths works very well together and can create virtual instruments for your music. Also if you worried that it wont work on your computer, don’t worry the creator has exported it to a variety of different devices.
Blender : 3D Animation
Blender is a 3D animation suite which is created to support the full animation pipeline. Anything that needs to be 3D can be created in Blender. The design of it was to use quick keys to allow for a speedy modelling process which are beneficial to learn. The controls differ from other modelling programs however these can be customized to accommodate the user. Also blender contains a powerful video editing interface for creating any video media.
Pencil2D : 2D Animation
when working with 2d animations, There is very few animation software that is freely available. However I chosen Pencil2D for this list as it a basic application however it is very intuitive for it simplicity. Pencil2D is an open source application that allows the user to create traditional animation with bitmap and vector animations. The software works well with tablets compared to other software. It is still in very early stages of development but it has a great potential to grow.
GIMP : Image Manipulation
the GNU Image Manipulation Program allows users to edit and create images or paintings or brushes or use other source images. At first its interface is confusing at first however it is fully customizable to allow you to create your own interface to accommodate your needs. It work very well and most of the functionality is close to photoshop however it is still easy to learn. A good place to get images is http://www.cgtextures.com/ as signing up for a free account allows you access to free to use textures and photographs.
Inkscape : Vector Manipulation
Inkscape is a vector graphics editor that allow the user to manipulate and create .svg and other vector file formats. Useful for creating clean art for games, the interface is intuitive for creating vector art. It also contains a font editor, which is handy for creating icon fonts for game buttons.
I hope this list was helpful and has aided you in your development process and that it helps your game to become successful. When you do get successful with free applications, remember to help out these people that make these programs. Donate to their cause because without their dedication, there are no freely available programs.