This is a list for people who start out making games searching for tools and also meant as an extended list for people that already make games and want to enhance the work flow with cool and clever tools that are somehow different from the mainstream. Let’s add flavor to software development!
Game Creation Tools
- Adventure Game Studio
- Blitz Basic
- Dark Basic
- DevKitPro – Ideal for homebrew development for portable gaming consoles like Nintendo DS, Sony PSP and Game Park GP32.
- Emergence Basic – A little cluttery syntax, but in the root sense of basic. Compiles binaries.
- FlashDevelop – Independently develop scripts and applications for Flash. Now with Actionscript 3.
- Games Factory – Awful title, but similar to Game Maker. Suitable for fast prototyping and 2D games. Some pretty fun games were made with that.
- Game Maker – Prototyping of games was never easier.
- Pure Basic – This one is my favourite under the alternative basics. Compiles small and fresh binaries and is very precise.
- Scrolling Game Development Kit
- Unity 3D – Unlike the title implies you can also make 2D games with it, that are also browser ready with the Unity Web Plug.
- Wintermute Game Engine – For creating adventure games.
- ZGameEditor – The tool for creating 64kb games.
Engines and Frameworks
- Blade 3D
- C4 Engine – Looks good and got good reviews. Haven’t tried it myself.
- Cocos 2D – Very popular open source game framework for iOS. *recommended*
- Corona SDK – Powerful framework, that create multi-platform code for mobile devices: iPhone, iPad, Android. You write code in Lua.
- Crystal Space –
Free cross-platform software development kit for realtime 3D graphics.
- FFilmation – Isometric Game-Engine for ActionScript 3.
- GameSalad – GameEngine, that comes with a simple drag and drop IDE. Great for beginners, can compile multiple platforms as well: Win, Mac, iPad, iPhone.
- FlashPunk – Somehow the brother and rival of Flixel – great for writing games in Flash/ActionScript 3, best for platform and casual games. *recommended*
- Flixel – A promising “ready-to-go” engine for Flash/ActionScript 3, best for platform and casual games. *recommended*
- Sparrow Framework – An open source game engine for iOS, also heading towards multi-platform code, including Android.
- Torque – A collection of multi-platform game-engines. Can create games, ready to run even on XBox, Wii and iPhone.
- Love2D / LÖVE – A 2D game-develop and prototype framework written in Lua with a very charming community. Great for making quick games, that run on Win, Mac and Linux. *recommended*
- Unity 3D – A 3D development multi-platform environment, even browser-compatible with the Unity Web Plug.
- Box2D – Box2D is a 2D rigid body simulator / physics engine for games.
- CeGUI – A library for making Graphical User Interfaces in games. Supports multi-plattform and is xml-data driven.
- Clanlib – I think this is a “standard” or “classic” when messing with 2D games and engine modeling. Fun, but like everything that deals with C/C++ sooner or later you begin to fiddle.
- PAlib to make use with DevKit Pro for Nintendo DS development.
- SDL – Also a certain standard. Makes programming of window machines a little bit easier, but still complicated in my opinion. I didn’t get deep into this, thanks to the Gates guys, etc.
Graphic Artwork Tools
- Chili – Tileeditor and export, edit and convert grafics into the GBA format. For homebrewers on Windows.
- Farbrausch Werkkzeug – Procedural textures for the artist and non-coders.
- Mappy – Tile-, Sprite and Map-Editor with good code integration to game projects written in C/C++ or Lua.
- Tile Studio – Solid Tile-, Sprite and Map-Editor.
- Tiled – A great Tile-Map-Editor for Win, OSX and Linux with lots of code-export options. *recommended*
- Pixen – Pixel and animation editor for Mac OS-X.
- PikoPixel – A very simple, but good designed pixel-editor for Mac OS-X.
- Pyxel Edit – A good designed pixel-, tile and animation editor for doing pixelstyle with a good workflow. It is build upon Adobe Air engine, so available for all operating systems. *recommended*
- Caprect – Fast and easy to use tool for making screenshots on Windows.
- Css4you – Comprehensive css-reference, that also delivers a compatibility list of different browsers for each css-tag. It’s in German, but the compatibility list should be readable for all. A complete English reference is Htmldog.
- CSS3 Cheat Sheet Simple and good.
- Ditto – Very, very useful tool. A customizable multi copy-buffer.
- IRC – Stay connected to your peers with the IRC text chat. IRC maybe made more teams and friendships than any other application in the world.
- Notepad++ – Lightweight multi-purpose coding IDE. Best directly install also the light explorer plug-in and if you are also into web-applications the ftp-synchronize plug-in.
- Pixie – A multi-purpose colorpicker. Also look http://www.literatecode.com/software. Similar tool is Colpick2.
- SFXR – Soundeffects for everybody. A neat tool that generated great retro-style game sounds in a blink. Thanks internet! There is a web based version available for instant pleasure: as3sfxr.
- Vector Magic – Easy and free to use online vectorizing tool to apply on logos, graphics and other stuff, for example to use it in point-and-click adventure games or to add your game some surrealistic style or easily get into strange colorings. Can reduce filesize and/or make graphics available as forms and paths in different context.
- LDraw Lego 3D Tool – Library for doing Lego-style.
- Processing – Best way to get into creative coding.
- SodaPlay – Hard to describe, just check it out.
- Lua – Very cool scripting language especially for doing game maps, game logic or just to fool around. There is also a special Lua for the Sony PSP, check: luaplayer.org