Free Game Development Tools
Every game developer needs tools to get things done. So choosing the right tools saves a lot of time and usually, you also get better results overall. Because of that, check out this list of free game development tools, that I think go a long way to make game development faster and easier with better results.
Building the Game
There is a long list of “free” game engines. But free is not the same as free. While engines like Unity and Unreal Engine are free to use, they come with a caveat attached. Most of the commercial free-to-use engines are restrictive in some way or another and eventually, you have to pay them if you want to make games professionally. So before you decide, which engine you want to use, make sure that you read the terms and services carefully. And only then jump in into learning an engine. So, here you can find engines, that use the Open Source concept, with the MIT license. This means everything you make, you also completely own.
Cocos 2D is a feature-rich game engine with MIT license. Especially, it is great for 2D games. Official Website.
Even though Blender is not optimized for game development, the software can function as a game engine as well. Official Website.
Making the art with free game development tools
Creating games is a form of art. So, of course, you also have to make the art itself. Well, here are free game development tools for making and manipulating images, artwork, and 2D/3D assets for your game.
Krita is a digital painting tool and it is an incredibly useful piece of software. So, use that tool to make any kind of art asset and artwork for your game. Official Website.
You can use Inkscape to create or manipulate any kind of vector art because that is exactly what it is made for. Official Website.
GIMP is another very useful and Open Source tool for editing images. Use the program to create artwork, pixel art and any kind of image manipulation. Official Website.
Blender is a very versatile software. It can be used as a game engine, as a video editor, and much more. But first and foremost Blender is used as an Open Source 3D creation tool. Official Website.
Making Sound and Music with free game development tools
What is a game without sound and music? Well, it is like summer without ice cream. So, never underestimate music and sound effects in game development. But both are a very important part of any game.
Audacity is a great audio software tool and you can use it to cut, loop, extend and manipulate music and sounds. Official Website.
Linux Multimedia Station (LMMS)
LMMS is an awesome free, cross-platform music production tool. Official Website.
Making Videos and Trailers
Often you have to make promotional videos and trailers for your game. Even though trailers are not necessary to make a game, making them helps the purpose to successfully publish a game. Since it is not critical for game development, I just listed a couple of free game development tools I like to use.
Shotcut is a simple but useful cross-platform video editing tool. Well, there are a lot of simple and free video editors out there. But for me, I like the simplicity of Shotcut. Official Website.
I mostly work on Manjaro Linux, and on Linux, you can find a useful little tool to capture your screen, called SimpleScreenRecorder. So, the tool is very useful for making gameplay trailers and you can find it in your package manager.
And it is Blender again. Seriously, what is Blender NOT able to do. But even though I personally don’t really like editing videos with Blender, you can do that, if you like. Official Website.
Make native mobile games
If you want to make mobile games in their native language, then I recommend the following:
Use Android Studio for any development for Android apps and games, as a convenient way to write native Android apps. Official Website.
There is not really a choice with Xcode: You have to go through Xcode if you want to make apps or games for IOS. Official Website.
If you have not heard of Flutter, you should go and check it out. Even though it is still in development right now, it is great, if you want to write applications for Android and IOS at the same time. Also, have a look at the Flutter section of my website.
Other useful tools
Here you have a couple of other tools, that may help you with your game development.
Twine is a nice little tool if you need something to structure your story. And you even can make a whole Chose Your Own Adventure style game just with Twine. So here is the Official Website. Also, feel free to check out my overview.
If you did find this post informative, please feel free to leave a comment. Also, I would love to hear suggestions for other tools, that I did not list here.
To learn more about Game Development I can recommend The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition by Jesse Schell. If you are interested, you can follow the affiliate link to also support this website.