Tools of the trade

Hey there! I've been super busy so I'm putting the mind control project on hold (it's gonna require some time on my part to write up some python scripts). I'll post it eventually. However, I've been experimenting with the Unity3D engine. If you don't know what Unity is go check it out. Its free to use and is extremely powerful for 2D and 3D games (including mobile games and networked/multiplayer games).

Making a 3D game is a lot of work. Modeling, texturing, lighting, level design, UI design, as well as the game itself! Unity is great for some things but a lot of other tools are needed. I'm constantly finding new tools each great for something specific.


For 2D game art as well and UI elements, you will need some good art programs. Photoshop is the go-to tool. However it can be expensive. There are many free alternatives that are just as good (if not better). Here is a list of some programs I use. Most work on Windows, Mac, and Linux.


Gimp is great free image editor! Its got lots of features (I especially like its image effects such as a cloud rendered). It may be a bit overwhelming for a beginner but there are plenty of tutorials out there ranging from beginner to expert. Gimp has layer support, image effects, and can export to all kinds of file types. It also supports plug-ins (I think...) enlarging its already large feature set.
Gimp has all kinds of extra features


Another amazing free art program! Krita is especially great for digital drawing/painting. I would recommend getting a drawing tablet (such as a Wacom tablet). My Wacom Intuos Draw works great with Krita. Krita also has layer support and multiple export types.
Krita is great for digital art! (Don't judge my drawing ability :P)


Inkscape works a lot different than Gimp and Krita in the way that it uses shapes to create graphics. This can speed up work and give you art an interesting style. Inkscape is especially useful for creating quick, yet good-looking UI elements. I believe there is a way to export files as vector images (which is a special image type that wont pixelate as it is scaled up)

Use shapes to make art. Gradients make cool effects.


There are many other art programs out there. Paint.Net (not to be confused with the Microsoft Paint that comes with Windows) is pretty neat and free. Autodesk's SketchBook (which has a free version as well as a much nicer pro version) is great as well.

3D Modeling

Two great free 3D modeling programs are Blender and Google's SketchUp. SketchUp is great for quick prototyping and Blender can then take that model and make it better. Blender also has good UV unwrapping and some basic texturing tools. It's best to UV unwrap the model in Blender than export the UV map to an image which can be edited in a program like Gimp. Fair warning: Blender is quite advanced but don't fear, it has a manual (and there are tons of tutorials on YouTube).
Blender also has some 3D scuptling capabilities. Also check out Scupltris.


Unity has some built in animation software which works well for short, simple animations. Blender has animation support. For 2D animation Spine is the best. It is quite pricey though, so I use the free Spriter program. I haven't done a whole lot of animation so I can't suggest a ton of software but Google exists for a reason :).

These programs are great for any project. I hope this list will help out on your game making journey!


Popular Posts