My Indie Dev Kit! I thought I’d share the tools & gear I use for game dev, in case it’s of any interest to anyone.
I have a full time job, so maxing out the time I spend on game dev is paramount. Fortunately, with the combination below I’ve found there’s always something I can work on, whether I am at home, or on the move.
- Laptop: I have a work laptop from my company. Luckily I inherited a pretty fast one with lots of processing speed! It’s very handy for quickly compiling projects.
- Android Phone: I have an old android phone which I use for testing my games. One of my objectives is to eventually release my game on the Play store, so this is definitely a must have! The phone is an LG G2, and it’s an absolutely cracking phone. It’s fast, has a large screen and a great resolution (1080 x 1920). My only hope is that it stays representative of Android handsets, as I’m not planning to purchase other devices for testing!
- Ipad mini + Touch Pen: This is a recent addition to my gear and a pretty handy device. The mini is light and the battery lasts forever, so it’s a great little tablet to carry around in my backpack. I use it mostly to work on sprites & environments during my daily commute and for the Apps; music & pixel art. More on this below.
Software & Apps:
- Game Maker: My go-to engine for game development. I discovered GM back in 2013 and haven’t looked back since. It’s easy to use, powerful and very fast to prototype on. It supports IOS, Android and PC, so games can be released on multiple platforms from the same code base. It also handles all the technical aspects of game programming (graphics etc), so you can focus on the game logic.
- Gimp: Great graphic tool, and free! Rich in functionality (layers, effects, grid, curves etc), I do most of my graphic work on it & then export to Game Maker for final touches. I still use the Game Maker sprite editor for quick jobs, like animating small sprites, but all the static imaging, getting the colours right etc… is done in Gimp.
- Pixartu: Now, this is a great little app. It can be a little buggy as it’s currently alpha, but I am so grateful to the developer behind it. This is simply the best Pixel Art app I have put my hands on. It has advanced features such as layers, frames, copy/paste and is just a joy to use. The app is free whilst it is still in beta, but I will definitely purchase it when it’s officially released. Available on Ipad only. Here’s a link to the Pixartu website for more info.
- Excel: Since I use my company laptop, I have Excel at hand. I have used Google Docs in the past with the same results, but I find it a bit more convenient to have an excel file in my project folder, to build game data. I’ve also started to keep a colour coded dev log for my latest project – my to-do list! I’ve found Excel is great for organisation & tracking.
- DropBox: I work solo, so source control isn’t much of an issue for me. Nevertheless, I still have a dropbox account and tend to zip up my whole Game Maker project, every time I do a chunk of work, or add new functionality.
- Power Director: I have only used this a bit, but it has quite a few features for video editing. I am planning to release a trailer for my next project, so will have to get stuck in and get good at this, if I want to produce something half-decent!
- Inkscape: I very rarely use this, but I know other indie devs do. Sam from Butterscotch Shenanigans (I listen to their game/dev comedy podcast) is a big promoter of it. What I find it’s very good at, is producing professional looking vector art. It’s also great for logo work! At the time of writing I do not have a logo for HodgePodge games, but I am planning to use Inkscape for this.
- Garage Band: I have had some level of success producing songs using this flagship app. I can play a bit of guitar & bass, but have no actual musical training which can make things difficult. At the moment I am weighting the pros & cons of using stock or FMA music, but it would be great if I could throw in something I have composed.
- Bamboo Tablet: nothing beats pen & paper, but a graphic tablet is definitely convenient for drafting & colouring. I have done some pretty cool looking sprites in the past using my bamboo.
Anyway, I hope you found this useful. If you have any other tools that you use for your game dev, then I would love to hear from you. Just leave me a comment below.