We all love making games, but it’s hard to pay for all the licenses you need for an engine, modeling software, textures, PBR materials?! It adds up quickly.
With that in mind, here are my first choices when I need to do anything game related, and they’re all free!
It’s worth noting, I have no affiliation with any of these, they are just tools I use or see value in.
Anyone who knows me saw this one coming. I love Blender, I believe it is the best software for 3D modeling there is. It is 100% free and has a host of other features as well: Texture painting, advanced photo-real rendering/baking engine, physics engine, built in game engine with visual logic bricks (no coding here!), scripting tools, video editor, mo-cap tools, and so, so, so much more. You could make your entire game in Blender, from painting concept art to publishing your final build.
Almost as cool as Blender, unity is an amazing game engine that has a free personal addition. Best of all, you don’t have to pay to ship your game (until you make $10,000), making this perfect for your first, second, or hundredth game. Unity has a fantastic community and is so well documented. It also happens to be extremely easy to use. Seriously, if you want to experiment with games, this is the engine for you.
Trello is a great way to organize your project, you can divide up tasks and assign them to team members, track progress, and plan new features. It’s most useful for detecting problem areas in your pipeline and getting everyone onboard to fix them.
Hack N Plan has a lot of features. As an alternative to Trello, designed for game design, it can be very complex to use. For this reason, I have always stuck to Trello. It is completely free of course, and I know some people who swear by it. If you want to improve your project management it’s worth checking out.
I really want to love gimp, but unfortunately, it’s not Blender. It is, however, a solid replacement for photoshop. It can do everything, and more, that photoshop can, but it can be really painful to use. That might be worth it, though, for the $0 price tag.
You don’t make things with sketch fab, but it does let you show your 3D work online. Sketchfab is a free in-browser 3D viewer that supports every 3D type known to mankind. It has fantastic PBR rendering and is perfect for showing your work in a portfolio or hyping up fans before launch. If you have some free time, you could spend days looking at all the 3D content on there. Be careful, employers can see your entire model, the good and the bad.
You should always maintain a portfolio, and if you are in games or CG then Art Station is the place to be. It’s like a classy, industry version of Deviant Art. You can search job listings, display your work, and market yourself to the industry for free. They even build you a nice portfolio site with your works.
There’s a lot of code editors out there, and visual studio is the king of them all, but it’s also expensive. If your budget is at a Text Edit level then definitely go download brackets. It is free, has a nice interface for code and project management. It also can collapse code segments and will predict what your typing, wich really speeds up coding.
If you aren’t familiar with Stack Exchange yet then it was only a matter of time. Stack Exchange is a user question and answer site for all sorts of stuff. They began with programming, but now have everything from Role Playing Games to the Latin Language. My favourites are: Blender, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Webmaster, World Building, and of course Game Development.
Last, but definitely not least is Extra Credits. This Youtube channel provides in-depth and thoughtful analyses of all things Game Design. It is presented in very absorbable animated chunks. You may find yourself binge watching late into the night!