ForumsProgramming Forum[GUIDE] How to make Games for free

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KentyBK
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KentyBK
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Hello there, dead board.
Even though not many people are going to read this, I felt this place needed an updated list of game making resources, since the information in this forum is either outdated or overly simplistic.
A couple of notes before I start:

- All the things in this list are completely free to use
- In terms of coding resources, I limited myself to things you could potentially use to make an AG game. However I'm not a Flash guy myself, so I apologize for any potential inaccuracies.
- In case the BBCode works as intended, all the images should be clickable, otherwise feel free to google whatever you need
- This is by no means meant to be a full list, as there's probably dozens of other free things one can find on the internet with enough patience. This list is just meant as a general overview.
- If you're only going to click a single link in this post, make it this one. You can thank me later.

And with that, let's get right down to it.

CODING
http://i.imgur.com/32BuY.png
First up on our list is Flashdevelop, an open-source IDE, or integrated development environment, for writing ActionScript. Which basically means you'll use this to write your code.
Do note however that it takes a bit of programming knowledge to make a full game with just Flashdevelop alone, because unlike Flash, it doesn't include a graphics editor.

http://i.imgur.com/22FH0.gif
Stencyl is a tool that is more geared towards absolute beginners, in that it let's you create simple games without knowing how to code. However, this doesn't mean that there's no complexity to Stencyl, because it allows you to make game logic by snapping together different instructions with a lego-esque interface. It's pretty much like normal coding, except presented in such a way that it doesn't seem quite so imposing.
But every system has limitations of course, so if you find the block system to limiting, either switch to a more complicated program, get your hands on Stencyl Pro (which costs money, so I won't focus on it ;P) or learn Haxe and begin to write actual code for your Stencyl games. Flashdevelop also supports Haxe, so even if you decide to go with this option, you can still switch fairly easily later on.

http://i.imgur.com/2oTsW.png
Next up we have Flixel, which is an open-source library written in ActionScript 3. What this means, is that when you use Flashdevelop for coding, you can additionally use Flixel to handle gameplay specific things, like collision detection, pathfinding, particle effects, etc. It's basically there so you don't have to reinvent the wheel and write basic engine functionality from scratch.

http://i.imgur.com/K91Jg.png
An alternative to using Flixel. I've heard it's based heavily on the scripting language that Game Maker uses, so if you've got some experience with that, this might be worth checking out.

GRAPHICS
http://i.imgur.com/tZdaJ.jpg
Let's get the obligatory choice out of the way first: Gimp, the obligatory thing that gets brought up whenever anyone asks for a free alternative to Photoshop. If you don't have Photoshop and are in need of a good, free program for image editing, then get this. Either that....

http://i.imgur.com/IFcQW.png
.... or you could get Paint.net. They both do the same basic job, so I'd say this one comes mostly done to personal preference. And since both are free, you could just try out both and see which you prefer. I haven't tried this one a whole lot, but I can safely say it boots up infinitely faster than Gimp does.

http://i.imgur.com/33yVb.gif
And now for something a little different. Graphics Gale is a program which will be primarily useful if you want to make pixel art in particular. In addition, you can preview your sprite animations inside the program and export your finished work as a sprite sheet.

http://i.imgur.com/N0GLd.png
Pyxel Edit is, again, primarily made for pixel art, but it has a big focus on making tilesets. It's still in beta, so it's not super complex yet, but all the currently implemented features are fairly neat.

http://i.imgur.com/cPq2j.png
Lastly, we have Inkscape, which might need a bigger explanation for why it's a useful alternative to the likes of Gimp. You see, Inkscape does not use raster graphics, which is to say pixels, to represent the images you make in it. Instead, it uses vectors (duh) and Bezier curves to represent the image itself.
Simply put, it works a little differently than the normal raster graphics programs. However, this also gives us a few advantages.
For one, you can scale your images freely without a decrease in quality. Not only that, but you can also freeform your shapes to make them fit whatever purpose you want.
It takes a bit of getting used to, but I highly recommend that everyone should atleast experiment a little with the program.

MUSIC AND SOUND
http://i.imgur.com/MC5TV.png
A fairly neat tool to use if you'd like to create your own soundeffects. Also has a Randomize buttons for all the lazy people out there. ;P

http://i.imgur.com/nsj1k.png
Admittedly, finding completely free, high quality software to create music is not exactly an easy feat. Pxtone comes pretty close, but keep in mind it's primarily designed to make chip tune music. If you want to make more complex music than that, you'll probably have to invest some money.
In case you want to try out Pxtone, here's a free, 96 page manual.

FREE RESOURCES
To top off this post, here's a list of freely available resources, both for graphics and sounds:
The Big List of Royalty Free Graphics
The Big List of Royalty Free Music And Sounds
Anything you could possibly need

In case anyone has any questions, feel free. A thread with no replies is kinda boring after all.

  • 60 Replies
Salvidian
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Salvidian
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I've screwed around with paint.net once or twice but I didn't like it at all. It was too limited for me, although the infinite memory was useful when resizing images. That's definitely a beginner's program.

Other than that, awesome choice in targeting free programs.

A thread with no replies is kinda boring after all.


There's a reply.

Oh, and since that text update the BB Code buttons vanished. :X
MrDayCee
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MrDayCee
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11/10/2012 Note: Thread is stickied and replaces the old thread, Game Creator's Useful Links, which has become outdated. The former thread is locked, but still accessable for reference. =)

toprichieboy
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toprichieboy
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lol Tried stencyl and it was too confusing for me

Salvidian
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Salvidian
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Stencyl is about as simple as it gets. If you're in high school there are several beginner's classes you can take that will introduce you to the world of flash gaming. Otherwise, there are awesome tutorials on Stencyl's website and on YouTube.

matt429
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matt429
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how do I actully strt making a game.

siamalm1
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siamalm1
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stencyl is best

WhiskeyedJack
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WhiskeyedJack
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Yay new toys to play with! (I'm super excited about the indie resource guide) Thanks.

I started putting a list together awhile back of open source stuff. You can find it here. Also cormyn had some useful links on that post.

Hintkin
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Hintkin
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Thanks for this guide.

partydevil
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partydevil
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he deserves a merit for this.
great guide and very useful links. good job.

tocyy
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tocyy
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Thank you, this is very helpful! I'm looking forward to make my first game soon!

solker
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solker
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good

kevinhex
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kevinhex
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Stencyl is very good! thanks! =D

KentyBK
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KentyBK
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Just as a little addition:

It seems Adobe has put up the entirety of Creative Suit 2 for free. Sure it's a little outdated, but if you absolutely need to get photoshop without paying for it, this is the way to go.

ogilazo98
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ogilazo98
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Good tut

charlesdomain
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charlesdomain
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hi i have an idea for a game but i need help with the designing of it would anyone be interested at all?

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