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this, I felt this place needed an updated list of game making resources, since the information in this forum is either outdated or overly simplistic.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
Jak20
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Jak20
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hey well guys i make games off of 001 engine game creator which is 10x easier and more fun to make i couldnt submit my last 4 games to kong so i deleted 001 engine but i re downloaded it and i am back to game creating infact im putting one of my games on armorgames in a little bit

hsr32008
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hsr32008
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Stencyl is like [url=http://http://scratch.mit.edu/]

hsr32008
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hsr32008
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stencyl is like scratchâ¬

pan74
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pan74
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if i download http://www.bfxr.net/ stencyl i and GIMP i can fix a very good game? i khnow who to program and i can have hours

Reton8
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Reton8
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I'd like to say that Inkscape should be in a separate category from GIMP all together. Consider that Adobe puts out both Photoshop (to which GIMP is the free alternative) and Illustrator (to which Inkscape is the free alternative).

OP already mentions the raster vs vector and the advantages. But there are specif reasons to use such. You cannot have a vector image that will look photo realistic, colours will become distorted and the image size will be too large. Raster iamges can look photo realistic and have more colours in them, but when resized they will become distorted, unlike vector. For these reasons the two programs are used for different work.

Here is a very simple breakdown (that may not always hold true):

Photoshop and GIMP are used for photo touch-ups, image (photo) manipulation, movie posters, etc.

Illustrator and Inkscape are used for logos of companies and simple designs that do not require too many colors and do not need to look near photo realistic.

NinjaNic29
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NinjaNic29
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I use Stencyl and paint.net, they are great! But I just need to become a developer to post my games.

leoxs
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leoxs
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sorry, the professionals make games with this?
I'm looking for the middleware that real devs use. Unity maybe?
If anyone can help me, thanks.

weirdlike
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weirdlike
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Yes, "real" developers use FlashDevelop for programming their games.

leoxs
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leoxs
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a lot of people is saying that flash is already dead, and unity is a lot better for game dev, what do you think?

weirdlike
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weirdlike
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Unity is not free which is opposite of this thread. I would look more towards MonoGame.

As for flash I think it still has room, I mean there are still java games out there, and people were saying the same thing about java.

leoxs
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leoxs
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well, unity is free is you win less than $100.000, I'm not thinking making that money haha
I will look monogame, thanks.

KentyBK
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KentyBK
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Ultimately, the tools you use don't really matter as long as you can finish something with it. For someone that's trying to get into game making (which is who I tried aiming the thread at), it's more important to get some experience first, both in general programming and the game dev specific things.

Although I think it's a good idea to also look into other options that aren't Flash-related. Methinks I should update the OP a bit in the future.

One word on Unity: It's different from something like MonoGame in that's it's a full engine for making games, rather than just a code library. As such, the learning curve might be a bit higher, especially if someone has no previous coding experience, which is why I didn't initially list it in the OP.

Having said that, I do think it's a good idea to atleast try out the free license and see how comfortable you are with it (even if it's a bit limited compared to the paid licenses). Both Unity and MonoGame use C#, so you can apply your learned coding experience pretty easily.

Planemaster13
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Planemaster13
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If anyone's having trouble with learning to code, try using Scratch [url=scratch.mit.edu]. This only applies if your trying to learn java since scratch is a visual programming version of java witch will lay out the concepts. it's relatively easy to use and you can learn the advanced concepts of it in a month or two.

09philj
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09philj
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Planemaster13
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Planemaster13
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Ok, thanks

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