ForumsProgramming Forum[GUIDE] How to make Games for free

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KentyBK
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KentyBK
570 posts
Peasant

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this, I felt this place needed an updated list of game making resources, since the information in this forum is either outdated or overly simplistic.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
AppuArmor
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AppuArmor
1 posts
Peasant

go for stencyls but I would suggest build box to create games. its like a power -point tool. Just pick and drop and your game developments half way there !

bigattck
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bigattck
29 posts
Blacksmith

i think the list needs a new free editing game tool. i suggest Ren'Py a novel making software that anyone can learn basic coding and make a game at the same time. its 100% free even for commercial use, It supports Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Android.

http://www.renpy.org/

Aumir
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Aumir
1 posts
Jester

Thank you very much for this guide, I hope I finally have some free time to try to make something... XD It is a shame we can't give you upvotes or something!

DarthTyrannausarus
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DarthTyrannausarus
541 posts
Peasant

Will these programs work for MacOS? I have a Mac now and i use that for everything now.

weirdlike
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weirdlike
1,309 posts
King

@DarthTyrannausarus

Some of them do and some of them don't. Some of them might need some tweaking to get it to work. For example flashDevelop has a thread on bridging Mac. I don't own a Mac so this is just a suggestion.

abe10
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abe10
228 posts
Constable

Awesome Guide. Just wondering, does anyone know if FlashPunk can be used on a Mac, or do I need some crossover service like Wine or BootCamp?

weirdlike
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weirdlike
1,309 posts
King

@abe10

according to the FlashPunk Getting Started Guide. It is based off of flashDevelop. I haven't found anything specifically related to Mac's but I'm sure the information is there.

KentyBK
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KentyBK
570 posts
Peasant

FlashPunk is only a library, i.e just a bunch of source code to help you do basic game functionality, so it should work just fine on other operating systems.

huwbert2013
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huwbert2013
197 posts
Bard

GameSalad is free if you dont go pro, it works with both MAC and PC.
No coding needed, drag and drop SDK.

UHPDGames
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UHPDGames
1 posts
Peasant

Ty, for this guide. Nice job!

Thrillology
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Thrillology
62 posts
Shepherd

Is it possible to upload or convert a game made with RPG Maker VX Ace and play it in a web browser? I made a thread on this, but I only got one very unhelpful response, and I still haven't found what I'm looking for on search engines which is why I still have this same question.

I do have a subscription to stencyl, by the way.

BalkanRenegades
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BalkanRenegades
544 posts
Treasurer

@Thrillology

It deppends what proggraming language is RPG maker made and is the site able to support it. Ask admins or mods or check forums to see what languages AG can support

xerox
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xerox
715 posts
Bard

Unitale? It is an engine to make Undertale battles xD

mrIstar
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mrIstar
2 posts
Peasant

Interesting but this is out of date, it needs an Update.
New tools which are more efficient came out since.

Pravilnika
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Pravilnika
1 posts
Peasant

@mrlstar
Could you name some please?

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