16 free dev tools you might not know

16 free dev tools you might not know
May 13th 2016 at 11:17AM

Coding your game is only one step on the long journey to release – and just part of the final cost. In order to help trim down your budget, Develop presents some of the (literally) priceless tools, from editing audio and assets to capturing press assets, that you may not have considered using

Skype

Suitable for: Video conferencing

Web: skype.com

Available for Mac, Linux and mobile – not just Windows – Microsoft’s video chatting software can let devs communicate with free HD group calls when working remotely.  It’s also useful for press interviews.


 

BitBucket

Suitable for: Tracking code

Web: bitbucket.org

 

Free for up for five users, BitBucket is a collaborative Git solution allowing devs to review code, control permissions and work together in a desktop client. It features unified diff views, JIRA integration and can show the health of build code with a simple pass or fail icon. It also supports third-party integrations.


 

Stack Overflow

Suitable for: Problem-solving

Web: stackoverflow.com

Like Google specifically for devs, Stack Overflow is a free community that encourages game makers to help each other answer technical questions. It’s also a useful place to keep up on the latest job vacancies.


 

BizSpark

Suitable for: A quick start

Web: microsoft.com/bizspark

Start-ups can use BizSpark to access Microsoft dev tools and software, including Office, Windows and Azure, for free for three years.


Unity

Suitable for: Various

Web: unity3d.com

You no doubt know that Unity is free, but it’s worth remembering that the engine also includes free access to analytics, performance tools and multiplayer networking.


Stencyl

Suitable for: Coding (without the code)

Web: stencyl.com

Stencyl’s toolset uses an accessible drag-and-drop interface to avoid the need for coding game logic when making mobile and browser games.


 

Audacity

Suitable for: Editing audio

Web: audacityteam.org

Boasting a number of features for recording and editing audio, such as contrast analysis and the ability to export in a range of formats,  this open-source software is ideal for devs looking to tweak their game’s soundscape.


Blender

Suitable for: Art creation

Web: blender.org

Freely supporting the 3D pipeline from modelling and animation to rendering and compositing, Blender can be further customised using its API for Python scripting. Based on OpenGL, the 3D creation suite includes photorealistic rendering, integrated sculpting and a fully-featured game engine.


 

OBS

Suitable for: Capturing video

Web: obsproject.com

OBS captures game footage directly from the GPU to maintain performance when streaming or exporting to a video file. Devs can go live straight to Twitch, YouTube, DailyMotion and more, or save a MP4 or FLV file to use as press assets or edit into a trailer. The Studio software includes further features and an improved API.


Unreal Engine

Suitable for: Various

Web: unrealengine.com

Though you’ll have heard of the engine, Unreal has a whole host of free features you may have missed. For example, Simulate Mode allows devs to run game logic and inspect AI in the editor viewport, while the Matinee toolset can be used to direct and produce in-game cutscenes and movies in a video editor-like UI.


Perforce

Suitable for: Version control

Web: perforce.com

Acting as a one-stop-shop for devs, Perforce’s Helix collaboration platform includes a versioning engine, Git ecosystem, review application, analytics tools and threat detection service. It’s free for teams of up to five.


GIMP

Suitable for: Image editing

Web: gimp.org

As well as operating like a free PhotoShop with the ability to edit and create artwork, GIMP’s framework also supports scripted language manipulation for C, C++, Perl, Python, Scheme and more.


Trello

Suitable for: Project management

Web: trello.com

Acting like a virtual sticky note board, Trello can make big projects easier to track and organise by colour-coding important tasks, letting devs drag-and-drop to rearrange cards and see updates in real-time. Checklists, uploaded files and due dates can also be utilised to make sure your team stays on top of everything that needs doing.


 

Slack

Suitable for: Instant messaging

Web: slack.com

Slack splits text conversations into multi-user channels based on projects, topics and teams. Various tools integrate into the software to provide instant notification when something needs checking or fixing. Up to 10,000 messages and attached files can be archived and searched in the free release.


Sublime/Notepad++

Suitable for: Programming

Web: sublimetext.com (Sublime), notepad-plus-plus.org (Notepad++)

These free advanced text editors allow programmers to write and edit code in multiple languages. Sublime just supports Mac, while Notepad++ is a Windows-only affair.


GitLab

Suitable for: Source control

Web: gitlab.com

Providing Git repository management, code reviews and the ability to track issues and stay on top of changes, GitLab’s free Community edition supports up to 25,000 users on a single server and is MIT-licensed.