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29 Oct 2013

Awesome Free Tools for Indie Developers

In yesterday’s post, I vaguely mentioned there were free tools available for indie developers that are just starting out in the industry. I didn’t have time to go in-depth in discussing these free tools, but never fear because here are some of the best free tools you need to keep in mind. Whether you are in the beginning stages of making your first game or your tenth game, keep these tools in mind because, let’s face it: nothing beats free – especially when it’s a free tool that’s awesome!


LOVE is a 2D game engine that takes advantage of the Lua programming language. In terms of programming languages, Lua is pretty simple, and if you’re stuck? There are plenty of communities scattered across the Web that will certainly help you out. And if you just want to get some practice and share your creations for constructive criticism? The LOVE forums and wiki give you the opportunity to not only learn about the tool, but also allow you to share your creations and play other creations by LOVE users as well. A solid community for a solid (and free) tool, LOVE is worth your attention.



An open drawing tool that allows users to be creative while not being afraid to prototype their ideas, Alchemy gives users the freedom to discover ‘what works’ and ‘what doesn’t’ as they draw their ideas and brainstorm new ones. The beauty of Alchemy is artists are given an open space where they can draw, experiment, and watch new ideas blossom. Artists can also mirror their canvas so they can work on symmetrical images, and new content can also be generated randomly. It’s a great tool for getting your brain working and thinking about new artistic concepts.



CGTextures isn’t necessarily a tool – rather, it is a site that contains a wealth of free, quality textures. The best part about the textures on CGTextures? They tile – almost all of them. Royalty free, you can use the textures found on CGTextures at your leisure – so long as you are not selling them and profiting from the free textures. The textures offered here are awesome, and you will find a texture that you can use. And, if you decide to obtain even higher quality textures, CGTextures offers a paid membership where you can gain access to even more awesome textures.



Yet another site, Turbosquid  is a 3D marketplace where you can obtain a ton of free assets. Sure, many of the 3D models on the site cost money, but if you don’t mind doing a bit of digging, you will find some 3D models that you can use that are worth the look. And, if you are actually a 3D modeler, Turbosquid is an ideal place to sell your models.



A fairly popular tool, Construct makes it easy for developers to create games via an event-based system that allows devs to define how the game will behave in a visual, easy-to-use manner. From adding multiple pixel shaders for unique effects to using a physics engine to give objects realistic behavior, Construct is a powerful tool for making your games come to life!



This is the big one. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that every developer I’ve interviewed on Game Academy Radio has used Unity at one point or another. It’s widely popular, and it truly makes developing games a heck of a lot easier. Just try it: I guarantee you’ll enjoy everything Unity has to offer. Unity also offers an  asset store where you can obtain free assets for use in your game.



I can vouch for Audacity: I’ve been using it to edit sound bytes from interviews, podcast episodes, and more for years. It can be a bit confusing at first, but once you get over that small learning curve and begin to use it? You’re going to find a powerful audio editor that, for free, truly cannot be beat. Providing you the ability to record, splice, edit, alter pitch, and beyond, it’s the ideal free tool to making your audio perfect before bringing into your game.


Honorable Mention: GIMP

I’ve actually been a fan of GIMP for years, yet it has received a ton of flak from Photoshop veterans since its release. It’s understandable: after all, traditionally, the UI of GIMP hasn’t exactly been easy on the eyes. Yet, an update to GIMP has been released that makes it more useable, though the UI still isn’t as slick as Photoshop’s. Still, for being free, it’s pretty tough to beat GIMP, so if you don’t feel like purchasing Photoshop anytime soon, GIMP is a suitable choice.


Of course, I missed an awesome free tool (no surprise since there are so many out there), so I’ll leave this up to you, devs. What are some of your favorite free tools not mentioned in today’s post? Mention them below and tell us why the tool (or tools) is your favorite.

6 Responses

  1. Corona Labs has a free version of their Corona SDK framework for making mobile games (iOS, Android, and Windows 8 Phone announced for 2014).

    I’ve used a *ton* of programming/game dev tools and nothing comes close to Corona for quickly creating 2D games. to download the free Starter edition.

    (Kill this if it’s too self-serving) I created a “crash course” for people wanting to get into Corona SDK and it can be found at — the course is free and is designed for people who have at least *some* coding experience (Javascript, PHP, etc.)

    1. Dusty Wright

      That’s why I asked everyone to list additional free tools that were not mentioned in the post, as there are many more great, free tools I didn’t have room to list. sell us on it if you don’t mind, what makes Coco2D so great?

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