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Tools We Use to Make Games

We thought it might be useful to some folks to share the various paid or free tools we’ve used in our line of work. Of course, as a game consultancy and studio, Noble Steed Games has worked on a large variety of projects of different game genres and on different platforms. We’ve ported games onto traditional platforms such as mobile, Nintendo Switch, AR/VR, to even bespoke platforms like arcade cabinets and feature phones!

As such, what we’re using is often determined by the project we’re working on, but the following list should cover the common tools we use for game production, management and marketing. Hope it helps!

Version Control: Fork

Fork’s great for tracking and managing all the changes we make to our projects, especially when different team members are going to be tackling things! Also, if you’re a non-developer within the games industry, we made this beginner’s guide to Version Control and GIT explaining what the concept of version control is.

A sample screenshot of Fork's UI.
Fork’s great and easy to use!

Text Editor: Sublime Text / VS Code / Atom

The team is pretty torn on this one! Sublime supports many programming languages and markup languages, though a license must be purchased for continued use. VS Code is free and lightweight but with a bit more functionality (editing JSON for example). Likewise, Atom is open-source and free to use!

Integrated development environment (IDE): JetBrains Rider

Marty, our team’s senior developer, says that JetBrains Rider is a very, very solid IDE, perfect for all your C#/Unity/.net needs!

Unity

We use a variety of plugins in Unity, so here’s a short list of stuff you should check out!

3D Modelling/Rigging/Animation: Blender

Our Game Artist Sophie uses Blender, an open source 3D modelling, rigging and animation software for any assets we build in some of our projects. There’s plenty of documentation and tutorials out there for those keen to get into 3D Art! If you’re a beginner, you could start here.

A screenshot of Blender, back when Sophie was starting on 3D modelling the Sea-Monkeys for our game, Sea-Monkeys: Zen Aquarium.
A little sneak peek into Sophie’s workspace in Blender! Making Sea-Monkeys® species for our new game!

Adobe Photoshop

The industry standard for photoediting, drawing and design. Besides any asset creation for our projects, we use this to create any other marketing material we may need. If you’re an illustrator looking for cheaper drawing tools, check out ClipStudio Paint!

Procreate

Sophie uses Procreate on her Ipad sometimes for early concept work but also game asset creation. The user interface is simple and easy to use, but we highly recommend checking out their hand book to learn all the hidden gestures and shortcuts!

Pixel Art: Pixaki on Ipad

For one of our past projects, Sophie used Pixaki to develop all the pixel sprites within the game. If you already know Procreate’s interface, learning it is a breeze. The free version had all the essential features we needed to make sprite sheets and backgrounds!

Screenshot of Pixaki on Ipad, with art made by Waneella.
Pixel art made by Waneella, taken from the Pixaki website.

Adobe Illustrator

In the occasion where we need to send things to print or design vector graphics, Illustrator’s our go-to. For a couple videos and animations for studios marketing, porting Illustrator files to AfterEffects and PremierePro is a breeze!

Adobe AfterEffects/PremierePro

These two are animation and video editing software respectively. They’re used mostly for creating socials content and other marketing content.

Music: SFB Games’ ChiptoneAbleton Live

Chiptone’s a free 8-Bit sound effects generator made by the talented SFB Games studio! It’s been helpful in past projects as well as some marketing content. Sophie uses Chiptone for sound samples then composes them within Ableton Live.

Kanbanize

Our project management tool of choice! The Kanban boards here are easy to use and customise, helping us organise the team around the many projects we jump onto daily.

Google Suite

There’s plenty of tools within Google Suite itself, from spreadsheets to docs to slideshows and drive to store it all. Something overlooked is probably file management within the swathe of files, though! For us, we have organised folders for internal and external projects, as well as other admin-y studios stuff.

Documentation: Confluence

We compile all documentation of our studio’s processes to smoothen our team’s workflows on Confluence. It’s our one-stop shop for anything from new staff on-boarding processes to our studio culture!

Communications: Slack / Discord

Slack’s used for communication with clients, our team members and the cool folks in the No Moss ecosystem! For our regular standups and studios hang outs we have our own Discord channel/office. We’ve recently made a new public Discord server if you’d like to stay up to date with whatever we’re up to.

A screenshot of our Discord server!
A little look into our Discord server!

Content Calendar/Marketing planning: Notion

Notion’s used only by the marketing team (That’s me!) It’s very good for planning out the socials content calendar and any other marketing documentation and planning I’d like to make. What’s most convenient is that you can switch views. For example, I can change the view of the content calendar to a smaller Kanban board to see which posts have yet to be scheduled. The free version will suffice if you’re working solo!

Content Scheduling: Buffer

We use buffer to schedule content onto the social platforms we’re on! You can get a lot done with the free plan, and if you’re tight on budget, you can look into building your own reporting tools. Here’s a step by step guide on using socials for indie game studios we made.

We hope this list has been helpful to you! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions 🙂

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