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Game Creation on the Cheap

Too many times I find myself hearing words like "Do you know where I can find a warez copy of <Insert App here>?" usually while wasting away my life chatting in the GameDev channel. This is a doubly stupid thing to ask. First, and most obviously, asking software developers for illegal copies of someone else’s (or maybe even theirs!) hard work is idiotic, secondly, and perhaps not as obviously, for almost every high dollar app out there, there is another similar tool that is often free or very cheap.

So, I have taken it upon myself to draw up this article pointing out some of these free/cheap programs. This article will by no means be comprehensive, but I hope I can cover the bases of all the basic needs for coding and making art, sound, and music for gaming purposes. I believe that by the end of this article, everyone will see why there is really no need to beg, whine, and plead for software that you can’t possibly afford, just to get your feet wet in the game development business.

2d Art

Sprites, tiles, textures - unless you plan on making a career out of text-only games, you’re gonna need some 2d art. And when you talk about free graphics apps - there is really only one word. That word is GIMP. GIMP is free, open source, and is stable on Win32. It has a good amount of features available, and is easy to extend via plug-ins and Script-Fu. On the downside… it has a unique interface, and takes some getting used to. Pound for pound, it is nearly as powerful as Adobe PhotoShop, but is yours for the cost of the bandwidth to download it.

Another low cost option which people seem to forget about is Paint Shop Pro. Now in version 7, it is available for between $70 -$90 USD. It has about all the features you’ll ever need, with an easy to use interface.

Another contender for you attention is Pixia, which is similar to PSP, but is freeware. While I am not much of an artist myself, I have managed to get together some samples to show what these applications are capable of


  2D Art
  3D Modeling

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