When we think about the tools that we need to start building our own games one of the most powerful tools we have access to is the computer. So today we’re going to look at the best Apps and Software that a game creator should know about and leverage. Your knowledge of these tools can make for faster prototyping and better organization of critical information.
First up we are going to talk about Google Apps, they are an easy starting point because they are free, easy to use, accessible on everything from your phone to your laptop, easy to organize files with, and are extremely powerful. All you need is a Google account(gmail) and you are good to go. Here are the top three Google Apps I use on a daily basis:
- Google Docs Great for creating design documents, game plans, rulebooks, or any larger scale writing project.
- Google Sheets Useful for databases, lists, cards, data tracking, stats, etc. (similar to excel from Microsoft)
- Google Drive Where I keep all my project files, I have a folder for each game and in it I keep everything from prototype design PDF’s to contracts with publishers. This is like Dropbox or keeping things on your hard drive(But nice because it syncs across all devices and is easy to access).
- Google Keep Keep is great for quick notes and todo lists. It is very similar to Evernote.
Creative Cloud (Adobe)
Next up in the powerhouse family of Apps is Adobe’s suite of software. I can tell you right now this is the most valuable piece of software any designer could get. It works on a monthly(about 50$/m) subscription system and is the best at what it does.
- Photoshop Fantastic for most everything with image and graphic design. I use photoshop for all of my prototypes to get them off the ground. A good free alternative to look into is Gimp.
- Illustrator This is all about vector design, if you want to make some killer illustrations that can fit any print size or want to make a great looking logo this should be your goto for production.
- Indesign Need to layout a bunch of your card designs for print? Well this is about the best way to do it, there are plenty of other good uses for Indesign as well so poke around and see how it works.
- And so much more Adobe offers a ton of great resources with Creative Cloud, it’s hard to go wrong with something as versatile as this.
The most powerful 3D and design software you can get for free, the only draw back is the steep learning curve. There is so much to this software it can make heads spin, but I never go a day without using it for something.
Online team todo lists. Fantastic if you are wanting to set up a group colab and need a way to track peoples progress and tasks.
Unreal Engine 4 (19$/m)
Production level game engine. This is useful if you are looking to make high end video games, not necessarily board games or card games. Another good option is Unity.
Tabletop Simulator (15$)
This great little game available on Steam is fantastic for creating your board game in a digital world and letting you play it out before having to prototype anything!
If I missed anything or you know of something that would be useful to have on this list please leave a comment below.