Video game development software is some of the most advanced tech out there. When you consider what goes into making a game and how it looks at the end, you will quickly realize that you need incredibly powerful and comprehensive tools to create the finished product.
If you haven’t looked into it yourself, here are some of the most popular programs game studios and designers use to create the AAA titles we know and love.
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If you look at the multitude of online games to play and AAA titles that top the gaming charts, many of them are built in Unity. The program is a cross-platform development suite that enables you to make games for PC, console, mobile and virtual reality.
Unity has become the go-to development platform for many designers and studios due to being incredibly easy to use. It offers both 2D and 3D models and environments, and it is easy to learn for beginners and designers who haven’t used it before. Not to mention, Unity is constantly at the forefront of new technology, meaning that the platform is simply often the best option.
Another staple in game development is Unreal Engine. While many will use either Unreal or Unity, the former has proven to be exceptional when it comes to creating most types of games, most notably titles such as PUBG, Gears of War, Fable and Fortnite.
Unreal also offers 3D designing, and many believe it to be easier to use and learn compared with Unity. However, Unreal doesn’t have the same versatility as Unity, as many choose the latter if they want their game to be played across multiple platforms.
While Unreal may be more well-known, Construct is arguably the second-biggest design platform behind Unity. What is interesting about Construct is that it is a program created and geared toward non-programmers.
It facilitates easy and quick design, development and creation of 2D games and assets and can be used to create said assets that are then exported or used as the platform on which an entire game is built.
When it comes to creating sprites, backgrounds, textures and other 2D images and assets, many studios look no further than Adobe Photoshop. This legendary piece of software has all the tools you need to create almost any 2D asset you may need.
Another benefit of Photoshop is that it is fairly easy to learn and changes can be made very quickly and efficiently if needed.
Maya is another very popular and common 3D asset creator. While Maya is used extensively across the film sector, it is the second-most used 3D asset tool behind Blender. However, since Blender is so much easier to use, its market share is limited.
Maya has extensive features that can be used for the simplest or most complicated 3D design and animation. It is also built on Python, and since the language is so popular, Maya is, therefore, popular amongst those with coding and programming experience.
If you are developing a game that uses pixel art, such as Stardew Valley, then a program like Aseprite is for you. You can create pixel sprites, textures, images and animations, all within the same program.
Aseprite is also hosted on GitHub, which is an open-source programming platform that allows contributions from outside programmers. This means that Aseprite is constantly evolving, with new features being added all the time.
For smaller studios or independent developers, the cost of many of these programs will add up incredibly quickly; therefore, using a few free options is always great. GIMP is one of those free options, as it is an open-source image editing and manipulation studio.
While GIMP doesn’t have the same polish as something like Adobe Photoshop or the same animation features as Aseprite, it is the perfect program to not only learn image editing but also to get a lot of quality work done for free.
Blender is the platform used by multiple studios and designers for creating 3D animations and assets. The open-source software is free to use and has an absolute plethora of tools available for you to use.
You can use Blender to create animated films, visual effects, motion graphics, virtual reality assets, texturing, rastering, fluid and smoke simulation, particle simulation, soft body simulation and so much more.
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Open-source and free is still the order of the day when it comes to digital audio workstations or DAWs. Audacity is the one used the most across studios and developers and has been a favorite since it was released all the way back in 2000.
The list of tools and features Audacity has is almost endless, but in short, it enables you to create, edit, splice and reimagine almost any sound. It can be used to create environment sounds, edit voices or simply perfect the crunching sound of a character walking on a dirt road.