Some affordable game development software.


What to download to start.

If you read my last entry about how to enter game development and are still reading my dev logs, most likely, you are thinking to try game development. If so; amazing! In this entry I am going to pinpoint out some software I use, have used or have been recommended for this. I will try to keep it in the affordable band. Before that, a really good reminded:

There is no best engine, software or tool

if no everybody would use the same tool. The fact that devs disagree and new tools keep popping up should be enough to tell you every tool have strengths and weakness. Having said that, lets go through some software you will need to use. Note, at the start, you may only use one or two. Do not get overwhelmed with the length of the list. I might also update this in the future to keep track with new software that I find interesting.


The engine is the heart of how you make your game. It is the software framework that allows you to put different element of your games together, let you create levels and implement different libraries so you do not have to make everything from scratch.


Godot is a free open source game engine. This means that it is created and maintained by an open online community; so it will always be free to use, so no cost involve. I love Godot, it has plenty of resources to learn how to use it (like GDQuest ). Since it is still expanding it can be a bit rough arround the edges and lack some features other engines take for granted. However it is the engine I believe will be big in 5 to 10 years.


Unity is a game engine that was the go-to engine for small to medium game developers not long ago. It is the engine which is easier to learn with the ammount of tutorials online. I would explain their fees, but after all the bad statements they release the last year and how crap the have been in this regard, I am not sure I understand them myself. I would only recommend this if you are wanting to work on mediumd indie studios, or really need online videos to learn.

Unreal Engine

Unreal is one of the most powerful game engine out there. It is a powerhouse most AAA studios use, and have a decent monetization syste. If your game make under 1 million dolars, so you pay nothing. If you make more than that, first; congratulations! Second, you own 5% of that money now. It is not the easiest learning curve, but you can found some nice resources online to learn. Definitely recommend picking this up if you want to work on a AAA studio.

Game Maker

Game maker is one of the engines I have been recommended a lot, but never tried myself. I have heard it is amazing for 2D games, with the 3D deparment and some other things (like shaders!) being kinda rough but improving by the day. You can use it for free for non-comercial projects or pay the 100 dollars life time feefor PCgames. They do not take royalties after this.


The murder engine is a 2D pixel art engine created by Isadora Sophia and Pedro Moreiros. You might use tools created by Isadora on the Visual code studio debugger and you might know Pedro as Saint11, Celeste’s pixel artist. The made an engine for 2D games which is incredible good looking and really interesting on the code side of things (it uses ECS if you catch my drift). I haven’t had the chance to try the engine myself, but it is on my to do list.


Love is less than an engine and more than a framework to create games. I list it here because it is free and open source, based in C++ with lua scripting. If you want to create something without starting from scratch, but still need to learn a bit about more low-level programming, this is your candidate.

Create your own

You might be a really big nerd and want to make your game engine from scratch. There are a million reason why I would recommend against it. There is little to no gain about doing this. If you really want to learn more about engines, I would recommend working with Love or open the source code of Godot and implement your own tools. If you are still thinkin about it you might not hear my warning. In that case I wish you good luck. You will learn a lot and suffer a lot. Hopefully, with a miracle, you will end up with a game at the end.

Art program

Your art program is the main way you will create assets for your game. Different programs target different type of assets you might want to create. A caviat with all of them: make sure the output can be correctly imported in your engine.


Aseprite is a software aimed to help create pixel art, and the one I use to create all the art assets in this website. You only pay 20 dollars once and you can use it for whatever you want for the rest of your life. Worst case; you can compile aseprite yourself from their github and not pay a dime.


An alternative to aseprite is microsoft paint. You will always have a computer with it installed and it is more than compable to do pixel art. If you are laughing at this idea; Risk of Rain was done with paint.


Photoshop is a powerhouse of vectored art. Every single tool you can imagine is on this software. However, by using it you complay to Adobe not-so-nice licence conditions (which gets scummier by the day). I would advise giving this a try to see what tools you actually NEED to search for them in other software.


Krita is a raster graphics editor which can be an amazing alternative to photoshop. It is free, open source and powerful enough for your game dev needs.


Gimp is another alternative to photoshop. It is a little bit uglier and clunkier, but it is free, have a ton of tools and plenty of tutorials online to learn about it.


Maya is another 3D modeling tool. As far as I know Maya is pretty expensive, but it is the best 3D modeling tool there. If you plan to work on a AAA studio on an art position, you should know this software, so check their student and learning plans.


Blender is a 3D modeling tool. It is absolutely free and it is amazingly powerful. It also allows to do animations on your 3D models. If you intend to work in a small to medium 3D project, this is your friend.

Music creation programs

I am still learning about how to create sounds for game, so this list may change heavily in the future. However, never understimate the personality and production value music and sound adds to your game. It is impressive how much it adds to your game.

Fami studio

Fami studio is amazing for creating sound and SVFX that sound straight from the NES era. It has plenty of tutorials online and it is totally free.

FL Studio

As far as I know FL Studio is one of the best audio tools. Beside being incredibly versatily and having an unlimited free trail period to try it out, it has a lifetime licence payment of 100 dollars for commercial use. I will try it myself in the near future, I will update with how that goes.


Reaper is an alternative to FL studio which I have been recommended plenty. It is plenty powerful and have tons of pluggings and amazing tools. They have a 60 day free trail in case you want to try it. I did and never vibed with it, but maybe you do.