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Get ready for Ludum Dare: Game development tools

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Ludum Dare 39 starts today! I previously wrote about Ludum Dare with tips for completing your game along with getting the most out of itch.io, so check that out if you haven’t already.

Ludum Dare is a good opportunity to try something new, like a new game engine, library, or art tool. This will be my thirteenth game made for Ludum Dare (if I manage to finish). I'll be trying out a new engine this time : TIC-80 (it’s got built in MoonScript support!)

itch.io has a huge collection of game development resources and game assets. For this article I've collected some tools that have caught my interest that are worth checking out if you'd like to give yourself an additional challenge. I'll definitely be referring to this list for myself to mix things up in future Ludum Dares. If you have any suggestions for the list please leave a comment.

Before we get started, don’t forget to tag your game ludum-dare-39 on itch.io when uploading your game so we can easily find projects to feature and share!

Game Engines

TIC-80

https://nesbox.itch.io/tic

A fantasy console powered by Lua, MoonScript, and JavaScript. The built in map, sprite, code, and music editors let you develop your entire game inside the engine. Games use a 16 color palette and 240x136 display. You can easily export games to native executables or embed them in a browser with HTML5 export.

Bitsy

https://ledoux.itch.io/bitsy

A browser based game development tool that doesn’t require any coding. Create tile based rooms that the player can explore.

Pixel Vision 8

https://pixelvision8.itch.io/game-creator

A game development platform that can target a wide range of 8-bit fantasy console limitations, either from existing consoles or something completely made up. Games are coded in Lua and C#.

Superpowers

https://sparklinlabs.itch.io/superpowers

A 2D and 3D game engine where you can program games in JavaScript or TypeScript. Games can be expored to the web for easy distribution. Includes a development environment where you can write your game’s code and objects.

LIKO-12

https://ramilego4game.itch.io/liko12

A Lua based fantasy console that runs on top of LÖVE. In includes a larger drive than most fantasy consoles, so could it suitable for building larger games. A DOS like operating system is included to interface with the console.

VectorBoy

https://melloland.itch.io/vectorboy

A fantasy console with a vector display (instead of more common pixel based displays). You can program you games in Lua.

Construct 2

https://scirra.itch.io/construct-2-game-maker-tool

A full featured game development platform to create 2D games. Supports exporting to native executables and the web.

ADLENGINE

https://liamtwose.itch.io/adlengine

A text based adventure engine that supports a multiplayer gameplay

Level Construction

Tiled

https://thorbjorn.itch.io/tiled

A 2D tile based map editor that supports grid, isometric, and hex tiles. It can export to a wide range of formats to make it easy to integrate into your game regardless of what engine you're using. See Tiled2Unit for a easy way to load tiled maps into Unity.

Crocotile 3D

https://prominent.itch.io/crocotile3d

A tool for creating 3D scenes with tiles. It works similar to a 2D tile editor but lets you draw levels in 3D.

2D & 3D Art Creation

Aseprite

https://dacap.itch.io/aseprite

A 2D pixel art editor that’s the best I've used. You can use it to create all kinds of retro art from animations to tile maps and backgrounds.

Tilemancer

https://led.itch.io/tilemancer

A procedural 2D tile generator. Can make a wide range of textures for you 2D (or maybe 3d) based games. A node based editor makes it easy to tweak parameters.

Asset Forge

https://kenney.itch.io/assetforge

A tool for building 3D models and 2D sprites using a library of building blocks.

Paint of Persia

https://dunin.itch.io/ptop

A tool for rotoscoping pixel art animations. You can use it to draw on top of any source material to create assets for games or just cool animations.

Playscii

https://jp.itch.io/playscii

A tool for creating art and animations out of ASCII art.

Quadtastic

https://25a0.itch.io/quadtastic

A tool that lets you create spritesheets and manage palettes. Easily create quads for art you need to import into your game.

FontSprite

https://adamstrange.itch.io/fontsprite

A pixel art editor for creating images matching the “Fontsprite” format (16x16 tiles usually in a 256x256 image).

Dither Machine

https://lunarlabs.itch.io/dither-machine

A tool for creating pixel dithered gradients.

dpixel

https://marcoc2.itch.io/dpixel

A pixel art remastering tool. Can be used to upscale your pixel art into smooth high res images.

Music and Sounds

Bosca Ceoil

https://terrycavanagh.itch.io/bosca-ceoil

An easy to use tool for composing music. It has a handful of built in instruments to let you get started quickly. Includes scale and chord guides to help you pick the right notes if you're new to writing music

Bfxr

https://donkeyspaceman.itch.io/bfxr

An advanced sound effect editor that is based on the sfxr.

rFXGen

https://raysan5.itch.io/rfxgen

A easy to use tool for generating sound effects. It’s based on sfxr.

evosfxr

https://candle.itch.io/evosfxr

A sfxr based sound editor that a mutation based procedural generation to create new sounds.

Other

gui-butler

https://seansleblanc.itch.io/gui-butler

A graphical interface to itch.io’s command line tool, butler. Makes it easy to upload your game with support for patching without having to use a command line.

Leave a comment

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(+1)

Oh interesting list, thank you! I would add https://tichau.itch.io/file-converter to convert all those assets into other formats if needed.  

Good luck for the jam!

(+1)

Great list! My friend is planning to get into dev too, so I'll shoot him this.

Mentioned in this post

Generate dithering for pixel art!
Make games in Construct 2 and upload them to itch, no programming required!
Create your own 3D models and 2D sprites!
A lua fantasy computer
A simple tool for creating your own sound effects.
ADLENGINE
$12.99
The Adliberum Engine - Text Adventure Engine
Rpg
An open source ASCII-based art, animation, and game creation tool.
a new way of using sfxr
Play in browser
Procedural pixel-art tile creator
an itch.io butler wrapper for lazybones like me
Free Tiled export utility for Unity projects
The HTML5 2D+3D game maker. Open source and collaborative.
GIF
tiny computer for making, playing and sharing tiny games
Simulation
Play in browser
Aseprite
$14.99
Animated sprite editor & pixel art tool
GIF
A Pixel Art Remaster Tool using classic algorithms that can open and export jpg, png, animated gif.
Simple fontsprite editing with lots of functions
GIF
A minimalist vectorial fantasy console
GIF
A fantasy game console designed for making fun 8-bit games.
Paint of Persia is a rotoscoping pixel-art tool
A free, easy to use tool for creating music!
Free, easy to use and flexible level editor.
Manage sprite sheets and color palettes
GIF
Make little games, worlds, and stories! (No coding required.)
Play in browser
raylib fx sound generator based on sfxr