[Top 10] Best Game Development Software for Beginners

Best Game Development Software for Beginners
I have to keep track of the software I use to make software?!


Software development, as viewed from the outside and quite often inside, is a chaotic act of creativity.

It begins with a request from someone who cannot build it themselves and that request must become something real. Producing a solution for the problem, the requirement, itself often requires a host of other solutions. Luckily, and lucratively, there is no shortage of software programs built from the ground up to assist in building software programs. From the ground up.

10. Favro

A Favro view, keeping track of what you need tracked.


Games development, as already mentioned, can be chaotic, unwieldy, and intensely confusing even to experts. Complexity increases over time as people are brought onto a given development team. Keeping all the various work organized and on track is challenging, but applications exist to aid in this. Favro is a tool which allows project managers to utilize a digital Agile task board, allowing at-a-glance, real-time updates on what work remains to be done and who is responsible for doing it. If one is wondering which already overworked developer needs to be whipped to actualize their inner-productivity, this is the tool for figuring that out.


9. Confluence

Confluence is used to share documents and otherwise annoy game designers.


Another tool for keeping development organized, Confluence focuses mostly on sharing large documents between developers. Proposed new features to be implemented and coded are usually done so against a ‘spec’, or specification. The spec dictates what the program is supposed to do, while the developer must figure out how to make it work. A repository for design documents is essential as a source of truth for developers, who often don’t know how the program feature they are building is supposed to work. The need for such a thing grows directly in relation to the size of the team. The larger the team, the more documentation there is. In the age of Agile, design changes quite often, and documentation needs to change accordingly to keep up.


8. GitHub

This adorable puss is either a cat in an octopus suit or an octopus wearing a cat mask?


GitHub is a phenomenal tool allowing open-source developers to create their own repositories and easily share them with others. One can download a ‘git’ and execute on their own PC, providing testing or consulting services for other developers. Developers regularly collaborate together through this platform and even if one doesn’t create their own ‘gits’ one can benefit from the immense amount of documentation and comments left by developers who do. Let someone else suffer, I always say.


7. StackOverflow

Generally, one doesn't want a stack to overflow, but this is an exception.


If one were to estimate the amount of troubleshooting a developer has engaged in over the years, the number would likely astonish most. Nine times out of ten, things simply don’t work the first time around. An avatar’s head falls off when turning left. The compiler complains about a piece of code. The compiler relates an error in an inscrutable language resembling Ancient Sumerian. The problems are legion, but the good news is Stack Overflow is full of developers, kind enough to lend their experience to complete strangers. There are also some less than kind developers on such a large platform. Still, if you have a problem compiling code or figuring out how a function works, odds are good the answer can be found there.



Pronounced Jee-Rah. Or J-Eye-Rah. Or however you like, really. It's free.


JIRA is a database, something all developers need to keep track of issues arising from development. It allows developers, testers, and project managers to keep track of bugs. Bugs are the lifeblood of testers and any tester needs to quickly figure out how databases work or they will find themselves lost. JIRA is a free service for small teams with premium options for larger teams. Figuring out resolutions, as well as active, deferred, and closed states in a bug database is essential. Divining the principles of JIRA allows one to figure out the principles for other bug database systems, as they are the same principles. But not all database software is free.


5. OneNote

Highly functional, updates are dynamic for multiple users, and you can change its enthusiastic purple coloring to an appropriately reserved black, no problem.


Development involves non-stop problem solving and efficient development requires sharing solutions among team members in order to reduce the amount of redundant work. If one member of the team manages to solve a problem, that information should be shared with the rest of the team. When/if another person encounters the problem themselves, and they will, they can refer to a possible solution before slamming their forehead against it fruitlessly. OneNote is a sort of wiki, where one can easily write and find notes from others. Every team should have a OneNote and a stock of Tylenol nearby. Alternatively, the team should take bets on how long it takes the toiling developer to slam their face on their desk.


4. Unity

A compiler, environment, and engine rolled up into one environment to rule them all.


Personally, I have not had much experience with Unity, but that is changing as it becomes more widely adopted by large, established developers and several independent ones. Unity’s selling point is code which can most easily be ported to multiple platforms; meaning if you are developing for Xbox to begin with and later determine you want to ship on multiple platforms, there is minimal heartburn in getting it done. Games development is immensely complex and there are only so many Tums in the world one can eat in a day. Any effort to reduce heartburn is an excellent idea.


3. Software Development Kits

SDK's are essential unless you're just handing an executable to your mom on a floppy disk.


Rather than clutter a list with various Software Development Kits (lovingly referred to as SDK’s) I will simply mention SDKs in general. All platforms one would develop and release a game on have their unique SDK. The Xbox SDK, Oculus SDK, etcetera. SDK’s not only allow the developer to take advantage of particular API’s which help their game run better, they can plug into platform-specific features like friends lists, parties, you name it. SDK’s also provide extensive documentation on certification requirements. Bombing in certification is a traumatic experience and understanding requirements beforehand goes a long way. Certification testers enjoy nuking release schedules by forcing developers to fix issues and re-submit.


2. Microsoft Excel

No glamour, no fuss, spreadsheets keep your on-the-fly test case results straight.


Spreadsheets, a stubborn object of love for testers and accountants alike. For many years, the Excel spreadsheet was the preferred manner in which test engineers kept their results and test cases organized. Although, “preferred” is perhaps a strong term for it. It is what it is, which is to say, it is quick and dirty and gets the job done. Excel is a general type of application, which can be used for all manner of things, and has typically been superseded by more targeted applications which do specific things better. But Excel is here to stay, if just for allowing one to quickly document, scrub, and visualize data. Many services, for environment management for instance, allow importing CSV files, as well.


1. Visual Studio

When you stare into the Abyss, sometimes it won't compile. Getting to know this beast will help.


Of the hundreds of compilers and code repositories out there, Visual Studio has emerged consistently as the go-to solution for keeping a codebase straight. Whether one is developing web applications, standalone executables, or whatever else their creative urges propel them towards, Visual Studio has helped developers keep it compiling. Microsoft offers free versions in addition to premium. A mammoth help section is also included, the value of which will continue to make itself known. Visual Studio is complicated, massive, and unwieldy at times, but if you need your compiler to do something, odds are good it can.


The business of producing software in order to aid in the production of software has exploded over the last several years. Dozens of programming languages require dozens of different compilers and ultimately, it all simply depends on what the programmer is attempting to get done. There will be no exhaustive list of tools aiding in this process and no matter how one slices it, they will wrestle with their tools almost as much as with their own creations. But this list gets one headed in the right direction!

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A geriatric gamer, R.B. Lamb has enjoyed calloused thumbs for decades by now. Hailing from the Emerald City, also known as Seattle, he aspires to someday take flight with the other monkeys.
Gamer Since: 1984
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2
Top 3 Favorite Games:Dark Souls 3 , Diablo, The Talos Principle

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