|OT| Indie Game Development thread

JMTHEFOX

Planning to Be a Game Designer
Oct 4, 2018
268
343
63
Brooklyn, NY
Inspired by the Indie Game Dev thread at Era and the Grindwheel Games Thread (Don't worry, the developer is free to post here)

Welcome to the Indie game development thread!! Here, you can talk about the progress of your game, offer advice, or just chill out with indie devs. This thread welcomes developers of all skills.

----------------------------------------------

Resource lists (Completely Optional)
News for Game Developers
  • Gamasutra = a website that shares news and opinion pieces about game development.
Game Engines
  • Unity3D = The most popular game engine for indie developers.
  • Unreal Engine 4 = A powerful 3D game engine that is also capable of creating 2D games.
  • Game Maker = One of the oldest 2D game engines, now with support for Nintendo Switch, UWP and mobile.
  • Cryengine = The most graphics-focused game engine of all time. Extremely difficult to create games with due to its lack of proper documentation.
  • Amazon Lumberyard = An official fork of Cryengine with Twitch integration and AWS support.
  • Xenko = Open source game engine originally created by Silicon Studio, spun off into an independent effort.
  • Heaps.io = Free 2D and 3D graphics engine with support for consoles and mobile
  • RPG Maker = Popular Japanese custom RPG game engine series that originated in 1992
  • Pixel Game Maker MV/Action Game Maker MV = A spin-off of RPG Maker that focuses on 2D action games/metroidvanias.
  • Adventure Game Studio - SCUMM-like game engine for creating LucasArts-esque adventure games.
  • RenPy = A 2D visual novel game engine with macOS and Linux support.
  • MonoGame = free game engine, best known for powering Towerfall
  • Godot Engine
  • Phaser.io
Art Software
  • GIMP = A free open source alternative to Photoshop
  • Paint.net = A paint tool inspired by Microsoft Paint and Photoshop.
  • Blender= A popular 3D animation tool used for movies. Used to have game engine capabilities until 2.8
  • PyxelEdit = an editor for creating pixel art and tiles
  • Aseprite = another tool for creating sprites
  • Particle FX Designer
  • Juice FX
  • Kritia = Free painting program for WIndows and macOS
Audio Software
  • Audacity = Free and popular audio recording and mixing software

Asset Stores
  • Unity Asset Store = One of the largest game asset stores. Provides both free and paid assets for unity projects and games.
  • Unreal Marketplace = A game asset store for Unreal Engine 4, also available on the Epic Games Launcher.
Freelancer Work
  • Fiverr Gaming Store = Recently launched by Fiverr. Become a freelancer and get paid by making games for someone.

Game Jams
TIPS
1) Don't be a dick and stay respectful when responding to feedback.
2) Always remember to read the game engine's EULA very carefully.
3) Self promoting your game in this thread is fine.
4) Have fun!!

Shoutout to Nyarlathotep and Deques for tool suggestions!
 
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Nyarlathotep

The Crawling Chaos
Apr 18, 2019
92
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Its late my time, but I'll add some of the links I contributed to the era indie dev thread and its gaf predecessor tomorrow; its more useful to post stuff people actually use than giant kitchen sink lists in my experience

e: also last I checked the indiedev discord was deliberately site-agnostic, so I can swing by there and get a link probably
 
OP
JMTHEFOX

JMTHEFOX

Planning to Be a Game Designer
Oct 4, 2018
268
343
63
Brooklyn, NY
Its late my time, but I'll add some of the links I contributed to the era indie dev thread and its gaf predecessor tomorrow; its more useful to post stuff people actually use than giant kitchen sink lists in my experience
No worries (y)
 

TubaZef

MetaMember
Dec 19, 2018
70
103
33
Oh hi there!
Well, I'm making this thing:



It's an old-school style FPS where the enemies are fishmen pirates. Using UE4 in a mix of 3D models and 2D sprites.
Been working on it for a few years and there are more screens and videos of it but I prefer to show only newer ones, spent the last 1 year learning about 3D modeling and art in general and it's looking much better now.

So, I'm here to help with UE4, C++ and basic 2D and 3D stuff. :cool:

(I feel there's a lot of engines missing on the 1st post but judging from prvious posts, I think people are bringing those up soon)
 

lashman

Dead & Forgotten
Sep 5, 2018
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It's an old-school style FPS where the enemies are fishmen pirates. Using UE4 in a mix of 3D models and 2D sprites.
Been working on it for a few years and there are more screens and videos of it but I prefer to show only newer ones, spent the last 1 year learning about 3D modeling and art in general and it's looking much better now.
looks great ... always love seeing those tweets :D can't wait to play it!
 
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Ryna

Unpaid Weeb Game Shill
Apr 17, 2019
813
2,009
93
Canada
Oh hi there!
Well, I'm making this thing:



It's an old-school style FPS where the enemies are fishmen pirates. Using UE4 in a mix of 3D models and 2D sprites.
Been working on it for a few years and there are more screens and videos of it but I prefer to show only newer ones, spent the last 1 year learning about 3D modeling and art in general and it's looking much better now.

So, I'm here to help with UE4, C++ and basic 2D and 3D stuff. :cool:

(I feel there's a lot of engines missing on the 1st post but judging from prvious posts, I think people are bringing those up soon)
Damn I really love the art. The blend of 2D and 3D looks great with it!
 
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gabbo

MetaMember
Dec 22, 2018
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Toronto
Hopefully this post will be enough to get me past my own FOF and get me back to tinkering with a couple of the ideas i've been slowly working on in unity. And also that it will still be welcoming and less monolithic like ERA's and GAF's threads before it.

I've always been terrified to seek help or ask advice in these threads because I'm so early on and don't want to come off as incompetent or unable to actually do the work myself.
 

TubaZef

MetaMember
Dec 19, 2018
70
103
33
I've always been terrified to seek help or ask advice in these threads because I'm so early on and don't want to come off as incompetent or unable to actually do the work myself.
It depends on the person I guess, but to me, showing my work early and constantly helped me to keep working on my current project (I started and gave up on at least 4 games before without no one ever seeing it). You don't need to post it on social media or here ror anything like that, just showing it to some friends can be enough.

Some indie devs even stream themselves working on Twitch... I wish I had that level of confidence,
 
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lashman

Dead & Forgotten
Sep 5, 2018
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Hopefully this post will be enough to get me past my own FOF and get me back to tinkering with a couple of the ideas i've been slowly working on in unity. And also that it will still be welcoming and less monolithic like ERA's and GAF's threads before it.

I've always been terrified to seek help or ask advice in these threads because I'm so early on and don't want to come off as incompetent or unable to actually do the work myself.
always happy to help ... plus, it never hurts to ask ;)
 

Nyarlathotep

The Crawling Chaos
Apr 18, 2019
92
192
33
Hopefully this post will be enough to get me past my own FOF and get me back to tinkering with a couple of the ideas i've been slowly working on in unity. And also that it will still be welcoming and less monolithic like ERA's and GAF's threads before it.

I've always been terrified to seek help or ask advice in these threads because I'm so early on and don't want to come off as incompetent or unable to actually do the work myself.
Honestly, you can do a lot worse than trying a game jam. They're usually super forgiving, especially to newcomers.

And there is definitely one happening at a time and date and duration that will be suitable for you
Game jams
 

Deques

Nope Nope
Oct 19, 2018
1,214
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The North
www.seikens.com
Finally, I have been waiting for this thread here in MC. Thanks for making this thread.

Here are some software for pixel art
Some other neat tools for visual effects
 
OP
JMTHEFOX

JMTHEFOX

Planning to Be a Game Designer
Oct 4, 2018
268
343
63
Brooklyn, NY
Added more game engines to the OP as well as organizing it to be more clearer

Finally, I have been waiting for this thread here in MC. Thanks for making this thread.

Here are some software for pixel art
Some other neat tools for visual effects
Thanks, added the links to the OP.
 
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Nyarlathotep

The Crawling Chaos
Apr 18, 2019
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Okay, quick useful resources list: this is from the perspective of a hobbyist who wants to try stuff out, at a price point convenient for trying stuff out - namely FREE!


Engines:
Okay, so its super common for someone to drop by one of these threads and say "I want to make a game, what engine should I use?" and ultimately the answer is always going to be 'whatever suits you'.
  • If you're familiar with a language already, pick something that works with the language you know, so you don't have to reinvent the wheel
    • for reference (common engines and common languages):
  • If you want to make a very specific type of game, there are a number of very specific type of game makers, that are super well designed to make exactly that kind of game.
    • 16 bit console style JRPGs = RPG Maker (various flavours, all commercial)
    • 2D point & Click adventures = Adventure Game Studio (free)
    • Interactive Fiction = Twine (free)
    • Visual Novel = Ren'Py (free)
    • I'd personally put GameMaker (commercial) into this bracket, as its super good for simple 2D stuff, but you'll start banging your head against limitations if you want to go outside of scope, but you know, its good enough to make Hotline: Miami in
  • If you want to sell what you make, check the fine print on what 'free' means. Some engines (RPGMaker, Game Maker) charge an upfront fee, or have additional fees for platforms beyond Windows Desktop (on top of the fees the licenceholders of other platforms will charge you), some operate on a revenue share basis, where you pay a cut of everything you earn (sometimes above a certain threshold), some are FLOSS and yours to do with as you want (although you may still have smallprint such as providing a copy of the source code with a release)
  • There's other engines I haven't listed. It's not because they're bad or whatever, but if I haven't listed it, then I've never used it, nobody I know uses it, and I can't really vouch for it. If you find something great, champion it in the thread!
  • Best possible advice I can give; all of these engines have some kind of trial; download all of them, make something super basic, and see how it feels. Are there awkward things to do that you can see yourself getting sick of doing over and over again? Do you feel comfortable with the basic user experience, or are you constantly wondering where the thing you're looking for is hidden? What kind of helps available? If you have a question, is it an easily located stack exchange answer away, or is it one other poor soul who never got a reply in some buried and locked forum thread from 3 years ago?
I personally work in Unity; the price point is perfect (I earn nothing, I pay nothing), I can export to any platform I want, my only limitation is a splash screen on my games (and - hilariously - the editors dark theme is also paywalled), there is ridiculous amounts of support covering any type of game you could possibly want to make, including full frameworks on github, and the workflows convenient.



2D Art Stuff:
GIMP
yeah, yeah, 'I tried it years back, and its not as good as photoshop, and its layout is confusing' - it was completely revamped with v2.0 and is a genuine alternative now

PAINT.NET
Another 'photoshop-lite' that can do most of the things an indie dev (as opposed to a professional graphics designer) needs from a photoshop type program. It was originally designed to be like Ms Paint but less shitty, and its hard to argue it didn't succeed at that

KRITA
A free digital paint package, as in its meant to feel as much like painting but in a digital format, where other paint packages are more about digital manipulation or photo editing.

ASEPRITE
pixel art application; its actually free if you want to compile it yourself, as its open source, or you can buy it as a prebuilt application

MS EXPRESSION DESIGN
Its like Adobe Illustrator (like, really like. Like, an obvious attempt to clone it, like) but by MS. IT wasn't selling, so they just abandoned it. So you can have it for free now. That's MS for ya! Useful if you want to do vectorial art cheaply, and can't stand Inkscape.

INKSCAPE
Freeware vectorial art package. Tough to recommend for the same reasons it used to be tough to recommend Gimp. But, you know, its fully functional.

FONTS
There's a bunch of font sites that are kinda sketchy on what kind of licence the fonts they offer to download are under, and whether you're legally allowed to, say, redistribute them without credit in a commercial game. This site has explicit licencing if you want to avoid potential lawsuits or whatever.

SHOEBOX
Like a swiss army knife for some common 2D tasks, especially for UI work - also has some helpful 3D related stuff, like being able to rip a texture from a photo of like a building or whatever thats not perfectly aligned

ICOMOON
A variety of free Icon packs downloadable as fonts, and the ability to upload vectorial art (SVGs) to convert into fonts; super useful for UI work that looks a bit more professional by having an icon instead of a text entry

TILEMANCER
Procedural generator to quickly generate 2D tilesets; can also generate normal maps along with the tile for use in 2D games using advanced 3D lighting, such as something like SpriteLamp can generate.


3D Art Stuff
BLENDER
Like Gimp, Blender 2.8 (which is literally only days or weeks away from full release at time of posting) is a huge overhaul bringing it up to spec with other 3D art packages so you won't be going "why the fuck is RMB select?" or trying to memorise a bunch of unintuitive hotkeys to do basic shit.
If you've never worked with Blender, don't even bother downloading anything prior to the 2.8 betas for your own sake.

MAGICAVOXEL
Voxel based 3D modelling app / renderer - very simple to use, as its basically digital lego, and can be exported to a number of formats supported by various engines.

TEXTURES
Huge assortment of textures of various type, quality, and licence; has a user 'credits' system, where you get 15 downloads a day free, but if you need more or higher resolution need to pay.

NORMAL MAP CREATOR
Quick + easy online normal map generator from an existing texture

EFFECTTEXTUREMAKER
Procedural texture generator intended primarily for things like VFX / Particle effects

SPACESCAPE
Procedural texture generator intended primarily for making spacey 3D skyboxes


Audio Stuff
BFXR
A procedural sound effect generator, with a whole bunch of options to tweak, and a randomiser to get you near what you want quickly. Probably the most unrecognised superstar in every gamejam you can imagine, because basically everybody uses this for those bleeps, bloops and blurps

BOSCA CEOIL
Retro-style music making package thats extremely simple to learn and use, and has a number of different MIDI instruments. Another gamejam essential.

BEEPBOX
An online chiptune generator, that makes sharing music as easy as copying the URL. Another staple of game jams.

FREESFX
Online generic sound effects library, using a fairly permissive CC-BY (attribution) licence - you just need to list it in your credits or whatever

LMMS
Free and Open Source digital audio workstation - extremely powerful and versatile 'full package' audio creation software that does tracking, sequencing, sampling and MIDI generation, and supports sound fonts.

AUDACITY
Free audio recorder / editing application. Pretty much essential for any audio cleanup work you might need to do
 
Last edited:
OP
JMTHEFOX

JMTHEFOX

Planning to Be a Game Designer
Oct 4, 2018
268
343
63
Brooklyn, NY
Okay, quick useful resources list: this is from the perspective of a hobbyist who wants to try stuff out, at a price point convenient for trying stuff out - namely FREE!


Engines:
Okay, so its super common for someone to drop by one of these threads and say "I want to make a game, what engine should I use?" and ultimately the answer is always going to be 'whatever suits you'.
  • If you're familiar with a language already, pick something that works with the language you know, so you don't have to reinvent the wheel
    • for reference (common engines and common languages):
  • If you want to make a very specific type of game, there are a number of very specific type of game makers, that are super well designed to make exactly that kind of game.
    • 16 bit console style JRPGs = RPG Maker (various flavours, all commercial)
    • 2D point & Click adventures = Adventure Game Studio (free)
    • Interactive Fiction = Twine (free)
    • Visual Novel = Ren'Py (free)
    • I'd personally put GameMaker (commercial) into this bracket, as its super good for simple 2D stuff, but you'll start banging your head against limitations if you want to go outside of scope, but you know, its good enough to make Hotline: Miami in
  • If you want to sell what you make, check the fine print on what 'free' means. Some engines (RPGMaker, Game Maker) charge an upfront fee, or have additional fees for platforms beyond Windows Desktop (on top of the fees the licenceholders of other platforms will charge you), some operate on a revenue share basis, where you pay a cut of everything you earn (sometimes above a certain threshold), some are FLOSS and yours to do with as you want (although you may still have smallprint such as providing a copy of the source code with a release)
  • There's other engines I haven't listed. It's not because they're bad or whatever, but if I haven't listed it, then I've never used it, nobody I know uses it, and I can't really vouch for it. If you find something great, champion it in the thread!
  • Best possible advice I can give; all of these engines have some kind of trial; download all of them, make something super basic, and see how it feels. Are there awkward things to do that you can see yourself getting sick of doing over and over again? Do you feel comfortable with the basic user experience, or are you constantly wondering where the thing you're looking for is hidden? What kind of helps available? If you have a question, is it an easily located stack exchange answer away, or is it one other poor soul who never got a reply in some buried and locked forum thread from 3 years ago?
I personally work in Unity; the price point is perfect (I earn nothing, I pay nothing), I can export to any platform I want, my only limitation is a splash screen on my games (and - hilariously - the editors dark theme is also paywalled), there is ridiculous amounts of support covering any type of game you could possibly want to make, including full frameworks on github, and the workflows convenient.



2D Art Stuff:
GIMP
yeah, yeah, 'I tried it years back, and its not as good as photoshop, and its layout is confusing' - it was completely revamped with v2.0 and is a genuine alternative now

PAINT.NET
Another 'photoshop-lite' that can do most of the things an indie dev (as opposed to a professional graphics designer) needs from a photoshop type program. It was originally designed to be like Ms Paint but less shitty, and its hard to argue it didn't succeed at that

KRITA
A free digital paint package, as in its meant to feel as much like painting but in a digital format, where other paint packages are more about digital manipulation or photo editing.

ASEPRITE
pixel art application; its actually free if you want to compile it yourself, as its open source, or you can buy it as a prebuilt application

MS EXPRESSION DESIGN
Its like Adobe Illustrator (like, really like. Like, an obvious attempt to clone it, like) but by MS. IT wasn't selling, so they just abandoned it. So you can have it for free now. That's MS for ya! Useful if you want to do vectorial art cheaply, and can't stand Inkscape.

INKSCAPE
Freeware vectorial art package. Tough to recommend for the same reasons it used to be tough to recommend Gimp. But, you know, its fully functional.

FONTS
There's a bunch of font sites that are kinda sketchy on what kind of licence the fonts they offer to download are under, and whether you're legally allowed to, say, redistribute them without credit in a commercial game. This site has explicit licencing if you want to avoid potential lawsuits or whatever.

SHOEBOX
Like a swiss army knife for some common 2D tasks, especially for UI work - also has some helpful 3D related stuff, like being able to rip a texture from a photo of like a building or whatever thats not perfectly aligned



3D Art Stuff
BLENDER
Like Gimp, Blender 2.8 (which is literally only days or weeks away from full release at time of posting) is a huge overhaul bringing it up to spec with other 3D art packages so you won't be going "why the fuck is RMB select?" or trying to memorise a bunch of unintuitive hotkeys to do basic shit.
If you've never worked with Blender, don't even bother downloading anything prior to the 2.8 betas for your own sake.


posting to save my work, will update in a bit
Awesome! Is it okay if I can add a link to your list to the OP?
 

Nyarlathotep

The Crawling Chaos
Apr 18, 2019
92
192
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Awesome! Is it okay if I can add a link to your list to the OP?
sure, or just strip the commentary and add regular links - whatevers easier for the OP layout.
I'm gonna edit in some more links in a bit, just taking a break from a Big Ass Post
 
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BlackRainbowFT

Junior Member
Apr 17, 2019
99
231
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Hey,

I'd like to share a few other tools:

Capsule (Blender addon) - pay what you want:

Capsule is a plugin for Blender that augments the in-built FBX exporter, allowing you to automate the export of hundreds of objects in a scene with a single click. It features Export Lists, reusable Export Presets, automated export organisation tools and a bunch of other cool things.
It's really useful, it allows you to circumvent a lot of the limitations present in the default FBX exporter (e.g., messed up transform origin when exporting multiple meshes to Unity as a single FBX)

Instant Meshes (standalone software) - free:

Pretty cool remesher (not as good as Zbrush's... but at least it's free).

Akeytsu (standalone software) - paid:

Really neat and intuitive animation tool (disclaimer: I've done very little animation in my life... maybe a professional would still prefer Maya...).
Fake edit: holy cow at that price! I got it for 79$ when it was in beta more than 2 years ago.


Also, Unity shouldn't lock accessibility features (dark mode) behind a paywall. If it's allowed I can share the hex values that need to be changed in order to unlock the dark skin (it won't unlock any other feature) ...and to think that I got a Pro subscription for 2~ years ONLY to be able to use the dark skin...
 

Nyarlathotep

The Crawling Chaos
Apr 18, 2019
92
192
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whoa ... that's actually pretty awesome!!! i'm impressed :)
heh thanks, I was just playing with seeing how low res I could go and still make recognisable characters, and went superheros because theyre all designed to be instantly recognisable from their costumes and high contrast palletes
 
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lashman

Dead & Forgotten
Sep 5, 2018
9,326
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Also, Unity shouldn't lock accessibility features (dark mode) behind a paywall. If it's allowed I can share the hex values that need to be changed in order to unlock the dark skin (it won't unlock any other feature) ...and to think that I got a Pro subscription for 2~ years ONLY to be able to use the dark skin...
go for it! and i'll say the same thing i've been saying since the dark theme was around - ABSOLUTELY FUCK THEM for locking it behind a paywall ... and still doing it after all those years

heh thanks, I was just playing with seeing how low res I could go and still make recognisable characters, and went superheros because theyre all designed to be instantly recognisable from their costumes and high contrast palletes
they're SERIOUSLY good .... hats off
 
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TubaZef

MetaMember
Dec 19, 2018
70
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Some other engines to consider:
MonoGame: MonoGame - Free, used on Towerfall, Celeste, Flinthook and others, in a way it's the heir of Microsoft's XNA and so, it uses C#.
Construct: Make Your Own 2d Games With Construct 2 - Paid but very easy to use, don't require coding. It's great for smaller games and prototypes. Biggest game I can remember made using this is The Iconoclasts.
Multimedia Fusion: Clickteam - Multimedia Fusion 2 - Also focused on easiness of use and don't require coding. Also paid. Kinda old and outdated but still very used. Used in Five Nights at Fredy's, Dropsy, Not a Hero, Odallus and others.

Some advice about engines: just use what you feel comfortable with and you think is more fitting for your game, don't use Unreal or Unity just because all the cool kids are using it. And don't look down on stuff like Construct or Game Maker.

Edit: Woah, the links icons appear automatically! This forum is so cool <3
 

Nyarlathotep

The Crawling Chaos
Apr 18, 2019
92
192
33
Some advice about engines: just use what you feel comfortable with and you think is more fitting for your game, don't use Unreal or Unity just because all the cool kids are using it. And don't look down on stuff like Construct or Game Maker.
yeah, I echo this 100%
 
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BlackRainbowFT

Junior Member
Apr 17, 2019
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go for it! and i'll say the same thing i've been saying since the dark theme was around - ABSOLUTELY FUCK THEM for locking it behind a paywall ... and still doing it after all those years
Okay then! The hex editor I'm using is HxD, by the way.

Up to 2018.3 you needed to change this:
84 C0 75 08 33 C0 48 83 C4 30 5B C3 8B 03 48
to this:
84 C0 74 08 33 C0 48 83 C4 30 5B C3 8B 03 48

For 2019.1 you need to change this:
74 04 33 C0 EB 02 8B 07
to this:
75 04 33 C0 EB 02 8B 07

Source:
DragDay7 says:
Unity.exe comes with pdb file that points to functions by their names - you can load both in disassembler like Ghidra or IDA. Func GetSkinIdx returns 0 if fails to check I believe license flag. So changing asm JZ instruction (which is 74XX) to JNZ (75XX) inverts if statement and returns what's on "else" part (must be related to dark theme). JMP (EBXX) instruction would also work. Everytime unity gets compiled from new source that hex part is no more valid and someone has to reverse engineer new one
Baslifico adds:
Fundamentally, somewhere inside Unity must be a block of code that does the following:

if (some complex license check passes) {
// Do valid license stuff
} else {
// Do invalid license stuff
}

The idea is to find that conditional and change the if to an if not (more precisely, changing a "Jump if equal to zero" to a "jump if not equal to zero").

Someone (presumably with a debugger and a lot of patience [and possibly a license]) discovered that the function getSkinIdx is the one that handles that decision. it's possible to use dissassemblers like x64dbg to examine the binary, find that function and edit the assembly language of the method directly.

As this change doesn't add/remove any bytes, there should be no side-effects (until Unity start doing a hash check on that file at startup, which seems inevitable)
 
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Nyarlathotep

The Crawling Chaos
Apr 18, 2019
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As a reminder if you're interested enough to be spending money on tools in advance, the steam sale doesn't only cover games - there's a bunch of applications and game making specific stuff on sale too
 

helloCLD

Junior Member
Dec 9, 2018
9
12
3
Buffalo, NY
hellocld.com
Cool thread. Someday I'll get around to actually working on a game myself (too busy distracting myself with learning new tools/languages), but in the meantime I do a lot of volunteer work for a non-profit that serves as a community/co-working space for aspiring and professional creators alike called Buffalo Game Space. If any of y'all are out in the Western New York area feel free to drop by.