Tools of the Trade

What do you use when developing a game?

I am curious to see what applications and utilities are used and what are the features that made that product the most useful.

.....And I wanted to be the first to post in this new section :)

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nils pipenbrinckConnect With a Mentor Commented:

Currently we use Visual C++ for win32 based games.. it's a good compiler.. it has a good editor and generates excellent code..

the most usefull features of it are:

1st. good support from microsoft. the newest libraries work without hacking..

2nd. good editor. If you ever worked with codewarrior you'll know how bad a editor can be...

3nd. good integration of a revision control system (which makes coding in a team more easy).

for graphics we use:

photoshop. nothing special to say about that one.. it's simply a good program. it does it's job...

softimage 3d.. a good 3d editor.. damn expensive, but it was the first editor where the graphicans are able to do usable texture mapping. Now other tools have similar features...

what are you using?

I agree, use vsc++, and do NOT use MFC!!! MFC slows things down a lot.  I generally use visual c++ and directX to create games..  The nice thing about DirectX is that it ports very easy to other platforms and is an industry standard.  Very powerful API and also very fast.  A must have for serious games! ;-)  For graphics, I would suggest using smaller image files if you can get away with it.  If you're using straight 2d sprites, use pcx.  It's small and quick to decode.  Bitmaps are larger but the easiest to code for.

for programming use VC++, of course without MFC - MFC is for such applications as your browser you are running now, hehe...

for music big game companies record some soundtracks for the game, hiring some band or music coding group, and them transforming it to wav-s or other formats, small companies often rip some mod-s or s3m-s from somewhere (with author permission), or ask some music scene module coders for writing some mod's to them (for example, future crew)

for most interface graphics photoshop is an ideal solution

"3d, or not 3d - here's the question" - that's to the point
3d games use big 3d models live captured from some people/created monsters, or generated by some little crazy people, and that's the main idea why all starting or not very moneyful game programmers/developers don't do 3d games, do a poor ones, or rip 3d models somewhere
not 3d games are popular now too (mostly RPGs, quest like games), because even with the newest 3d tech and fx's, sometimes the better or more high-quality, or less resource-taking (processor, memory etc.) is the flat good old sprites; some games use some techniques to create a look of 3d-game with flat graphics; for most modern games, all sprites of men, women, monsters, weapons, equipment, stuff, houses, cities or whatever are made in 3d studio (max, max2 or even max3 editions) - powerful 3d-editor program by Kinetix, and then rendered from different positions with different camera positions (optional)

for logging game's text data, like descriptions, something like Ufopaedia in UFO game, character's speeches and talks in RPG, most people write their own database or something editor that handles all these purposes; right now i'm just finishing one of such editors for a strategy/action game like UFO : X-COM 1,2,3 (i really love UFO game); i do that editor using Delphi, not VC++ - for such programs it's speed isn't very important, because it will be
used only in developing of the game, not in the gaming process, where speed is important, and here Delphi gives enough speed, and allows to make such complex editor very fast and simple

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<<The nice thing about DirectX is that it ports very easy to other platforms<<
How can you say that? It doesn't port to anything but windows.
maybe he have meant openGL?
openGL ports to UNIX, SGI and some other systems
OpenGL is the easiest way to create beautiful 3d games and other programs.

It's an "add-on" to C, it has most of the commands built in.
If you want to use it in Win95 you should use a part of it called glut.
you can go to to check it out. There are great examples there.

I recently wrote a very nice plane flying through the sky and mountains in just a few days.
Now that you've stated the tools needed to create a game, lets not forget what makes a game popular: Playability.

A game needs playability, how easy is it to learn the moves, how is the screen layout, does it have an interesting storyline/goal? When I finish the game, do I want to play again?

These are just some of the things that can make a popular game. The graphics are getting better and better with each release of a new video card/software. But the one thing that cannot be enhanced by hardware is the playability.

I want to see large, rich, dynamically changing worlds in which the physics (light, gravity, solidness) are seemingly real. Can I kick the ground and make dust rise and fall? Will I hurt myself If I run into a tree? Will an apple fall from that tree or a bird be spooked out? When I fire my weapon, Will it leave a mark on the wall when I miss? Will the mark still be there when I run by an hour later?

cmcgeeAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the Answer, But I think Nils answered it in the manner I was looking for first.

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