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About : Tools
  12th March, 2016


This is a list of the tools that I use when creating AGameAWeek.
Tool list last update : March 12th 2016
(If this is terribly outdated, let me know!!)


Currently I do all my coding using the Monkey-X language, from Blitz Research.
The language is one that I'm incredibly familiar with, since I've tended to stick to the Blitz range of languages for well over a decade. Blitz2D, Blitz3D and BlitzMax have accompanied me through the years, and I'm happy to continue using Monkey-X, the latest in the range.
Monkey-X allows me to write-once, and target lots of current-gen devices, from Android to iOS, as well as desktops. It can even compile to HTML5, so is really handy for rapid development, and testing all kinds of things.
The language isn't foolproof, though. Generating art and other such file-access based things can be tricky, so I also have Blitz3D and BlitzMax both installed on my system for doing the odd "quick tool" development.

Over the years, I've dipped my toes into many other languages. I've created iOS games with Cocos2D, made J2ME games in MidletPascal and Nintendo DS Homebrew using PALib. These languages are all fine and dandy, but nowadays Monkey lets me write-once, and I've gotten very lazy letting it do that! Having to write a game specifically for one device seems a bit of a waste.

I've also attempted several test things in "Pro" languages like XNA and Unity, but in most of those cases I found the "professional" level of doing things tended to take far too long. Adding assets were a 10-step process, and when you're trying to do things at the rate of AGameAWeek, even a ten step job can feel like too much work!
Blitz/Monkey lets me stick a file in a folder and then immediately use it, rather than having to import it, assign it attributes, and all the other things that "pro" tools tend to make me have to do before I can get a sprite on the screen.

In addition to using the Blitz/Monkey languages, I always install Programmers Notepad 2 which I find handy for all manner of hacking and scripting. I also tend to write my websites using this, so if anything seems somewhat hobbled together, it's usually because I've handcoded the whole lot from scratch!!


My current art kit consists of three main programs.
On the iPad, I use the app Sprite Something. It took me a while to get used to the way it works, but I'm now well and truly comfortable with the way it works.
Over the past couple of years, Sprite Something has been the main tool I use to draw my art, be it game logos, sprites, backgrounds, or even my daily platdude pixelarts.

On the PC I tend to use Paintshop Pro X7, which I usually use to organise the sprites I've drawn using Sprite Something, or to enlarge logos and add effects and the like.

Once the sprites are organised onto Spritesheets, I then use my own slicer tool (written in BlitzMax) to take the sprites, remove any Magenta to make them transparent, and rescale them to more usable spritesheet sizes.


Sound effects are cobbled together from all kinds of places, but recently I find myself using bfxr for most things.
I then tend to use CoolEdit Pro to tweak the sounds to exactly how I want them.
Occasionally I'll use FLStudio to generate more specific sounds and jingles, but for the majority of tasks, bfxr's perfectly fine.


I used to use FLStudio to do a lot of my music, but then in Jan 2014, KORG launched their wonderful Gadget app on iOS.
Since that appeared, I've barely opened FLStudio at all, except for the odd sound effect work.

KORG Gadget does everything I need when doing AGameAWeek soundtracks, and that's good enough for me!

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