Great Tools for Budget Mobile Game Development

This is a guide about choosing the tools, frameworks and platforms needed to create a mobile video game on the cheap. The tools will help in cross-platform mobile game development. Additional advantages are free to use tools, easy testing, good documentation, and a great community support.

Framework for the game

Phaser: HTML5, 2D mobile game framework based on Canvas and WebGL renderers. It has got a great community support, and weekly newsletter tutorials.

Cross-platform framework

Cordova: Apache Cordova, which is the open source version of PhoneGap, is a great tool for cross platform mobile game development. A unified JavaScript API exposes the device functions of multiple platforms, which can be accessed by your HTML/JavaScript game. Additionally, there are plugins for almost every feature when you use Cordova.

Emulate, Debug, Build and Configure

Intel XDK: The Intel XDK has an integrated development workflow. It gives an all-in-one development environment to build, test run, and deploy games. Also, it has got hundreds of Apache Cordova plugins and APIs available. The game engine will support easy importing of assets and codes.

High quality game interaction for gamepad and joystick devices are supported, which is enabled by the W3C Gamepad API. Apart from that, a preview app installation option for the phone is available, whereby the app allows uploading the game to a device without the need for installation every time.

Version Control

Bitbucket and SourceTree: Bitbucket provides unlimited repositories with secure and fast controls. It allows hosting the game in their cloud or managing it on the developer’s servers. The service is free for small teams of up to five members.

SourceTree is a good GUI for git — it has built in gitflow management. It is the free desktop client for Bitbucket. SourceTree’s has a simple interface to manage all hosted and local repositories.

Analytics

Google Analytics: Deployment is not the last phase of mobile game development. Where deployment ends, monitoring begins. With Google Analytics, the game’s user engagement can be tracked for free and the developer can take intelligent upgrading and marketing decisions.

Image Asset Creation

Inkscape and Piskel: Inkscape is an open source vector graphics editor with flexible drawing tools. Multi line text support, wide range of export formats, “as you drag” rendering etc. are some of the features.

Piskel allows to create beautiful sprites with a very few clicks. Features like live preview, private & public gallery, offline builds, exporting to gif etc. make working with Piskel a unique experience.