In the spirit of helping other indie developers, here’s a list of tools I recommend for Java game development. All of the software found below is free.
- Launch4J: A Java application wrapper. Lets you embed your game in an executable file. Provides numerous benefits and options in deploying to a target desktop environment.
- Proguard Code Obfuscator: Obfuscates your compiled bytecode, making it harder to decompile. If you want to keep your program as closed-source, this is a must.
- Gimp: A general purpose image editing/processing application. Think of it as a free Photoshop.
- Inkscape: A free vector art program with a wide variety of features.
- GraphicsGale: A pixel art editor, designed to make animating sprites easy. A must for any serious 2D pixel artist who wants to do more than static images. Has a free version that is very, very good in its own right.
- IcoFX and AniFX: Two good programs for making icons and cursors (respectively). They are very specialized, but very good at what they do.
- Blender: The best free 3D modelling suite on the web. Extremely high quality with a huge community and lots of documentation. The only downside is its steep learning curve, but once mastered is an incredible asset.
- Angelcode Bitmap Font Generator: This simple program lets you take any installed font on your system and create a bitmap font from it. Though basic, this functionality is incredibly useful when placing fonts in games.
- Audacity: A free audio processor. Don’t expect to use it to create music, but it’s quite versatile when recording and modifying audio.