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.

In addition to these, choose and use a good SDK, like Eclipse or Netbeans.


  • 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.