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Socoder -> On Topic -> The Tools That I Use

Sun, 07 Mar 2021, 16:05

The Tools That I Use

Rychan recently asked what text editor I was using, lately..
Here's a list of the insides of my toolbox!

Desktop (albeit a Laptop)

I haven't used a desktop system since 2012. Everything I've produced has been done on a variety of Windows Laptops.
As of November 2020, however, I became a Mac-User, after picking up the M1 MacBook Air.
Most of the tools below are MacOS (M1) "apps", but I've included the equivalent Windows tool that I would've used had I still been on Windows.

Code : TextMate

Windows Alternative : Programmer's Notepad 2

Coding is the all-important part of AGameAWeek. Without it, well then we'd all be hoping that Klik'n'Play had an update!
On the Mac side of things, I've found the tool TextMate to be ideal for my needs. A simple text editor that can handle multiple formats, can syntax highlight lots of different languages, and can just about cope with my crazy typing style. (Though, my habit or writing brackets, right side first, tends to throw it quite a bit!)

My editor of choice isn't meant to compile or anything like that. Simply let me edit the code, then Alt+Tab (Squiggly Circles+Tab) between the editor and the browser, where I can study the results.
Additionally, if you code something in PHP with TextMate, it lets you hit Shift+Alt+R, (Shift+SquigglyCircles+R) to run the PHP code in a little window. This is ideal when making small php scripts, which I tend to use for exporting sprite sheets, generating level layouts, and the kinds of things that I used to do using BlitzMax in Windows.

Pixelart : Pixelmator Pro

Windows Alternative : PaintshopPro

On the Mac I've been using Pixelmator Pro. It manages to do everything I need it to, and (after a bit of tweaking in the preferences) can manage to do nice crisp pixelart stuff reasonably well. I still have a few issues with selections not being pixel-perfect, but otherwise it's fairly capable, and even has some nice power-functions that my older art tools never had!
For Windows, I still tended to use an age-old version of PaintShop Pro from the early 2000's (v7), but I've tried modern editions, and .. they're not awful..

Audio : Audacity

Windows Alternative : Also Audacity, though if I'm honest, I was still using a decades-old version of CoolEdit Pro.

I'd really like to be able to upgrade to a modern version of CoolEdit, but Adobe bought it, rebranded it as Adobe Audition, and then shoved a great big stonking Subscription-fee onto it.
So.. No.. Not gonna happen.
Audacity is .. Alright.
It has an annoying issue where you open up a .wav file, edit it, then have to export it back out because the Save button saves it to its own Audacity format, meaning you have to faff about to find the correct folder again. That's not very intuitive at all.
Other than that, though, it's workable enough that I can get most tasks done.

FTP : FileZilla

A holdover from years of using it on Windows, FileZilla is still my FTP program of choice, although.. It does seem to function as if I'm using Windows keys, instead of Mac keys, so all the keyboard shortcuts are confusing as all hell.
Trying to delete a file usually requires about 3 or 4 attempts before I hit the correct keyboard shortcut.
I might have to find a new FTP program, or alternatively, delve into the program's settings to see if there's any obvious way to change that.

Backup : FreeFileSync

This program runs on the Mac, scans all the files in a folder, then scans the same set of files on my NAS drive.
Any changes, at either end, are then copied back and forth, until both folders are sync'd.
This acts as my main backup, ensuring I've got multiple copies of my important dev stuff.
The program is also run on Windows, (which is running on an old MacMini!) to ensure I have a third duplication of all my files.
On top of this, I'm also currently considering installing BackBlaze. .. Haven't decided, though, yet.

Command Line Tools

PHP, FFMpeg and Lame Encoder are all available for both Win+Mac.
I tend to use Lame and FFMpeg alongside a php script, when doing my weekly ALChoons. The script scans for new .wav files, uses Lame to generate an .mp3 of the track, and then FFMpeg to generate a little visualisation video of the waveform.

Everything is run through PHP, which itself has some amazingly powerful functionality.
Spritesheets are run through PHP to slice them up, add transparency and padding between sprites.
Daily Platdude Pixelart and Poetry are helped along by PHP, too.
PHP has a thousand uses... Once you've got it running properly!

iOS Tools

Music : KORG Gadget

I used to use FLStudio on Windows, since back when it used to be called Fruitloops, but the Mobile edition of FLStudio seemed somewhat lacklustre, and wasn't quite what I wanted from an iOS music editing experience.
Ever since it launched, then, I've been using the wonderful KORG Gadget iPad app to create all my music. It's infinitely more intuitive to use, and has some great synths available in all manner of styles.
Although this is also available for Windows and Mac, I prefer the "lying in bed, composing" methodology of the iPad version.

Oh, and it costs an arm and a leg, especially if you buy (as I have) EVERYTHING for it!!!
Luckily, since I've been around since the launch, all those costs have been occasional purchases, not a huge lump sum all in one go. If I were to look at the complete price, now, I'm not sure I'd be as tempted!!

Pixelart : Pixaki

This is where the daily platdude pixelarts are created, and I've also started to use it for some ingame sprites and things, too. Mostly because it's much easier (for me, at least) to scribble little sprites directly with my finger, than attempt to do it with a mouse or trackpad.

Pixaki works with palettes, but is also true-colour based, so you can go off-palette if you need to.
Basic tools for drawing, primitives and clipboard functions.
Can't really grumble at this one!

Collating : Montage

A tool which has been invaluable for me, in the years I've been using it.

Montage by Programmatic Magic lets you easily place images, text and more, together onto the screen, then either Screenshot, or export using the high-resolution export functions.
Unfortunately, it hasn't been updated since 2019, and the website appears to be offline.
Slightly worried that I might need to find a new App for That..

Video Editing : LumaFusion

I can't stress just how good this app is.
Sure, it's missing a ton of "power" functions. You won't be making fancy 3D titles or doing amazeballs transitions, but if all you need is a simple way to chop, splice and layer your videos, then you can't really fault this app at all.
I've been using this to make all my youtube clips, lately, and if you've been around a long time, you'll know how much better they've been, since this app appeared!!

Nintendo Switch

For Nintendo Switch games, I use SmileBASIC!
It's a whole package. Art tools, code editor, compiler/interpreter... the lot. All in one neat little app in the eShop. Highly recommended!

And, I think that's about it, or at least that's the important stuff that I use every single week, in the making of AGameAWeek.
There's probably a few apps I've forgotten, but anything that I have, I probably don't use unless I really need it.

How about you? What are some of your favourite tools?

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