Some free tools for students to use to develop video games

So the Games Programming unit of the National (and also the evening class if it runs) uses Visual Studio 2010 (C# Edition) and XNA 4. But students don’t have to go out and buy the full Visual Studio to be able to work on their projects at home.

Luckily thanks to Microsoft they can get the express version of Visual Studio which is free and will do everything that will be needed, but what other tools do we use on the course? Well guess what they are all free as well! Here is the list of tools used on the course:

Visual Studio 2010 Express (C# Edition) (get from

XNA 4 (get from – a great free program for editing images. On windows I prefer this to Gimp.

Audacity – the ultimate free audio editor.

bfxr – a sounds effects editor (with downloadable version requiring Adobe Air)

I think I also have  inkscape and blender being installed on the computers as well for students to use.  But at the moment I’m not sure if they will be used, depends on time. But it doesn’t hurt to have the tools available.

These programs won’t make you a great programmer or games designer, but they sure will make the task of getting there a lot easier.

In a near future post I will go through some recommended books for the course relating to games programming.


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