Open source, experimental, and tiny tools roundup
This is a list of small, free, or experimental tools that might be useful in building your game / website / interactive project. Although I’ve included ‘standards’, this list has a focus on artful tools and toys that are as fun to use as they are functional.
The goal of this list is to enable making outside of closed production ecosystems or walled software gardens.
NEW -- I've built a web interface for sorting through the tools!
Visit at; tinytools.directory
All additions to the list should now go through the website, which takes submissions from this handy form. (I will still be updating the following markdown list with changes, but it may be behind the web interface.)
Table of Contents
- Games-focused tools
- Making “assets” - images, models, sound, video
- Web & print design
- Dealing with files
- More tools lists & reading about tools
Tiny/weirdo game engines:
Game engines that let you make a full game, but often within a particular style, ethos, framework, or with other limitations. Generally quick to pick up and work with, made for accessibility.
- Flickgame - A truly tiny engine, link frames to other frames. Share online or export.
- Flickgame Import - A Flickgame hack that allows you to import external images.
- Flickgame Dither - Flickgame hack with different textured/dithered brushes.
- GB Studio - A drag and drop gameboy interface that lets you do some scripting. Export to html or an actual gameboy rom!
- Bitsy - Bitsy is a simple sprite-based editor that lets you build rooms & worlds. Walk around and talk to people and be somewhere. Has a strong community.
- Borksy - Bitsy with hacks built-in.
- Bitsy HD - Bitsy at double the size.
- bitsy hacks - Hacks that extend the functionality of bitsy in various ways.
- bitsy mixer template - Hacks that extend the functionality of bitsy in various ways.
- Flicksy - A tool for drawing and assembling graphical hypertext games - lets you import drawings!
- Mosi - Similar to bitsy, but with more color & sound support, and more advanced scripting options.
- Bravitzlana - A tool for making small interactive scenes (3d! kind of) that you can share with people.
- PuzzleScript - An open source, HTML5 puzzle-game oriented editor.
- Dungeonscript - Puzzlescript, but first person
- RPG Paper Maker - An extremely cute jrpg-focused engine that lets you place flat sprites in a 3d world. (free, but $70 if you sell your game commercially)
- Flatgames - Flatgames tutorial - as much a concept as a tool (2d, a raw combination of movement, art and sound.
- Flatpack - Flatpack bundles Flatgame ideas up into a tool that you can import into Unity or run on Android.
- Tiny Game Maker - For small, one screen games without programming.
- Kooltool - An experimental game making tool which has Kidpix vibes.
- The Unfolding Game Engine - One to watch (in early access right now). A “paint a world” engine that lets you make your world while playing it. 2.5d.
- Multiverse - Not out yet - a storytelling and game making tools/game.
- Bitmelo - A game editor and engine for making small pixel art games. In early access, exports to HTML5.
- Sok Worlds - ($3) A truly wild game/tool where you make and explore 3d collage worlds (images from the pixabay API, but there are over a million to choose from.).
- Sok Stories - ($3) A drawing-based way to make and share games.
- Wick - Also an animation program, a friendly flash-like for multimedia projects that allows interaction and game-like play.
- Unicorn Console - A “a quick and dirty engine … with a resolution of 400x240 pixels.”
- Vipercard - An open source reimagining of 1987’s Hypercard.
- Twine - An open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories. Has a big community and multiple versions and themes.
- Choicescript - Like Twine, but for more traditional CYOA gamebooks-with-stats. Tight community on the forums.
- Tiny Choice - The tiniest of twine-likes, written in the browser.
- Inform - A design system for interactive fiction which has been around for a while!
- Ink - A narrative engine designed to slot into a game engine.
- StudyCrafter - A scratch-like platform where you can play, share, and create interactive projects, on the browser or offline, and collect data from players.
- Inklewriter - The “baby” Ink, runs in browser and great for CYOA, same UI as Sorcery!
- The Adliberum Engine - (Free but on Steam, early access) Make text adventures, muds and text-powered roleplaying games.
- Yarn Spinner - The friendly tool for writing game dialogue.
- Cheap Bots Done Quick - A site where you can make a twitterbot today.
- Visual Pinball - A pinball making engine.
Indie/open source bigger game engines:
Indie and open source game engines with more flexibility and power than the little engines above, and generally also another layer of complication. (Perhaps most useful if you are concerned about free but closed-source engines like Unity.)
- Superpowers - HTML5 2d + 3d engine, coding in Typescript.
- HaxeFlixel - Cross-platform development, open source
- Godot - Perhaps the most complete and well documented open source engine, for 2d and 3d.
- Heaps - A free and open source cross platform graphics engine written in Haxe.
- DOME - A framework for making 2D games using the Wren programming language.
- luxe - In development: a 2d-focused engine, code in Wren.
- LITIENGINE - A free and open source Java 2D Game Engine.
- Starling - A Cross Platform Game Engine.
- LÖVR- An open source framework for rapidly building VR experiences in Lua.
- Ren'Py - Free, open source cross-platform Visual Novel development engine.
- Adventure Game Studio - Free engine for making point & click adventure games.
- Amulet - A free Lua-based audio/visual toolkit suitable for small games and experimentation, with online editor.
- nCine - An open source cross-platform 2D game engine with an emphasis on performance.
A fantasy console is like a regular console (machine specs, dev tools, community), but without hardware. It is like an emulator for a machine that never existed. Generally, these are in the form of an application.
- Pico8 - ($15) Probably the most popular fantasy console for game dev, pico8 has harsh limitations but that are intentionally chosen. Code is written in lua. Export to standalone HTML+JS or PNG (a fantasy cartridge).
- Tic-80 - Coding in lua and moonscript. export to html or .tic.
- Pixel Vision 8 - (Free, pro version is $30) A no-console fantasy computer, navigate like the familiar icon-based desktops you know.
- LIKO-12 - Entirely open-source and free, written in Lua. The dev says: “Why did I develop this? Because I wanted to buy PICO-8 but that's not possible without credit cards (no internet shopping in Syria)”.
- Pix64 - An extremely tiny fantasy console (64x64 px).
- Homegirl Pro - A fantasy console with a very different vibe! This one dispenses of pixel nostalgia and is modeled after a Commodore Amiga. Coding in Lua.
- VectorBoy - Again, a fantasy console that breaks the mold - VectorBoy uses straight lines to emulate vector graphics.
- VVpet - A fantasy console for LCD virtual pet games
- Voxatron - ($20, comes with Pico-8) Fantasy Console for voxel (3d pixel, kind of?) games.
- LowRes NX - BASIC programming on iOS, as well as desktops.
- Pyxel - A retro game engine for Python
- Zany80 - A fantasy console designed around the Z80 processor.
- Riko4 - A Fantasy Console intended as a tool for pixel art game development.
- ECoS - A modern fantasy console with Entity-Component-System modular architecture.
- Nano JAMMER - A truly tiny console that runs in the browser and integrates into Google Drive. Code in the nano programming language.
- Rewtro - A wild little console that runs games encoded in a very small amount of data, meaning they can be printed as qr-codes.
- https://github.com/paladin-t/fantasy - List of more fantasy consoles.
Game Engine extenders:
Neat Unity extenders:
Tools or plug-ins that change the experience of using Unity.
- Oikospiel-tools - Trigger-based tools for Unity for crafting games without programming.
- Unity Bitmap Drawing - A library for adding real-time drawing to your Unity project.
- Clayxels - Adds tiny voxels that seamlessly blend together like clay.
- unity-wave-function-collapse - Bitmap & tilemap generation from a single example.
- Tessera- 2d / 3d wave function collapse generation.
- Borderless Unity Windows - A tiny tool for making Unity frameless apps from script.
- First Person Drifter - The original drifting game controller.
- 2019 updated First Person Drifter - Download an updated first-person drifter package for Unity 2019 from me.
- Unity Recorder - An editor-only tool that captures video and animation data during gameplay.
- Bobbin - A small Unity editor tool that can automatically download and import anything with a URL into the project.
- Meshedit - ($35) A Unity extension that lets you create and texture models from scratch.
- Doodlestudio 95 - ($45) A FUN drawing and animation tool for Unity.
- Raymarching Toolkit - ($75) A Unity add-on for editing raymarched scenes live.
- Path Creator- Path creation asset for Unity game development
- NaughtyAttributes - Create powerful inspectors without the need for custom editors.
- UCLA Game Lab Mesh Creator - Extrudes 2D drawings into 3D objects.
- Rhythm beat mapper - ($45) Synchronizes gameplay to music in your video game.
- JPEG-MP4-Compression - recreates the effect of JPEG/MP4 compression as a PostProcessing Effect.
Neat Godot Extenders:
Tools or plug-ins that change the experience of using Godot.
- WAT - An automated testing framework for Godot built entirely within Godot itself
Maps, place, & levels:
Tools for making maps & levels - some of them simply visual, others generate data.
- Tiled - The standard free, easy to use and flexible level editor.
- OGMO - A free, open source, project oriented level editor.
- Tilesetter - Tileset designing made easy.
- SPARTAN Procedural Tile Generator - A pixel art drawing and animation tool specialised in creating tiles and animated sprites for games.
- Medieval Fantasy Town Generator - Generates a random medieval city layout of a requested size & can export to JSON.
- City Viewer - The city viewer to see the above/other maps in 3d!
- One Page Dungeon - A very simple one page dungeon generator.
- Map Generator - A cellular automata tool for building custom maps, envisioned for use in tabletop roleplaying games.
- Paper Dungeon Maker - A very little map generator with optional csv output.
- RPG Map II - A tabletop oriented map editor with clean and simple design.
- Snazzy Maps - Nice map stylings for Google Maps.
- Google Earth Studio - Automate flying about the world.
- Topo Topo - Get a little square of 3d elevation data, anywhere.
- Nototo - Build and visualize all your notes, as a map
- terrain.party - nice interface for getting terrain heightmaps anywhere in the world
Making “assets” - images, models, sound, video:
Tools for making images.
- pixeldudesmaker- What it sounds like - generates little pixel dudes.
- Pixelorama - Free & open-source 2D sprite editor with layers.
- dpixel - An odd pixel art remastering tool - pixels go in, smoothed images come out.
- Sink's Fun Pack - Mostly a paint tool but also a level editor!
- Broider - A tool for making "9-patch" borders, exports as CSS code.
- Nasu - A tool for making NES sprites.
- Piskel - Web-based editor for sprites, spritesheets.
- Aseprite - Animated sprite editor and pixel art tool, free if compiled yourself.
- Petmate - a cross-platform C64 PETSCII image editor.
- Playscii - ASCII art generator, also an engine.
- alivepaintery - Windows ASCII paint tool: “draw stuff it's fun”.
- edscii - An ASCII/ANSI art tool w/ support for arbitrary character sets and color palettes.
- rexpaint - A powerful and user-friendly ASCII art editor.
- Glyph Drawing Club - A free online modular design and text art tool where people can draw with the keyboard.
- Paint with Webflow - A very simple pixel art canvas.
- ASCII PAINT - Paint ASCII art by filling in a very accessible ASCII grid.
- ASCII PAINT (SKELETON EDITION) - Paint ASCII art by filling in a very accessible ASCII grid, with skeleton.
- UUUmoji - An "Emoji Raster System" for uploaded images.
- Ascii Generator 2 - An application to convert images into high quality ASCII art.
- AnsiLove/C- A tool to convert ANSI and artscene-related file formats into PNG images.
- Dotgrid - A grid-based vector drawing software designed to create logos, icons and type.
- Inkscape - A free, open-source, cross-platform vector graphics editor.
- Nodebox - a cross-platform tool to create generative vector graphics
- Rune Generator - A teeny-weeny rune generator.
- Texatool - Generate textures in a procedural/automatized way.
- Glyph Generator - A generator of glyphs for use in games, world building or for fun.
- Simple Model Poser - A tool for posing a figure to draw from.
- LPC Spritesheet Character Generator- A pixel-art RPG-style character spritesheet generator.
- generativelandscapes.wordpress.com - On generative landscapes
- Terragen - Photorealistic 3d terrain generator. Some versions are free for noncommercial use
- Mapgen4 - Paint mountains, valleys, and oceans which determine biomes.
- pattern mutation - A tool for painting and exploring tiling patterns.
- Daedalus - A Windows app for generating and analyzing mazes.
General/flexible paint programs:
- Quadtastic - A tool to manage sprite sheets and color palettes.
- Heavypaint - A phone app for graphic painting.
- Tuxpaint - A KidPix-like: free computer art software for children.
- Noodle - A minimalist experimental drawing tool (controls in the console.)
- JSPaint - Microsoft Paint for the browser, more or less.
- Krita - A free & open source painting program.
- GIMP - The GNU Image Manipulation Program.
- Glimpse - A fork of GNU IMP with a better name.
- Paint.net - Image and photo editing software for PCs that run Windows.
- Strike - A web-based, 1-bit paint tool, primarily for quick sketching or line-drawing.
Other Graphics tools:
- Controller Prompts - A comprehensive collection of controllers and keyboard button prompts for all consoles.
- Hyperdither - An OS X app that uses dithering to turn color or grayscale images into 1-bit black and white.
- Atkinson Dithering - Same thing as Hyperdither more or less, just on the web.
- Dithermachine - A tool to help you generate dithering automatically.
- BECOME A GREAT ARTIST IN JUST 10 SECONDS - Art toys/games that make unstable and dense colorfields, also usable as compositional tools.
- darktable - An open source photography workflow application and raw developer.
- Pencil - a free and open-source GUI prototyping tool
- glitch-this! - highly customizable glitched images and GIFs in the command line.
- Kraken - app for smaller weight of files, assets
Animation & video:
Tools for creating moving images, either animated or videographic.
- Wick - Also an engine, do frame animation like Flash.
- Jsetter - A free editor for making pixel art animations and tilesets.
- Paint of Persia - A rotoscoping tool that lets you draw pixel art over video frames.
- Clipnote - An online remake of the much beloved flipnote studio by Nintendo.
- Looom - ($10) An easy-to-pickup iOS app/toy that exports SVGs.
- Aseprite - ($15) A a sprite editor that lets you create 2D animations, heavily used.
- Pixatool - ($50) PixelArt conversion tool. Not cheap, but on sale regularly.
- Juice FX - ($20) Add style (“juice”) to your sprites and animations.
- Smear FX - ($15) Add smearing to your sprites and animations.
- Synfig Studio - A 2D animation tool.
- Video Downloader Bot - A twitterbot you can @mention to have it turn a piece of media into a download link.
- Gifski - Convert videos to high-quality GIFs on your Mac.
- Gifsicle - Command-line tool for creating, editing, and inspecting GIFs.
- Easing functions cheat sheet - A “what type of animation do you need” resource.
- Mr. Squiggles - Dead simple animated doodle maker.
- Synopsis - Open source computational cinematography.
- Time Lapse Assembler - Create movies from a sequence of images.
- SpookyGhost - An open source cross-platform procedural animation tool for sprites.
Tools that help you deal with 3d models or 3d space.
- Figurio - A free online modelling app.
- Vertex Meadow - A tool that renders (& makes) 2D images as explorable 3D terrain.
- Makehuman - Generate (lightly cursed) human-shaped models.
- Mixamo - Free, but requires a login- community sourced walkcycles and 3d animations which you can apply to any model that can T-pose.
- Texturelab - A tool designed to make procedural texture generation fast, simple and free.
- AwesomeBump - A program that generates normal, height, specular or ambient occlusion, roughness or metallic textures.
- Hme - A program for creating, manipulating and viewing height maps.
- NormalMap-Online - Create normal maps from height maps for free.
- Crocotile 3d - A tool for creating 3d scenes with 2d tiles.
- SpriteStack - A voxel editor that uses ‘sliced’ sprites.
- Planet Painter - A tool that allows you to create and edit nice little spherical planets.
- Mixer 2020 - 3d model texturing tool.
- ngPlant - A 3D plant modelling software suite.
- VLab Studio - Plant modelling from Algorithmic Botany Lab.
- Tree It - an easy to use real time 3D tree generator.
- The Grove - Growing (€119) Extremely competent tree growth software, works with Blender. Almost didn’t include because $ but it does what it does well.
- Asset Forge - ($20, or $40 for pro) Creates 3D models and 2D sprites by kit-bashing various pre-made blocks together.
- FlowScape - ($10) As much game as tool- the 3d Bob Ross experience. Usable as a landscape composer.
- Dilay - A 3D sculpting intuitive application.
- MeshLab - An open source system for processing and editing triangular meshes.
- Blender - The general standard open-source & free 3d modeling program. Complicated but powerful.
- Meshmixer - Free, dead simple 3d software - from Autodesk.
- Sculptris - “A gateway into the exciting world of 3D.”
- SculptGl - A 3d sculpting software in a browser.
- Mandelbulb 3D - A free software application created for 3D fractal imaging.
- SpaceshipGenerator - A Blender script for the generation of spaceships.
- Sproxel - A 3D interface for editing and creating voxel-based 3D models.
- Papercraft With Blender - Export blender model to a foldable paper sheet!
- andrewmarsh.com/software - Various generative tools - model weather, parametric shapes, sunpaths, trees, more.
- Dimensions.Guide - A database of measurements and sizes of everyday objects.
- MagicaVoxel - A free lightweight 8-bit voxel art editor and GPU based interactive path tracing renderer.
- SmartNormal 2.0 - Create normal maps from base textures for free.
- PureRef - Organize your inspiration references and speed up your creative process for free.
- Substance Suite - A unique ecosystem of tools and content dedicated to 3D Materials.
Sound & music:
Tools for sound effects, music, and general audio.
Sound effects generators:
- Bfxr - Sound effect editor that is based on sfxr.
- rFXGen - Also sound effects, based on sfxr.
- evosfxr - Also sound effects, also based on sfxr, with
- as3sxfr - S/A.
- sfxr - The original sound generator these are based on.
- GB SFX Generator - A small tool for creating authentic Game Boy sound effects.
- Chiptone - A free tool for generating sound effects in the browser.
- Freesound.org - A collection of CC-licensed sound effects.
- Paulstretch - A program for extreme audio stretching. Make choruses and ambient tones.
- Audacity - The free software for recording and editing sounds.
- Sox - A command line utility for converting and editing sounds. Especially useful for batch processing.
- AudioSculpt - A visual approach to modifying a sound file.
- Reaper - Digital audio workstation
- Cecilia - Audio signal processing environment for mangling sound.
- FamiStudio - NES Music Editor.
Music composition, instruments, effects:
- Beepbox - An online tool for sketching and sharing instrumental melodies.
- Ribs - A powerful granular synth that provides detailed control over its granular engine.
- Bosca Ceoil - Easy to use music composition, with some built-in instruments.
- Flutterbird - Very simple - just a module for pitch and volume fluctuation.
- Aria Maestosa - An open-source midi sequencer/editor that can export to mp3.
- Hydrogen - An advanced drum machine.
- Beast - Music composition and modular synthesis software.
- c_synth - A chiptune-ish software synthesizer.
- MilkyTracker - Cross-platform to make your own .mod files.
- OpenMPT - Popular piece of music tracker software, can produce .mod and .IT and many more popular formats. Also has VST support
- Synth1 - Essential VST with thousands of free presets you can download and import
- SuperCollider - A platform for audio synthesis and algorithmic composition.
- Csound - A sound and music computing system.
- ChucK - Strongly-timed, Concurrent, and On-the-fly Music Programming Language.
- Sunvox - Cross-platform small, fast and powerful modular synthesizer with pattern-based sequencer (tracker).
- LMMS- Cross-platform, free, open source music tracker/sequencer/composer. Has its own instruments, some VST plugins compatibility
- VCV Rack - Virtual Eurorack DAW. Cross-platform, free, open source virtual modular synthesiser. Lots of modules and a good community. You can even code your own modules if you know C++.
- Pure Data - open-source cousin of experimental patching environment MAX/MSP
Other sound tools and resources :
- .mp3 to .midi online converter - Convert MP3 format to MIDI format
- Mod Archive - Large collection of music modules (.mod, used by GB Studio).
- destroyer - Open-source lossless audio player
- Soundflower - An open source kernel extension for MacOS creates a virtual audio output device that can also act as an input.
- Craig Records - Multi-track voice channel recording bot for Discord.
- w3schools.com/html/html5_audio.asp - To loop audio on an HTML page
Coding environments, frameworks, & extensions:
Tools that provide a backend or new programming environment in which to make other work.
- p5.js - Like processing for the browser - artist-friendly.
- raylib - A programming library to build engines/tools with.
- Foster - An open source & cross-platform game framework made in C#.
- Nez - A free 2D focused framework that sits on top of MonoGame/FNA.
- LÖVE - A free 2D framework based on Lua.
- Matter.js - A 2D physics engine for the web.
- openFrameworks - C++ libraries aimed at visual artists, a "toolkit for creative coding".
- 8bit Workshop - Write 8-bit code in your browser.
- Polycode - A C++ and Lua framework for building interactive applications.
- Kha - Ultra-portable multimedia framework.
- Casual Effects - Misc resources & computer graphics projects.
- Dear ImGui - A bloat-free graphical user interface library for C++.
- Feathers UI - Cross-platform user interface components for creative frontend projects.
- DS Game Maker - Make Nintendo DS Roms! (Hard to get running).
- FNA - A reimplementation of the Microsoft XNA Game Studio 4.0 Refresh libraries.
- Easel.js - A range of tools to make working with the HTML5 Canvas API.
- Tideflow - Design, automate and monitor your workflows in realtime.
- Paper.js - An open source vector scripting framework that runs on top of HTML5 Canvas.
- DrawBot - A powerful, free application for MacOSX that uses Python scripts to generate two-dimensional graphics.
- Hyper - An electron-based terminal.
- Idyll - A markup language and toolkit for writing interactive articles.
- Joy.js - A tool for making “happy little programs”.
- TSPS - A cross-platform Toolkit for Sensing People in Spaces.
- Pure Data - An open source visual programming language for multimedia.
- OpenSimpl - Open Hardware scanning laser rangefinder.
- eLidar - Open Source scanning laser rangefinder.
- LibGDX - A java game development framework
- ShaderChain - Cross-platform open source GLSL fragment shader composition engine for realtime and offline rendering.
- RunwayML - A simple interface for using ML in creative applications.
- Generated Photos - AI generated models for projects.
- This Person Doesn’t Exist - Same as above but generated live, bonus cats & horses.
- Talk to Transformer - Chat with a GPT2 text AI model, perhaps useful in generating that next line when you’ve got writer’s block.
- Components AI - an experimental computational design platform for exploring generative space.
- AI Gigapixel - ($100, full free trial) Upscale photos in an app.
- Let’s Enhance.io - “Image enhancement powered by AI”
- ArtBreeder - Breed two images & use trained models in an app
- ml5.js - Web interface to make machine learning approachable.
- ColouriseSG - A deep learning colouriser prototype.
- Deep Angel - automatically remove objects or people from images.
- Cartoonify - Turn a photo into a cartoon with a neural network.
- Resemble.Ai - Clone any voice so it sounds like a real human. Free demo.
- Deezer - an audio source separation library including pretrained models.
- Pix2Pix - image transformation between parallel datasets of corresponding image pairs
- https://aiartists.org/ai-generated-art-tools - More AI generated tools
- Orca - An esoteric language, usable as a live coding environment that can send and create MIDI, OSC & UDP signals.
- Hydra - A platform for live coding visuals, where each browser window is a node.
- cables - A tool for creating beautiful interactive content with nodes.
- Fragment - a collaborative cross-platform AV live coding environment with pixels.
- Sonic Pi - A live code-based music creation and performance tool, also can export tracks.
- Overtone - Collaborative Programmable Music
- vvvv - A hybrid visual/textual live-programming environment for easy prototyping and development.
- Tooll.io - a free open source solution for creating interactive 3d content and animations.
- Vuo - an application to help people develop interactive experiences, live performances, digital media, and more. Basic version is free.
- Livecodelab - a special secret place where you can make fancy "on-the-fly" 3d visuals and play awesomely offbeat (literally) sounds.
Text editors & writing apps:
- Left- A distractionless plaintext editor.
- Textreme- The most distracted plaintext editor.
- Notepad++ - A source code editor and Notepad replacement.
- Sublime Text - A sophisticated text editor for code, markup and prose.
- Atom - A hackable text editor for the 21st Century.
- Geany - A powerful, stable and lightweight programmer's text editor
- Another Day - An experimental writing app where computer time syncs to people time.
- TextMate - A customizable text editor with support lots of programming languages.
- Mark Text - Simple and Elegant Markdown Editor focused on speed and usability.
- Calmly Writer - Distraction-free writing.
- Markdeep - A technology for writing markup plaintext that looks good in any browser.
- cleartext-mac - A text editor that only allows the 1,000 most common words in English.
- Mak - A universal notepad.
- Standard Notes - A free, open-source, and completely encrypted notes app.
- Turtl - A secure note taking tool.
- Joplin - An open source note taking and to-do list application that supports Markdown.
- Leafpad - A simple but useful editor (Linux).
- TaskPaper - Plain text to-do lists for Mac.
- Draft - Version control and collaboration for writers
- Roam - A note-taking tool for networked thought.
- Anki - Smart flash cards.
- Etherpad - A real-time collaborative document editor.
- VSCode - technically has an OS Version? A lot of useful features for .js devs
- Anagram Artist - (Requires email registration) A text editor for composing anagrams.
Experimental text tools and formats:
- telescopictext.org - An experimental tool for creating expanding texts.
- Diary Email - Write a private diary using email (some paid tiers).
- journal-cli - A command line tool, for journaling.
- Plain Text Life - A template that assists organising your everyday life in plain text files.
- Today.txt - An extremely simple aspirational writing template.
- Journal.TXT - A single file journal.
- TiddlyWiki - a non-linear notebook for capturing, organising and sharing complex information.
- Ren - A lightweight data-exchange text format.
- The unified collected - Hundreds of small packages for visualizing syntax trees and structured data.
- domino - web tool for arranging snippets of text into a shareable collage of thoughts/ideas. exports to standalone html
- Relative Fiction - A tool for creating dynamic stories relative to a reader's place, time and location (via the Foursquare API), weather (OpenWeatherMap) and more (custom feeds for recent news stories etc).
Text manipulators, converters, & other tools:
- Online OCR - Optical Character Recognition software that runs online.
- Word Counter - A word counter.
- The Alphabetizer - Alphabetize, randomize, sort, remove duplicate lines.
- Ellipses Loader - A tiny css code snippet for animated ellipses.
- Capitalize My Title - Online text shortcuts.
- Tracery - Super-simple tool to generate text (& svg images!)
- Text Color Fader - Generates color faded/rainbow text in HTML.
- Text to ASCII - Make your cool ASCII forum sig.
- ASCII table - Code points & characters.
- rot8000 - Caesar-cypher encryption that replaces each Unicode character with the one 0x8000 places forward or back.
- Cliche Finder - Analyzes input text for cliches.
- Onym - Very cool list of tools and resources for naming things.
- Wordnik - The world’s largest online dictionary with definitions from multiple sources, example sentences, rhymes, conceptual links, and related words.
- Wordoid - Random word generator with toggles for language, quality, patterns, length, and domain availability.
- Universal Text Combination Generator- See how words might fit together.
- Mixwords - Takes source words and generates random mixes.
- Fantasy Name Generator - Generates names, words, and descriptions in many categories.
- Random Name Generator - Creates names sourced from samples in the US Census.
- carbon - Create and share beautiful images of your source code.
- Bank Check Printer - A Macintosh application that prints your bank checks.
- Unicode Text Converter - Convert plain text to obscure characters from Unicode.
- Word to Markdown Converter - Converting a Word (or Google) Document to Markdown.
- Tables Generator - Generates HTML, text, and other tables online.
- Text Fixer - Misc online text tools, including word to html, remove line breaks, random nouns, more.
- Emojipedia - Emoji encyclopedia and resource.
- CopyChar - Copy cool characters.
Fonts & font resources:
- enFont Terrible - A weird type foundry that will export new fonts.
- Phase - A generative type interface/toy, exported fonts free for personal use.
- Open Font Library - A collection of freely licensed fonts.
- Google Fonts - A collection of freely-licensed fonts.
- Anna Anthropy’s world of fonts - Sixteen free game fonts.
- FontSprite - Complete .png fontsprite editor.
- BitfontMaker2 - Online editor for bitmap fonts with remixable gallery
- Get the Font - A huge font search engine. (Check that you can use them tho.)
- unilist - Kool Unicode icons.
- Font Map - Using artificial intelligence to surface new relationships across fonts.
- FontJoy - Generate font combinations with deep learning.
- SPACE TYPE GENERATOR - a kinetic type generator.
- Text Crop - create a mixin for your typography.
- Dinamo Darkroom - Tools that help or confuse the modern type designer.
- FontSquirrel - free fonts web
- Dafont - free fonts web
- When2meet - Free doodle polls.
- Columns - Checklists arranged in columns.
- Pomoday - Web-based task management software you can use with just a keyboard.
- CrushEntropy - A (slightly aggressive) but flexible scheduling tool.
- Linklist - A way to collect, organize, and share lists with links.
Web & print design:
- Neocities - The Geocities of now, make a free website.
- Hypnospace Productivity Suite - Hypnospace Page Builder and Hypnospace Tune Sequencer from Hypnospace Outlaw - make your own!
- txti - Make a super fast & low bandwidth website right in the browser.
- Binder - A simple web template that connects a series of already-existing webpages.
- Beaker Browser - A peer-to-peer browser that lets you publish websites easily and immediately with the dat protocol.
- Glitch - Web-based tools to make and share websites & apps.
- Clone Zone - Clone and edit your own version of popular websites.
- Snap2HTML - Takes a "snapshot" of folder structures on your harddrive and saves as HTML files.
- Art HTML Listing - creates filtered, sorted, fully customizable directory listings, indexes, menus, maps and trees.
- Tree Command - List a directory as a webpage or in the console, Mac.
- Tree HTML - S/A, python.
- Enoki - An experimental and decentralized tool for peer-to-peer publishing.
- MAMP - A free, local server environment to run WordPress on a desktop.
- txt.fyi - Write something, hit publish, and it's live.
- temper - Create your personal onepager website in a few clicks.
- Archetype - An invitation for artists to use the web as an independent exhibition space.
- Odie - makes a webpage with a published google doc & gives it an odie subdomain
- ether2html - design a webpage collectively using Etherpad, a collaborative text editor.
- HTML 2 print - a boilerplate, a minimal example to start a print project using HTML.
- DesignBase - A database of highly curated free resources for all designers.
- Timber - Helps you create fully-customized WordPress themes.
- Hotglue - Make a website like a collage (free hosting, or self-hosted w/ PHP).
Misc kool website-related code:
- dat.gui - Creates an interface that you can use to modify variables on a website.
- Neumorphism.io - Generate Soft-UI CSS code.
- 98.css - A design system for building faithful recreations of old UIs.
- Woah.css - CSS animations for eccentric developers.
- htmleditor - A fun, simple live-code html editor, “for messing around”.
- monoequipment - Particular nanocomponents for websites.
- Title Bar Message Generator - Put a scrolling message into your title bar.
- Seashells - Lets you pipe output from command-line programs to the web in real-time.
- Grid Garden - Write CSS code to grow your carrot garden.
- basicScroll - Standalone parallax scrolling with CSS variables.
- Teutonic - A minimal, modern CSS framework.
- Tina - Builds real-time editing into websites.
- Warpjs - Warp, distort, bend, twist and smudge your SVG’s directly in the browser.
Tools that are about/with websites:
- Archiving URLs - Anti-linkrot toolset.
- Page Speed Insights - A (very useful) Google tester that can help you reduce bandwidth on your websites.
- Fit on a Floppy - A tool to see if a website would fit on a floppy disk.
- Website Carbon Calculator - Calculates the carbon emissions of a website.
- Piratebox - Make your own offline wireless networks designed for anonymous file sharing, chatting, message boarding, and media streaming.
- Pilgrim - An experimental combination of a bookmarklet and web-crawler.
- screensiz.es - List of various device screen sizes.
- Ratio Buddy - A happy little tool to help you calculate aspect ratios.
- Anytype - (In beta) An “operating environment for the new internet”.
- chl.li - A simple, modern, free and privacy-friendly URL shortener.
- ciao - HTTP checks and tests, monitoring URL changes.
- Simply split your tweets - Splits your long tweets up for you.
- rreb - Record and replay the web.
- Webcull - Collect the web.
- RSS Box - Subscribe to RSS feeds for websites that do not support RSS themselves.
- Built With - Find out what websites are Built With.
- deepstream - a fast and secure data-sync realtime server.
- cabal - An experimental p2p community chat platform.
- Planktos - Enables websites to serve their static content peer-to-peer by having active users serve assets to other users via bittorrent.
- Stein - Paid tiers (meh) but free for personal use- manage web data with Google Sheets.
- Diagram.codes - Describe diagrams with a simple text language and automatically generate an image you can export.
- https://webfieldmanual.com - So many more web-related tools.
Tools for picking, analyzing, or seeing colors.
- coolors - Generate color schemes.
- Pigment - Like a color moodboard.
- 0to255 - For lightening / darkening colors.
- Colourco.de - Pick colours based on hsl.
- Image to Color Palette Generator - allows you to generate a color palette based upon an input image.
- Gradient Image Generator - Creates CSS3 Codes and PNG Images
- Contrast Checker - Make sure your foreground/background colors are accessible.
- Calcolor - Calculate colors. Share palettes.
- Multicolr - Search images by color.
- Image Color Summarizer - RGB, HSV, LCH & Lab image color statistics and clustering
- scale - Color scale generator.
- Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours - A recreation of the original 1821 color guidebook.
- Coolhue - Nice gradients.
- ColorZilla - Advanced color tools, including an extension.
- WebGradients - A free collection of 180 linear gradients.
- Color Scales - Find tints, tones and shades of a color based on human perception.
- Colorable - Color palette combination contrast tester, for node.js
- ColorsWall - Place to store color palettes and generate, color convert tools
Zines, books, prints:
- Electric Zine Maker - A printshop and art tool for making zines.
- Slaptrash - Make webzines in the browser!
- Zine Machine - Steal this zine on glitch~
- bookletcreator.com - (Free up to 16 pages) for assembling ready-to-print PDFs from half-page sized PDFs.
- pocketmod.com - Take-a-piece-of-letter-paper-and-fold-it-into-an-eight-page-zine.
- Paper Sizes - Resource for International Paper Sizes, Dimensions & Formats.
- Basil.js - Scripting in InDesign made available to designers and artists.
- Quite Software - Misc neat (oldschool!) Adobe plugins, paid and not cheap.
- p5.Riso.js - A p5.js library for generating files suitable for Risograph printing.
- The print simulator - a quick and easy way to see how things might print.
- Unfolder for Mac - ($30) Unfolder is a 3D model unfolding tool for creating papercraft.
Dealing with files:
Tools that interface with operating systems & files:
- Automator - A piece of built-in Mac software that lets you automate your computer doing things with minimal code.
- Toothfairy - Connect Bluetooth to your Mac with a single click or keypress
- AppCleaner - A small application to thoroughly uninstall unwanted apps.
- ShareDrop - p2p file transfer, like airdrop for the browser.
- drop.lol - Copy files over the network.
- inlets - Expose your local endpoints to the Internet or to another network, in Go.
- voidtools Everything - Locate files and folders by name instantly.
- BitBar - Put anything in your Mac OS X menu bar.
- Microsoft PowerToys - a set of utilities to tune and streamline Windows.
- Screenotate - Take screenshots you can search.
- Kap - Open-source screen recorder built with web technology.
- Itsycal - A tiny menu bar calendar for Mac.
- BAXX.DEV - A backup service with curl as main interface.
- IOGraphica - An application that turns mouse movements into art.
- minivmac-3ds - Emulate a classic mac environment on a 3ds.
Building applications & exes:
- HTMLE - A project template and a set of scripts that take HTML and export an app or exe.
- Enigma Virtual Box - An application virtualization system for Windows.
- Cordova - Mobile apps with HTML, CSS & JS.
- NW.js - Write native applications & call Node.js modules directly from DOM.
- Tumult Hype - ($50) Create HTML5 web content and animations, runs on desktops, smartphones and iPads.
Converters, downloaders, & reducers:
- Download Converter - Convert between lots of different files.
- Smallpdf - Pdf conversion and compression tools.
- Shrinkme - Shrink images online.
- Free Image and Photo Resizer - Perfect Sizes For Social Media And Web
- Scrapy - An open source framework for extracting the data you need from websites.
- SiteSucker - A Mac application that automatically downloads websites from the Internet.
- Simplescraper - Extract data from any website in seconds.
- youtube-dl - A command-line program to download videos from YouTube.
- FFmpeg - A complete, cross-platform solution to record, convert and stream audio and video in the console.
- HandBrake - The open source video transcoder.
- ImageMagick - Create, edit, compose, or convert bitmap images in the console.
- Otf to Woff - Font filetype converters.
- OnlineVideoConverter - Free video conversion tool.
- ’Peg It - Jpeg compression tool that lets you control how compressed you make it by sliding a bar and seeing a preview. Choose the perfect balance of size and quality.
More tools lists & reading about tools:
- alternativeto - Put in the name of the software you wish you could afford, get alternatives back!
- ambrosine.com/resource.php - An older but huge games resource list - somewhat dated, but still lots of good in here.
- itch.io/tools - The itch.io tools page, sorted by popularity.
- kool.tools/tool-gallery - mark wonnacot’s careful selection of interesting tools.
- gist.github.com/brendanzab/3792143 - World building miscellany links.
- Nathalie Lawhead's The wonderful world of tools - Nathalie Lawhead breaks down the why on why small tools are great.
- Nathalie Lawhead's Building weird games with alt tech - S/A but on general workflows!
- joon.be/techtoolbox - GDC talks on homemade/weird/experimental tools.
- aiartists.org/ai-generated-art-tools - Tools for AI & art.
- Kate Compton's Casual Creators - Kate Compton talks about casual creators and tool usage.
- itch.io/t/10237/personal-games-resource-list - A list of resources towards personal games from 2014.
- notabug.org/Calinou/awesome-gamedev - A list of (code focused) gamedev tools.
- opensourcedesign.net/resources - Design tools.
- github.com/cjbarber/ToolsOfTheTrade - Long long list of code tools.
- generativelandscapes.wordpress.com - All about generative landscapes
- Procjam - All about generating things in general!
- NEW MEDIA TOOLS - A similarly exhaustive list of new media tools, with a lot oriented around video & performance.
- URL TOOLS IMAGE : TOOLS DATABASE - Image tool list!
- timrodenbroeker.de/resources - Many resources and learning links, sorted by type
- osp.kitchen/tools - Open Source Publishing tools
- beepb00p.xyz/annotating.html - How to annotate literally everything (tools & theory).
- Milan's Ultimate Resource List
🗂 🚀- Milan's Ultimate Resource List - Code, design, & education focus
- plaintextproject.online/tools.html - List of tools that can help you work and live more efficiently in plain text.
- webfieldmanual.com - A curated list of resources focused on documenting only the best knowledge for designing experiences and interfaces on the web.
- altctrls.info - Open and collaborative list of resources for making alternative controllers and playful installations.
- Game Making Tools Wiki - Wiki with resources for amateur game makers. Open-source, fun-to-use, and unerappreciated stuff especially.