What is GameDevUtils.com?
GameDevUtils.com is a suite of tools that I developed for my game programming students. There are certainly better products out there, but I wanted my students to have access to free tools and, more importantly, access to the source code for those tools. I also didn't want the tools to look like poop that was designed in the 80's.
What Makes GameDevUtils.com So Special?
It's certainly not its features. The commercial offerings provide options and functionality that aren't (yet) supported in this suite of tools. The biggest benefits of this suite are that it's open source, and that it doesn't require you to install anything. Everything runs in your browser.
###Everything Runs in Your Browser
You don't have to be an administrator on your computer. You don't have to worry about updates.
At least, that's the idea. I've been developing on my MacBook Pro, using Google's Chrome web browser. I'll be doing more extensive testing in the near future.
Your Assets, on Your Computer
There is no server component to GameDevUtils.com. Assets are loaded into your browser from your local file system. Project files are loaded from and saved to your computer. Published resources are generated on and saved to your computer.
Your data is never transmitted to the server. I don't need to see it, and I don't need to pay for dedicated servers that churn through data or bandwidth for that data to travel to and from those servers.
Stop, Collaborate, and Listen! (Share Your Work)
Project files and published resources are generated as self-contained plaintext or compressed (ZIP DEFLATE) files. Just share the file via email, DropBox, or however you normally share files with teammates.
Resources are embedded in the project file, not linked. GameDevUtils.com embeds the source image data and configured options. Once assets have been added to the project, they're never referenced from your filesystem again. Share away.
FUTURE: Prefer a Command Line Interface?
One of the selling points of the commercial offerings is that they provide a command line interface for their tools. Today, GameDevUtils.com is a browser-based suite of tools.
I have plans to refactor the logic that drives the web apps into NodeJS modules, and share that code between the web and console versions of the tools.
Why all the effort? I want to support build pipelines. Just plug some scripts into your favorite continuous integration solution and build your assets alongside your code!
FUTURE: Want to Work in the Cloud?
The beauty of GameDevUtils.com is that there are no dependencies on the client. It's OS and, to a great extent, browser independent. Also nice is that your data need never leave your computer. That is, until you want to work with a team. If you think emailing ZIP files is clunky (I certainly do), then there's a new option coming your way soon!
You're probably already using one of the many popular cloud storage providers. If so, you can tell GameDevUtils.com to reference assets as file links rather than embedding those resources in the project files. That makes the project files smaller, and it makes it easier to edit an asset without having to remove it from the project and add it back.
- Google Drive
I know what you're thinking ... Hey! GitHub and Bitbucket aren't cloud storage providers!
You're absolutely right. But, after the cloud storage support is in place, I hope to provide GitHub and BitBucket integration for the ultimate in team collaboration.
Want to Help?
Kick the tires. Try things out. If you find something wonky, or just want to suggest a new feature, open an issue.
If you're looking to contribute, I ask that you keep edits small and as self-contained as possible. The planned support for a command line interface will involve a lot of churn in the code.
Simple bug fixes are another story, though. Issue your pull request against the gh-pages branch for now. Once the code has been modularized for web and console, it should live in the master branch.
Thanks for Visiting!