Tools of the Trade

I wrote up a list of programs I use daily, partly to share what tools I use, and partly to have a backup list in case I need to do a fresh dev install on a computer that exploded.

(Which is to say, my computer exploded yesterday)



For editing text files.

I get a ton of use from the LocationNav plugin that records the history of the text cursor, and allows you to navigate this history with ctrl+minus and ctrl+shift+minus. This is hugely useful if you’re constantly jumping between different parts of a text file.

Note: the LocationNav plugin only works with the 32-bit version of Notepad++.

Blender 2.79b

For making 3D models and doing video editing.

I would recommend using the newer versions. The only reason I use this older version is because my exporter scripts break in 2.8+, and I tend to only do upgrades when I’m between projects.


For viewing image files.

My current project Skin Deep uses the kinda-sorta uncommon TGA image format, so I use XNView to browse these images.


For taking screenshots.

I think pictures are one of the best ways to communicate. I set up my Greenshot like so:

Basically, this saves every screenshot in a folder, but also copies it to the clipboard so I can quickly paste it somewhere.


For level editing.

This level editor was made by a crew of talented folks for the Doom 3 mod The Dark Mod. They’ve graciously allowed this editor to work for vanilla Doom 3 work, so we’ve been using DarkRadiant to make levels for Skin Deep.


For audio editing.

Blendo Productivity Tools

Various tools to streamline development.

I was hugely inspired by Seth Coster’s GDC DevOps talk and immediately made a small suite of tools to automate some of my manual processes.

More Blendo tools here: click here

Visual Studio 2015

For writing code.

PDF-XChange Editor

For making/editing PDF files.

I have to wrangle enough PDF files that eventually I realized I should just get a tool that makes it easy wrangle them.

VLC Media Player

For playing videos.


For uncompressing archive files.


For visually viewing what files/directories are taking how much space.

Useful for finding why the heck a folder is way too big.


For doing FTP stuff.


For comparing two files (or directories) and viewing their differences.


For image creation/editing.


I use Discord for managing the Blendo Games discord and as one of the primary ways of communicating with the team.

It has seamless text, voice, and video functionality. I’m constantly surprised it somehow all just works.

OBS Studio

For broadcasting livestreams, and also for locally recording desktop/window footage.

I’m currently taking a break from my development streams, but this is the tool I use to do them.

Additionally, when I ask friends to playtest my games, it’s tremendously helpful when they record their playtest and send it to me. I like to return the favor, and I use OBS to record my footage.


For accessing my subversion source control.


For jotting down notes. I like how minimal it is and how it’s easily accessible via desktop site & phone.


For sharing files with people.

Et al

I’m sure I’m missing some stuff, but this is a large portion of the tools I use.

I think it’s important to clarify – there is no one-size-fits-all for everybody; I encourage you to find the workflow and tools that work for you. Good luck!