Here’s a quick look at some of the software I use to create Aurora’s Nightmare.
Photoshop is the program of choice for most 2D artists (unless you’re doing vector, in which case you hop over to Illustrator). I used Photoshop to digitize and color the character art, though much of the shading was done in Gimp (a free knock-off), since Brian doesn’t have Photoshop. Most of the work on the backgrounds and CGs was done with Photoshop as well, though a little bit was done using 3D modeling software as well (you can read Badriel’s posts for more details).
Like any game, Aurora’s Nightmare requires documentation and, being a text heavy title, a script as well. Some game designers and writers use specialized software for those things but, for me, Word is always my go to program. It’s powerful, easy to use, and creates files in a format that pretty much everyone can open. Plus, I don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars buying specialized software.
The game engine is the program that actually makes the game run. There are a number of free and commercial engines out there, including things like Unreal and Unity. But RenPy is specifically made for visual novels. That sacrifices some power and flexibility, but it also makes is easier to use. And it’s free, which is always a plus. That said, since I haven’t started compiling Aurora’s Nightmare in the engine yet (I’m waiting until all the content for the upcoming demo is completed), I’m not 100% committed to RenPy yet, but it’s almost a sure thing.
If you need a quick and free way to share file among a group of people, Dropbox works fairly well. It’s limited in a lot of ways, but for a small project without too many people involved, it’s good enough.
And that’s just about it. The only thing I haven’t mentioned is sound software, but that’s because the sound is still in the early stages. I’ll take about it sometime in the future.