What tools do you like using?

I’m curious about gathering more resource ideas for people and just learning about new tools.

So what tools to you like using? Whether it’s something you use a lot, or something you think is cool and should be more known. You can post about any tool or resource really.


I’ll start with one, Photopea is an online image editing tool that works in your browser and happens by pure coincidence to have a very similar feature set and workflow as a known big image editing software made by a company that really doesn’t like having pricing friendly to people who only need to make assets every now and then and aren’t paid to use it/justify its cost.

Affinity Photo

Speaking of the devil, there is one company seriously trying to compete with the one who shall not be named, and this company has chosen a premium business model. That is, you buy their software once, you don’t pay a subscription.

It’s a bit expensive for the initial purchase, but really if you’re doing things legit, it would end up less expensive that you-know-what in only a few months compared to subscription plans.

They also have a similar product for vector art needs.

Pyxel Edit

I really like Pyxel. Bought a license for it some time ago, and out of all pixel art tools I’ve tried, it was the nicest one to work with for my needs (mostly when making tilesets).

Might not be super relevant to Narrat games I guess, but you never know.

Map and city generation tools

Here’s something fun, watabou on itch.io makes a lot of really neat-looking tools for generating various sorts of maps, cities, etc. In fact I’m pretty sure some Narrat users have used it before!

Microsoft Terminal

Here’s something you may not know about and could be relevant if you use Narrat (and thus have to use the windows command line): Windows has an improved terminal app. It’s waaaay nicer to use than the default one. Worth installing.

GitHub Copilot

Ok, this is a weird one and you might have (perfectly valid) issues with AI. Still, did you know GitHub Copilot is actually pretty decent at autocompleting your narrat code or yaml config files?

Might not be worth the cost if you only make games for fun, but I have Copilot for my general programming needs, and actually having it enabled on narrat scripts often saves me a lot of time.

I don’t like AI that steals art, but AI that uses open source code I don’t have a huge problem with, so, might as well use it.

Information organising and note taking: Obsidian and Notion

Obsidian is a pretty cool app for note-taking and organisation. It has a lot of good features and I think might be the only app that solves the problem of note-taking apps being a bit shit for me. I haven’t used it a ton yet.

Notion is an amazing general info database app. It’s used in a lot of workplaces, but you can also use it personally. Notion has a lot of cool featuers around being able to easily build customised “databases” of things which allows you to keep info about projects or whatever else you want in structured ways that can be really useful.

Kenney’s assets

Do you know about Kenney?

He’s been making tons of high quality free asset packs for years now, to the point that I think he’s started a whole studio built around this. There’s a ton of useful things in there that you can use for prototyping.

One of them is the Asset Forge which is a tool to create simple 3D models or scenes using building blocks. I used this to create and render the rooms for the narrat RPG demo. It won’t let you build crazy complex things, but again it can be good for prototyping

Tiled map editor

I’ve used Tiled for years. It’s my go-to 2D map editor. The format it outputs is super simple, so it’s easy to integrate it to your game engines. It’s got a ton of featuers and is great.


Affinity suite is a good resource and is very, very common among TTRPG designers for a reason. No subscription needed, works like a charm. Photo/Designer are probably best for VNs, but Publisher’s great too if you’re doing like anything with a lot of text. If you wait until Black Friday they’re usually ~50% off, and I think they all have a week-long trial period if you just wanna poke around and see how it goes.

I use hackmd.io for the majority of markdown-based stuff, including mermaid diagramming because it has that built in. It’s basically markdown-first google docs as far as operation. Extremely easy to share with others on account of that too.

Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay are good go-tos for free stock photos. (Be careful, Unsplash tags some things as Unsplash+, these are not free). iStockPhoto frequently has good high-res ones and will usually get something closer to what you want when you search, but they’re usually $12/picture (google around for a discount code, usually you can swing $10-11). A stock photo and a little manipulation goes a very long way sometimes.

Small warning with Github Copilot: iirc they’re currently being sued for not complying with open source provisions.

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Forgot to mention a tool I use literally all the time, File Converter. It adds options to the windows right-click menu to convert files. It can convert anything into anything, and batch convert a bunch if you select multiple things. It’s so nice.

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I’ve sung it’s praises to anyone who’ll listen already, but i really HAVE to plug beepbox!! it’s a free website tool for creating music, it has very easily understandable tools for that and is surprisingly versatile when you dig into the settings. I use it a lot for game soundtracks and i recommend it to anyone interested at all in making their own music!
(btw, its also super easy to share & save different states of your music. Each note actually factors into the weblink, so you can just save the link and send it around! it does mean the links look awful, but its convenient. here’s an example: BeepBox)


If you wait until Black Friday they’re usually ~50% off

To wit: All Affinity stuff is currently 25% off, or even more off if you have the v1 Affinity apps. $52 for one of them is equivalent to what, 2-3 months of Creative Cloud? Absolutely worth it.

I do pixel art a bit and my recommendation for creating pixel art would be Aseprite which is available on itch and steam. I think you can also create tileset in the newest version but I’ve never tried that.

When I’m searching for a reference photo or picture I will always try first on Pinterest When you click on one picture it will automatically recommand something simular.