Editors note: This post was originally published in 2016. As it’s been a while since we’ve explored what the best tools are that you should be using, we thought we would go ahead and give this post a refresh. Let us know if you think we’ve missed anything important. 

How can you lower acquisition costs, improve engagement and drive more purchases? Where will you find the time? From basement to studio, game developers manage a growing remit of technical skills… yet the hours in a day stay fixed.

For sure, there are thousands of time-saving apps and services that you can make use of – but figuring out which are best is tricky. That’s why we’ve curated a list of the top game development tools, as voted for by game developers, to help steer you in the right direction and free-up your time to focus on doing what you love.

#1 list of time-saving mobile game development tools, picked by game developers  #GameDev Click To Tweet

In this article, we’ll highlight a selection of apps, assets and SDKs which will help you – a busy GameDev – take care of different aspects of the mobile game lifecycle. Each business area is listed below… and so let the timesaving begin.

What you can expect to find in this post

We’ll cover a wide range of different tools relevant to the development and marketing of mobile games. If you’re looking for something in particular, feel free to jump to that section:

Advertising & Monetization



Cost: $0
Supports: All major platforms

Adjust provide insightful marketing attribution tools built for mobile apps. For game developers, it will help you understand how users reach your game and what each lead source costs. You can also repurpose your users’ feedback and app store reviews for product management with Apptrace.


Cost: $0
Supports: All platforms

Advertise your game across 243 regions with Mobvista. Precise targeting, unparalleled exposure and a range of ad formats – ads that don’t break from the gameplay experience – make it easy to increase your reach and fuel your growth. The platform feeds native ads directly into games of a similar genre. You’ll be getting conversion rates much higher than the 3% industry average in no time.

Unity Ads

Cost: $0
Supports: All platforms

Unity Ads is a market leading mobile ad platform built with game developers in mind. With a strong focus on serving video content cross-platform and cross-game, the ads are more relevant with better conversion rates, compared to more generic display advertising networks. Unity only pays you when users install the advertiser’s game. This means that showing the ad in the right place, at the right time, without breaking a player’s game flow will actually result in more revenue than showing too many ads.


Cost: $0
Supports: All major platforms

MoPub, Twitter’s mobile publishing solutions provider, lets publishers and developers choose between monetising between direct ads, ad networks or its real time bidding system. Offering an ad serving solution built specifically for mobile publishers, you can use MoPub to manage and optimize campaigns, analyze performance reports and metrics, and achieve higher eCPMs through better understanding the monetization components of your game.

If you’re looking for more ways to grow your user-base take a look at this post: How to Expand your Audience with Game Accessibility

Analytics & Error Logging



Cost: $0
Supports: All major platforms

GameAnalytics is a free analytics tool built by game developers, for game developers. It helps you make sense of player behavior, improve engagement and drive monetization with real-time insight into more than 50 gaming metrics out-of-the-box. You can set it up in just a few minutes, with SDKs for every major platform and engine.


Cost: $0 (enterprise costs undisclosed)
Supports: Android & iOS platforms

Start monitoring your app’s errors for actionable insights in real-time with Crashlytics. How do you improve engagement? Create a loyal player following with a UX free from annoying bugs. Crashlytics helps you achieve this by dealing with player issues proactively, before tickets flood your support team and eat up your bandwidth.


Cost: $0 for basic plan
Supports: All major platforms

With the rise of F2P games and increasing market competition, GameRefinery is a tool that can help you stay ahead of the pack. With industry-leading feature level analytics, as well a market insights and benchmarks for the global mobile games industry, both developers and publishers can develop the best strategies for their individual titles or portfolios based on accurate information.

If you’re new to game analytics you should definitely check out this post (it’s one of our most popular): 15 Metrics All Game Developers Should Know

Collaboration & Workflow



Cost: $15
Platform: Unity

With UniMerge, game designers work more effectively via seamless collaboration of graphic rendering, artwork and objects. This plugin from the Unity store allows team members to work apart on graphics elements that make up part of the larger whole, such as textures, and then combine the results with full version control.

iOS Project Builder for Windows

Cost: $60
Platform: Unity

If you’re a Unity developer primarily working on PC, the iOS Project Builder for Windows is an extension that you need to add to your arsenal. No joke. This tool is an absolute gem. With it, you no longer need to switch to your Mac and launch Xcode to build your games for iOS. Save time and build them directly from Windows.


Cost: $20
Platform: Unity

GameFlow is a visual programming toolkit that helps simplify game development. With it, you can create complex game logic, effects and interactions, in a visual editor without having to write a single line of code. Bring powerful time-saving features to your development, including macros and keyboard shortcuts to automate tedious tasks.

Are you a game designer? You may find this article of interest: Squeezing more juice out of your game design!


Cost: $0 for basic plan

Supports: All major platforms

Trello is an excellent lightweight project management tool that provides you with simple ways to define and track projects. Through a digital dashboard, you can create and arrange various actions for yourself and other team members. What’s more, this tool easily integrates with a variety of platforms and has its own nifty little iOS and Android app!


Cost: $10/month for basic plan

Supports: All major platforms

Built as a set of programs designed to improve task and code managements assignments, Assembla offers a number of incredibly handy features for game developers such as built-in code repositories. It also allows both individuals and teams to manage every aspect of mobile game’s life cycle in one unified place and now comes with integrations with Trello, Slack and JIRA.


Cost: $0 for basic plan

Supports: All major platforms

HacknPlan is a specifically designed tool for game development, similar to Trello or other project management software. With careful consideration of the needs that developers have, HacknPlan focuses on simplifying a process that has many different moving parts. This may be for you if you’re struggling to unify and collaborate across several different projects and teams.

Engagement & Retention



Cost:  $99/month for basic plan
Platform: All major platforms

GetSocial gives you the ability to amplify your game’s reach, improve player loyalty, reduce churn and make your marketing spend go further. It provides everything that you’ll need to create highly engaging in-app social marketing platforms, with the ability to double your retention – whilst increasing in-app purchases and organic installs by more than 25%!


Cost: $4.99/month for basic plan
Platform: All major platforms

Twitch is the world’s leading video platform for online games, with over 2 million broadcasters and 100 million monthly viewers. With it, you can build gaming experiences that give audiences the ability to interact with live sessions, through dynamic gifting and commenting. It enables overlay of broadcast quality visuals for different datastreams, including as kill counters, player stats and minimaps.


Cost: $59/month (if less than $200 000 in funding or revenue)
Supports: All major platforms

Not necessarily a time saving tool, but definitely something you shouldn’t overlook. The Megacool SDK provides GIF capturing and sharing via multiple channels. Users simply capture and share gameplay moments with their friends, with a link back to your game. The best part for developers is this tool comes with access to analytics, and offers you a way to spread the word about your game in a visual and organic way.

Is your churn rate embarrassingly high? Learn how to get it down to a respectable level: 16 Reasons Why Players Are Leaving Your Game


Adobe Photoshop

Cost: $25/month
Supports: All major platforms

Adobe Photoshop is arguably still one of the best ways to texture various game assets when creating 3D models. As a tool used by creative professionals in all different industries, it comes packed with comprehensive creation features that offer developers everything they need to craft inspired game concepts into sophisticated digital realities.


Cost: $0
Supports: All major platforms

GIMP is a great free alternative to Adobe Photoshop, and comes with a wide range of professional-quality functions. Whether you’re looking for filters, tools, rendering effects or formatting capabilities, GIMP offers great features for fine-tuning your game assets. And all this without having to spend a penny!


Cost: $19.90/month for basic plan
Supports: All major platforms

Substance by Allegorithmic is a popular tool among 3D and digital artists, as well as many AAA studios crafting sophisticated UIs for their games. The impressive features of this software include scan processing, smart masks, smart materials, integrated 8K bakers, texturing and rendering. You can also create in Substance Painter and get real-time feedback in Unity through a live link.


Cost: $0
Supports: All major platforms

At the other end of the market, Piskel offers free 2D pixel art support and animation development tools in its simple and straightforward open source platform. Whether you’re a new game developer, hobbyist or throwing around some ideas for simple game art, Piskel allows you to quickly create sprites and animations through its clean and understandable interface.

Need some inspiration for your game’s artwork? Take a look at this article on 7 Incredible Game Design Examples And Why They Work.

Sound & Audio


Cost: $0
Supports: All major platforms

Freesound.org has a large collection of CC licensed audio samples, that can give your game that special touch you’ve been looking for. What otherwise may be costly or difficult to source, is readily available on Freesound.org. All you need to do is a little bit of digging into its huge database, and you’ll have access to some great synthesised sounds, field recordings, snippets, bleeps and all manner of other sound bites.


Cost: $0
Supports: All major platforms

Audacity is an open source audio editor that rivals many premium paid-for applications. Whether you’re making your own recordings for your game actions, dialogue, or special effects, Audacity is a good place to start. Many of its most useful and powerful features are available through its intuitive interface, making it practical for both audio wizards and sound-tech newbies.

FL Studio

Cost: $189.00 for basic edition
Supports: All major platforms

Being a bit pricier on the market, many developers now use FL Studio to create video game music. If you’re adding bespoke sound content to your title, this is a reliable and practical tool that will help you tune your audio landscape to perfection. The most important thing is that FL studio is flexible, well equipped and relatively straightforward, allowing you to finish your masterpieces and export to relevant formats with ease.  

Struggling to perfect your games sound and audio? Check out our 9 Sound Design Tips to Improve Your Game’s Audio here.

Let us know…

What do you think? Which tools best help with your day-to-day? If you think we’ve overlooked any gems, then please reach out to us on Twitter with your thoughts – we’d love to hear from you.

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