Before I get started, I’m going to go through a few of the tools I may use during this project. While most of these are tools that cost money, almost everyone of them has a free alternative. I’m fortunate enough to be able to afford these tools, but there are many who are less fortunate, so where I can, I’ll suggest an alternate tool to complete a job.
Tools I have or plan to use:
Unity 3D Links – 3D Game Engine / Toolkit
Unity3D – http://unity3d.com
There is both a free version and a PRO version. While many, many things can be done with the free version, the PRO version includes some advanced graphics options, and the ability to use some more advanced features across platforms (i.e. networking on Android)
World Machine – World building Software
Home Page: http://www.world-machine.com/
There is a free version that is limited in size, and a full version where the height-map is not limited.
BMFont – Bitmap Font Generation Software
BMFont importing into NGUI: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ni7TfMPWq5M
Great tool, and best of all it’s free.
NGUI – GUI add-on for Unity3D
Download: Unity App Store http://u3d.as/content/tasharen-entertainment/ngui-next-gen-ui/2vh
There is a free version to try things out, and supposedly Unity 4.5 (or 4.6) will have much of this built in. Current verison I’m using is Unity3D version 4.3.4
Microsoft Azure – Cloud Storage and Services
Almost free to use, and I’m not sure I’ll use it fulltime. I’ve used it in the past for hosting my websites so I don’t have to keep a server running at home. This service is always getting cheaper…
VisualStudio.com – TFS or GIT Source Control / Project Tracking
Free for most people and groups of developers less than five.
3D Studio Max 2014 – Autodesk 3D Modelling Software
Expensive… Blender is probably one of your best alternatives. I’ve just been using this package for a while, and I’m familiar with it. With Unity, many of the models can also be acquired through the asset store for not too much money depending on what you’re going for.
Adobe Photoshop / Illustrator – Image editing and creation software
There are many alternatives. For me, I consider these the best in their class and continue to use them for game development as well as photography, etc…
Free. Great alternative to NotePad. Makes a great basic text editor.
I only recently acquired this one. It is not necessary, but it does make the transition between Unity and Visual Studio a bit better. If you’re using the built-in Mono development environment for Unity, you won’t need this.
I hope this helps. If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I’ll try to answer it.