Creating sound effects and music is a big part of any success game project. There are a number of excellent tools available for creating and editing audio. The majority of what you will find on this page are a list of free DAWs or digital audio workstations, the primary tools used to create soundtracks.
Ardour is an open source cross platform DAW that is frequently updated. You have to pay for binaries or build it yourself. Doing so on Linux is easy, but a huge pain for Windows users. There is a time limited binary available to trial as well.
Make music wherever you are. Use it on the web, on iOS, Android and on PC. Bandlab also bought…
Previously known as SONAR, Calkwalk is a free DAW released by BandLab. Over 30 years in development, the biggest drawback is it’s Windows only.
If you own a Mac or iPod, you’ve got Garage Band. It’s a super user friendly but surprisingly capable tool for creating music.
LMMS is a free open source cross platform DAW. It comes with several retro style instruments, ideal for recreating 8/16bit sounds. You can learn more and seem LMMS in action here.
Avid’s Pro Tools is one of the… well, tools the pros use. It’s also quite expensive and thats where ProTools First comes in. It’s completely free with some limitations on number of tracks, storage, etc.
It’s a DAW that runs in the browser… and a community to publish and share your creations.
Studio One Prime is a free version of the Studio One DAW.
A free version of the Traction Waveform DAW. Tracktion had a history of giving away their previous versions for free when a new revision was released.
Zen Beats by Roland make a free version of their DAW on a variety of different platforms. There are “pro”unlocks with additional instruments, features, etc. Sadly free version has no VST support.
The new kid on the block, its free and open source and a highly automated DAW. You can see Zrythm in action here.
A free and open source cross platform Synth implemented as LV2, VST, VST3 or AU plugin.
ODIN 2 is a powerful free and open source synthesizer. Highly flexible, it’s a must have VST for your DAW of choice. You can learn more about Odin 2 here.
Vital is a “spectral warping wavetable synth”. That’s a long way of saying a very flexible, visually controlled synthesizer. There is a free version available as well as upgraded versions with more presets. It is implemented as a stand-alone tool and a DAW friendly VST. You can learn more about Vital here.
Other Free Audio Tools
Need to record and edit waveforms? Audacity is the tool for you. It’s also free and open source.
Is it a DAW? Sorta. Is it browser based? Sorta. Is it hard to describe? Yes. AudioTool is an online collaborative music production studio.
Available both in a browser and as a flash download, Bfxr is a sound generator for 8/16bit style sound effects.
An online tool for creating sound effects by blending and modifying existing audio tracks. Quick and easy sound effect creation in your browser. See Blendwave in action here.
An easy to use music creation application for games. Very similar to mod trackers of old, it comes out of the box with hundreds of musical instruments. It’s free and open source, you can learn more about Bosca Ceoil here.
Juce isn’t really a tool, it’s a framework for making tools. In fact, some of the tools just listed used JUCE. If you are looking to create an audio application, this is an excellent foundation to build upon.
Ocenaudio is a light weight super simple sound recorder/editor.
A free drum plugin (VST, AU, AAX) and stand alone app for Mac, Windows and Linux.
SunVox is a music creation application for just about every single platform that exists. You can learn more about SunVox in our older video here.
Reaper isn’t free, but it has an extremely generous trial period and a low entry point price. It really doesn’t belong here since it isn’t free, but I had to include it. Learn more about Reaper here.