PixelShips is actually pretty old by this point and it's a wonder I was able to get it working at all on my Windows 8 system. This is a big part of the reason why I need to get more games out: All of the games I've made up to this point are VERY out of date, the last one being from 2007, and fixing them up to work on modern systems is something I've been delaying until I get something new released.
If you must know what software I use, I primarily use Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Express for programming, Deluxe Paint 2E, Paint Shop Pro, and Inkscape for graphics, Impulse Tracker for music (and some sound work), Audacity for sound editing, and I lay out my design documents in Wordperfect (though any word processing software will do really).
I mentioned there were a couple approaches you could take to learning game design but failed to mention the second approach, which is: Modding. A good way to learn more about how games work and how to make them is to learn how to mod existing games. Modding is easier and much faster to get into than making games from scratch, but the trouble is that under most circumstances, modding is a dead-end for making money off of your design efforts. Eventually, if you want to profit from your skills, you need to make 100% original content.
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