Tools & Programs I Use To Run My Business

Tools & Programs I Use To Run My Business

I have been tweaking and refining my workflow for years. Time is the real currency of life – if a program can help me to reclaim a few minutes each day, I want to know about it. Since I run my own business, being able to work more efficiently directly influences my results so I’m always testing new products, tools, and services.

Today, I want to share details about my setup and the tools that I use to optimize my workflow.


Many of the programs listed below are exclusive to the Mac operating system. The operating system that you use will directly influence your productivity, and I’m personally far more productive using Mac than any other OS – especially in combination with my hardware choices and core workflow tools (detailed below).

Please note that the contents of this post may include products or services produced by third parties, for which I do not assume responsibility or liability. Readers are advised to do their own due diligence when it comes to making business decisions and all information, products, and services that have been provided should be independently verified. Referral links may be present.

I hope you’ll find these products and services as useful as I do, and integrate a few of them into your own workflow.


This list will be maintained and updated – bookmark the page for future reference!


Which tools and programs do you find the most helpful? Leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading!



  1. reopucino


    GM in Mac? Are you using Wine or Crossover?

    • I use Parallels (also listed) to run GameMaker Studio on Mac.

      • tagomago


        But GameMaker runs natively on macOS, why do you use Parallels?

        • GMS1 doesn’t run natively on Mac, and while GMS2 does, I still need Parallels because the majority of my games have not been ported to GMS2 yet. That’s a work in progress.

  2. Reimo Kirmann


    Why GM instead of for example Unity?

    • Unity is primarily a 3D tool, and I prefer to work in 2D. Additionally, Unity’s HTML5 export is extremely bloated, so it’s not really an option for me since I make HTML5 games. GM is a really powerful engine that enables rapid production with ease.

      • Pius Nyakoojo


        Have you used playcanvas? What’s your opinion on it with respect to Game Maker?

        • Again, that’s a 3D tool, so it’s not something I would use. I only make 2D games.

  3. Robert Kabwe


    Thanks for the list :) If you look at this from a certain point of view, you’re like an early version of a cyborg, except with dependent software instead of hardware enhancing you.

  4. Sofa


    Thank you for the information you share

  5. Cassidy Hennigan


    Truly jaw-dropping. Where should a beginner like me start? Thank you for being so generous with revealing your creation tools and results.

  6. Dirk


    Hi Matt,

    Check out also Firebase analytics & push notification.

    Some really promising things to watch in this space regarding segmentation & retargeting via push notification. Different than Flurry in that they allow one to send a push notification to users that targeted specific event.

    Send me an email, then we can chat :)

    • I’ll be looking into Firebase in the near future. I have been satisfied with Flurry, but they are owned by Yahoo which is a company I have little faith in. I’m always interested in trying alternatives.

  7. Ted Wennerström


    I would like to know a bit more how you use numbers and pages, how do you fit it into your daily routine? :)

  8. Aniket


    Your site is awesome, thank you very much for this site…

  9. James


    What do you think about Construct 2 for making games just like you do?
    I´ve tried GM and then C2 and so far i have prefered C2 for an absolute beginner like me.
    So, im asking if you think that someone could be as successful as you as a game dev while using c2, or is that completely out of the picture?

    • Hi James – I have crossed paths with several successful C2 developers, and their games were excellent. The main issue with C2 is the lack of control and flexibility…this is the issue with all engines, but I find C2 is more restrictive than most. I prefer GM because it’s still powerful and easy to use, but also flexible enough for my needs.
      Matthew recently posted Online Income Report #052 – August 2016My Profile

  10. larkkkattack


    Hey Matthew!

    Can u please give us some recommendation about ad-service? Which do you use? we’re near to launch our first HTML5 game but we have serious doubts about what ad-service choose.

    Thanks in advance :D

    • Leadbolt is the best option. In my book Making Money With HTML5 I discuss my specific earnings, click-through rates, and monetization strategies using Leadbolt.

      • larkkkattack


        Thank you in advance, but I forgot to specify. I mean ad-service for an html5-desktop game (.io style) ^^”

  11. Fabio


    what about your html5 ad providers?

  12. Micah


    What do you recommend for a calendar? I used to love sunrise calendar but it got nixed by Microsoft :/

    • I personally don’t use any calender app (just reminders on iPhone, or due dates on Wunderlist).

  13. Richard


    Hi Matthew,

    This list is very useful thanks, I have a question about the graphics for your games. Do you create all of your own assets or do you contact a designer in to do them for you?

    • Hi Richard – I hire a talented artist who I met through social media.

  14. Shakil Ahmed


    This is really a great post I must say as we all know this one to watch out for, we are also wishing.

  15. Ryan


    A really insightful post, what do you use for bug tracking?

  16. Tuan


    Hi Matthew, thanks for the post. Do you know any good ad services for desktop platform?

    • Hi Tuan – Google AdSense is the most popular option with high CPC.

  17. Luiz Gustavo Alves


    Hi, do you export the images to SWF in order to make your games with high resolution images?

    Also, do you plan to explain better this high resolution stuff with GameMaker in your Learn To Make Games book?

    • Hi Luiz – I simply use high resolution artwork in my high resolution games, nothing special is done to achieve this result and we don’t use vector assets.

  18. Deepak Gupta


    That’s really helpful.

  19. Mat Hopwood


    Hey Matthew, Good list, mines far more limited :). Have you done any game payment integrations (for in-app purchases) with SendOwl and Stripe? If so, are they easy enough to integrate with, such as PayPal Checkout? I’m looking for more payment systems that enable web developers to accept in-app purchases for virtual goods for the IGX SDK. Also, going off at a complete tangent, but have you thought about taking your games to the Instant Game platforms?

    • I have setup PayPal/Stripe in SendOwl with the intention to support IAP in my HTML5 games like Kingfall but it’s currently untested. I think it can work, otherwise I’ll look into other solutions. As for Instant Games, I’m not publishing my games to the platform directly yet, but I have been exclusively licensing Instant Games rights to clients and porting games to the platform on their behalf. That’s been going very well.
      Matthew recently posted List of HTML5 Game Publishers & SponsorsMy Profile

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