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.


Mac Pro 6.1

  • Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5 @ 3.7GHz
  • 32GB DDR3 ECC RAM @ 1866MHz
  • Dual 2GB GDDR5 AMD FirePro D300 GPU


27 inch Thunderbolt Display x 2
Wacom Cintiq 13HD Graphics Tablet
Harman Kardon Soundsticks
Apple Magic Keyboard
Apple Magic Mouse

Game Design

GameMaker Studio 2


Time Out



Core Workflow


Website Hosting


File Management




Mailing List


Social Media





Google Analytics

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

Thanks for reading!


  • Tom says:

    Hi Matthew. How would you say HTML5 game development looks now a days? Rather than like 2-3 years ago? (I mean the financial part :D)

    • Hi Tom – the HTML5 games market really picked up in 2018 and I had an exceptional year overall. I’ll be posting a new income report soon:

      I’m excited for the year ahead. There’s still so much potential to explore.

      • archon says:

        Uhh that is great news. I actually thought it’s dying because of mobile games.

  • Mat Hopwood says:

    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?

    • Matthew says:

      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.

  • Luiz Gustavo Alves says:

    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?

    • Matthew says:

      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.

  • Tuan says:

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

    • Matthew says:

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

  • Ryan says:

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

    • Matthew says:

      Nothing specific at the moment. I would use Github/Mantis if I had the need, but most of my projects are too small to warrant using bug tracking/reporting software.

  • Shakil Ahmed says:

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

  • Richard says:

    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?

    • Matthew says:

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

  • Micah says:

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

    • Matthew says:

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

  • larkkkattack says:

    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

    • Matthew says:

      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 says:

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

        • Matthew says:

          The options are quite limited for desktop. You can use Google Adsense but it’s risky (Google have banned developers that use it in HTML5 games).

  • James says:

    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?

    • Matthew says:

      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.

  • Aniket says:

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

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

    • Matthew says:

      I mostly use Numbers for general record keeping, and formatting data. Nothing too special there. I use Pages for writing game design documents, contracts, invoices, and my books.

  • Dirk says:

    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 :)

    • Matthew says:

      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.

      • Update: Yahoo ruined Flurry in 2018 so I’m now using a plain Google Analytics solution for event tracking, etc.

  • Cassidy Hennigan says:

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

    • Matthew says:

      It depends on what you want to do. If you want to make a website, start with Bluehost. If you want to make games, start with GameMaker Studio.

  • Sofa says:

    Thank you for the information you share

  • Robert Kabwe says:

    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.

  • Reimo Kirmann says:

    Why GM instead of for example Unity?

    • Matthew says:

      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.

  • reopucino says:

    GM in Mac? Are you using Wine or Crossover?

    • Matthew says:

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

      • tagomago says:

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

        • Matthew says:

          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.