GAE and MG both come with the G3D viewer, a basic program made to view G3D models.
Glest Tool Pack
The Glest Tool Pack is the only official pack ever released, and was a basic package from the Glest team containing a few files and programs meant to help you create models and maps for Glest. Most notably, it includes the Map Editor and G3D Viewer, which are essential in map making and modelling respectively. It also included a 3DS Max 7 export script for exporting to G3D, but it is primarily abandoned, as it does not work on the current version of GAE and the majority of Glest modders use the free alternative Blender instead.
Many of Glest's tools are well known and accepted by the community, but aren't affiliated with any of the forks (meaning not bundled with them).
Glest Asset Manager
Meant to be a full over mod creator, the Glest Asset Manager can create the XMLs and folder structure for a mod, as well as edit existing ones. While not supporting GAE or MegaGlest functions, nor being able to create some aspects of mods, it is a functional program and currently the only one of its kind, making it easy for an inexperienced user to make a quick modification. You still have to make the models, textures, images, etc in separate, 3rd party programs.
An online scenario creator by Omega is capable of making basic scenarios, as well as scenarios with basic Lua code for resources. The creator is barebones, but working and capable of making scenarios without any coding knowledge.
A tool that can optimize and perform minor edits to G3D files, the G3DHack program basically replaces the G3D viewers, being able to view the G3D models in ways that they cannot.
Tools not directly created for Glest, but used frequently for the purpose of modding.
Blender is a free, open source 3D modelling application which is the dominant program used by the Glest community, and the only one which has a working export script to export to Glest's G3D modeling format. Blender is capable of doing everything needed for a Glest model and much more, making it the general choice for Glest modders. Blender, like all 3D modeling programs, has a steep learning curve, but that can be easily repelled by the use of one of the many Tutorials available on the internet.
Notepad++ is another free, open source program, meant as a generic plain-text editor, complete with many functions such as syntax highlighting, autocompletion, tag closing, XML optimization, etc. It's the most commonly used program for editing Glest's plain-text files, such as the XMLs, Lau scripts, or Language files.
The GIMP is the dominant image editor, since it has the power of popular programs such as Photoshop while being a free, open source image editor. Meaning the GNU Image Manipulation Program, it can modify images for textures and icons, and has many powerful tools and effects to ease the difficulty of that. The learning curve, like Blender, may be steep to new players, but many tutorials can be found on the web.
The GIMP Resynthesizer
A well known plugin for the GIMP, this plugin is able to fill in blanks and convert textures into tileable ones, making for a preferable helper in the texturing stage.
Paint.NET is an alternative to the GIMP. While not as powerful, it boasts a more user-friendly interface and several functions of its own, including faster startup time. While not as commonly used as the GIMP, it has still been used in several mods.
Tips and Tricks
- Experiment with different programs to find the blend of what works for you.
- Several programs are not listed here, namely commercial programs and unsupportive programs. This doesn't mean they don't work though. For example, you can use Photoshop to make images if you wish, or you could use 3DS Max for modeling (though, unless using version 7, you will also have to export it into a Blender compatable format and user Blender to convert to a G3D, since the only working 3DS Max export script is for version 7 only.