Tools Of The Trade Part 3: FreeMind
In my book “How to become a Flash Game Developer of World Class” I surely will not forget to mention this useful tool … FreeMind, a Mind Mapping tool that is not only free but also very intuitive! It is written in Java and therefore available for all common Platforms. Where other Mind Mapping tools or even MS Visio fails with being intuitive, FreeMind comes to the rescue!
You can lay out all imaginal hierarchical structures, be it your shopping list, you time plan or the story concept for your next game. After creating a new document with FreeMind, it has one root node. From now on you can add child nodes with the Insert Key, add sibling nodes below with the Enter key or above with Shift+Enter. This way it becomes a breeze to create a large tree structure of your project.
You can assign different color and font styles to your nodes. Another useful feature is the ability to link two nodes together with a bezier line. The tool has a MinMap and a Browse Mode and you can even browse your harddisks file structure with it if you want. You can also link files to nodes.
This is the number one tool I would recommend for brainstorming but it is very useful to lay out projects in more detail as well. There is also a FreeMind Document Reader that has been written with Flash, though I’m not sure if it can be downloaded and used offline.