Usually, beginning game developers are pretty overwhelmed with how to go about creating their game. One of their first concerns is what kinds of tools they are going to need to acquire and learn to use so that they can actually make their game. I have long thought about making a CD with all of the tools that I use for game development to give to friends or other people who want to know what tools they are going to need for game development. But CDs will soon be a thing of the past, and so instead, I am making this page, which will list and link to the tools that I use for game development. One thing to note: they are all free! There are obviously, some better programs out there that you need to pay for, but for the most part, I will let you decide when and where to spend your hard earned money. For this, I have in mind the people who are just getting started with game development and aren't quite ready to commit money to the hobby (or job!).
I will add more here as I think of them. If you have any other suggestions, let me know.
Visual C# Express 2008 - A Microsoft development environment that let's you program all of the C# you can dream up.
XNA Game Studio - An extension to Visual C# Express that comes with all of the needed XNA stuff to make your game ideas a reality.
Wings3D - A simple 3D modeling program that is excellent for beginners. It has all of the features that you would want for a simple model.
Bryce - A program that allows you to make 3D scenes and render them. I usually use it to create images that I then put into my games. For instance, you can use it to create skyboxes and stuff. They are currently at version 6.1 I think, but a while ago, they were supposedly giving away version 5.5 for free, and it might still be available. Try googling "Bryce 5.5 download free", and you might be able to find it. Of course, even the newest version isn't horribly expensive—around $100. It's pretty easy to use, too, but there isn't a whole lot of documentation for it on the web.
Paint.NET - A free image editing program kind of like Photoshop but not as powerful. It has a great deal of features, including a very nice plugin system which I have developed a few plugins for myself.
Inkscape - A free vector graphics program. It is quite powerful. It is what I used to make nearly all of the icons and stuff on this website, as well as most of the simple 2D content for my games.
Effects & HLSL
NormalMapGenerator.zip and DuDvMapGenerator.zip - A couple of tools that let you make normal maps and DuDv maps, which are discussed more in the HLSL tutorials.
ATI's Cube Map Gen - Another tool used for making skyboxes and other cube maps.