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13. May 2011

 

I just finished publishing an introductory tutorial about using Wings 3D.  It covers the basics like navigating the UI, common translations then illustrates many of the features like loop cutting and mirroring, extruding, cutting holes, beveling edges, bridging, etc.  I hope it is a useful introduction to those of you that are new to Wing.  It really is a powerful program and it is worth the time to check it out!

 

In all honesty though, I don’t really like how the tutorial turned out.  It is functional enough which is why I am publishing it, but the combination of software and techniques used proved to be much more time consuming than expected and the results where also less than expected.  I am embracing a different technique for future video’s and I already like the results. 

I have hosted the video on Youtube, but for those that prefer, the video is also available on Vimeo.

 

Please let me know if you have any comments, questions or suggestions for future videos.

 

Intro to Wings 3D

 

[This space intentionally left blank, except the text of course]

Art ,

11. May 2011

 

So I finally got around to moving from 2.56 –> 2.57 and apparently it some API changes seem to have broken the Unity importing.  In my case, once saving the .blend file to my assets directory I get an error message of “Blender could not convert the .blend file to FBX file”. The solution was found on the Unity forums in the post by user Woodn.  For simplicities sake and due to the importance of this fix, I will repost it here.  Again, all credit goes to woodn for compiling this fix, and to alewinn and jorrit.  Thanks!

 

Ok, collecting all infos until unity is updated officially:
Credits go to jorrit and Alewinn!
Mac:
- Get Blender 2.57a from blender.org or a recent build from graphicall.org and unzip it somewhere. Assign blend files to open with the just downloaded blender.app.
- Browse to the Unity folder and right-click "Unity.app" and select " Show Package content". Then browse to the folder Contents/Tools/ and backup "Unity-BlenderToFBX.py". Then replace it with the one in the attached zip file or change the lines described by alewinn a few posts above yourself.
- Done.

 


Win:
- Get Blender 2.57a from blender.org or a recent build from graphicall.org and unzip it somewhere. If you use a zip package, make sure you register the blender.exe by executing "blender.exe -r" in a cmd prompt or with a shortcut. If you use the installer, you don't need to do this.
- Browse to the C:\Program Files (x86)\Unity\Editor\Data\Tools folder and backup "Unity-BlenderToFBX.py". Then Replace it with the one in the attached zip file or change the lines described by alewinn a few posts above yourself.
- Done.

 

Once I replaced the .py script and restarted Unity, everything worked normally again.

File attached below.

Unity-BlenderToFBX.zip (903.00 bytes)

Art , ,

11. May 2011

 

After just completing a list of 3D Apps for this site, I just came to a pair of realizations.  First off, the demo is all but a requirement these days.  Second, and this is the point most missed it seems, but these days integration with other suites is perhaps the most important feature. Therefore, if your application’s demo doesn’t support saving, importing and exporting, testing it’s ability to slot into your pipeline is almost impossible.

To use an example, if I want to test how well Cheetah3D works with Unity, I simply cannot.  Given the horrifying number of problems and artifacts that occur when moving from various programs to programs, this is extremely important information as part of my evaluation process.

Art

11. May 2011

 

The following is a list of most of the available 3D applications, links to their websites, current MSRP and a link to the downloadable version if available.  If I have missed any applications, please email me at mike@gamefromscratch.com and I will rectify that.

 

 

 

Autodesk 3ds Max

The program most often used for creating game graphics, 3DS is probably the gold standard of3ds-max-logo_thumb[2] 3D applications. In recent years Autodesk has been snapping up all the competition and slowly they are becoming very similar. Package does just about everything you could imagine, as well as having perhaps one of the easiest IK systems ever created.

Operating Systems: Windows

Cost (MSRP): 3,495$

Demo/Trial Available? Yes

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: 30 Day trial

Sample Titles: Rockband, FarCry 2, Assassins Creed

 

 

 

Autodesk Maya

The ultimate evolution of Alias Sketch. Re-written for Windows as Alias Wavefront Maya in Autodesk_Maya_ruukasu_thumb[2]1998, then simply Maya it was acquired by Autodesk in 2005. Responsible for the now nearly universal QWERTY control system as well as the visual move/scale/translate gizmo.

Operating Systems: Windows, Mac, Linux

Cost (MSRP): 3,495$ without subscription, 4,090$ with

Demo/Trial Available? Yes

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: 30 Day trial

Sample Titles: Deus Ex Human Revolution, EA Sports MMA, Resident Evil 5

 

 

 

Autodesk Softimage

Softimage is another commercial package with a long history, starting as Softimage|3D in XSI6_thumb[1]1988, to become Softimage XSI in 2000, then purchased by Autodesk in 2009 to become Autodesk Softimage. In the middle there was a brief stint where it was owned by Microsoft. Softimage has been used to create numerous films and games. Since being acquired by Autodesk, the price has increased substantially, with the elimination of different tiers being available.

Operating Systems: Windows, Linux

Cost (MSRP): 2,995$ without subscription, 3,790$ with.

Demo/Trial Available? Yes

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: 30 Day trial

Sample Titles: Lost Planet, Metal Gear Solid, Bayonetta

 

 

 

Softimage Mod Tool

Back before being acquired by Autodesk, Softimage released a free version of Softimage modtool7_thumbbased on Softimage 7.5, designed for mod makers working with Source Engine ( Halflife2 and others ) powered games. When XNA was released, ModTool was also available for XNA Creator Club subscribers to freely make commercial games. Since these days, Autodesk seems to have abandoned ModTool.

Operating Systems:

Cost (MSRP): 3,495$

Demo/Trial Available? No

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: Full featured, non-commercial license (unless working with XNA)

Sample Titles: Unknown

 

 

 

Nevercenter Silo 2.2

This program is extremely polished and intuitive to use, with a price that is extremelysilo_logo_white_on_black_thumb[1] appealing. Silo is a dedicated modeler, with only minimal UV editing features. I highly recommend you check out the 30 day download, but caution you that the developer support is incredibly iffy. When evaluating your purchase, ask yourself if the version you are evaluating is worth the price of admission WITHOUT any further patches or upgrades, as there may be none!

Operating Systems: Windows, Mac

Cost (MSRP): 99$ Core, 159$ Pro

Demo/Trial Available? Yes

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: 30 Day full featured, after 30 days limited save functionality

Sample Titles: Unknown

 

 

 

Luxology Modo

In the beginning there was Lightwave and all was good. Then something happened and mostmodo401logo1_thumb[1] of the Lightwave went off and started Luxology. Frankly I think we are lucky they did. It started off as a pure modeler but now it is a modeler, sculpter, texture/painting and rendering suite. There is now animation support but it is relatively primitive. Up until recently they have only had a paid demo, which was really really really stupid, but fortunately they have rectified that, somewhat.

Operating Systems: Windows, Mac

Cost (MSRP): 995$

Demo/Trial Available? Yes

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: 15 Day trial, have a 30 day trial bundle available for 25$

Sample Titles: Test Drive Unlimited 2, Rage & Doom 4

 

 

Newtek Lightwave

As mentioned earlier, the team behind Modo started off at Newtek working on Lightwave.1294076283_NewTek_Light_Wave_3D_10_HAPPY_NEW_YEAR_thumb[1] Lightwave has been around a long time, with roots on the Amiga in the 80s. Perhaps most famous for Babylon 5, Lightwave has been used in hundreds of games, films and tv series. It’s followers were almost rabidly loyal. Since the team at Luxology split off, Newtek seems to be spinning it’s wheels a bit. They announced a re-write called Lightwave CORE in 2009, and just released Lightwave 10 at the end of 2010. It is definitely worth checking out, Lightwave has always been an affordable option and I believe the current price is as low as it has ever been.

Operating Systems: Windows, Mac OS

Cost (MSRP): 895$

Demo/Trial Available? Yes

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: 30 Day trial

Sample Titles:

 

 

 

 

Blender

Blender is covered in much greater detail across this site, such as here. Its comprehensive, powerful and free, why not check it out? Simply put, it is one of the programs this site focusesLogoBlender_thumb[1] on. As I personally just discovered, it is also a remarkably capable video composition tool.

Operating Systems: Windows, Linux, Mac OS, FreeBSD

Cost (MSRP): 0$

Demo/Trial Available? Not Applicable

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: Full release!

Sample Titles: Ignite PC, others?

 

 

 

Wings 3D

Like Blender,Wings 3D is one of the primary programs featured elsewhere on this site. It’s a dedicated sub-division surface modeler with some UV editing features. Its based on Nendo,4de26d04385328d44115e5724765c61d18ee9f74_thumb[1] its remarkably powerful, a little awkward and completely free. With that price tag, you have no reason not to check it out! I find the workflow on par or better than most commercial packages.

Operating Systems: Windows, Linux and Mac OS. Other Unix OS’s built from sources

Cost (MSRP): 0$

Demo/Trial Available? Not Applicable

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: Full release!

Sample Titles: Unknown

 

 

 

Cheetah 3D

A full featured, extremely affordable 3D suite for the Macintosh, with a very Mac focused user interface. Integration with Unity is seamless. Full modeling, texturing, animating and c3d_logo_thumbrendering support out of the box.

Operating Systems: Mac OS

Cost (MSRP): 99$ ( currently on sale, regularly 149$ )

Demo/Trial Available? Yes

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: No time limit, save functionality disabled.

Sample Titles: Unknown

 

 

 

Cinema 4D

Cinema has been around a long time, first release in 1991 on the Amiga. Full modeling, texturing, animating and rendering abilities are included as well as advanced painting tools.c4d_logo_shadow_thumb[1] Most of the dynamics features ( Rigid/Soft Bodies, advanced particles, hair, etc.. ) are limited to the much more expensive Studio version. Two other versions exists, but neither is geared towards game development.

Operating Systems: Windows, Mac OS

Cost (MSRP): Prime:995$, Studio:3,695$ (All suites currently 25% off these prices )

Demo/Trial Available? Yes

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: 42 day heavily restricted trial

Sample Titles: Warhammer:Mark of Chaos ( cinematics )

 

 

 

SideFX Houdini

Another package that has been around for a very long time, and one I really try to love as we share the same home city. Truth is though, I just don’t understand this program, the workflowhoudini_logo_thumb[2] is just so different from what I am used to. It is a purely procedural package, working on a series of operators. Again, I want to try to explain it, but I simply can’t, I just don’t understand it! It is as full featured as any other suite out there. Even though I can’t explain this package to you, do let that put you off it, as SideFX has some of the best free trial options available, as well as a 99$ starving artist edition! So, please evaluate it for yourself!

Operating Systems: Windows, Linux, MacOS

Cost (MSRP): Apprentice:HD 99$, Houdini:Escape 1,995$, Houdini:Master 6,695$

Demo/Trial Available? Yes

Download Link: Click here for download page

Download Type: No time limit, watermarked renderings and export limited

Sample Titles: Killzone 2/3, Final Fantasy X

Art

9. May 2011

I have published up a list of tools used/to be used, both for creating the game and for authoring the website.  In a few cases, tools that are just bloody useful in general are listed.  This is very much a live document, so I will be adding to it as time goes on.  Each program listing includes a link to where you can get it and a list of strengths and weaknesses.

Without further ado, the list.

General

Month List

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