Suggestions for a Programmer Friendly 3D Modeller Software

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by Nutter2000, May 24, 2012.

  1. Nutter2000

    Original Member Indie Author

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    Hi all,

    Does anyone have any suggestion what a good cheap/free and above all programmer friendly modelling and texture software is?
    Preferably one that supports fbx.
    I used to use Milkshape3D but that seems to be a bit dead now (last update 2009) so I was wondering what other people are using?

    [Warning Small Rant Ahead]
    Basically here's the situation, which I'm sure many of you have come across before (it can't just be me surely!):
    You receive a bunch of 3d artwork from an artist, either you've bought some stock models or you're working with one on a project, only there are some minor issues....
    usually you find that there's no consistent scale between the models, e.g. the person is 100x bigger than the house just so the artist could colour 2 or 3 pixels a particular shade of red, or the model isn't centred at 0,0,0 on it's local axis giving rise to a whole squadron of flying tanks once it's put in game....

    You either need to individually offset the models in-game or get the artist to change it which sometimes takes a week or more depending on their workload.
    Which may be fine for one or two but becomes a nightmare if you have 100s.

    So what I used to do was to fire up Milkshape 3D and just tweak it slightly in an effort to restore my sanity.
    [/Rant]


    I don't need all the features of the latest, greatest ultra-expensive Maya like HDR texturing with radiosity baked lens flares or whatever ;)
    Just something simple to tweak things when I need to.

    Apologies to any artists that read this btw it's not meant to be a dig at you guys just that over the years I've come to the inescapable conclusion that artists' brains are wired up so differently to programmers that they have a blind spot when it comes to logic, order, etc in much the same way that most coders couldn't draw their way out of a wet paper bag (myself included) :D

    Iain
     
  2. Ratboy

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    Artists have done that to you? Ugh. Hope you weren't paying them much. That kind of inattention to detaill is inexcusable.
     
  3. Nutter2000

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    I've seen it at every level in the industry from rookies to highly experienced senior guys in big studios.
    Mostly it's just a case of too high a work load and them being focused getting the artwork right so normalising the model sometimes gets forgotten.
    It happens, there's no blame to attach but often I find it's easier to just fix it yourself unless it's going to take too much time and/or artistic ability to fix in which case knock it back straight away.

    Also I should also say it's often easier to figure out local co-ordinates for badly named bones or decals with modelling software than trial and error.
    Or if you've bought stock models and need to tweak them.

    Edit: I will say though if I've paid for custom models then they'd better damn well be right or the bugger is fixing it themselves at no cost ;)
     
    #3 Nutter2000, May 24, 2012
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  4. zoombapup

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    If you're not used to 3D software already, then I imagine blender would be fine for you. I tried it recently and its not too bad. I can't really use it as I'm used to 3dsmax, but then I get the same feeling about Maya etc. I've actually been thinking of switching to houdini because of its procedural underpinnings, but that's just a personal thing.

    So my suggestion would be to look at blender. Its free. Worth trying.
     
  5. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    See, i would advise against blender, as free as it is. Its UI is about as unfriendly as i've ever seen, and i say that as somebody who can get along with most software. You'd be better off hard coding your models in notepad, its easier.
     
  6. Bad Sector

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    On the other hand, i would advice to learn Blender. Beyond an excellent (even if unfamiliar) orthogonal UI (if you learn a few bits, everything else works the same way), it also has top-notch scripting and programmability. Those issues you mentioned? Just a few Python lines. You can even call blender scripts from the command-line without fully loading the GUI.

    Of course here is the thing: 3D is hard. Like you can't expect from someone to learn programming in a few hours by following tutorials on the net, you can't expect to learn a 3D program (however simple that is) at the same time. And like with programming where you need to learn both the theory ("programming") and a programming language to put the theory in practice, in 3D you need to learn both the theory and how to apply it in your 3D program. Fortunately in your case you probably need mostly the latter, but again some of the former is needed even for the simple operations.

    Now if you really want to avoid Blender and really want something like Milkshape, i think you should look around for some similar open source 3D programs. I remember seeing some Milkshape clones at some point. Also if you don't need animations, Wings3D might be another option with a much simpler interface.
     
  7. Nutter2000

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    Ok thanks guys, sounds like blender is worth a shot.

    @zoombapup: I've used max many times in the past, unfortunately, my budget won't stretch to it at the moment hence I'm looking for something cheap that will support the limited features I need rather than something all singing-all dancing

    @Desktop Gaming: notepad++ on standby if needed ;)

    @Bad Sector: Thanks, I'm well aware there will be some lead time in getting up to speed with any tool I choose.
     
  8. zoombapup

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    When was the last time you had a look at it? I had a very similar opinion of it, until I tried it recently. As I say, if you are used to something else it can feel quite foriegn, but the same could be said for Maya (i.e. I get lost in maya because I'm so used to max). If you don't know anything, there's no preconceptions to fight with. So blender is fine.

    It certainly is up to the task, so I urge people to try it and see if it sits well enough with them.

    I'm sure there are other low/no cost options out there too though. Cheetah rings a bell. I use max though, so dunno :)
     
  9. Nutter2000

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    I'm surprised the topic doesn't come up more often on an indie dev board tbh.
     

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