Modeling

Modeling is the most complex task when creating a game character and is the heart of this book. I'll show you how to model (and animate) a character from scratch using 3ds Max 8, but the techniques are similar with other popular 3D modeling programs. 3ds Max is an extremely versatile and widely used graphics tool for games, television, and film, but because of this, it carries with it a significant price tag (approximately $3,500). This is typical of higher-end graphics software. I've heard complaints from readers about my election to write about software that's unaffordable; my response is that nearly all game development companies use these packages, and as an artist, you must be an intermediate to advanced user of at least one of them. Table 1.1 lists a number of popular modeling packages, their prices, and Web sites.

The CD-ROM that accompanies this book contains the demo version of 3ds Max 8. You'll be able to follow every example in this book using it, if you don't already own Max. Note that the demo works for only 30 days, though.

8 Chapter 1 ■ 3D Game Character Design Basics Note

If you're looking for some freeware and shareware 3D tools to play around with, check out Blender 3D at http:// www.blender3d.org and MilkShape 3D at http://www.swissquake.ch/ chumbalum-soft. Note that they have limited ability for creating game content. In fact, I can't think of a single published game developer who uses them. The higher-end stuff is far more powerful, with Max, Maya, and SoftImage as the frontrunners for game modeling, animation, and special effects.

Table 1.1 3D Modeling Programs Used in the Game Industry

Program

Version

Company

Price

Web Site

3ds Max

8

Autodesk

$3,500

http://www.autodesk.com

Maya

7

Autodesk

$2,000-

http://www.autodesk.com

$6,000

SoftImage|XSI

5.0

Avid Technology

$2,000

http://www.softimage.com/

home/

LightWave 3D

8

Newtek

$800

http://www. newtek.com

ZBrush

2

Pixologic

$489

http://pixologic.com/home/

home.shtml

gameSpace

1.6

Caligari

$300

http://www. caligari.com

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